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Roxanne Meadows - Human Behavior - Z-Day 2010

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♪ Imagine there's no heaven ♪ ♪ It's easy if you try ♪ ♪ No hell below us ♪ ♪ Above us, only sky ♪ ♪ Imagine all the people ♪ ♪ Living for today ♪ ♪ Imagine there's no countries ♪ ♪ It isn't hard to do ♪ The study of human behavior is still in its early stages. In all other fields of science they look for the physical relationship of cause and effect. One of the greatest limiting factors is that we fail to use these same methods of evaluation when we look at the study of human behavior. Human behavior is just as lawful as anything else. We are not separate from nature. To our knowledge, nothing is self-activating. By this I mean that our environment influences our actions, our values and our behavior. When I refer to environment, I'm referring to all the interacting variables that a person is subjected to. This does not mean just their home life but it means the food they eat the books that they read the movies and TV that they watch their teachers, their role models, their religion their friends and the subculture that they grow up in. Most people don't understand just how much their values are influenced by their culture. Even notions of good and evil and concepts of morality are arrived at through your society. This method of control does not use force and it's been so successful that people no longer recognize the manipulation. All social systems perpetuate themselves. The values superimposed on people are there to support the system that they're in. If they didn't do this, they couldn't get people to fight their wars or defend their values. Patriotism is used in this way as well. The dominant values of any social system does not come from its people but rather, it represents the power elite. By this I mean the church, the military the banks and the corporations. To a large extent, they determine the public agenda for their own self-interests. They perpetuate the illusion that society is determined from the ground up with such notions as democracy and freedom. Most media are used to serve the interests of the power elite. What we have is managed news and this news is what creates our behaviors and our values. Gods and demons are still used to control behavior. Religion teaches us that there are good and bad people that people are reincarnated to work through their past inadequate behaviors and that the children must suffer the sins of their parents. These notions, along with other statements such as: "There will always be wars and rumors of wars" and "We will always have the poor amongst us" are really awful notions. They're outdated myths, making it really difficult for people to understand how their values are shaped by their environment. This situation is true for many geneticists as well. They attribute behavior to the genes entirely. Dr. Maté, who is a physician in Vancouver (and he's also a well-known author) states: "If it's all caused by genetics we don't have to look at our social policies. We don't have to look at our politics that disadvantage certain minority groups that cause them more stress, cause them more pain in other words, more predisposition to addiction and we don't have to look at our economic inequalities. If it's 'all genes' society doesn't have to take a hard look at its own attitudes and policies." Dr. Maté also explains that the hardcore drug addicts he treats, without exception are people who have had extraordinarily difficult lives and that the commonality is childhood abuse. In other words, these people all enter life under extremely adverse circumstances. The same scenario is found throughout studies in the US as well. Dr. Maté also claims "Unfortunately, my profession the medical profession, puts all the emphasis on genetics rather than the environment which, of course, is a simple explanation. It also takes everybody off the hook." He goes on to explain that when we put people in prison we are really incarcerating them for their abusive childhood. The Venus Project goes even further to explain the causes of aberrant behavior as being the entire social economic system that we live under. Science of behavior has not been successful as they look at the individual alone, without looking at the causes in the environment that are responsible for the individual's behavior. The idea that the effort should be concentrated on the individual alone is grossly inadequate. If we don't identify the appropriate conditions responsible for aberrant behavior within the society we'll continue to have the same problems over and over again. The difference between a priest, a thief and a banker (although I see very little difference between them) [Applause] the difference isn't found in their genes but in the environment that they're raised under. For example, in the ancient Roman times you could find entire families going to see Christians being fed to lions, and the little boy may say "Daddy, can we go see Christians being fed to lions next week?" and the father may say "If you behave yourself." Is the little boy bad or insane? No, he's merely reflecting the society of his times. This is also true with the military man of today who is indoctrinated to kill or drop bombs on entire