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Those who believe in the finality of death i.e., that there is no after-life "“ they are the ones who advocate suicide and regard it as a matter of personal choice. On the other hand, those who firmly believe in some form of existence after corporeal death "“ they condemn suicide and judge it to be a major sin. Yet, rationally, the situation should have been reversed : it should have been easier for someone who believed in continuity after death to terminate this phase of existence on the way to the next. Those who faced void, finality, non-existence, vanishing "“ should have been greatly deterred by it and should have refrained even from entertaining the idea. Either the latter do not really believe what they profess to believe "“ or something is wrong with rationality. One would tend to suspect the former. Suicide is very different from self sacrifice, avoidable martyrdom, engaging in life risking activities, refusal to prolong one's life through medical treatment, euthanasia, overdosing and self inflicted death that is the result of coercion. What is common to all these is the operational mode: a death caused by one's own actions. In all these behaviours, a foreknowledge of the risk of death is present coupled with its acceptance. But all else is so different that they cannot be regarded as belonging to the same class. Suicide is chiefly intended to terminate a life "“ the other acts are aimed at perpetuating, strengthening and defending values. Those who commit suicide do so because they firmly believe in the finiteness of life and in the finality of death. They prefer termination to continuation. Yet, all the others, the observers of this phenomenon, are horrified by this preference. They abhor it. This has to do with out understanding of the meaning of life. Ultimately, life has only meanings that we attribute and ascribe to it. Such a meaning can be external God's plan or internal meaning generated through arbitrary selection of a frame of reference. But, in any case, it must be actively selected, adopted and espoused. The difference is that, in the case of external meanings, we have no way to judge their validity and quality is God's plan for us a good one or not?. We just "take them on" because they are big, all encompassing and of a good "source". A hyper-goal generated by a superstructural plan tends to lend meaning to our transient goals and structures by endowing them with the gift of eternity. Something eternal is always judged more meaningful than something temporal. If a thing of less or no value acquires value by becoming part of a thing eternal "“ than the meaning and value reside with the quality of being eternal "“ not with the thing thus endowed. It is not a question of success. Plans temporal are as successfully implemented as designs eternal. Actually, there is no meaning to the question: is this eternal plan / process / design successful because success is a temporal thing, linked to endeavours that have clear beginnings and ends. This, therefore, is the first requirement: our life can become meaningful only by integrating into a thing, a process, a being eternal. In other words, continuity the temporal image of eternity, to paraphrase a great philosopher is of the essence. Terminating our life at will renders them meaningless. A natural termination of our life is naturally preordained. A natural death is part and parcel of the very eternal process, thing or being which lends meaning to life. To die naturally is to become part of an eternity, a cycle, which goes on forever of life, death and renewal. This cyclic view of life and the creation is inevitable within any thought system, which incorporates a notion of eternity. Because everything is possible given an eternal amount of time "“ so are resurrection and reincarnation, the afterlife, hell and other beliefs adhered to by the eternal lot. Sidgwick raised the second requirement and with certain modifications by other philosophers, it reads: to begin to appreciate values and meanings, a consciousness intelligence must exist. True, the value or meaning must reside in or pertain to a thing outside the consciousness / intelligence. But, even then, only conscious, intelligent people will be able to appreciate it. We can fuse the two views: the meaning of life is the consequence of their being part of some eternal goal, plan, process, thing, or being. Whether this holds true or does not "“ a consciousness is called for in order to appreciate life's meaning. Life is meaningless in the absence of consciousness or intelligence. Suicide flies in the face of both requirements: it is a clear and present demonstration of the transience of life the negation of the NATURAL eternal cycles or processes. It also eliminates the consciousness and intelligence that could have judged life to have been meaningful had it survived. Actually, this very consciousness / intelligence decides, in the case of suicide, that life has no meaning whatsoever. To a very large extent, the meaning of life is perceived to be a collective matter of conformity. Suicide is a statement, writ in blood, that the community is wrong, that life is meaningless and final otherwise, the suicide would not have been committed. This is where life ends and social judgement commences. Society cannot admit that it is against