Cultural Conditioning

You are currently browsing the archive for the Cultural Conditioning category.

Introduction

You already have an opinion about abortion.  Even I do.  I chose such a difficult topic to force myself into the difficult position of analyzing a subject from positions that I don’t ordinarily consider.  The journey won’t be easy and I may fail, but this will be the beginnings of a dialogue that I hope to continue.  I am not unfamiliar to debate, having formally debated in community college.  Then and now, I needed to be prepared to argue both sides of the issues.  While the debates were all about winning a round, the ethics of abortion and its great divide of disagreement are more about understanding the core issues behind those arguments.  While both positions can be considered intentional propaganda, “the systematic propagation of information or ideas by an interested party, especially in a tendentious way in order to encourage or instil a particular attitude or response” (OED, 2009), I will not be looking at the propaganda in particular.  Instead, I will be looking at abortion arguments through three ethical approaches:  Purposes, Principles, and Consequences.  Throughout, I will challenge my readers as I challenge myself to refrain from the usage of familiar propaganda terms, “pro-choice” and “pro-life” that are the crude ethical symbolic language that is usually employed as descriptors.  However, be aware that both positions do and will employ propaganda tactics as we have all experienced.  Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Introduction

With the goal of finding a local healthy arts and music community initiative, I went looking for local programs because there has been at least one in every city I have lived, and because I am personally more interested in and committed to music than most other cultural activities.  Unfortunately, I was not able to find an arts and music-centered community-based organization.  There are less than a handful of non-profits, like the Springer Arts House for drama and musical theatre as well as the River Arts Center for traveling musical acts.  There are commercial chain businesses that specialize in music instruction, whether they be audio production or music instruction, and there is a music program in every public school in the local city and county.  However, there are no community organizations focusing on alternative (read: non-mainstream) arts and music.  Such an initiative should focus on the community that is not served by the conventional.  It would serve political minorities and youth interested in artistic and musical self-expression that no outlet other than the above, outside of public schools, offers.  Unfortunately, even the public schools are focused on conventional musical expression.  That isn’t enough.

How would I create a healthy communities’ arts and music initiative?  It could not be a one-person effort.  It would require the efforts of a myriad of individuals, neighborhood groups, community groups, some local government participation and even some local businesses.  Accordingly, this paper will be organized into the following sections:   Determining health indicators, specific steps, people that should be involved, and what information will be needed prior to beginning such an initiative.  While there are exceptional community toolkits available, some that I will consult for supporting ideas, the bulk of this healthy community arts and music initiative will be supported by the real-world asset analysis of Kretzmann & McKnight (1993) to conduct an asset-based assessment, rather than a needs assessments.  Specifically, it is necessary to determine what is already available in the community, rather than operate from a disadvantaged viewpoint of what is needed and already lacking.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Abstract

Most people consider Italian creativity to be art, sculpture, music and literature.  While these are valid, they exclude the creativity of everyday, industry, innovation, science, and education.  This analysis will utilize a humanistic psychology perspective that investigates creativity of the everyday through industrial and business innovation, urban life, science, and education.  This analysis will also include the perspective and observations of the author based upon his visits and experiences with family in southern Italy.

 

Introduction

To me, Italian creativity has always meant art, sculpture, music (classical and popular), science, philosophy, and literature because these are the forms I always sought out to learn from my father’s and grandmother’s culture.  Personally, creativity always meant creativity in the everyday:  in thinking, writing, procreation, business, industry, dreams, and yes, fine art.  Cropley (2011) gives us an overview of definitions of creativity that includes traditional fine arts.  However, he also points out creativity that is now “widely defined as the production of relevant and effective novelty” with a specific purpose applicable to business engineering that is different from the effectiveness of artistic creativity.

