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Life Arts    H4'ed 3/15/19

Daily Inspiration — Temperament and Culture

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Fact: In Inuit communities that have not yet come under the influence of Western economics, the people seem preternaturally serene. Domestic violence is unknown, and violence of any kind is rare.

As viewed through the eyes of an academic psychologist, this is about individuals who have more inner strength and self-control.

What NPR is permitted to say about it: It's because parents don't yell at their kids or punish them, but tell them morality tales instead. How Inuit Parents Teach Kids To Control Their Anger


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What NPR doesn't or can't say: Maybe they don't have any anger that needs controlling. Inuits live in tightly interdependent societies, where no one is left out, everyone is included. There is much more cooperation and sharing, much less individual competition. The wide individual differences in wealth and status that we take for granted are unknown in Inuit villages.

Maybe the anxiety that we carry with us and have come to think of as 'the human condition', maybe it's not the human condition, but an artifact of our Western culture. Maybe there's another way to live, which doesn't produce the isolation and self-doubt that are facts of everyday life for most of us.


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We believe that man's nature is uncaring and selfish, and that it is control and authority and discipline that tame our wild instincts so that we can be nice to each other. We believe that indigenous people had little so they must have been fighting over the little they had. We thought we could bring them both prosperity and the civilizing influence of law and central control.

Maybe we should focus more on what we have to learn and less on what we have to teach.

 

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Josh Mitteldorf, a senior editor at OpEdNews, blogs on aging at http://JoshMitteldorf.ScienceBlog.com. Read how to stay young at http://AgingAdvice.org.
Educated to be an astrophysicist, he has branched out from there to mathematical (more...)
 

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