aries1988 + society   153

Social Media Is Warping Democracy - The Atlantic

For example, in “Federalist No. 10,” James Madison wrote about his fear of the power of “faction,” by which he meant strong partisanship or group interest that “inflamed [men] with mutual animosity” and made them forget about the common good. He thought that the vastness of the United States might offer some protection from the ravages of factionalism, because it would be hard for anyone to spread outrage over such a large distance. Madison presumed that factious or divisive leaders “may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States.” The Constitution included mechanisms to slow things down, let passions cool, and encourage reflection and deliberation.

Social media pushes people of all ages toward a focus on the scandal, joke, or conflict of the day, but the effect may be particularly profound for younger generations, who have had less opportunity to acquire older ideas and information before plugging themselves into the social-media stream.

citizens are now more connected to one another, in ways that increase public performance and foster moral grandstanding, on platforms that have been designed to make outrage contagious, all while focusing people’s minds on immediate conflicts and untested ideas, untethered from traditions, knowledge, and values that previously exerted a stabilizing effect. This, we believe, is why many Americans—and citizens of many other countries, too—experience democracy as a place where everything is going haywire.
social-network  psychology  history  constitution  usa  research  policy  society  instability 
10 weeks ago by aries1988
Michel Houellebecq: Populism's Prophet - Quillette
Houellebecq reasons that the liberalisation of sexual relations, due both to changing societal attitudes and the invention of the birth control pill, have led to widespread sexual inequality; the attractive, more biologically fit elite have more sex than ever, while biological proletarians lead markedly less pleasurable lives, without even the consolation, as in previous eras, of a virtually guaranteed marriage supported by societal institutions. Rather than an isolated phenomenon, Houellebecq sees the sexual marketplace as a natural extension of the competition inherent in the capitalist market system, in which value is assigned to goods, services, and even people, to facilitate trade.

Houellebecq argues that the social structures which maintained Western hegemony by checking the societally harmful excesses of this competition, namely religion and the family unit, have been gradually lost to individualism and the market.
Houellebecq is sceptical that the social stabilising force of Christianity can be called upon anytime soon, and he accepts the decline of religion’s influence over society as a logical consequence of scientific progress.

For Houellebecq, nature is a term that can be used to sanction the most despicable behaviour.
This behaviour may be natural for select human beings, shaped by the right kind of society, but Houellebecq is certain this behaviour is not produced in nature.

humans to create a separate species of asexually reproducing proto-humans, thus freeing the species from the incessant sexual desire and competition that he believes will be the cause of societal collapse.

the old-fashioned institution of marriage did not alter the fact that some were born more physically attractive than others.
the intense pessimism of Houellebecq’s novels often leads one to wonder whether Houellebecq is merely a critic of modern society or, like his idol Schopenhauer, of life in general.

Houellebecq’s view of human nature implies that even if income inequality were reduced, human vanity would find other ways of using choice and taste to perpetuate differences. Natural competition, as a function of unchecked individualism, would continue to dominate, and we would still be left with an inequality of lived experience.

decisions we make in our personal lives, such as where we study, whom we marry and where we live, have an effect on public life and contribute to this inequality in lived experience.
Individually reflecting on the broader consequences of one’s actions, doing one’s best to be humble about the advantages one possesses, and having a genuine compassion for the suffering and insecurities of others may sound banal, but these points are also rarely discussed—possibly because they place a responsibility on all individuals, especially the most privileged among us.
from:rss  français  writer  populism  inequality  society  sex 
september 2019 by aries1988
周保松:正義社會提綱|廣場|端傳媒 Initium Media

人是活動的存有,必須通過不同活動來實現自己。要實現個人自主,主體必須於不同社會領域,例如政治、經濟、教育、宗教、愛情、婚姻、娛樂等,有所參與和實踐。這就意味著,個體必須在這些領域擁有相當充份的自由,才有可能過上自主生活。我們因此需要政治自由、經濟自由、宗教自由、愛情自由、婚姻自由、教育自由和娛樂自由。人類自由的歷史,是不同領域逐步向主體敞開的歷史。
freedom  society  individual  rights 
september 2019 by aries1988
张伦:为权利而战——香港的“死”与“生”|逃犯条例|深度|端传媒 Initium Media
政治问题最终还是需要以政治方式来解决。那些以经济视角(如房价过高、年轻人就业、香港未来发展定位等)来解释香港近年现象(包括抗议),不能说没有道理,但显然没有抓住根本。当初香港百万人上街支持八九民运又是怎样的经济动因?而此次各种衣食无忧的精英大批上街参与“反送中”,显然也不是单凭经济逻辑可以解释。关键的关键,在于香港人的主体意识与权利需要得到保护与尊重。
尊重个体的自由、尊严与权利,政权的合法性与功能只在于服务与增进公民的权利与福祉,共同体无权以集体的名义任意打压伤害作为主体的个人的权利

一些大陆人眼里,曾长期在英国治下生活、认可现代价值的香港人,正可作为当下发泄他们对西方痛恨之情的替代者。

法国“黄背心”运动历时数月,迄今基本势微,除零星抗议外,大体告结。这其中除了马克龙在去年十二月运动高峰期针对运动的一些经济诉求宣布的回应措施外,也与后来持续数月、事关国家政策方略的全民大讨论、宣布一些制度改革、扩大政治参与、强化地方市政等举措有关。

何时北京才能放弃那种陈旧的“阶级斗争”敌对思路、按现代方式来理解一些社会矛盾,制定对待香港与国内的社会抗议的合理政策,将是衡量这个政权在迈向现代政治上到底取得多少进展的一个重要视角。岂不见,世界上几乎所有威权或极权政府,在面对社会抗议时所采取的话语几乎都惊人地一致,都是“外部敌对势力所为”

正值“天安门运动”被镇压三十年,也因香港的抗议,全世界对三十年前镇压的记忆再次被激活,对三十年来这个体制本质上是否有变化有了更大的怀疑
explained  hongkong  movement  society  rights  ccp  propaganda  china 
august 2019 by aries1988
Can Emmanuel Macron Stem the Populist Tide?
In an inversion of the anxieties that might have surrounded a relationship between a female student and a male teacher, Macron’s parents mourned the likelihood that their son wouldn’t have children.

At the terrifyingly prestigious Lycée Henri IV, whose alumni include Sartre, Weil, and Foucault, he was no longer the precocious boy wonder, just a distracted new kid from the provinces who wasn’t great at math. He twice fell short of the scores necessary to enter the illustrious École Normale Supérieure. Instead, he attended Sciences Po, the social-science university, and also got a master’s degree in philosophy.

With a few exceptions, its members were young, affluent white men, who were excited by Macron’s commitment to shaking up a status quo that had been established in the postwar era and hardly updated since.

Of all the lines the candidates slung at each other in the course of the election, the one that remains indelible for me is Macron saying very calmly to Le Pen, who had just confused two French companies, “One makes phones, the other makes turbines.”

Their activity has been particularly robust in France’s “empty diagonal,” a band of low-density settlement that stretches from the Massif Central, in the south, to Lorraine, in the northeast.

