Families Matter

Why Societal Origin and Family Structures
Are Important


PREMISE 1__SEC 1_

Mother with Daughters

Do you think your ethnic background doesn't influence your thinking? You think it doesn't influence your parenting? Think again. What about your spouse? Is your family considered tribal or is tribalism actually a universal human trait that produces different expressions?

Do you think postindustrial modernity an antidote to tribalism? Are London, NYC, Los Angeles less tribal than Tehran or Addis Ababa? You should think a third time. Can they be different expressions of the same biological burden?

We see pack and tribal identity as universal: hardwired into all humanity. Additionally, we believe the pack and tribal parts of human nature are key missing ingredients for prediction and understanding in the following academic fields:

  • Psychology, psychiatry, parenting
  • Macro-Economics
  • Political science, governance
  • International economic and geopolitical relations

History

We believe that the family process is the mechanism that has always enforced pack principles. The pack’s (historically the extended family) job has always been to funnel tribe compatible citizens into the "society". A German pack cannot develop citizens compatible with Somalian society. And visa-versa. To the extent that this is true, it follows that the family framework is a crucial and indeed powerful component in understanding the various elements (economy, economic institutions and laws, schools, police, and social or work relationships) of any social system

Because we see all significant human processes through a systemic lens, we proceed in a nonlinear mode of explanation. This necessarily involves redundancy as we describe similar phenomena from different points on the circular- spiraling points of the system. Please excuse the redundancy.

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The Premise 1, section 1

From the time of the enlightenment and the scientific revolution, breaking down data into its smallest sub-components has produced vast increases in human knowledge and revolutionary abilities to control the natural world.

It could therefore be expected that this approach of getting more and more focused on the nitty gritty of the smallest pieces of relevant facts, would spread to the study of human affairs. Observation followed by theorization over time, became synonymous with “unscientific.”

In order to get research published or to apply for government grants, digitization and the manipulation of “variables” became necessary in the non-physical sciences such as psychology, political science, economics, and other “social sciences.” To get a readership in the college educated community, it was necessary to formulate measureable concepts and manipulability of variables.

 We mourn this trend.

Acknowledging the danger of unfettered theorizing and psychobabble trends, we nevertheless propose that the proof of the pudding is not in digits, but in the ability to make use of knowledge; not the ability to digitize it. The field of macroeconomics is a good example of a field that is of concern here.

Please read the quote below. In our opinion “national character” is highly relevant to understanding and solving the many contradictions and frustrations in the Eurozone for the last several years. Yet we venture to predict that neither the concepts, terms nor the names involved are very well known to the political scientists and economists studying the European and macroeconomic dilemmas.

Social character

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“The social character is the central basic concept of the analytic social psychology of Erich Fromm. It describes the formation of the shared character structure of the people of a society or a social class according to their way of life and the socially typical expectations and functional requirements regarding socially adaptive behavior. Social character is essentially adaptive to the dominant mode of production in a society. According to Fromm, the concept integrates Marx's theory concerning how the mode of production determines ideology with Freud's concept of character.

While individual character describes the richness of the character structure of an individual, the social character describes the emotional attitudes common to people in a social class or society. The social character is acquired substantially in the family as an agent of the society but also developed in other institutions of society such as schools and workplaces. The function of the social character is to motivate people to accomplish the expected social tasks concerning work and interaction, education and consuming. Arising in the interaction of the socio-economic social structure and the social libidinous structure the social character makes it possible to use human energies as a socially productive resource. Erich Fromm emphasizes the social necessities, which must be obeyed by the members of a society. So that a society functions adequately, their members must acquire a character structure which enables them to do what they need to do in order to prosper. It is for example expected in an authoritarian society that people are motivated to subordinate themselves to a hierarchy and fulfill selflessly the instructions brought to them. In peasant society, people are socialized to save and to work independently. However, in the permissive consumer culture people are socialized to consume gladly and extensively.

Thus the character structure in every society is formed in such a way that people can fulfill expectations quasi voluntarily.

Son with Grandfather

Although everyone develops character traits and character orientations that distinguish them from people who live in other cultures, people in every culture with the same mode of production share basic elements of the social character.”

As a theorist of the society Fromm is not interested in the peculiarities by which the individual persons distinguish themselves from each other but he asks what is common to most people in their psychological reactions. So he examines the part of the character structure which is shared by most members of a society. Fromm describes this general core in the character as “social character.” The figuration of the social character takes place in most societies at cost of the spontaneity and freedom of the individuals.”