freedom of expression suicide is, after all, a statement. It never could. It always preferred to cast the suicides in the role of criminals and, therefore, bereft of any or many civil rights. According to still prevailing views, the suicide violates unwritten contracts with himself, with others society and, many might add, with God or with Nature with a capital N. Thomas Aquinas said that suicide was not only unnatural organisms strive to survive, not to self annihilate "“ but it also adversely affects the community and violates God's property rights. The latter argument is interesting: God is supposed to own the soul and it is a gift in Jewish writings, a deposit to the individual. A suicide, therefore, has to do with the abuse or misuse of God's possessions, temporarily lodged in a corporeal mansion. This implies that suicide affects the eternal, immutable soul. Aquinas refrains from elaborating exactly how a distinctly physical and material act alters the structure and / or the properties of something as ethereal as the soul. Hundreds of years later, Blackstone, the codifier of British Law, concurred. The state, according to this juridical mind, has a right to prevent and to punish for suicide and for attempted suicide. Suicide is self-murder, he wrote, and, therefore, a grave felony. In certain countries, this still is the case. In Israel, for instance, a soldier is considered to be "army property" and any attempted suicide is severely punished as being "attempt at corrupting army possessions". Indeed, this is paternalism at its worst, the kind that objectifies its subjects. People are treated as possessions in this malignant mutation of benevolence. Such paternalism acts against adults expressing fully informed consent. It is an explicit threat to autonomy, freedom and privacy. Rational, fully competent adults should be spared this form of state intervention. It served as a magnificent tool for the suppression of dissidence in places like Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. Mostly, it tends to breed "victimless crimes". Gamblers, homosexuals, communists, suicides "“ the list is long. All have been "protected from themselves" by Big Brothers in disguise. Wherever humans possess a right "“ there is a correlative obligation not to act in a way that will prevent the exercise of such right, whether actively preventing it, or passively reporting it. In many cases, not only is suicide consented to by a competent adult in full possession of his faculties "“ it also increases utility both for the individual involved and for society. The only exception is, of course, where minors or incompetent adults the mentally retarded, the mentally insane, etc. are involved. Then a paternalistic obligation seems to exist. I use the cautious term "seems" because life is such a basic and deep set phenomenon that even the incompetents can fully gauge its significance and make "informed" decisions, in my view. In any case, no one is better able to evaluate the quality of life and the ensuing justifications of a suicide of a mentally incompetent person "“ than that person himself. The paternalists claim that no competent adult will ever decide to commit suicide. No one in "his right mind" will elect this option. This contention is, of course, obliterated both by history and by psychology. But a derivative argument seems to be more forceful. Some people whose suicides were prevented felt very happy that they were. They felt elated to have the gift of life back. Isn't this sufficient a reason to intervene? Absolutely, not. All of us are engaged in making irreversible decisions. For some of these decisions, we are likely to pay very dearly. Is this a reason to stop us from making them? Should the state be allowed to prevent a couple from marrying because of genetic incompatibility? Should an overpopulated country institute forced abortions? Should smoking be banned for the higher risk groups? The answers seem to be clear and negative. There is a double moral standard when it comes to suicide. People are permitted to destroy their lives only in certain prescribed ways. And if the very notion of suicide is immoral, even criminal "“ why stop at individuals? Why not apply the same prohibition to political organizations such as the Yugoslav Federation or the USSR or East Germany or Czechoslovakia, to mention four recent examples? To groups of people? To institutions, corporations, funds, not for profit organizations, international organizations and so on? This fast deteriorates to the land of absurdities, long inhabited by the opponents of suicide.
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Those who believe in the finality of death i.e., that there is no after-life – they are the ones who advocate suicide and regard it as a matter of personal choice. On the other hand, those who firmly believe in some form of existence after corporeal death – they condemn suicide and judge it to be a major sin. Yet, rationally, the situation should have been reversed : it should have been easier for someone who believed in continuity after death to terminate this phase of existence on the way to the next. Those who faced void, finality, non-existence, vanishing...
negative. There is a double moral standard when it comes to suicide. People are permitted to destroy their lives only in certain prescribed ways.