By the end of the tour, according to an official count, almost two million people had participated online; more than sixteen thousand grievance books were compiled, twenty-seven thousand letters and e-mails were written, and more than ten thousand meetings were held. Macron spent a total of ninety-two hours on the debate floor. By April, his popularity had rebounded to around thirty per cent, from a low of twenty-three in December—not good, but not nearly as bad as his predecessor’s at the same point in his tenure.

the strategy is to “identify the causes of the populist vote and respond methodically. If we succeed, we will dry it up.” When the input changes, so do the conclusions, but only to the precise degree that they need to.
politics  français  president  interview  2019  france  society  macron  democracy  from instapaper
july 2019 by aries1988
郑力轩:战争的昭和、暧昧的平成,曙光初露的令和|深度|端传媒 Initium Media
历经了战前超民族主义的狂热与破灭之后,战后昭和则是透过许多日本独特制度,展开了受到世界瞩目的高速发展,奠定了日本认同。在昭和时期“日本第一”的呼声下,日本成为兼顾成长与平等、品质与效率、传统与现代的代名词。到了平成时期,这些具日本特色的制度遇到种种危机,然而是否要引入国外制度,特别是美国的制度,又让日本在复杂的自尊与疑虑间持续纠结。

平成年间日本,就是处在这样的暧昧情境下,既没有墨守成规,但也很难说大刀阔斧的改变,而是在不同方向的拉扯中缓步向前。

昭和时期日本政治社会经济体制是以追赶欧美发展为核心,而有以下几个特征:在经济上,以大企业为中心的日本式资本主义,不仅促进了高速成长,也因其独特的运作型态受到全球广泛的注目;在政治上则是以1955年自由民主党结成时形成的55年体制,由民选议员、官僚与企业组组成的铁三角稳定控制日本政局,形成了民主国家中罕见的一党长期执政;在家庭上则形成所谓近代家族,也就是具有明确性别分工的核心家庭。

在雇用上采取长期雇用、不轻易裁员的制度。员工(通常限定在男性)在学校毕业后集体进入企业,到55岁前享受安定雇用的保障。其次,在企业治理上,日本企业主要由终身在同一公司工作的经理人所控制,许多董事会(取缔役会) 成为经理人升迁的一部份,而非欧美式股东利益的代表。也因此,日本企业的决策往往出现以“从业员福祉”而非“股东利润”为核心的运作型态。

在经济上,1985年的广场协定加上国内宽松的金融,导致许多日本企业放弃了之前众所称道的长期视野,转向操作财务技术以获取短期利润,带来严重的土地与股市泡沫。在社会上,对女性职涯的高度压抑,随着女性教育程度提高而形成严重扞格,带来少子化的现象。昭和时代的落幕,正是伴随着诸多过往体制积弊的爆发;而平成时代的序幕,正是由昭和时代所累积诸多问题的爆发所揭开。

2009年,民主党以“彻底改革”的诉求获得压倒性胜利上台,带来平成时期第二次政党轮替,但在内外失调以及311大地震处理的失败,在2012年底选举惨败,政党走向瓦解收场。

总体而言,相较于昭和时期日本主流社会以“追赶发展”为职志,平成时代的日本不仅必须面对各种昭和体制所遗留的问题,就社会发展方向,而言也呈现出更复杂、更多样的风貌。这个追赶完成以及面对未知后所产生的多元取向,是平成暧昧性的根源,也是日本社会将持续面临的问题。
analysis  history  japan  epoch  politics  economy  society  policy  comparison 
may 2019 by aries1988
Gauls, gilets jaunes and the fight for French identity

# the roman national
The British used to read Our Island Story — the hoary best-seller whose chronicling of stirring events and great men and women from Albion to Queen Victoria introduced generations of schoolchildren to history. (David Cameron once claimed it was his favourite childhood reading.) Across the Channel, books like the so-called Petit Lavisse did much the same thing, recounting the whole great sweep of what the French term the roman national from the days of the Gaulish general Vercingetorix to the French Revolution and its aftermath.
Historians once found it natural to tell stories that were designed to imbue their countrymen with pride.
“Whatever your ancestors’ nationality, young Frenchmen and women, at the moment you become French, your ancestors are the Gauls and Vercingetorix.”

In 1987 historian Suzanne Citron published an important essay on “the national myth” in which she deconstructed the assumptions behind the traditional narratives then commonly taught in schools.
The purpose was to show how France’s past could not be understood except within a larger context — global, we might call it today — in which ideas and people and goods flowed across borders and shaped one another.

Alain Finkielkraut, self-appointed guardian of the old story, and himself recently on the receiving end of anti-Semitic abuse from gilets jaunes, denounced the authors as “gravediggers of the great French heritage”.

Gaul being — in a favourite nationalist phrase — the “eldest daughter” of Rome

Countries prosper, so the message runs, when they welcome strangers (like the Armenian refugees who gave France Charles Aznavour) and they suffer from the consequences of their own narrow-mindedness.

Now it is not the book’s gleeful dismantling of the récit national that is under attack, but rather its purported underplaying of a long history of inequality and its consequences.
there are real problems with reading globalisation back into the past, not least because trade in general, and foreign trade in particular, was simply far less important as a part of economic life in earlier times than it is today
a more militant, provincial and insurgent history of burdens and privileges.
separate communal and local activism from outright xenophobia

The limitations of the nationalist narrative have been exposed. But what is the alternative? To abandon narrative altogether, in favour of the episodic and the vignette?
is it best replaced by a multitude into which we can dip at will? The idea of a past that is shared may then slowly slip entirely from view.
historiography  debate  narrative  world  nationalism  français  france  history  2019  book  society  conflict  manif  macron  globalization  opinion  from instapaper
april 2019 by aries1988
东京大学入学致辞:年轻人,等着你的,是一个无论如何努力也得不到回报的社会|端傳媒 Initium Media
事实上,各类数据都证明女性考生的偏差值(注:偏差值=50+10×(个人成绩-平均值)/标准差,是日本大学录取考生时的重要标准)要高于男性考生。

回望女性学刚开始的时候,世间满是未解之谜。为什么男主外女主内?家庭主妇是什么?要做什么?在没有卫生巾和卫生棉的时代,女性月经时用什么?日本历史上有同性恋吗?……因为这些不曾有人调查,所以没有先行研究。也因此不管做什么,都是这个领域的开拓者,第一人。在今天的东京大学,不论是关于主妇的研究,还是少女漫画或性研究都可以取得学位。

你们是被选拔至此的。据说每一位东大生一年的国家财政负担是500万日元。在今后的4年间等待你们的是绝佳的教育学习环境。

请不要忘记,你们认为的努力之后的回报,实则并不是你们努力的结果,而是托了大环境的福罢了。

诞生女性学的摇篮是女权主义(feminism)这一女性运动,女权主义绝不是让女性像男性般行为举止,或是让弱者成为强者的思想。女权主义,是让弱者在原来的状态下被尊重的思想。

没有必要害怕不同的文化,人生在世,天涯可存。对你们而言,东大的标签即便是在陌生的世界,任何环境,任何世界,即便成为难民,也能为你的生存提供必要的知识。我相信在大学学习的价值,不在获得已知的知识,而是获得为了产生至今从未有人知晓的知识的能力。
gender  speech  university  tokyo  japan  equality  society  from instapaper
april 2019 by aries1988
Letter of Recommendation Eavesdropping
Tuning in to the world around you can be insightful — and therapeutic.

there’s a danger in focusing too much on yourself: you risk losing the certainty that you’re not alone. Being too much in your own body can make you obsessive about your own problems, causing you to lose the ability to understand the scale of your own life compared with the lives of others.

Eavesdropping, however, helps you rejoin the world. People speak openly and honestly when they think no one is listening. When they talk about their issues with someone else, they go deeper than they would go on their own. You can compare your own life, then, with an unfiltered and honest rendering. It’s the ultimate vanity check: you’re not one in a million; you’re one of the millions.
habit  others  society  family  from instapaper
april 2019 by aries1988
Building China: Why Does Chinese Architecture Seem to Favor Enclosure Over Openness?
As we have seen, the Chinese built environment has indeed always been characterized by gating and enclosure. However, this tendency toward inward-facing gated developments should not be understood solely as an expression of Chinese cultural preferences for security and collectivism. In fact, Chinese people started to gravitate to these developments in part because of their desire to escape the panopticon of the danwei.

The gating of superblock developments is therefore less a reflection of a cultural desire to be insulated than a reflection of the Chinese government’s desire to exercise social control and surveillance through the “unitization” of the built environment, much as the rulers of China have done since ancient times.
idea  explained  architecture  housing  chinese  origin  quartier  society  control  from instapaper
april 2019 by aries1988
White Privilege Is Real, but Well-Meaning White Liberals Are Helping to Perpetuate It - Quillette

with progressive ideology. A system that disadvantages blacks, immigrants, Hispanics or Muslims comes to be imagined as a machine operated by an omnipotent white god.

Liberals tend to believe in a kind of reverse white exceptionalism: that whites, in contrast to every other ethnic and racial group, should suppress their communal identity because it’s linked to a system of racial inequality. They seek to deconstruct white identity as an ideological construct designed to maintain power. Cultural conservatives, by contrast, consider whites a group like any other—attached to particular myths, symbols and memories—which should be able to express its identity and interests without fear of censure.