Creativity in Italy has been discussed for centuries, beginning as far back as Thomas Aquinas’ (1221-1274).  However, creativity as a term was not introduced until the 19th century, and its psychological analysis and assessment did not occur until the 1960s and 1970s when English-language psychology texts on creativity were transliterated into Italian (Antonietti & Cornoldi, 2006).  According to the authors, creativity focused primarily on three issues:  Reflection on the theoretical frameworks relevant to the creative process and the experiments based on those frameworks, the measurement of creative abilities, and the application of methods promoting that creativity.  In Italy, the application of those methods has been criticized for being unfocused utilizing general approaches to stimulating creativity.  As a result, another method (Programma di Sviluppo della Creativita` Infantile or PSCI: Children’s Creativity Enhancement Training) is explored to stimulate critical thinking in the students four to ten years of age towards creative solutions to solving problems in an imaginative way (Cerioli & Antonietti, 1992b in Antonietti & Cornoldi, 2006).  It is this point that we will mostly concern ourselves with in this paper as we explore creativity in economics and policy, education, urban life, and industry.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

For a long time, I’ve had my own hypotheses regarding creativity, writing, and imagination, and Pritzker (2011) discusses some of them.  What’s immediately intriguing in the citation of large-scale biographical studies is that the writers that were analyzed were likely to be voracious readers and came from homes as very unhappy. This explains a lot about my childhood environment as well as my voracious reading habits that continue today and my graphic imagination and need for escape.  However, there is one statistic that probably needs more research; given the low numbers, the element of an alcoholic parent(s) or a parent(s) afflicted by depression of one form or another.  I am hesitant to agree with the statistics here without digging into the original research more deeply because I have read similar accounts that those who are either alcoholics or depressed or afflicted in some way make better creatives.  While I have been inclined to believe that idea in the past, due to my creative nature and my minor non-clinical depression, the idea of it is so much glamorizing and romanticizing an affliction.  Elsewhere, the author suggests that the correlation may be correlational but does little to dispel what seems to read like a series of urban myths.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,

Existentially and in every other way, I see everything as connected. But philosophically? Yes. Since my immersion into the social sciences a few years ago, I have noticed that the American Sociological Association (ASA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) divide themselves into several divisions each. Even with major philosophical differences, I can still see points of agreement as I look at both of these worlds and their myriad divisions. While there is some need for subdivisions, their separation also perpetuates the bureaucracy of corporations and government. I’d like to get away from that.

While not everyone is interested in clinical psychology as a profession (including me), there is value in reading and applying ideas from a variety of disciplines that can help each of us in some way. Hoffman & Trash (2010) explore this division in miniature with the neuropsychology and existential APA divisions and their several commonalities, including cognition and emotion, and the intersection of the interpersonal and intrapersonal that can certainly benefit clients in the clinical space. While not every division can meet and join with another, certainly we would all benefit from more of this exploration, resulting in a more socially and emotionally healthy society.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

What is personality? It is made up of thoughts, ideas, relationships, feelings, dreams, aspirations, environment, even rebellion. At the same time, it is nothing but the figment of our dreams if one takes the Eastern and Buddhist view of existence. The readings here are becoming more fascinating and challenging, though I still find flaws in the Western bias (Blatt, 2008), though it is probable that personality is viewed differently in the East, but defining personality as it has developed in Western culture alone, necessarily denies the inclusion of the Middle East and parts further west that are not Western Europe as well as Eastern cultures themselves. While individuality was suppressed in the Middle Ages, I have to wonder if it actually suppressed all of society. I suspect individuality was not completely suppressed in isolated pockets of community who did not adhere to the dictates of the political church until they were forced to. And please remember that Africa and Muslim Enlightenment was dominant in Europe for 700 years. This is never mentioned, not even in passing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , ,

While, I still don’t see a benefit to relying upon quantitative studies to the exclusion of all others when complex conversations, action research, and asset-based community development yield so much more nuance into a study, I do see the benefits of employing some quantitative methods to determine a direction for a qualitative study, but I’ll never see it as an exclusive fix. Quantitative data is too dry and cold for me, and effecting real change in my world is going to necessitate qualitative research and activism.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

Understanding Health, Community, and Community Health

How health, community, and community health are examined, utilized, and defined depend upon the representatives of the community involved. All are key, all are vital, and all are based upon the perspective of key individuals and groups. A politician will obviously differ from a health care provider, a social service agency, and, most definitely, a recipient of various services. Whose perspective is most important? Ultimately, the recipient is paramount, but from a community perspective, every member of the community concerned with its successful and healthful evolution is a recipient of the community organism and must be considered for the community to thrive, grow, and continue to nurture its members, helping them to thrive.

