Sunday, February 23, 2014

An Introduction to The Tools of Cultural Change

Historical Background
Rare have been the times when a society, culture or profession have picked themselves up except when they have come out of the ashes of war or total economic collapse to start again from a clean slate. Post war Japan and Germany are examples of that. The winners of war just keep on doing what they have always done with more arrogance and do not change.
Internal revolutions usually fail. Somehow, as in Animal Farm by George Orwell, everything returns to the same with different names.
The successes of civilisation and its development have usually been external and due to major sociotechnological discovery, such as writing or oil. From there, history paints the familiar story again and again of decadence and collapse. Eventually the society goes into freefall.
Welcome to the modern world....

However, there has been one light of hope that this is not inevitable. In the 60s and 70s, the UK was in socioeconomic freefall. It was known as the Sick Man of Europe. It had slid into 9th place of the 10 members of the European Economic Community of the time and was descending fast.
Educationally, contrary to its international reputation, the UK was failing atrociously compared to the rest of Europe. It was failing to the level that the modern US education system is failing as portrayed in
Like it or not, the UK government of the 80s and 90s successfully did something about the situation. It successfully did something about many situations of the time. It did so by designing the first systematic Tools of Cultural Change.
Many of the social changes were bitter pills and it is easy to think in retrospect only of their inevitable consequences and side effects. There was suffering. There were winners and losers. Some of what happened, such as the loss of heavy industry, was blame on these policies when the government had its hands tied behind its back by European Law due to structural anomalies of the UK's political system. They were untried social experiments that in some respects backfired but they did achieve their goal of returning the UK to the top flight of Europe.
More than anything, the population did not like change. It did not like change from its path of descent into decadent, arrogant decay. They did not like the central cultural objective of these socioeconomic policies.
It was a bitter pill. Not everybody would win. It was always bound to be unpopular but it worked.
While the UK population complained, the rest of the world saw the greater picture of a socioeconomic miracle.

The socioeconomic side of these policies will long be debated and often unfairly, the processes of the use of the Tools of Cultural Change that were applied to the professions such as health and education were almost unqualified successes. There were predicably some teething troubles and unnecessary, mismanaged conflicts along the way but this was a learning curve and lessons were learned.
In retrospect, yes, it could all have been done better. It could have been perfected. Still, the partial success was an astounding new historical precedent. In relatively stable time, the freefall of a society and its institutions had been reversed. That had never been achieved politically.

And it was in this way that the UK became the birthplace and home of the Tools of Cultural Change. The systems have evolved and continue to evolve. They are sold and instituted worldwide as the only systems that can turn around a society and its institutions. They are proven by the evidence and supported by international academics in their own subject.

They are the only systems that work. The outcome evidence is that anything less is pretty words and fiddling with the details as Rome burns.

The Secrecy
The Tools of Cultural Change are rarely discussed overtly. They are effective but not popular. People do not want to be changed. They will always offend one interest or other. They are usually offensively and objectively critical of the way that things are and the collective self-delusion of the population or a profession that supports the way that things are at present.
The Tools of Cultural Change are objective and evidence based. They are about action not words. They can only be judged on their objective successes.
They are the means to good ends in a society that focuses heavily on whether they like the means with little or no consideration of objective outcome.
The means are usually kept secret. Half of the ends are usually hidden, the half that the population will not like. Only the positive is openly promoted in a world that believes that it can have its cake and eat it. For instance, they cannot understand that absolute parental rights to do what the hell they like with and to their children are the traditional cause of child abuse.
Just the concept of changing culture and traditions is offensive to some. They think it is about changing external, superficial culture when it is not. The Tools of Cultural Change change something far deeper. They change the very way that the population or a profession thinks and fundamental belief systems. They challenge axioms and paradigms.
Of course, the population believes that the present beliefs and axioms that society practices are somehow sacred. It is a natural and inevitable consequence of the psychology of the subconscious mind and causes and emotional reaction when challenged. There is little societal understanding of its own psychology including the belief that the way that we presently think is in some way God-given rather than learned. The way that people think is hence sacred. Nobody has the right to interfere. Interference is impossible.
Perhaps they should ask the sales and advertising industry about that! However, they do not like to advertise their influence over how society thinks or the wider and greater side effects of their words and actions for short term gain.

The use of the Tools of Cultural Change are kept largely secret from every direction. Their means are hidden. Half of their objectives are hidden. Even when discussed, few understand them or can relate to them because they challenge such societal beliefs. Conspiracy Theories grow up around them even when they are focused on the societal good in the long term.