Rather than imagining a world of conflicting groups in which whites oppress non-whites, we should think of white privilege as a complex structure which all people of all races and ethnicities bear some responsibility for. Instead of adopting a simple minded narrative which demonises white identity and casts white people as the villains, we should encourage the whole of society to work collaboratively to reduce system bias.
contrarian  conservatism  usa  race  racism  stereotype  policy  opinion  caucasian  society 
april 2019 by aries1988
文明大国的条件
撰文:吴介民 本文选自《东方历史评论》第1期,回复“购买”了解如何购买…
taiwan  essay  china  beijing  society  quartier  inequality  civ  question  from instapaper
february 2019 by aries1988
Waking Up with Sam Harris: #133 — Globalism on the Brink
Legitimate grievances with immigration https://overcast.fm/+Ic2iBh0LA/32:11
Impact of automation https://overcast.fm/+Ic2iBh0LA/39:34
Universal basic income, solution? https://overcast.fm/+Ic2iBh0LA/39:42

It's one thing for the Chinese to steal our intellectual property, it's another for them to steal our strategy."
civic  nationalism  technology  crisis  transformation  society  politics  trump  2018  globalism  explained  cosmopolitanism  podcast 
october 2018 by aries1988
“First Man,” Reviewed: Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong Bio-Pic Is an Accidental Right-Wing Fetish Object | The New Yorker

First Man is worthy of enduring as a right-wing fetish object. It is a film of deluded, cultish longing for an earlier era of American life, one defined not by conservative politics but, rather, by a narrow and regressive emotional perspective that shapes and distorts the substance of the film.

the movie doesn’t stint on the distinctive Americanism of the action onscreen (including, in a scene of Armstrong ascending from the ground to the capsule of Apollo 11 in an elevator, a point-of-view shot that reveals, majestically, the words United States painted, vertically, on the side of the very tall rocket).

In its explicit content, and by artful omission, First Man subscribes to the misbegotten political premise that America used to be greater—and that the liberating and equalizing activism of the sixties ignored, dismissed, and even undermined that greatness.
critic  movie  rightwing  astronaut  nasa  society  usa  american  hollywood  hero  family  personality  children  death  moon  opinion  1960s 
october 2018 by aries1988
Stretch Genes

the genomes of various human beings fall into several reasonably well-defined clusters when analyzed statistically, and these clusters generally correspond to continent of origin. In this statistical sense, races are real.

To Wade, the implications are big. While behavioral differences among races would surely be subtle, they can, he insists, become amplified at the level of entire societies. Slight differences in behavioral predisposition—to cooperation, aggression, trust, propensity to follow rules, and so on—probably pushed different races in directions that led to different social institutions. Indeed the seeds of difference between the world’s great civilizations were perhaps present from the first settlements.

the evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker. (Evolutionary psychologists, while acknowledging that human behavior has a partly genetic basis, generally assume that all people share the same predispositions. They then try to explain these human universals.)

This sends Wade into paroxysms of righteous indignation and he declares that whether or not a thesis might be politically incendiary should have no bearing on the estimate of its scientific validity. What Wade doesn’t tell you is that this is what Pinker himself says in his very next sentence: The fact that a hypothesis is politically uncomfortable does not mean that it is false, but it does mean that we should consider the evidence very carefully before concluding that it is true.
book  critic  gene  human  race  biology  political  opinion  debate  society  evolution  racism  from instapaper
october 2018 by aries1988
Naomi Osaka, a New Governor and Me

When we moved back to California two years later, I entered fourth grade and suddenly, I was the Asian kid. Ching chong chang chong ching! boys chanted on the playground, tugging at the corners of their eyes. Classmates scrunched their noses at the onigiri — rice balls wrapped in dried seaweed — that my mother packed in my lunch bag. When our teacher mentioned Japan during a social studies lesson, every head in the class swiveled to stare at me.

Here we are known as hafu, which comes from the English word half, and our existence challenges the strain in Japanese society that conflates national identity with pure-blooded ethnicity.

Ms. Osaka delivered the best possible reply: I’m just me.

When I have been reserved or less assertive than people think a situation calls for, they have attributed it to my Japanese side.

when colleagues have mistaken me for another Asian employee in the newsroom, I realize some people still instinctively want to pigeonhole me as one, but not both.
japan  japanese  identity  gaijin  anecdote  society  self  conflict  from instapaper
october 2018 by aries1988
人情、面子与关系:中国式人际关系背后的权力与话语权争夺

儒家在构思礼的时候,是用它来连接天人之间的关系的。在“天理人情”的说法中,理是天的运作规则,这个规则是自然规则,人不能改变,不能反抗,因此是命定的,而原初的情又是个人化的,能改变的,是随意的。在连接这个不变与变的过程中,先王(圣人)承天之道制定了礼,就是以天的名义来规范人的七情六欲,也就是想让人情来顺从天意。

孝,它不是作为生物性的后代对生者养者的自然感情的随意流露,而是对一种义务和伦理化的情感的控制。如果一个人能对自己父母有这份感情,然后将此感情再弥漫到长辈乃至于君王身上,最后就可以达到尽心知天命的境界,而人人如此便可以达到天下之大治。
theory  society  chinese  communication  confucianism  explained  from instapaper
october 2018 by aries1988
人类社会的差异是由基因决定的吗?
他的目标是“正视种族在基因层面的差别,探究人类较晚近时期的进化对历史以及人类社会特质有怎样的揭示。”他的结论是:种族不但真实存在,而且不同种族在基因层面也有常人意想不到的差异。
韦德的主要观点是:人类晚近时期所发生的进化导致不同族群在基因层面出现差异,并进而表现出不同的社会行为。这些在社会行为上的细微差异可以解释为何不同族群所建立的社会制度大相径庭

在对人们的基因组进行统计分析后,相同族群的人的基因组会在一个聚类中,每个聚类又对应一个大洲。种族在这样的统计学意义上是真实存在的。

韦德如此论述道:一旦人类进入定居生活,富人的孩子比穷人的孩子存活的机会大,所以,让富人成为富人的行为之基因将得以传播。因而通过这种自然选择,“精英的某些社会行为将得以逐渐向全社会扩散”。

不同族群在行为倾向(如合作,攻击行为,信任,遵守规则)上丝毫的不同都可能会让各个族群做出不同选择,建立不同的社会制度。“世界上伟大文明之间的差异可能自各文明发源之初便已显现。”

韦德无法做出区分的是:说政治上的敏感性不应当歪曲科学真理当然没错,是事实就是事实;然而,正如平克尔所指出,这不意味着我们可以毫无顾忌地谈论种族问题。历史告诉我们,这是个尤其危险的问题,围绕这个问题的讨论曾经导致了巨大的灾难。认识到这一点并且做到小心翼翼并非什么不科学。
genetics  society  civ  human  debate  race 
september 2018 by aries1988
Yuval Noah Harari on Why Technology Favors Tyranny - The Atlantic

- In 2018 the common person feels increasingly irrelevant.
By 2050, a useless class might emerge, the result not only of a shortage of jobs or a lack of relevant education but also of insufficient mental stamina to continue learning new skills.

- whatever liberal democracy’s philosophical appeal, it has gained strength in no small part thanks to a practical advantage: The decentralized approach to decision making that is characteristic of liberalism—in both politics and economics.
In the late 20th century, democracies usually outperformed dictatorships, because they were far better at processing information.
Democracy distributes the power to process information and make decisions among many people and institutions, whereas dictatorship concentrates information and power in one place.
- If you disregard all privacy concerns and concentrate all the information relating to a billion people in one database, you’ll wind up with much better algorithms than if you respect individual privacy and have in your database only partial information on a million people.

- What will happen to this view of life as we rely on AI to make ever more decisions for us?
once we begin to count on AI to decide what to study, where to work, and whom to date or even marry, human life will cease to be a drama of decision making, and our conception of life will need to change. Democratic elections and free markets might cease to make sense. So might most religions and works of art.
If we are not careful, we will end up with downgraded humans misusing upgraded computers to wreak havoc on themselves and on the world.

- For starters, we need to place a much higher priority on understanding how the human mind works—particularly how our own wisdom and compassion can be cultivated.
- More practically, and more immediately, if we want to prevent the concentration of all wealth and power in the hands of a small elite, we must regulate the ownership of data.
advice  future  crisis  ai  society  politics  people  life  work  mentality  human  democracy  dictatorship  competition  liberalism  from instapaper
september 2018 by aries1988
Is the Algorithmification of the Human Experience a Good Thing?
Skeptics will point out that those algorithms are designed by corporations to serve their interests, not yours. Social media companies, for instance, want to keep you on their services as long as possible, which makes them prone to pushing emotionally charged content that might not be super healthy for you or for society. And even a benevolent algorithm can produce negative or unwanted results.

