Sasha wisdom and historical experiences, actually caution us
Sasha SteinerMr. SorbaraJanuary 11, 2018Grade 12 EnglishThe lasting frontier: Engineered Progress versus Mother Nature”Social engineering” is defined as “a discipline in social science that refers to efforts to influence particular attitudes and social behaviours on a large scale, whether by governments, media or private groups in order to produce desired characteristics in a target population. (Wikipedia. December, 2017). The phrase “social engineering” was coined recently, and is used in literature to describe a type of experiment intended for improvement of the status of people or things. While social engineering promises a more utopian status: an efficient world, a happier life, greater freedom, and an elimination of injustices, these experiments almost always result in increased human problems and spread misery that results in dehumanization of people. Just like the concept of “utopia” itself gave rise to the concept of “dystopia”, both in literature and in real life. In this essay the author will argue that human wisdom and historical experiences, actually caution us about changing natural order and rejecting evident truths. Mother Nature’s higher wisdom always seems to prevail. Social engineering has no basis in human reality, nature, reason, or tradition. It never improves human lives, but almost always destroys. It does not really advance justice, but it does violate natural laws. It brings no age of utopia, but destroys civilization, morality, and the common good for people. In conclusion, the author will examine the social engineering of Israeli kibbutz, organizations of collective living established based on socialist utopian ideals in 1910, set up to maintain equality among its members, common ideology, self- labour, local governance of democracy, communal ownership of things and reciprocal responsibility (Envy at Work and in Organizations Richard H. Smith, Ugo Merlone, Michelle K. Duffy, August 1, 2016, Oxford University Press). Another current example dear to my heart is Big Pharma and its enormously destructive effects on all traditional forms of socializing as well as its use by various forms of government and extreme groups. Finally, the author will consider the proposed laws legalizing use of marijuana and the good as well as the bad of giving unrestricted access to it. The author will show that social engineering often attacks the family, undermines nature’s wisdom, and diminishes or destroys civilization.In Huxley’s Brave New World utopian ideas attempt to impose a man-made, scientifically constructed world upon a natural order and divinely ordained universe in the name of “a prodigious improvement” of Mother Nature. In this novel The Fertilizing Room under the supervision of the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning replaces traditional marital union and human procreation as biotechnology boasts of selective breeding: “eleven thousand brothers and sisters in a hundred and fifty batches of identical twins.” (Huxley, Aldous; Brave New World. C.1; Harper Perennial, 2005 Print). Children, then, are manufactured in mass production and not conceived as the byproduct of love. All humane and personal aspects vanish. Similarly, in Orwell’s 1984, social engineering assumes the form of revised, reviewed and re edited history under the instruction of the Ministry of Truth: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered” (Orwell, George, 1984. London, Secker and Warburg, 1949 Print. Book 2, C 3). In the name of reinventing reality to accommodate people’s’ desires: “Whatever the Party holds to be truth is truth”. Reality does not conform to metaphysical truths. As O’Brien teaches Winston, “reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else,” and therefore Winston must never think that “reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right.” (Orwell, George, 1984. Book 2, C 3. London, Secker and Warburg, 1949 Print.). Reality, then, is changeable, subjective, and relative—something to be manipulated and reinvented by dictating ideologies. In Plato’s Republic, the great philosopher argued that an ideal state must have a clear cut and concise division of its citizens into classes, with only a singular, hand picked class, the guardians, being allowed to rule in order to achieve a great and just society (Erikson, Chris Utopian Ideals in Public Administration: The Republic as Err Myth: Plato’s Iconoclastic Utopianism, pp.95-110. Print). Such utopian society, with such selective privileged rulers, certainly would eventually lead to dictatorship. Hence, many people claim that Plato was the original creator of the ideology that let to mass destruction by Hitler, Stalin and similar historic monsters.While the case of a kibbutz, a totally voluntary body, is seen by many as a somewhat successful example of a modern day social engineering, it is actually a strong example of how nature of a human always prevails. Over a 100 plus years since the creation of the first kibbutz, the percentage of the population in Israel, which continues to live in such organized societies, has decreased dramatically. What happened over time with loving “the principle of the allocation of resources according to needs, and aspires to equality in all spheres of life” (Tsuk, Nir, The Rise and Fall of the Kibbutz. Social Capital, Voluntarism, and State-Community Relations: A Case Study. Paper prepared for the Workshop. ‘Voluntary Associations, Social Capital and Interest Mediation: Forging the Link’. ECPR Joint Session of Workshops,. University of Copenhagen, 14-19 April 2000.) was the growing dissatisfaction with what at first