The terminology is clear and the concepts are both relevant and challenging of the current theories. Also, the concepts are decades old but unknown and essentially useless if not at least discussed or debated by the people at the policy forefront.

Similarly, we believe Dr. Murray Bowen’s FAMILY SYSTEMS THEORY is highly relevant to many concerns in other fields than psychiatry but the psychiatric and scientific establishment is oblivious to his unique and revolutionary contributions to human growth and the relief of mental symptoms.

Principles and Purpose

(When offering quotes from articles, the direct article quotes will be italicized. My occasional comments will be in bold font.)

We believe that the economic and psychological functioning of individuals, family units, societies, and political economies are intimately intertwined. Moreover, significant events and trends within families, societies and economies are best modified and even predicted by disciplined interpretation of their histories and societal institutions. Moreover, these elements invariably demonstrate reciprocal, self-perpetuating patterns of thought, action and interpersonal interaction.

Clinical explorations led us to the conclusions mentioned above. In order to come to these conclusions, principles from presently disconnected fields needed to be integrated and organized into a more rigorous and communicative body of theory and practice.

We introduce this essay mainly for the following purpose: There is currently no productive framework, vocabulary or procedure that can aid exploration of the overlaps, nuances and contradictions inherent in the social sciences. Further, if indeed individual, family, and societal life are intimately interconnected we have a problem. The ability to converse meaningfully about different societies’ “way of life” (and all that entails) is severely limited in civilized, educated society. In part, this is because of the following piece of circular logic.

“Destructive generalizations about different groups (think Hitler, Ruanda, Somalia, Serbia) has caused great damage in the past.

 “Are these destructive generalizations of the group as a whole true?” 

“ No.”

“How do you know?”

“Because we can't generalize about a whole group.”

“Do you mean one can't use generalized data to measure any particular individual?”

 “Yes.”

“Ok, one can’t use demographic generalizations about any individual, but what about the group as a whole, are there any generalizations about the group (a society or a group of grapefruit) as a whole, or ‘on average’ that we can make accurately?”

“No.”

“Why?” 

“Because destructive generalizations (think Hitler, Ruanda, Somalia, Serbia, etc.) about different groups have caused great damage in the past."

This exercise in circular logic produces a narrow result.

Another similar logical mirage can fester among even the most educated:

“ If one generalizes about a whole group or society one is bound to be wrong. Clearly, there are good or bad (honest or dishonest, cruel or merciful) people in every conceivable society.”

And that puts an end to any further conversation, well-intentioned, or not. .

This is a mirage because civilized description of societal realities is not, and ought not be, about good or bad. If we recognize that society (like family) is a living breathing ever-adapting dynamic entity, no different than a herd of zebras or elephants that strive to survive and take care of their own (again, like a family), one can see that certain societal realities and circumstances challenging society over time, will produce survival enhancing adaptations.

Adaptations (in economics, governance, individual character, parenting and even the definitions of good and evil), are multi-dimensional and multigenerational. Definition of the endless vectors involved in what brings a societal trait from point A to point B does not involve good or bad. It needs be a judgment free process and exploration. Nothing more nor less. Please see MENU> KNOWLEDGE and BIGOTRY

There is one question that we find clarifying for this purpose:

Given that you are falsely convicted for a serious crime, in which country’s prison would you prefer to serve? (If there is a clear preference, how would we explain the consistency underlying that preference?)

Multiple choice:

1) USA 2) GERMANY 3) ENGLAND 4) SAUDI ARABIA 5) SERBIA 6) COLOMBIA

We believe the answers will distinguish not rich or poor country; rather the societies of the northwest from those in the southeast fairly consistently.

We want to know the why’s and how’s of this reality.

Summarizing, to investigate processes or even have a serious conversation about cultural/societal differences and their connection to citizens and families is currently a choice: bigotry or politically correct denial of meaningful data and differences. There is a third way.

In an era of globalized politics, communication, business, education and warfare, we consider defining and exploring this area of systemic knowledge as a top priority. We believe families, individuals and societies are the universal examples of systems and system principles. We propose six currently separate areas of "human-related" study that can aid, when integrated, the understanding of both personal and societal life:

1 - macroeconomics,

2 - governance and its institutions,

3 - education

4 - parenting,

5 - family systems theory

6 – Gestalt psychology

These cannot be meaningfully studied without a seventh:

7 - the history of each.