The Tools in Practice
Only the tip of the iceberg is seen. All that will be seen is what is meant to be seen. This is a carefully Machiavellian process in the positive sense of the original..... the prince was maliciously manipulative for the good of the people that he governed and used every means necessary to ensure the goal of preventing the most violent and abusive leaders taking control.
What will be seen is the positive side of the ends, the ones that all can agree on. The means will not be mentioned. Nor will the consequences and side-effects, which is easy to accept for a highly subjective society that believes that it can have its cake and eat it.
Inevitably, when society discovers that it has eaten the bitter pill and the predicatble side effects have happened, there will be blame. However, it will be too late. The eggs will have been broken and the omelette cooked. There is no going back. The very culture of how the population thinks has been irrevocably changed.
These are the minds that are being dealt with on the other end of the stick. They are minds informed in applied cultural psychology based on Cognitive Behavioural prinicples from the real world rather than the relatively ineffective academic knowledge of cultural psychology based on what is, not what could be and how to change it. They are determined to use that knowledge. If they have the political power or will to put that knowledge into action, they will outwit and undermine all resistance in the long term.
And they have the evidence on their side to convince politicians that their way is the only way. They have been very deliberate in that. They can even use that evidence to con the worst politicians into doing what they would never do and fool them into educating a thinking population that cannot have the wool pulled over their eyes.

The Ends
The ends justify the means has fallen into disrepute. It is always what is mentioned as an excuse for evil actions such as those of Hitler or Stalin. But hold on a minute! Look at the ends that they were trying to produce ranging from paranoid megalomania characteristic of cult leaders, world domination, slavery and creation of a master race. Their ends were evil too!
So what are the ends of the best, most ethical manipulators of The Tools of Cultural Change in the modern world?
Their ends are often abstract concepts. In education, the aim is Independent Learning and teaching a culture of appropriate mental and emotional life skills for high-quality, rational, informed and considerate decision making throughout life. It is to promote free-thinking based on the real world for the real world.
Who would argue with that? Well, we could start with traditional, hierarchical parents who believe that respect is their right rather than something earned. Their children will be educated to outthink them, even run rings around uneducated, thoughtless parents. Those that would limit the potential of their community or another faction of society to perpetuate class wars or their status in society will resist the concept of every human individual reaching their human mental potential.... Then there are those that rely on an ignorant, unthinking flock.
The noble ends of the educationalist are to produce not only a thoughtful society but an equal society by ensuring that everybody reaches their full potential. The artificial, learned limitations of individuals are erased.
Health ends are equally noble and egalitarian. It is the promotion of good health for all through education, prevention and treatment. It is a matter of good, rational and informed health decision making in everyday life so that society believes that it cannot eat all its cakes without getting obese, diabetes and heart disease.
Rational, informed decision making is, of course, the last thing that the fast food and other branches of the sales and advertising industry wants. Even the hospital lobbyists and various sales departments of the medical indistries do not want this culture to occur.
And this is a global culture of rational, informed decision making starting at school education and progressing into everyday health as an adult. It is an all encompassing culture of how people think, believe, act and treat life. A cluster is being taught that includes responsibility, altruism, patience, objectivity and psychological maturity. This cultural cluster of how society thinks is capable of creating a Utopia.
Those are the ends. That is the dream.
Many talk about the dream. They are not prepared to do what is necessary to make it happen. They would prefer to delude themselves with pretty words.

Actions Teach Actions, Words Teach Words
There is a simple psychological basis to the Tools of Cultural Change. It is a Cognitive Behavioural basis but it is also consistent with ancient, common wisdom epitomised in the sayings Practice What You Preach and Do As I Say, Not As I Do!
We are all innately hypocritical. A fundamental of the human psyche is to have an idealistic conscious mind that produces pretty words whilst the subconscious mind generally dictates our actions mediated by the overpowering stress/relaxation physiology of subconscious emotions. There is a gulf between the two, perhaps explaioned by a communication breakdown. The conscious and subconscious minds cannot understand one another because the former communicates in words and the latter in chemicals.
Human beings also have an unfathomable innate ability to excuse and ignore their own actions when they are contrary to the idealistic words of their conscious mind. Our ability to say one thing and do another without even noticing is quite staggering. We are not even aware that we are doing it.
This is a central concept to the Tools of Cultural Change and the reason that all other systems aimed at changing culture fail. They always focus on the beautiful words and forget the actions that come from the mysterious subconscious mind. They are judged on pretty words and not actions and outcomes.
Perhaps attempts at cultural change that are based purely on words are the worst case scenario for change. It blocks the possibility of future change by promoting the delusion that change is already happening or has happened. It pretends that there is nothing wrong with the way things are and creates a whole web of excuses and irrationalisations for the status quo. It concretes the status quo.
This is why the Tools of Cultural Change prioritise subconscious learning and actions rather than words. They focus on how the subconscious mind learns from its environment, through stereotyping, copying and reward/punishment. It focuses on increasing the conscious mind's awareness of actions through constant self-evaluation and self-criticism at a conscious level.
In effect, the abstract psychological process of the Tools of Cultural Change is to make the idealistic and rational conscious mind take control of the inferior subconscious mind and its actions. It is a battle against innate human hypocrisy and excuses. It is a war for rationally considered and thoughtful actions as opposed to subconscious, less than conscious behaviour.
The conscious, wordy side of the Tools of Cultural Change is to cut up the confused web of excuses that are made for hypocritical actions in life. It reduces the participants to the most basic, endeniable principles and ends so that they take ownership of the objectives at a conscious level. This is the participant's consent to the process of 'helping' their conscious minds impose this new, clarified morality on their subconscious mind however their indoctrinated stress/relaxation reactions feel about it.

No comments: