Monday, 29 August 2011

What Do You Wish For In All The World?

I'm sure we all have wishes. I was wishing for some inspiration for a new Squidoo lens and a got it! A lens to help you make your wishes come true. Take part in the Wish Polls and as you vote, make your wish, it's as simple as that. Amplify’d from

Make A Wish Come True

use this lens to make your wish come true

What Do You Wish For Most?

vote and make your wish

I wish for

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Does the way you use a paper clip say something about your inner motivations? Do you use it for its intended purpose? In which case are you meticulous and ordered? Do you twist and break them into pieces? In which case are you tortured and troubled? Or perhaps you shape and combine into new creations in which case you might be an innovator and artist.

I created a Squidoo Lens to explore more...

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Inside The Mind Of A Looter and Rioter

It's tempting to think  in terms of single cause and effect for the riots affecting the UK. This naturalistic scientific approach however doesn't really work with psychological and social issues. Things are much more complex and stratified.

There is the situation, the social psychology, cognitive psychology and the impenetrable unconscious. This means commentators will be pre-disposed to emphasise their favoured lens of explanation.  The aftermath will be a TV full of expert opinion. That's why we some people suggesting its upbringing and social background, others will describe the power of crowds, others will paint a picture of sociopathic behaviour and criminality. The riots are surely a deadly cocktail of all these. The perfect social storm. And the trigger?

I like this article from Zoe Williams of the Guardian who refers to Alex Hiller's analysis that alienation of individuals incapable of feeding the consumerist habit that they have been trained in for decades by business underpins their drive to take what they apsire to but have no means to buy. The advertisers are skilled psychologists who ensure we all feel inadequate unless we buy into the dreams only their products can satisfy.

And so we have stratified problem that needs stratified solutions. The immediate requires robust action, the social will take longer, and the attitudinal might never be achieved in decades. The Feral Rats are outside of societal norms.Ultimately there is evidently a lack of belief in consequences. This can only be addressed at home and in school. The consequences will be becoming apparent  to the culprits to be sure.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The Psychology Of The London Riots

The London riots are the manifestation of a value and attitude system that is based on sullen selfishness and a perverse sense of entitlement. The rioters, of course, claim that society has let them down. Well those of them who are capable of fairly sophisticated rationalisations do.

The riots are explicable in many ways. Idiocy, greed, criminality. These things however are surface manifestations of something far darker and deeper. A whole sub-class of young people have had their desires and needs tweaked in such sophisticated ways by consumer goods suppliers they have been become addicted to the labels and technologies that feed their ego centric craving for social identity.

When the opportunity to get hold of the materialistic baubles that are dangled in front of them 24/7 like high tech designer carrots they are already wound up into a feeding frenzy. As soon as the constraints (either physical, social or psychological) are removed then what we have seen with London riots is readily explained.

Add these extrinsic motivational factors to intrinsic factors that have been developed over decades of a particular type of socialisation that foregrounds entitlement and cosseting and you have the form of Frankenstein-esque petulance that we see on our TV screens today.

Working away underneath our society is a managerialist 'customer' discourse that has generated the twisted and unexpected side effects of the London riots. Years of fawning to people as customers in every walk of life has created an attitude of 'you owe me, I don't owe you anything'.

Its not just young people in the areas we see on TV either. Recently in a lecture on Imagination to some final year students, the lecturer was interrupted from someone at the back of the room who said "I don't need to listen to this crap! I just need you to tell me how to get a good grade".Why? because the student is being told he is a customer. They have been hot housed by the secondary education system and fed like chicks. Gaping mouths incessantly demanding sustenance and attention. Entirely passive and incapable of fending for themselves.

The rioters don't care. There is no point of appealing to a value set that simply doesn't recognise or 'get' the values and norms of our society in general. This is why stringent constraints need to be applied. The application of some straightforward Skinnerian reinforcement is probably the only way to teach these people the social limits of acceptable behavior.

In a liberal society rights come with responsibilities. The London rioters want rights without any responsibility and actually believe that it is OK to think that too. It is time to stop pandering to these self indulgent, poor me's and treat them with the stringency that is equivalent to their disregard for the rest of the community.