The video wasn’t directly crafted by a machine. But it wasn’t totally a human creation, either. Rather, it was optimized to appeal to YouTube’s content algorithm, which automatically plays related videos one after the other. “Johny Johny Yes Papa” copies enough elements of popular kid’s videos — a certain length, musical beat, color palette and visual style, along with key words and lyrics — that YouTube’s algorithm will line it up after more popular songs.

At least on a symbolic level, there is something unsettling about a global, faceless content empire that hoovers up human culture and processes it into homogenized nothingness to be fed to kids via tireless social media algorithms that seek, above all else, to maximize time spent on site.
society  engineering  crisis  question  future  children  video  ai  algorithm 
september 2018 by aries1988
“未知”的二十世纪
托克维尔则看到了另一种似乎不可抗拒的趋势:民主正在成为时代的主导精神——不仅将成为最主要的政治形式,也将成为塑造社会与文化的基本力量。
李鸿章,他直言,此时中国处身于“三千余年一大变局”。“三千余年”这个限定,直接指向殷周革命所奠定的传统中国政教,而这则意味着,西方东来所带来的“新天命”已超过了中国自上古以来的最大变局——战国秦汉之际废封建立郡县。

梁启超以著名的器物、制度与精神的三分概括中国人学习西方的三个阶段,而自十八世纪末以来,西方在这三方面都在发生几百年来最剧烈变动。
重温史华慈的告诫无疑是有益的——西方冲击是变量而不是常量,西方思想内部存在着极为复杂的张力与冲突。因此,任何化约式的处理都不仅无助于我们理解它本身的复杂性,而且也将使我们无法把握中国近代的大部分重要变革的复杂脉络与内在困境(因为它们几乎都是在这一复杂的西方冲击的背景下展开的)。  

同样不可忽视的是,那些十九世纪西方的中国观察者仍普遍浸淫于自身伟大的政治与文化传统中,这一传统不仅构成了他们理解“西方冲击”的基本视野,也在很大程度上提供了反思与批判西方的思想与实践资源。

最初几代中国人对西方的观察不应被看作是对外在于中国的西方冲击的反应,而应被看作是对东西方共同问题情势的反应

在十九世纪上半叶,自由放任原则(以英国为代表)正在取代十八世纪大行其道的重商主义,逐渐成为西方各国主导性的政治经济思想。在那些激进的自由贸易鼓吹者看来,自由贸易将实现政治与商业的分离,让经济摆脱国家干涉、自由发展;它还是世界主义的基石——将用和平的利益取代战争的利益,即使不能实现某种形式的世界政府,也将以普遍商贸往来在不同人群、阶级与文化间建立起经常性联系,使他们能互相视为更大整体的一部分,从而遏制分裂,削弱国家的好战性。
中国士人为何会将如此清晰的反重商主义理解为一种隐秘的重商主义,并把自由贸易当作是“无形之战”?

在西方列强国内,政府尚可将这种对自由市场的政治干预掩藏在各种法律形式的背后,在中国这一贸易扩张的外围地区,其政治力量(甚或军事力量)与商业力量的直接结合
对将商业竞争视为“无形之战”的十九世纪中国士人,立刻能想到就是孙子的教诲——“上下同欲者胜”。

在普法战争后西方近半个世纪的和平时期,资本主义与民主的矛盾日益显现出来。此时各国选举权竞相扩大,经济层面的垄断却日益加剧,在政治民主化与经济寡头化

陈焕章则以更含蓄的方式表达了类似的看法,他借助法国重农主义者之口,重新肯定中国传统政治,认为“英国的政治体制给了商人太多的权力。另一方面,民主政治给了下层民众太多的权力,贵族政治则给了上层阶级太多的权力。只有在中国,没有一个阶层会取得支配地位。”
book  china  20C  qing  intelligentsia  west  confucianism  society  politics  debate  buy 
august 2018 by aries1988
What Can We Learn from Utopians of the Past?
Adam Gopnik writes about four nineteenth-century authors who offered blueprints for a better world—but their progressive visions had a dark side.

The sensible lesson one might draw from this is that the human condition is one in which the distribution of bad and good is forever in flux, and so any blueprint of perfection is doomed to failure.

Robertson assumes that if we can just add to the utopian visions of 1918 the progressive pieties of 2018—if we reform their gender essentialism and their implicit hierarchism and several other nasty isms—then we will at last arrive at the right utopia. This gives his book something of the exhausted cheerfulness of a father on a nine-hour car trip. “We’re almost there!” he keeps saying, as the kids in the back seat fret, and peer at license plates.

Liberalism is a perpetual program of reform, intended to alleviate the cruelty we see around us. The result will be not a utopia but merely another society, with its own unanticipated defects to correct, though with some of the worst injustices—tearing the limbs from people or keeping them as perpetual chattel or depriving half the population of the right to speak to their own future—gone, we hope for good. That is as close as liberalism gets to a utopia: a future society that is flawed, like our own, but less cruel as time goes on.

We remake interior lives to make exterior improvements, because the real current of social change lies inside minds and therefore inside people’s actual existence. We always want to get past the room we’re in in order to break out and change the universe. The lesson that life tends to teach is that change begins at home, and that we can’t escape rooms on our way to worlds. The world is made of rooms.
utopia  writer  book  society  politics  sex  marriage  love  philosophy  19C  liberalism 
august 2018 by aries1988
赵鼎新:加州学派与工业资本主义的兴起
笔者强调的是经济行动者的特性,以及与军事和经济竞争相关联的机制的重要性;笔者同时强调以私利为导向的工具理性成为可被正面价值观是工业资本主义兴起中的一个关键。

反事实思维在历史分析中按说是破坏目的论思想的利器,但实际上,它更多地被用来制造另一种奇思幻想的目的论,在其中,某一因素被无限地从历史情境中抽离、拔高,成为历史进程的主要推动力。

儒家学者则更多地将儒家思想视为道德体系而非超验真理。当李贽表达他的非正统的观点时,它引起的是李贽和与他交好的耿定理的哥哥耿定向之间带有私人性质的争论。主流儒生更感兴趣的是掌握理学经义以通过科举考试,而不是这种辩论。明朝中央政府甚至没有插手其间。

中国的城市仍有不同于欧洲城市的几个关键方面。最明显的是,中国的城市从来没有拥有过自治的政治和法律地位,并且它们也没有像中世纪一些获得特许状的城镇或自由城镇那样拥有属于自己的军队。因此,研究中国城市的学者都承认政治和行政命令对中国城市的命运有着决定性的影响。

面对国家的政治主宰和理学思想的统治地位,明清商人非常热衷于让他们的孩子接受儒家教育,取得科举功名并致仕。他们与地方官员建立密切的关系,并且与仕宦家族联姻。他们为政府征收税款,并且介入乡镇治理活动。他参与地方慈善活动,仿效士人的生活方式,旨在获取尊重与信任,并使得商业活动能更顺利开展。然而,这些经济行动者无法构建诸如自由主义或“看不见的手”这样的非正统的价值观来为他们的经营性行为正名,而且他们必须严格隶从官府。这些都显示了中国经济行动者的弱势,更进一步表明在西方到来之前工业资本主义很难在中国自发地崛起。

由于商业发展和繁荣,中国的富庶地区有着较高的生活水准,然而,明清时候的中国,技术创新并没有鼓励性的回报,理论/形式理性极不发达;最重要的是,新儒家意识形态没有面临重大的挑战,而商人无法利用他们的财富来获取政治、军事和意识形态方面的权力从而抗衡国家的权力。与欧洲情况不同的是,晚期中华帝国维持灿烂的商业的原因不是新儒家世界的衰弱和资产阶级力量的崛起,而是帝国庞大的领土和人口所带来的巨大市场和王朝中期特有的长期政治稳定。当欧洲人在19 世纪持着现代武器抵达中国时,中国并没有走向工业革命而是走向王朝的衰落。中国并非自发地迈入现代化,而是被西方和日本帝国主义拖入到工业化和现代化的历史进程当中。
debate  china  qing  ming  capitalism  modernity  society  state  question  europe  confucianism  to:pdf 
july 2018 by aries1988
Letter of Recommendation Drinking at Lunch
a few decades after the heyday of the notorious “three-martini lunch,” the act of ordering even one measly martini with your lunch on a workday is viewed as roughly equivalent to pulling out your heroin works and splaying them on the table between courses.
work  fun  drinking  society  custom  lunch  defy  pleasure  from instapaper
may 2018 by aries1988
Is Japanese Culture Traumatized By Centuries of Natural Disaster? - Facts So Romantic - Nautilus
The stress of social interaction has caused a flight from human intimacy. You cannot open your mouth to say a word without considering your relationship with the people around you—your place in the hierarchy. And if you say something wrong you risk grievously offending people.
society  psychology  disaster  japan 
may 2018 by aries1988
The False Allure of Group Selection | Edge.org

I want to point out a potentially important example of group selection that Pinker overlooks: human languages. The function of language is to build communities and groups, as I have argued in many places. If an individual lacks the ability to talk, he or she will still survive. But a group of Homo sapiens that cannot talk will not be competitive with another group that can.