created the kibbutz appeal, the idea of utopian equality among its members. When kibbutz were first created, everyone was paid the same salaries, lived in identical homes, didn’t personally own anything significant, raised children in dormitories built for all kids to be together and socialized together in large cafeteria. As life went on, those people who were harder working started being upset with those who wanted to work less; as some members would receive a gift, such as a TV or a music playing system from a relative, while others didn’t – there began to be real differences in financial and mental states among members; as some became more educated than others, they stopped socializing as a single community and so on. Inevitably, those who were younger and more hardworking left the kibbutz for a big city life with more opportunities to exercise freedom of their personal choices for work, livelihood, socializing and entertainment. It was observed that human nature contains envy, which drives people who feel it, to look for opportunities to bring up the level of their life financially, which was only possible outside the kibbutz. You cannot equalize ambition, intelligence or personality (Near, H., 1992, The Kibbutz Movement: A History, Volume 1. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press; Russell, Hanneman and Getz, 2013, The Renewal of the Kibbutz, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press). These characteristics are genetic part of human nature and social engineering could not change that. Another modern day example of social engineering is use of Big Data (defined as pharmaceutical companies collectively as a sector of industry.. Marshall McLuhan, famously once, long time ago, said “The computer can be used to direct a network of global thermostats to pattern life in ways that will optimize human awareness… Already, it’s technologically feasible to employ the computer to program societies in beneficial ways.” (Marshall McLuhan Interview from Playboy, 1969,Playboy Magazine, March 1969,c 1994). Today, smartphones, social networks, Google Google Glass and Alexa, not to mention Apple’s watch easily you’re your location, track our daily activities down too how many steps we take, with all such information being transmitted in real time to the farms which farm such data. The algorithms needed to analyze the “Big Data,” are easily produced, resulting in the ability of those who acquire it, to predict our behaviour. In turn, tapping into the data that flows through gadgets, search engines, social media, and credit card payment systems, scientists will enable scientists to collect precise, real-time information on the behaviour of millions, if not billions, of individuals (Carr, Nicholas, The Limits of Social Engineering, MIT Technology Review, April 16, 2014). What really excites Pentland is the prospect of using digital media and related tools to change people’s behavior, to motivate groups and individuals to act in more productive and responsible ways. What really excites Pentland is the prospect of using digital media and related tools to change people’s behaviour, to motivate groups and individuals to act in more productive and responsible ways (Pentland, Alex). Especially of concern are social networks. The scale of their manipulation is limitless. “Once hooked, consumers are robbed of choice, milked for profit, deprived of privacy and made the subjects of stealth social engineering experiments.”(Zetchnik, Steven, Detroit Free Press, “Books: Why we should be afraid of Facebook and Google” 24 Sept. 2017). The effects can be easily observed in such situations as vaccines, no drinking campaigns, and other related matters. The Big Pharma uses it today to convince us to rely on it. Think, for example of vaccines we must take. Think of improvement but with horrific results, as vaccines are linked to autism. While Canadians are debating the possible legalization of marijuana not just for medicinal but for recreational uses, one has to only imagine the impact of such a decision. For a long time, there has been a prohibition against buying, selling, using and possessing it. “The essential problem with marijuana is neither death from overdose nor organ failure from chronic use. Marijuana might better be described as a performance-degrading drug and, more dangerously, as a temptation commodity with habituating tendencies.” (Jonathan P. Caulkins, National Affairs, “The real Dangers of Marihuana, Winter 2016 ). So, for one, its legalization will inevitably change our social environment. Next, how and whom does its regulation? We have special rules against drinking before certain age or even time of the day, but none for the marijuana proposed changes. Imagine having a friend doing it in the morning. Will this lead to lower study or work performance; more drunk driving; more health costs to the society for medical help? Personally, the worst part is its impact on the teens’ safety and performance. While our parents’ generation considered it inappropriate, what will they do now? I have no answers, but many questions on how it can be controlled and by whom. This social engineering experiment certainly may prove extremely disturbing, affecting what we consider to be socially acceptable behaviours, health and safety of costs to society, with extreme financial rewards to those controlling the process. In conclusion, while the dream of building a utopian society has been a centre of many excellent novels, at least so far, no great positive value has emerged from experiments with social engineering in the real world. Quite the opposite, what emerged was a trend to deconstruct our human culture.