And if the very notion of suicide is immoral, even criminal – why stop at individuals? Why not apply the same prohibition to political organizations such as the Yugoslav Federation or the USSR or East Germany or Czechoslovakia, to mention four recent examples? To groups of people? To institutions, corporations, funds, not for profit organizations, international organizations and so on? This fast deteriorates to the land of absurdities, long inhabited by the opponents of suicide.

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The Role Of Unions in... The Role Of Unions in Society In the past, unions were established to protect the dignity and the basic rights of the worker. Union protection of the worker is genuine in well-established countries. Unfortunately, in third world countries workers do not enjoy the benefits of suitable wages, sick leave, and respect from their employer. At the Kuk-Dong textile factory in Mexico workers complain of "poverty wages, hunger, and getting sick on the job and not being allowed time off". Nike, who contracts work to the factory, claims, "it has a strong code of conduct and is part of the Fair Labor Association"¦and hires outside firms to make sure the 700 factories that produce its goods are playing by the rules". The Kuk - Dong textile factory has a "company union" which was established by management, failed to represent the interests of employees, and as a result was thrown out after a violent protest. Nike, a leading sports apparel manufacturer should have demanded that the Kuk-Dong factory owners treat their employees with dignity, otherwise, Nike should have requested that The Kuk-Dong factory be reprimanded by the law for exploiting their employees. In this case, a union did not protect workers, but was used as a tool by management to further manipulate the poorly treated workers of the Kuk-Dong factory. Over time, the demands of the worker have changed with the evolving technology industry, the worker is now more educated and have different basic demands of their employer. The operating hours of businesses have also changed; the average worker can now work from home via the Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Middle management at Bell Canada Inc. are expected to work at least 37.5 hours weekly, but usually put in 45 hours a week and some even 50 and 60 hours. These conditions are what lead Middle managers at Bell to approach The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union. A precedent in Canadian unions took place when Bell employees could download membership applications from the Internet and mail them in. To still be an effective force in today's workplace, unions need to work with employers to establish less stressful demands of employees. To combat employee stress overload, employee "“ friendly workplaces in companies such as MDS Sciex have "balanced living programs" where a concierge service is brought in to run errands for the employee. This type of service frees personal and family time for the employee ensuring employee loyalty and reluctance to join a union. The needs for unions are quickly fading because of increased efforts by employers to keep their employees happy. Unions are an idea of the past in established countries. The Youth of today do not identify with the values of unions because "employees are confident in their ability to speak up for themselves and cut their own deals". Union inability to target youth oriented markets such as small retail and service sectors have proven to be fatal because youth are not familiar with what unions stand for. Being a youth, I have never felt the need to be part of a union because my employer, Starbucks has many "pro-employee" principles. For instance, Starbucks offers health coverage to all of its employees whether they are working in the office or in one of the stores as a barista. Starbucks also pays its employees much more than standard minimum raise. Starbucks also refers to all of its employees as being "partners" because employees are given stock options. I do not know many people who are my age who work for organizations who offer such benefits. Unions are more of an issue with newly developed countries, who in essence, are living in the past. The idea of a union has to be reformed in order to fit into today's business structure.   

The Role Of Unions in Society In the past, unions were established to protect the dignity and the basic rights of the worker. Union protection of the worker is genuine in well-established countries. Unfortunately, in third world countries workers do not enjoy the benefits of suitable wages, sick leave,...