Dawkins, for instance, opines in the opening pages of The Selfish Gene, "We are survival machines—robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.... a predominant quality to be expected in a successful gene is ruthless selfishness. This gene selfishness will usually give rise to selfishness in individual behavior.... Anything that has evolved by natural selection should be selfish."
gene  debate  evolution  concept  groupe  biology  human  society  to:marginnote  from instapaper
april 2018 by aries1988
Steven Pinker: The Disconnect Between Pessimism and Optimism | Time

It’s not that people are naturally glum. On the contrary, they tend to see their lives through rosetinted glasses: they say they are happy, their schools are good, their neighborhoods are safe and that they are less likely than the average person to become the victim of an accident, a disease, a layoff or crime.

But when people are asked about their countries, they switch from Pollyanna to Eeyore: everyone else is miserable, they insist, and the world is going to hell in a handcart.

Most positive developments are not camera-friendly, and they aren’t built in a day. You never see a headline about a country that is not at war, or a city that has not been attacked by terrorists–or the fact that since yesterday, 180,000 people have escaped extreme poverty.

A quantitative mind-set, despite its nerdy aura, is not just a smarter way to understand the world but the morally enlightened one. It treats every human life as equal, rather than privileging the people who are closest to us or most photogenic. And it holds out the hope that we might identify the causes of our problems and thereby implement the measures that are most likely to solve them.
optimism  pessimism  history  mindset  enlightenment  perception  society  mentality  people  idea  development 
february 2018 by aries1988
【纪念】那个写《叫魂》的孔飞力,离开我们已经两年了

陈达凯又盯在我背后,只要通信或见面,一定问《叫魂》翻译得怎么样了?反而是孔飞力先生,老神在在,从来不问翻译进度的事。
book  american  china  qing  society  historian  from instapaper
february 2018 by aries1988
梁文道:給「一部分」讀者的回覆

把一些黨政機構的通知和命令看作是一種「聲音」,然後將一些反對這些通知的民間意見看成是另一種不同的聲音,似乎要以此說明中國社會其實也是一個正常的多元現代社會,這是近幾年我在許多中國時局討論當中常常看到的思路。我非常懷疑,這樣子說話的人是不是太不懂得「國情」,把自己當成「外賓」了?
china  today  debate  government  society  expression  essay  freedom  from instapaper
december 2017 by aries1988
梁文道:只准賣馬槽,不准過聖誕

一邊替全世界各種宗教生產他們最需要的東西,另一邊嚴格管控它們的流行;在我看來,想要瞭解今日中國社會境況,恐怕很難找到比這個看起來十分諷刺的矛盾更加鮮明的案例。「開放」的意思大概就是這個樣子:只要和錢相關,一切都好說;可是只要碰到意識形態,那就寸步難行。

卻照樣找得到安身立命之道。今天的問題是宗教也好,非宗教的精神傳統也好,所有能夠照顧終極關懷的精神資源,在中國似乎都沒有一片自由自在的立足之地。
trade  tradition  china  religion  spiritual  society  control  government  world  chinese  today  money  from instapaper
december 2017 by aries1988
江湖已逝,侠客转行──四个中国调查记者的转型样本(下)|大陆|端传媒 Initium Media
2014年,一篇名为《那些年离职创业的主编们》的文章在媒体圈内流传。原《凤凰周刊》的主编黄章晋离职创办了自媒体“大象公会”;《南方周末》头版编辑创办了投资者的社交网络“雪球”;《21世纪经济报导》新闻总监左志坚创办阅读社交平台“拇指阅读”……
china  journalism  story  journalist  reportage  youth  society  today 
november 2017 by aries1988
How Martin Luther has shaped Germany for half a millennium

Start with aesthetics. For Luther this was, like everything else, a serious matter. He believed that Christians were guaranteed salvation through Jesus but had a duty to live in such a way as to deserve it.

Ostentation was thus a disgraceful distraction from the asceticism required to examine one’s own conscience. The traces of this severity live on in Germany’s early 20th-century Bauhaus architecture, and even in the furniture styles at IKEA (from Lutheran Sweden).

The Swiss Protestants John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli viewed music as sensual temptation and frowned on it. But to Luther music was a divinely inspired weapon against the devil. He wanted believers to sing together—in German, in church and at home, and with instruments accompanying them. Today Germany has 130 publicly financed orchestras, more than any other country. And concerts are still attended like sermons, sombrely and seriously.

Germany, the world’s 17th-most populous country, has the second-largest book market after America’s. After he translated the Bible into German, Luther wanted everyone, male or female, rich or poor, to read it. At first Protestants became more literate than Catholics; ultimately all Germans became bookish.

To Luther, Christians were already saved, so wealth was suspect. Instead of amassing it, Christians should work for their community, not themselves. Work (Beruf) thus became a calling (Berufung). Not profit but redistribution was the goal. According to Gerhard Wegner, a professor of theology, this “Lutheran socialism” finds secular expression in the welfare states of Scandinavia and Germany.
deutsch  leader  religion  reform  anniversary  protestant  comparison  music  legacy  culture  society  mentality  germany 
november 2017 by aries1988
A Big Brother approach has qualities that would benefit society
Based on the “citizen score”, the Chinese state will be able to improve — or restrict — such privileges as high broadband speed, foreign travel visas, social benefits, access to elite restaurants, favourable insurance premiums and the quality of schooling offered to a person’s children.

Social media posts praising the government, Communist party and the economy, Ms Botsman says, will enhance your rating.

Yet, I am almost embarrassed to say, I get it. Bearing in mind China’s violent history, I understand its preoccupation with order and harmony, and how the omniscient potential of computing, the internet and mobile data has been irresistible to the political intelligentsia.

We have indeed all the elements that make China’s Social Credit system possible. Pull together the credit record of an individual or business as well as their social media posts, browser history, tax record, criminal record, fitness statistics, supermarket loyalty card details, Yelp, eBay, TripAdvisor, feedback and you have the same thing.
bigdata  data  government  privacy  society  utopia 
october 2017 by aries1988
« Le gouvernement chinois exploite habilement ce que nous ont appris les réseaux sociaux »
Ce système rappelle le dang’an, le dossier individuel tenu par l’unité de travail pendant la période maoïste, mais il en diffère fondamentalement par sa vocation à être montré, tant à l’individu ou à l’entreprise, qu’à ses amis et contacts professionnels.

Dans nos démocraties, cela nous rappelle, s’il en était besoin, l’importance de la transparence, d’un débat pluraliste sur les choix politiques et de contre-pouvoirs pour résoudre les problèmes d’une société.
china  internet  society 
october 2017 by aries1988
How Ta-Nehisi Coates Gives Whiteness Power - The New York Times
Though free speech is constitutionally protected in America, there is always more lurking in the country’s psyche than can be safely, or politely, expressed. The laws around speech are broad, but the norms are narrower, and the norms govern much of what is actually said. Those norms are changing right now, for better and for worse.
race  politics  debate  opinion  society  expression 
october 2017 by aries1988
Interview with Emmanuel Macron: 'We Need to Develop Political Heroism' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - International

Nothing here should become habitual, because routine lends one a deceptive feeling of security. You begin not noticing certain things and lose your focus on what's important. Uncertainty and change keep you attentive.