villages. You may think he loses sleep over this, but no, that's not the case. Most of the time, they're given medals and reinforced for such actions. The pilot reflects the values of his culture just as the Roman family did. What we call conscience and morality are not inborn traits but are determined by culture, geography and the times. If a young Nazi boy was raised as a baby in Nazi Germany, he'd be a Nazi. If you were to approach the headhunters of the Amazon and said to one "Oh my gosh! You have ten shrunken heads in your hut. Don't you feel terrible?" He may say "Yes, I do. My brother has 20." People also felt that if you took a Chinese baby and an English baby and tried to teach them Chinese that the Chinese baby would learn Chinese much faster because all his ancestors spoke Chinese all through history. They even tried this and they found that it wasn't the case at all that they both learned at the same rate. One does not inherit acquired knowledge. You have to learn this. One is not born with bigotry and prejudice and patriotism or anger and self-centeredness. These are nurtured through the environment. If one is born with a larger brain with more neurotransmitters, you can learn how to be stupid faster. [Applause] It just depends on who you associate with. There really is nothing in the brain that can distinguish significance or relevance. That's acquired by experience only. Parents have an understanding of this when they forbid their young children to play with other kids who they feel are a bad influence. When parents want their kids to become a physician they put them in a medical environment. If they want them to learn how to build bridges they put them in an engineering environment. People often say "I know two children. One is a thief (they're both from the same family) and one is a minister. So if it's environment that causes behavior, then how do you account for that?" Well, people have to go to school for years to be able to work on a jet engine but they let anyone raise kids and children are far more complex than any jet engine. Very often parents pit one child against the other and they things like "Why can't you behave like your sister? She picks up everything. She does all her homework on time." When that sister falls down the stairs the little boy is going to have a slight grin on his face. It's never from the same environment even though the children come from the same household. Our environmental influences have become so engrained in our habits, our feelings and our outlook that we often think it's human nature. There really is no such thing as human nature. [Applause] What there is, is human behavior and that's always been changed otherwise, we'd still be living in caves. People often think that jealousy is part of 'human' nature and someone once tried to back this up by saying "Every time I pick up my cat, my dog growls." This is really easy to overcome. If you give your dog a treat every time before you pick up your cat then your dog wags its tail. Every time you go for your cat, your dog will wag its tail. If this was really innate behavior then your dog would never wag its tail under these circumstances. Dogs can be trained to rescue people to be ferocious or they can be trained to lead the blind across the street. They could come from the same breed or even from the same litter but the difference in behavior is due to their training. Excuse me a minute. Our culture does not evaluate human behavior in this way. If they did, they'd begin to ask very different questions. They'd begin to want to know how they would begin... Excuse me, they'd come to very different conclusions about how society should be run and why people behave the way they do. They would begin to ask what it is in our culture that generates greed and racism and bigotry and serial killers and aberrant behavior. As I mentioned, all the blame is put on the individual today instead of on the culture that they're raised under. If the conditions that generate these values remain unaltered in spite of all the urgings of the priest or all the laws of the politicians or all the romantic words of the poet the aberrant behavior will persist. Whatever better values we aspire to or whatever better behavior people aspire to cannot be realized when we have hunger, unemployment deprivation, war and poverty. People deprived of income will do whatever is necessary to provide for the necessities of life if not for themselves, for their families. Their values maybe be exemplary but their behavior will reflect the reality of the situation. After World War II, for example you could find the most respectable German families fighting over scraps of food. Eventually, we will understand that most forms of so-called 'criminal' behavior which fill our jails are generated by the scramble for money and property in an age of often contrived scarcity of the monetary system and the values that it generates. Thank you. [Applause]

Video Details

Duration: 16 minutes and 44 seconds
Year: 2010
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: TZM New York
Director: TZM New York
Views: 230
Posted by: ltiofficial on Jan 8, 2011

Roxanne Meadows of The Venus Project, speaking about Human Behavior at the NY Z-Day 2010 event.
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