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Test Mod 1. Background The Napster...Test Mod 1. Background The Napster software http://www.napster.com, launched early in 1999, allows internet users to share and download MP3 files directly from any computer connected to the Napster network. The software is used by downloading a client program from the Napster site and then connecting to the network through this software, which allows sharing uploading and downloading of MP3 files between all users connected to the network. While Napster does not condone copyright infringement, there is no opportunity in the software to stop this, or for royalties to be paid to artists whose songs are being duplicated for free. Unlike similar file-sharing applications Gnutella, Freenet, Napster limits users to uploading/downloading of MP3 files only. These files are compressed wave .wav files. The advantage of MP3 files is that they are approximately one-tenth the size of the corresponding .wav file and can be close-to-CD-quality. It is for this reason that many artists, record labels and other music industry stakeholders are concerned by the MP3 file format and applications like Napster that simplify the sharing of copyrighted material. Other file formats in common use on the Internet are not as threatening to the recording industry; primarily due to the reduced quality of the recording. Real audio .ra, .rm files have reduced sound quality comparable to radio and are usually streamed over a different protocol, allowing people to listen to songs without having or being able to download the source files. Another "music" file format common on the internet is the midi format. These files are of no threat to the music industry because the files are not actually a recording of the music; rather a set of instructions to the computer as to what sounds to play and there is no way to duplicate vocal tracks. This file format is also becoming outdated and being used less and less. 2. Impact The reaction from recording artists, record labels and other music industry players has been varied, but primarily anti-Napster. The first action to be taken against Napster was by the band Metallica. In April of this year, they sued Napster Inc for copyright infringement. The case was settled out of court when Napster agreed to ban some 300,000 users who had allegedly downloaded Metallica songs. Again in June Napster Inc was sued for copyright infringement by The Recording Industry Association of America RIAA, a trade group representing the US recording industry, alleging "Napster is"¦ enabling and encouraging the illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted music". Napster claims that Audio Home Recording Act that permits copying of material for personal use, allows it"s uses to swap MP3s. Napster further claims immunity by defining the company as an ISP under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The RIAA unsuccessfully applied to have an injunction to stop Napster"s operations until after the court case in September, so Napster will continue to operate until and if the court rules against Napster. Other artists and record labels http://www.napster.com/speakout/artists.html and http://www.napster.com/speakout/labels.html have responded to the advent of Napster and similar applications in a more positive way, embracing the new technology rather than rejecting it. On their website, the Offspring says "MP3 technology and programs such as Napster [are] a vital and necessary means to promote music and foster better relationships with our fans." Interestingly enough, the Offspring"s last album, Americana, was made available online illegally before commercially released, yet it is the band"s best-selling album to date. Furthermore, a number of surveys have proven that Napster users actually buy more CDs, after "sampling" the songs online http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/1/12093.html. It is this issue that is at the core of the RIAA lawsuit, whether Napster and similar applications will mean reduced CD sales. Napster does challenge the traditional distribution of music CDs, cassettes, vinyl etc but whether this should be viewed as a threat or simply a new medium to be exploited by the music industry is another issue. Some record labels, most notably Epitaph http://www.epitaph.com have partnered with sites like e-music.com to sell full albums and single songs in MP3 format over the web. In this case, the record company has in fact gained a new distribution method, rather than seeing it as the "enemy". Of course, in this scenario, the record company still gets a cut of the profits, something that artists" whose songs are downloaded through Napster don"t get. The fact that Napster is free and more convenient than visiting a record store makes it an appealing way to get music for consumers. The problem the record companies have is that there is no way of regulating who has access to the information, and hence no way of profiting from it. Napster also facilitates international distribution for unsigned artists. This also threatens record labels. Previously, without being signed to a record label, an artist simply could not get the exposure to make a living as a musician. With the Internet, sites like mp3.com and Napster, this is now possible. While Napster does allow music sharing to an extent that could theoretically destroy the retail music industry, stopping Napster will not stop all their problems. Record labels need to see this new technology not as a threat, but as a challenge. They need to come up with ideas to encourage people to buy CDs multimedia components, attractive artwork, lyrics, picture books etc. Perhaps if they offered better services to their signed artists, fewer artists would want to release their music themselves. Napster challenges the music industry"s monopoly on distribution. People can now download music for free in their own homes and artists can release their music themselves. In theory, this could mean the end of record labels and other associated companies, and that is why groups like the RIAA are so worried. 