It is a place laden with history. The emperors spent time here, Napoleon I and Napoleon III. In the Fourth Republic, it was the palace of a president without powers. Only in the Fifth Republic did Charles de Gaulle move back in.

Germany is different from France. You are more Protestant, which results in a significant difference. Through the church, through Catholicism, French society was structured vertically, from top to bottom. I am convinced that it has remained so until today.

France is a country of regicidal monarchists. It is a paradox: The French want to elect a king, but they would like to be able to overthrow him whenever they want.

I am a strong believer that modern political life must rediscover a sense for symbolism. We need to develop a kind of political heroism. I don't mean that I want to play the hero. But we need to be amenable once again to creating grand narratives. If you like, post-modernism was the worst thing that could have happened to our democracy. The idea that you have to deconstruct and destroy all grand narratives is not a good one. Since then, trust has evaporated in everything and everyone.

I am putting an end to the cronyism between politics and the media. For a president, constantly speaking to journalists, constantly being surrounded by journalists, has nothing to do with closeness to the people. A president should keep the media at arm's length.
interview  français  newspaper  2017  macron  democracy  europe  politics  france  state  president  opinion  comparison  protestant  society  hierarchy  narrative  post  modernity  trust  media  idea  reform  heroism  germany  from instapaper
october 2017 by aries1988
The Interpreter Thursday, October 12, 2017
Rapid modernization means more than rising incomes. It means rural-to-urban migration, population density and shifting social hierarchies. This changes how society and politics work. Of course, most countries manage to modernize without committing atrocities. But in countries already predisposed to sectarian conflict, modernization can trigger terrible violence.

Economic change disrupts how people organize themselves socially and therefore relate to one another. Identity becomes more salient as people search for new ways to root themselves. This means that contradictions or faultlines in identity — for example, between Myanmar’s ethnic majority and the minority Rohingya, long seen as outsiders — become more salient as well.

As we wrote earlier in the week, this is not to say that the people of Myanmar are inherently predisposed to sectarian conflict or were unready for modernization. Rather, these developments reflect the weakness of institutions, as well as political and social norms, that are meant to safeguard societies through turbulence. When they are not up to that task, as in Myanmar, the consequences can be severe.
modernization  society  ethnic  economy  banyan  crisis  2017 
october 2017 by aries1988
Sweden's Sexual Assault Crisis Presents a Feminist Paradox - Quillette
Previous studies (by now more than a decade old) have shown a large overrepresentation of immigrants, particularly from patriarchal societies in the Middle East and North Africa, among the suspects of sex crimes in Sweden. Overrepresentation of immigrants has been even higher when it comes to group rapes, especially with three or more assailants. According to an official study from 1996, immigrant males were 4.5 times as likely as Swedes to commit rape. Immigrants from Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia were particularly overrepresented, being more than 20 times as likely to commit the same crime. In total, 53 percent of rape suspects were either first or second generation immigrants.
sweden  crime  female  immigration  society  politics  crisis 
october 2017 by aries1988
British Museum and BBC team up to explore belief through objects | Culture | The Guardian
MacGregor – an acclaimed art historian, curator and devout Christian – examines shared rituals, festivals, pilgrimages and sacrifices and the relationship between belief, society and politics.

People at the time were “living on the edge. What they most need to do is find food and keep warm and yet they allow someone amongst them to spend over 400 hours making a sculpture … Clearly, people are trying to come to terms with their environment, to reshape or transcend their environment. They’re thinking, believing, trying to transcend the daily grind of keeping their lives together.”
society  religion  history  podcast  bbc  museum 
october 2017 by aries1988
Lucy Kellaway: why we went back to school
The person who came closest to how I felt was Lara Agnew, a documentary film-maker. “I’ve spent my life commenting on the fabric of society,” she said. “I want to be in the fabric of society, not outside looking on.”

Many of the applicants had not set foot in a school since they attended one themselves 30 or 40 years earlier, and so were sent off for a week’s immersion. This weeded out all those who had a fond vision of themselves as Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. It also got rid of those unsuited to the rigidity of school life. One man was told to leave after his first day — he had sat at the back of class checking his emails and then proceeded to go to sleep.

If nothing else, we will bring diversity to the staff room, where most teachers are youngish and female. By contrast, we are mostly oldish and two-thirds male — and stick out so much that various trainees were mistaken for Ofsted inspectors at the schools they visited. There is a delicious irony here: these corporate men have been used to being the ruling class all their professional life but now are going to be the persecuted minority.

Watching them, I realised what I am giving up to train to be a teacher, as well as income, time and autonomy: a life-long tendency towards cynicism. This has served me well for 32 years as a journalist, but now I fear that it is going to get in the way.
teaching  teacher  career  50s  life  choice  society  children  school 
october 2017 by aries1988
What the Rich Won’t Tell You - The New York Times

We often imagine that the wealthy are unconflicted about their advantages and in fact eager to display them. Since the economist Thorstein Veblen coined the term conspicuous consumption more than a century ago, the rich have typically been represented as competing for status by showing off their wealth.

Yet we believe that wealthy people seek visibility because those we see are, by definition, visible. In contrast, the people I spoke with expressed a deep ambivalence about identifying as affluent. Rather than brag about their money or show it off, they kept quiet about their advantages. They described themselves as normal people who worked hard and spent prudently, distancing themselves from common stereotypes of the wealthy as ostentatious, selfish, snobby and entitled. Ultimately, their accounts illuminate a moral stigma of privilege.

American culture has long been marked by questions about the moral caliber of wealthy people. Capitalist entrepreneurs are often celebrated, but they are also represented as greedy and ruthless. Inheritors of fortunes, especially women, are portrayed as glamorous, but also as self-indulgent.
rich  usa  mentality  society  book  money  inequality  from instapaper
september 2017 by aries1988
Young Men Are Playing Video Games Instead of Getting Jobs. That's OK. (For Now.)

Games, with their endless task lists and character-leveling systems, their choice architectures and mission checklists, are purpose generators. They bring order to gamers' lives.

Video games, you might say, offer a sort of universal basic income for the soul.

There's a fine line between that psychology and good game design." This was true long before the rise of computer gaming. "People will never stop playing chess, because it's a great game. The discussions I hear are more about how can we keep these games interesting to keep playing."

One way to do that, it turns out, is to give people a sense of earned achievement. "What games are good at—what they are designed to do—is simulate being good at something," Wolpaw says.

Did all those hours playing games make me feel fulfilled? Did they make me feel as if I had made good decisions in my life? Yes—and no. At times, I found video games an entertainment experience as smart and satisfying as any novel or movie or television show I have ever absorbed. At other times, I have let go of my controller late at night, overcome by existential emptiness and the realization that I have, yet again, just spent the better part of a day engaged in an activity of no practical value to me or anyone else. I enjoy games, but not without some reservation. Sometimes I go weeks without playing. And if I had to choose between gaming and work, I know I'd pick the latter.
comparison  gaming  work  opinion  story  life  job  psychology  man  unemployment  society  economy  thinking  wellfare  question  individual  from instapaper
july 2017 by aries1988
How Might Ethnonationalism Replace Religion?
If you are like me, you were transfixed by Shadi Hamid‘s NPR interview this morning. He touched broadly on two issues: the compatibility of Islam and democracy, and the consequences of the declining religious support in the West for the rise of ethnonationalism.
ethnonationalism, white pride, and other forms of identity politics fill the void in meaning where religion once was.

First, religion might provide individual psychological benefits, creating what we might term meaning-in-belief.
religion creates social structures that provide collective social benefits to those who participate.