My understanding of health, community, and of community health is complex and biased by what I have seen and what I have experienced in a variety of communities from birth throughout my life. Let’s be honest here. Objectivity is very difficult to achieve, and I didn’t become interested in humanistic psychology to be apathetically objective. I’m here because I want to help people thrive and evolve and to learn from them. Health, to me, is social, emotional, and physical. Health is well-being in a community that allows its members to thrive and contribute personally and socially after being provided rightfully necessary shelter, healthy food (with space to grow it), preventative medicine, and the ability to work. Community is all of that and allowing a space where people feel safe and accepted, safe enough to be themselves, valued enough in the community to suggest and contribute unique solutions to community challenges, no matter the youth or the age of the member. Community health is all of the above.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

While a research methods class isn’t necessarily an ideal venue to receive revelations of a personal nature, the latest readings on quantitative analysis have made me aware of how my ever devouring mind works as it continues to seek out and absorb valuable information and higher-level knowledge. Here, there is the qualitative side that is always talking to people, making new friends, learning their stories, and offering help. That’s the creative side. Then there is the quantitative side, the side that wants to break down almost everything into a method, into a process, to make things work like a factory assembly line. That’s the logical side, but it’s also the side that realizes humanity is not a factory and will not evolve successfully if we treat it like a government program of numbered live bodies. Both get along as I work to help people help themselves while I develop simple systems they can use to learn and grow.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,

What is personality? It is made up of thoughts, ideas, relationships, feelings, dreams, aspirations, environment, even rebellion. At the same time, it is nothing but the figment of our dreams if one takes the Eastern and Buddhist view of existence. The readings here are becoming more fascinating and challenging, though I still find flaws in the Western bias (Blatt, 2008), though it is probable that personality is viewed differently in the East, but defining personality as it has developed in Western culture alone, necessarily denies the inclusion of the Middle East and parts further west that are not Western Europe as well as Eastern cultures themselves. While individuality was suppressed in the Middle Ages, I have to wonder if it actually suppressed all of society. I suspect individuality was not completely suppressed in isolated pockets of community who did not adhere to the dictates of the political church until they were forced to. And please remember that Africa and Muslim Enlightenment was dominant in Europe for 700 years. This is never mentioned, not even in passing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,

I propose, as I have in many of my academic writings and conversations that within all of us is a vital need to create, even within the most anti-creative of us. My father may be a perfect example of this when he eschews all creative activity because it distracts from “more important things” in life, like making money, making babies and raising a family, and a myriad of other activities that he does not view as creative, viewed through the lens of his Italian family culture. Yet, my father can take a broken down bicycle and lawnmower and make them sing. And he sculpts, but not in a traditional “artistic” sense. He can take a piece of animal flesh and carve it into shapes that no other meat cutter I have ever met can do. I call my father the anti-creative artist. And then there is me with the need to write, a need for music and making music mixes, and a need to draw that out of others. Perspective is everything for all of us.

Krippner (2011) explore creativity from a waking consciousness and a variety of alternative states, primarily the latter, but it is more of an overview. While important and valuable, overviews of such complex topics don’t include everything and they always compel me to dig deeper into the sources that are referenced. This is no different. However, I did find it intriguing, but not surprising that early researchers equated schizophrenic psychotic states with altered consciousness states stimulated by a variety of natural and manufactured drugs. Interestingly, I have read recent accounts in a few journals where researchers are experimenting with LSD to help minimize psychotic states in schizophrenics.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

Charet’s encyclopedia entry serves as an entry point, a definition, of consciousness. As such, it is aa general introduction, but given the work done by others in this area, including the Buddhists, Jung, and others, this definition barely cover the territory. I concentrated the majority of my analysis on the other two articles.

