Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What's in your life-script?

My life script has me killing my first born so Quetzookabul will be pleased -- what's in your life script?

But as Sheena Iyengar describes in her new book, "The Art of Choosing," arranged marriage has been the norm in many parts of the world for 5,000 years -- including in the Sikh community in which her parents were married -- and our opposition to the idea says a great deal about the ways in which culture and history have shaped the way Americans think about personal choice. (Thomas Rogers, “The art of choosing: The hidden science of choice,” Salon, 2 March 2010)

Alternatively, one might suggest that it says a great deal about just how long barbaric practices can persist (I think child-sacrifice lasted several millennium as well, and I don't think it ended so much owing to the popularization of a new "script" for understanding deity-placation but because a new, more EVOLVED -- more empathic -- generation finally emerged that looked more sanely at what their parents were doing, and said, in-effect --"wtf! -- what the bleep are you doing to those kids, you friggin' savages!")

By contrast, in Japan, you don’t sleep alone until maybe 8 or 9 or 10. You often take a bath with your mom until elementary school, and, as for asking a child what they want to be when they grow up, you wouldn’t think a child would be equipped to answer that question. (Sheena Iyengar, interview with Thomas Rogers)

Yikes! Someone give these Japanese-mothers some men so their children can stop understanding themselves as so much hand soap.

What we can learn from the arranged marriage is the importance and value of compatibility. I think what the love marriage can teach is the importance of shared understanding. (Sheena Iyengar)

Interesting how contemporaneous cultures are all of equal value -- each culture has its good and bad points -- something that is a bit harder to manage if you attempted the same "move" with A culture's (Western, specifically) historical development. Was the move in Western culture from wife-as-possession "culture" to wife-as-life-partner "culture," also a story of gains AND losses?

It’s a big part of it -- and it’s something that constantly separates the Republicans and Democrats: Are we going to create healthcare which provides equal outcomes for all, giving everybody the same helping hand, or are we going to provide equal opportunity for all, by removing both barriers and aid? Those are two entirely different scripts about what a fair choice is and we hold to them very passionately. (Sheena Iyengar)

Actually, the two "scripts" are of actually desiring your fellow human beings to live long and healthily, and of actually desiring your no-doubt sinful "neighbor" to live insecurely, fearfully, as demonstrations of intrinsic human fallibility and evilness. Can you say something like this if you're a leading researcher? Or must it all be so sober-sounding but completely disengaged and unreal?

Link: "The Art of Choosing": The hidden science of choice

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