There is a stronger argument here, but that contemporary expressions of ethnonationalism in the U.S. remain too disjointed and episodic to be convincingly doing this work.
The distinctive thing about Nazi Germany was not the presence or celebration of anti-Semites, it was the organization of anti-Semites into a team.
comparison  nazi  germany  opinion  usa  today  politics  racism  ethnic  religion  conflict  future  society  from instapaper
june 2017 by aries1988
The ‘time machine’ reconstructing ancient Venice’s social networks
Venice is the perfect city for the experiment because of its wealth of historically important, well-ordered documentation. It was founded in the fifth century AD by citizens of the Roman empire escaping barbarian invaders from the north. Its inhospitable lagoons provided much-needed protection, and its location at the north end of the Adriatic Sea also had strategic advantages. It soon became the most important trading post between Western Europe and the east, bringing it riches and power.
history  archive  data  infographics  project  archaeology  commerce  research  society  social-network  from instapaper
june 2017 by aries1988
How A Theory Of Crime And Policing Was Born, And Went Terribly Wrong : NPR
In 1969, Philip Zimbardo, a psychologist from Stanford University, ran an interesting field study. He abandoned two cars in two very different places: one in a mostly poor, crime-ridden section of New York City, and the other in a fairly affluent neighborhood of Palo Alto, Calif. Both cars were left without license plates and parked with their hoods up.
theory  crime  society  usa  african  american 
june 2017 by aries1988
Norbert Elias se confronte à l’Allemagne

Les Allemands. Evolution de l’habitus et luttes de pouvoir aux XIXe et XXe siècles (Studien über die Deutschen. Machtkämpfe und Habitusentwicklung im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert), de Norbert Elias, traduit de l’allemand par Marc de Launay et Marc Joly, Seuil, « La librairie du XXIe siècle », 592 p., 35 €.

Le rêve du « Reich millénaire », l’idéal aristocratique de supériorité étendu à la masse des Allemands à travers la notion de « race », la peur du déclin et la valorisation corrélative de la force ont correspondu à l’« habitus » (ce qui dans l’individu exprime le rapport historiquement déterminé à son Etat) de bien des Allemands du temps : en effet, dans une Allemagne longtemps divisée en une multitude de petites entités, l’Etat impérial n’avait cessé de s’affaiblir depuis le Moyen Age ; et alors qu’au même moment la France et l’Angleterre se constituaient en monarchies de plus en plus puissantes et centralisées, pour les Allemands les rêves d’empire paraissaient plus fragiles.

Selon Norbert Elias, Nietzsche incarne au plus près, avant Hitler, cette peur allemande de la décomposition qui mène à la haine du faible et à l’exaltation du fort. Une autre facette de la haine de soi.
history  deutsch  civ  ww2  ww1  society  zeitgeist  nation  philosophy  germany  from instapaper
may 2017 by aries1988
Joan C Williams on Trump, elitism and the white working class
Progressives often confuse them with the poor — an entirely separate class. Williams defines the working class as households that earn more than the country’s bottom third but less than the top 20 per cent, plus some slightly better-off families that include no college graduate. This group is “the middle 53 per cent of American families”, whose family incomes in 2015 ranged from $41,005 to $131,962.

Many stereotypes about WWC men came together in the hapless cartoon character Homer Simpson. American progressives showed respect to ethnic and sexual minorities, not to the WWC. But then the WWC made Trump president.

“I think Trump just needs to keep on being Trump. That’s the sobering fact. The irony is that Trump is the most hysterical, emotional president in living memory, he’s like a caricature of a woman out of control, but following his gut connects him to the white working class. His continuing gestures of disrespect to cultural elites, through Twitter and other means, are just inestimably delicious.”

So far she’s unimpressed. “Just read the frigging New York Times, listen to NPR [National Public Radio], key outlets of the progressive elite: story after story of an outpouring of compassion for immigrants.

“Do I feel sorry for immigrants? Yes. But that’s not the point. An outpouring of compassion for immigrants, in the absence of offering dignity to the white working class, will hurt immigrants because it’s just another expression that elites have ‘feeling rules’ — who you should feel sorry for.” Elite “feeling rules” ordain compassion for ethnic and sexual minorities and “perhaps women”, she says, “but the white working class are just ‘fat, stupid and ignorant’. So the elites are saying, ‘Oh, my God, we just heard this cri de coeur from the white working class, let’s express sympathy for immigrants!’ Talk about a recipe for Trump’s second term.

Generally, says Williams, progressives need to tone down the PC talk. They can still fight (albeit more quietly) for women and minorities, but they will achieve nothing unless they can build the black-and-white working-class
politics  working-class  usa  society  inequality  immigration  thinking  2017  trump  from instapaper
may 2017 by aries1988
My sense of meiwaku | The Japan Times

Meiwaku is an important word in overcrowded, group-centered, harmony-obsessed Japan, and a concept that is pounded into children from an early age, along with a related term, wagamama, which means self-centeredness. If you are wagamama, you will no doubt be meiwaku. The lesson from pre-school on is this: Being wagamama and meiwaku are bad. Not being so is good.

Of course, much of this is a simple show of proper manners. Yet the motto of Group Japan seems not to be, all for one and one for all. Rather it’s all for all. All of the time.
japanese  politeness  society 
february 2017 by aries1988
Peace and prosperity: it is worth saving the liberal order
The system established after 1945 was built on US power. But it endured and, after the end of the cold war, expanded because US leadership was embedded in multilateral rules and institutions. Everyone had a stake. Washington sometimes over-reached — in Vietnam or with the invasion of Iraq. By history’s standards, however, the Pax Americana was essentially benign, resting as much on the force of example as military might.
history  uk  world  order  crisis  challenge  china  populism  brexit  nostalgia  immigration  society  politics 
february 2017 by aries1988
The People Who Pass

Outside the Gare du Nord, there are people streaming from the Eurostar, tourists looking for a week’s pleasure, mingled with travellers recently arrived from Bulgaria and Romania, looking for a job or a new life. The kinds cross, with the French, permanently frowning and suspicious, among them, and the tension rises.

the usual conviction of the French police that the human comedy as it unfolds is so absorbing that to intervene and impose artificial order upon it would be inartistic.

The thieves, and their invisible directors, are perceived by the French public as exclusively Roma—what English speakers often call Gypsies, the nomadic people long idealized as romantic and, for just as long, pursued as petty criminals.

We are manifold and must be respected as individuals—and we are completely different from the rest of you, with our own culture and history, giving us a collective identity that allows us to belong to the larger world of nations, just as you do. It’s our being completely different from the rest of you that makes us like the rest of you.

If Hamidovic was the face of the predatory Roma, Leonarda was the face of their persecution.

The majority should return to their countries. . . . Our role is not to welcome all the world’s misery.

Valls’s words—widely taken both as a testament of no-nonsense enforcement and as a bid for eventual power as Prime Minister or even President

an exasperated account of how the old Republican idea of French identity, open to all through education but still very specific in its style (high-minded) and values (meritocratic to the max), has been demoralized by a slack and hasty pluralism.

They insist, with Finkielkraut, that this angelism is part of a larger, enforced cult of the Other, a compulsory act of celebrating difference that is undermining the French state, so that the defenders of little Leonarda insist on embracing the Other, even as the Other picks their pockets.

In a matter of years, representations of the tsiganes have shifted away from musical talents, bohème, and free spirit to a portrayal of Roma otherness. It is our decision to see kinds that makes us sort kinds.

My daughter, when she was ten, said to her friend, ‘I’d like to eat your belly!’ I was called into the school—the principal was shocked! Perhaps my daughter needed to see a psychiatrist.

On one subject, Carmona is categorical. France is the worst place for Roma to be born. It suffers from centuries of ‘Enlightenment,’ the many centuries that created this Jacobin so-called ‘universalist’ frame without any regard to subjugated knowledge or subjugated peoples. In France, ethnic minorities are not even recognized—there’s a process of negation of identity that leads to the absurd category of ‘gens du voyage.’

If an unashamed, de-complexed agenda of national order and national security is not made plausible, the argument goes, the middle classes will continue their flight to the far right.

Le Pen can be declawed, he thinks, only if mainstream politicians can learn to speak truths that seem obvious to the stressed middle class.

The big problem in France is one of authority. Where is the authority in France? There is no authority in France now. François Hollande is no authority. In the family, where is the authority? In school, where is the authority? The ‘regal’ state of France has become nonexistent.

This is the problem of integration. What you can say twenty years ago, you can’t say it now. It is this question of bien-pensants, of angelism, and the right wing and the left wing are together responsible.