While Early’s The social evolution of consciousness (2002) makes many valid points, he misses others. His emphasis on reflexive consciousness is key, his emphasis on the suppression of participatory consciousness (community and communal – usually matriarchal – is ignored) is particularly one-sided and biased from a Western viewpoint (i.e. not Asia, part East of Africa and Africa which he rarely takes into account contemporarily or historically) with its emphasis upon the mindset of a white Western Patriarchy, though he does not make a note of that.  Especially when he states, “Participatory consciousness (emphasis author’s) is characterized by a sense of aliveness and belonging to the world. In this mode, people relate to the world primarily through intuition, emotion, the body, and the immediate present.”  These are particularly if stereotypically maternal characteristics that are typical of matriarchal and communal societies in Africa and Asia).
Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , ,

I appreciate the idea that we are studying a practical, on-the-ground-activist-map and an academic and analytical one. The readings of Minkler’s (2006) case studies and Jackson & Volckens (1998) illustrate this very well.

While Jackson’s “reverberation theory of stress and racism” as it occurs in both the dominant political majority group and throughout the subgroup as their stress and “racism” is subjected to other less prevalent political minority groups. I question the idea of racism within the subclasses for the obvious reason that while a political majority has dominant control of society and its apparatuses, it is impossible for any subgroup to exhibit racism when they don’t have dominant control. That doesn’t stop the dominant group from defining these terms and claiming “reverse” racism that is evident in many online social network exchanges and news media reports.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

The process of constantly contemplating a research topic from one class to another serves an interesting purpose in my mind.  It causes me to constantly rethink this topic and others that I have dwelled on for the last few years. I see this as a powerful engagement with the topic of gender and racism propaganda, sitting where I sit from a perspective of an Italian white-appearing cisgender man and causing me to constantly look at this topic from different perspectives and engage others with this topic.  As a result, my area of interest at this time has been refined as, what are the short and long-term effects of organized sexist media propaganda as it influences unintentional interpersonal sexist propaganda upon Black women and girls.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , ,

The subject of work has surfaced in several other personal and academic discussions within institutional ethnography (that is extremely difficult for me to understand) and, especially, in feminist discourse (Silvia Federici, among others) as it relates to the subject of women’s work in and out of the home.  What the authors add is something additional that I have not yet seen: The treating of the chores and school homework of children as work.  The authors opening treats children as something rarely see, as human beings with brains, with feelings, with agency.  This is powerful.  Given the definition of health promotion from, the American Journal of Health Promotion, “to enhance awareness, change behavior, and create environments that support good health practices,” I wonder how health and health promotion would be rated in the United States and how it would fare compared to other country’s programs?

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve contemplated a research topic for a few years, and even mentioned it to new friends at Saybrook as well as family and friends outside of academia because the subject of gender and racism propaganda is a subject that is at once fascinating and deeply disturbing to me, though I don’t think I can combine a question and human subjects that allow for research analysis of both gender and racism propaganda unless I specify the participants of the study to women and girls of color.  Given that I would like to create it as a participation action research study, this is within the realm of possibility.  However, I have not yet formulated a question that is definitive in this area.  For our purposes, the research question that I am interested in is, “What are the short and long-term effects of organized and unintentional interpersonal propaganda upon women and girls of color in the black community? This is a good start but it still needs some refinement.

The subjects of the academic articles I selected relate directly to my research interest, though the authors do not make use of “propaganda” as a working term within their studies, but it is used there as an influence upon the subjects as “proper” vs “improper” behavior to police women and girls to avoid the use of extreme forms of gender propaganda. ter Bogt, et al (2010) and McFerran, et al (2010) are quantitative and Bailey, et al (2013) are qualitative.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Being born the curious type, from the beginning, I have questioned everything much to the chagrin of many around me.  At this point, nothing has changed but an increased ability to apply critical thinking, though “Why” has been a key and hard question from the beginning.

