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The Forum > General Discussion > Radical Polar Shifts in Cultural Norms

Radical Polar Shifts in Cultural Norms

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I wonder at the radical polar-opposite swings that occur so rapidly in this society.

Child sexual abuse was absolutely ignored while it was virtually institutionalized only a few decades ago and now people are not allowed to even take photos of children on holiday at play.

Also a few decades ago we were a society with the belief that black people are incapable of understanding white spirituality. Now we are a society that believes that white people are incapable of understanding black spirituality.

In a similar time frame we have moved from a society where men could say the most patronizing and insulting things about women with impunity to one where women can say the most patronizing and insulting things about men with impunity.

What is this mechanism that makes us, as a culture, bounce from one extreme position to its opposite and so rapidly?
Posted by Rob513264, Thursday, 9 November 2006 4:57:25 PM
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Iím not sure any of these examples are polar shifts Rob.

I see them as having moved from unacceptable end of spectrum situations to near middle of the road situations, with in some cases perhaps a bit of over-reaction.

I donít think it is true for example that women can now speak in a derogatory way about men with impunity, any more so than men can do it to women.

I think you are overstating the situation with ďÖand now people are not allowed to even take photos of children on holiday at play.Ē

One thing that is highly evident on this forum from many respondents is strongly polarised thinking. Iím just posing the possibility that you are viewing these sorts of things a more polarised manner than they should be viewed in.

I think these sorts of changes are basically very good. It gives me hope that some of things that I have been lobbying on for many years can still actually happen. For example, steering ourselves onto a genuine sustainability basis and right away from the absurdity of an economic system based on the perceived need for continuous growth, which places ever-increasing pressure on our environment and resource base.
Posted by Ludwig, Thursday, 9 November 2006 7:28:51 PM
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Posted by Ludwig, Thursday, 9 November 2006 7:28:51
"I donít think it is true for example that women can now speak in a derogatory way about men with impunity, any more so than men can do it to women."

Pru Goward: 'They [men] are just poor little dears who need their mothers.' Special on the life of her daughter Kate Fischer.

You are right they dont have impunity - they get put in charge of Sexual Discrimination. Can you give a single example of a time when a woman got pressured over saying derogatory things about men? Even the Sex Discrimination Commissioner can display patronizing attitudes toward men with impunity.

"I think you are overstating the situation with ďÖand now people are not allowed to even take photos of children on holiday at play.Ē"

I think it may be you who are misinformed - in this state at least people need permission from the parents to take photos of children.

"Iím just posing the possibility that you are viewing these sorts of things a more polarised manner than they should be viewed in."

Obviously the length of posts means that there can be no great detail or exhaustive treatments of exceptions, etc. Generalizations can be valid just so long as they are admitted as generalizations and it is recognized that they will of course be subject to all the limitations to which all generalizations are subject.

One thing that rubs my coat the wrong way is that people tend to state their views or criticize other views without providing their rationale or refuting the logic of the post to which they object. Anyone can have an opinion on anything - very few people seem to actually argue their case remember, 'an argument isnt just saying "no it isnt"'.
Posted by Rob513264, Friday, 10 November 2006 12:55:11 PM
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Rob,

I think you are fairly accurate in what you are saying. We do seem to bounce back and forth between extremes in the mass trends that society follows. It seems to be the nature of nature. The chinese would probably say that the wheel is endlessly turning.

Just what the exact trigger for these changes is, is difficult to pinpoint. Unfortunatly, they do not always work out for the better.
Posted by Fozz, Friday, 10 November 2006 8:32:14 PM
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The causes are probably complex.

Some changes come about due to fashion trends.

Others for similar reasons, where this year must be somehow different or more edgy than last.

Economics lies at the heart of most changes.

Then there is the filtering down of Philosophical ideas via the Media, Movies, Doco's and Art.

Doesn't the Werribee incident seem a little 'Clockwork Orange-ish' ?

The 'Gotcha' segments on youth FM stations are simply amoral existentialism in action. Such things would not even be dreamed of in the 50s.

Another reason for change would be the general lack of a moral anchor.
Atheistic Humanism is strong on 'warm fuzzy' but weak on 'why'.

The call for 'social workers/professional counsellors' rather than Chaplains, seems to me simply a pooling of ignorance. Counsellors can never say 'why' in ultimate terms, they can only state the facts.
The individual student is left in a morass of confusion, but they can be confident about one thing, the 'counsellor' has no clue about the big questions of life.

A 'counsellor' and a chaplain can both guide by saying "Well, this group believes such and such, and that group suggests thus and so"
but only the born again Chaplain can impart the inner reality of the belief of his group.
Posted by BOAZ_David, Sunday, 12 November 2006 6:22:03 AM
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Posted by Fozz, Friday, 10 November 2006 8:32:14 PM
"We do seem to bounce back and forth between extremes in the mass trends that society follows. It seems to be the nature of nature."

If it was a natural cycle it would not have only appeared so recently - I feel that history shows that people's values have actually tended to be relatively stable for long periods of time.

I suspect Modern Media has a large role to play in this rapid oscillation, particularly the speed of the change, but the Media doesnt seem to account for all aspects of this phenomenon.

Also I think the 'mechanical mixture' of cultures must have a relevant effect. Even if it is only in subverting the 'universal status' of a certain Judeo-Christian code of values by the sheer presence of other cultures with other values.

"The chinese would probably say that the wheel is endlessly turning."

In my memory of Chinese Philosophy great emphasis was actually placed on avoiding extremes because 'anything taken to an extreme becomes its own opposite'. I am sorry I dont have the ref - almost certainly from the I Ching though, Richard Wilhelm translation.
Posted by Rob513264, Sunday, 12 November 2006 10:48:21 AM
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