Mobility, rootlessness, nomadism—these are the facts of the new Europe. We must read Victor Hugo. The happy face of nomadism is all the French gone to London to be bankers. The wretched face is the poor Roma in their camps. And, great surprise, the miserables of our time turn out to be poor immigrants in the cold who behave like poor immigrants in the cold. Behind it, beneath it, is the new fear of having no floor beneath one’s feet. Ordinary French people feel that a real fall is possible.
paris  france  immigrant  society  politics  debate  europe  history  identity  immigration  crime  culture  book  intelligentsia  rom  from instapaper
february 2017 by aries1988
L’entre-soi social confirmé par le big data

Un de ses confrères, Loïc Wacquant, professeur à l’université de Californie, est moins enthousiaste : « Cet article retrouve des ­résultats élémentaires des études de stratification : le capital (économique et culturel) va au capital. Il ne faut pas se laisser aspirer par ­l’effet de mode du big data. Ce n’est pas parce qu’on établit des corrélations statistiques sur des millions d’individus qu’on a découvert quelque chose. »
bigdata  society  money  class  numbers  mexico  research  infographics 
january 2017 by aries1988
John Green: Author of An Abundance of Katherines and Looking for Alaska

in my opinion, the central problem of human existence: I am stuck in my body, in my consciousness, seeing out of my eyes. I am the only me I ever get to be, and so I am the only person I can imagine endlessly complexly.

That’s not the problem, actually. The problem is you. You are so busy taking in your own wondrousness that you can't be bothered to acknowledge mine.

On some level, I have to take it on faith that you are as complex as I am, that your pain and joy and grief are as real and as meaningful as my own.

I would argue that books, more than other media, allow us to live inside the lives of others because we have to translate scratches on a page into ideas and make the story ours.

nonliteral ways constantly—in fact, it’s impossible for me to imagine something so endlessly fascinating and complex as myself without symbol and simile and metaphor.
thinking  human  society  from instapaper
january 2017 by aries1988
中国和日本的反差,杜威百年前怎么看? - 纽约时报中文网

但是当时中国的自由知识分子同样有着困惑,杜威在书信中写道,学生们最容易向我问到的问题是‘我们所有关于永久和平和世界主义的希望都在巴黎破碎了,这已经说明,强权就是真理。强国总是为了自己的目的牺牲弱国。那么,难道中国就不应该将军国主义也纳入我们的教育体系吗?’
history  comparison  china  japan  society  ww1  american  intelligentsia  from instapaper
january 2017 by aries1988
League of nationalists | The Economist
She laments the decline of a proud people and vows to make France great again.

proud but few think their country is the best of the world
France is witnessing a “defensive nationalism”, says Dominique Moïsi of the Institut Montaigne, a think-tank, “based on a lack of confidence and a negative jingoism: the idea that I have to defend myself against the threat of others.”

Theresa May, who says: “If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word ‘citizenship’ means.”
nationalism  politics  society  2016 
december 2016 by aries1988
How France is falling out of love with hunting - BBC News
Mathieu Andro is one of the approximately one million hunters (1,246,000 according to the French Hunting Federation, 960,000 according to anti-hunting pressure groups) that make France the biggest hunting country in Europe.

"It's because of intensive farming," he says. "They've killed most of the small game (hare, partridge, pheasant, woodcock) grubbing up hedgerows and creating the massive fields we have now. The hare eat the pellets the farmers put down for the slugs and die and the partridges are mangled in their machines."

France's deer and wild boar populations, on the other hand, are on the rise. There are so many of the latter - rooting around in crops, ramming Renault Scenics - that hunters are allowed to shoot pretty much as many as they like.

"The main reason for the decline is that our values have changed. We have so much more sensibility now when it comes to the animal world."
france  society  français  hunting  village  life  hobby  tradition  today 
november 2016 by aries1988
Learning to live with it | The Economist
Terrorism is a form of psychological warfare against a society. It is supposed to have effects that are utterly disproportionate to the actual lethality of the attacks. Thanks in part to the extensive media coverage that terrorist attacks attract, thanks also to the reaction of politicians who glibly talk of threats being “existential”, and thanks too to the security services who, for their own purposes, inflate the capability of terrorists, the perception of risk is typically far higher than the reality.
risk  death  terrorism  society 
november 2016 by aries1988
Scared? Make women disrobe | The Economist
terrorism related murder = 25%

Even in the past year, a French citizen was three times more likely to be the victim of an ordinary murderer than of a terrorist.
france  2016  terrorism  policy  society  conflict  female 
november 2016 by aries1988
The search goes on | The Economist
The West has gained a lot from Christianity. There is still more to learn
The Christianisation of Europe, he says, was not a bunch of reactionary clerics trying to shut down a noble, free, secular ancient world, but a new idea of “a voluntary basis for human association in which people joined together through will and love rather than blood or shared material objectives”. Christianity declared that humans “have access to the deepest reality as individuals rather than merely as members of a group”.

Out of this, with a reinjection at the Reformation, came the origins of the modern world: a belief in equality of status as the proper basis for a legal system and the assertion of natural rights leading to individual liberty, as well as the notion that a society built on the assumption of moral equality should have a representative form of government.




The Evolution of the West: How Christianity Has Shaped Our Values. By Nick Spencer. SPCK; 190 pages; £9.99.
book  religion  christianity  europe  Renaissance  history  mentality  study  society  opinion  debate  middle-age  antiquity 
november 2016 by aries1988
What Chinese corner-cutting reveals about modernity | Aeon Essays
Why is China caught in this trap? In most industries here, vital feedback loops are severed. To understand how to make things, you have to use them. Ford’s workers in the US drove their own cars, and Western builders dwelt, or hoped to dwell, in homes like the ones they made. But the migrants lining factory belts in Guangdong make knick-knacks for US households thousands of miles away. The men and women who build China’s houses will never live in them.

If what you’re making represents a world utterly out of reach to you, why bother to do it well?

In the end, what perpetuates China’s carelessness most might be sheer ubiquity. Craft inspires. A writer can be stirred to the page by hearing a song or watching a car being repaired, a carpenter revved up by a poem or a motorbike. But the opposite also holds true; when you’re surrounded by the cheaply done, the half-assed and the ugly, when failure is unpunished and dedication unrewarded all around, it’s hard not to think that close enough is good enough. Chabuduo.
craftsmanship  chinese  today  china  society  symptom  crisis  trust  instapaper_favs  from instapaper
october 2016 by aries1988
A journey along Japan’s oldest pilgrimage route - FT.com

We talked about religion. She told me that like many Japanese people she had married in a Christian ceremony, and that on New Year’s eve she prayed for good luck in the year ahead at a Shinto shrine, the worship place of an indigenous faith that predates Buddhism. She said Japanese people believed in gods of trees and mountains, too. There’s even a toilet god, she added. She’s supposed to be very beautiful.

Hearn’s point about Japanese people, as Maeda saw it, was that their lifestyle, their way of thinking, is religious, but if you put it into words, they dispute that.

There is also a fuzzy line in Japan between the spiritual and the day-to-day. Rather than existing in some alternate realm, the spirit world envelops everyday experience like the weather. These are not things that Japanese people think about with great precision, said Shinichi Takiguchi, who publishes a monthly henro newsletter. People approach spirituality in a kind of foggy way. It’s a bit like they’re daydreaming.

Sociologists have talked about the privatisation of faith in the west, a shift from unified religions towards people concocting their own versions of spirituality in the same way they assemble their wardrobes. It has been lamented as an antisocial byproduct of too much individualism. But it is also happening in Japan, a place usually branded as too conformist, because it is a form of liberation.
japan  rando  idea  religion  today  history  numbers  society  from instapaper
september 2016 by aries1988
The burkini row shows the depth of west’s crisis of confidence
Instead, the growing visibility of Muslims in western society reflects an ownership over their European and Muslim identities in a manner their first-generation immigrant parents and grandparents did not dare display. A headscarf is a mark of self-confidence not illiberalism. The Islam practised by many young European Muslims today is flexible, tolerant and accepting of the west’s prevailing norms, whether on homosexuality, abortion or atheism.

The burkini has gained prominence in recent years because Muslim women make Islam work for them: at the beach, in the workplace or at the Olympic Games. Previous generations, including my mother, would never have thought of going to the beach.
opinion  muslim  france  society  state  ban  malaise  conservatism 
august 2016 by aries1988
北京折叠-墙外楼
作者:郝景芳 (1) 清晨4:50,老刀穿过熙熙攘攘的步行街,去找彭蠡。…
scifi  chinese  beijing  city  society  from instapaper
august 2016 by aries1988
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