Analyzing assumptions are both critical to understanding biases and to evolving personally and spiritually.  While my personal studies in propaganda have allowed me to see clearly that everyone is affected by propaganda, how it works from a marketing propaganda viewpoint, and the psychology involved, it has not given me license to assume that I or any other educated person is not affected by its effects.  In fact, I understand from Ellul’s Propaganda:  The Formation of Men’s Attitudes (1965) that the educated are effected to a greater extent because they believe they can discern it more critically.  So my assumptions are that I am affected by propaganda in every aspect of my life, be it academic, cultural, media, music, marketing, advertising, and even interpersonal.  My assumptions of mainstream psychology, however, are not as colored in some ways and heavily in others, tempered by the fact that I seldom watch television news propaganda programming and don’t read mainstream media, but realize that psychology is key to all aspects of propaganda that is successful (see my comment above about being affected by propaganda).

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

Opening up Pilisuk and Parks (1986), the first thought that came to mind is that laughter is the best medicine.  Given that healthy and supportive community is necessary for our physical and emotional health and well-being, this should be obvious to most.

Even though Pilisuk and Parks temper their remarks, cautioning us “not to generalize too much …, especially since they all deal with psychological consequences of insufficient support,” and stressors differ from person to person and from community to community they bring up some interesting ideas that support some of my personal observations.  While the Western medical professional has evolved since the days of suppressing folk and community medicine and are beginning to acknowledge these adjuncts, there is still much work to be done, as I see it, if all the sciences, clinical, medical (especially in the area of medical specialization that does not treat the whole patient as a person, rather than as an object to experiment on), folk, et al, are to work together to improve communities by considering the person as a whole as well as their personal support system, their place in the community as well as the social, emotional, and spiritual support system that the community provides to the individual.  What is particularly unfortunate but not surprising to me is the minimal support system and social networks of individuals suffering with major and not so major psychiatric illness as there are in my family, especially since Pilisuk and Parks indicate its normality for this population.  What is particularly intriguing is the size of one’s social network of friends and contacts in relation to mental health, but given the fractured state of societies and individuals; I don’t wonder that I want to start an intentional community with like-minded individuals to help and support each other in addition to growing our own food.  Honestly, I see a very vital, powerful, and evolutionary support system here at Saybrook that I have never seen in any other educational environment.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , ,

The research process is something that feels very familiar to me. While I am always learning, always searching and seeking, and perpetually digging deeper, not for passages to prove q point, though that is not unfamiliar to me, but to learn, always to learn more. Locke, Silverman, and Spirduso (2010), introduce the idea of researching for a specific purpose, though it seems I have been seeking out information and researching since I was a little.  Researching is a very familiar place.  In some ways, it feels like home, whether it has been within academic primary sources over the last several years or even secondary and general sources for much longer.  Locke, et al go on to indicate that information that look for as academics may be somewhat buried as incidental information within studies that is more observations of the participants regarding particular behavior, or even as secondary sources or study questions.  Again, this kind of research feels very familiar to me, though I obviously need to hone those skills to a sharp point to be affective and effective here at Saybrook and later when I move on to dissertation research and teaching.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

(Below are three responses to my previous essay.  My responses are in italics.)

N.’s Response:

Michael,

I just read your paper with great interest.  You make a number of important points.  However, you say repeatedly that not every group needs to follow all of the 10 steps [required according to IndividualEvolution.org] to be successful.  However, you never give any support for that opinion.  You may be right about that, but I wish that you would give specific details showing which steps can be omitted and why?  You indicate that various movements have been successful in the past without using all these principles.  But I believe those so-called successes have only been partially successful.  The reason for that may be that they have not followed all of the points B. has used.

Sincerely,

 

N.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

« Older entries