Saturday, July 12, 2014

The 'Asshole Effect'

Thanks to technology, ideas generated in an opposite part of the world can reach here simply by a click of a button!
The British newspaper "The Guardian' online reviewed Anne Manne's new book, The Life of I: the new culture of narcissism, published by Melbourne University Press  and introduced the term coined by US psychologist Paul Piff who found that those who thought they were superior to others eg perceived wealth,  felt a sense of entitlement and superiority over everyone else - thus more deserving.

BINGO -- that explains the mess we're in entirely.
Piff conducted a series of revealing experiments - a traffic one where 'Researchers positioned themselves at crossroads. They watched out for aggressive, selfish behaviour among drivers, and recorded the make and model of the car. Piff found drivers of expensive, high-status vehicles behave worse than those sputtering along in battered Toyota Corollas.They were four times more likely to cut off drivers with lower status vehicles.'...... I totally put the unsuitable, oversized vehicles that families are buying their seemingly stupid young men to drive on the roads of Guyana in that category.  However, here the old battered Corollas driven by illiterates who seem oblivious to the rules of the road also exist....

'As Piff says, this goes way beyond the individual, to noxious social attitudes – like being punitive towards the poor while living the "because I’m worth it" lifestyle. As a society becomes wealthier, it can get more narcissistic, less empathetic and unwilling to look after the vulnerable.'  Guyana with its overnight, unaccountable wealth has indeed bred such individuals-- no sense of community whatsoever-- having risen from the hand-out-for-help mentality - they still harbour the 'I need to get what I can while I can' mentality not realising that they have reached the top bracket monetarily  where one 'gives back' to society so it can keep functioning --- sort of not kill off the goose laying the golden eggs.
The article ends with this wry observation: 'The whole idea of "leaners" and "lifters" is the central teaching of the right wing ideologue, Ayn Rand, who penned books like The Virtue of Selfishness. It’s a self-serving crock. Rand found out the hard way. After a lifetime proselytising on behalf of the "producers" and denouncing anyone needing government assistance as "parasites," when Rand became old and sick, she discovered that even a bestselling author could not afford health care in the neoliberal US. She availed herself of Medicare and ended her life on what she had despised – social security.'

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