3. Possible Solutions The music industry"s response to Napster is similar to the response to the introduction of cassette tapes and VCRs. Both new technologies allowed people to record and duplicate copyrighted information and at the time, these were seen as threats to the respective industries, but time has proven that tape recordings are no substitute for professional, commercial recordings. The same can be said for Napster; while the songs can be downloaded, they are not CD quality for the most part and complete albums are very difficult to come by on Napster. Once an MP3 is downloaded, it can only be listened to on a computer or a walkman-style device, such as RIO. CDs, on the other hand, are more portable - they can be easily listened to anywhere, on a computer, stereo, walkman, in a car, friends" stereos etc. Although MP3s can be written to CDs, the level of expertise required to do this means that for most people it is easier to buy a commercial CD. The "extras" consumers get when they purchase commercial CDs also encourage people to buy CDs. Artwork, lyrics, pictures and other liner information make the purchase of a CD more valuable than just the music. However, new advancements such as multimedia components for computers already available on some CDs, eg Blue Plate Special by the Dance Hall Crashers including video footage, photos, games etc would encourage the purchase of CDs more so. If CDs were released with better "extras" and reduced prices, people would be more likely to purchase them. In this case, Napster could continue, serving it"s purpose as a "try before you buy" application for the music industry. Just as people still purchase and rent videos even though they can record movies from TV and borrow tapes from friends, people will continue to buy CDs, and will be encouraged even more so if prices are reduced and extras given away with the music. Music industry players such as BMG Bertelsmann Music Group, EMI, Sony and Universal are already launching efforts to combat Napster and take advantage of the opportunities the Internet offers http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/12778.html. These companies are launching their own MP3 sales and distribution services, or offering subscription services that allow registered users to download unlimited tracks for a limited time. It is also worth noting that e-music.com already offers this type of service, including a monthly subscription service. However, on e-music, users can download unlimited MP3s from a number of labels, whereas the label MP3 distribution sites will exclusively distribute the record label"s MP3s. Perhaps eventually sites like e-music.com will partner with all labels, including the bigger ones and will offer a better service faster downloads, better quality files, more variety etc than Napster can. However, the fact that over US$15 million has been invested in Napster Inc means that Napster will not die easily. If the RIAA is successful in it"s current lawsuit against the company, Napster will just change direction. A few solutions have been suggested. Probably the most practical and realistic alternative that has been suggested is that Napster Inc pays royalties to artists when their songs are downloaded, much like the radio pays artists when their songs are played. Another solution is that Napster could work with the music industry to distribute certain sample tracks to the public. These tracks could be distributed royalty-free as promotion for the album, or Napster could agree to pay royalties. Another solution being adopted by other similar information-sharing applications like Napster, Freenet and Gnutella is to make file transfers over the application anonymous. Adding to that, the fact that the central servers themselves do not have to contain any copyrighted files, tracking down users breaching copyright legislation will be incredibly difficult. 4. Pros and Cons of Possible Solutions The option of Napster paying royalties to artists whose songs are downloaded would be a positive move because it would mean that artists receive fair compensation for their work. However, on the other hand, to support the enormous cost of such a move, Napster would either have to turn into a paid subscription service, or show advertising which wouldn"t necessarily cover the costs. Added to this, the cost of modifying the application, and working out a way to determine what songs have been downloaded, the administration costs for Napster would skyrocket. The option of a cooperative effort with the music industry has the advantage of being totally legal and stopping all conflicts between Napster and the RIAA. However, such a model would mean a great reduction in the number of songs available and would eliminate the "sharing" aspect of the program. The advantage of the anonymous peer-to-peer model is that if no corporation, individual or other entity claims ownership, no one can be sued. And because no files are stored on the central server, no copyright is being infringed there. The disadvantage of this method, would be that Napster would still be breaking the law, and undoubtedly new legislation would be brought in and measures would be taken to stop the service. Furthermore, if Napster could not take credit officially for their software, then they could not profit from it something they need to do, considering the investment in the company 5. Recommendations I believe that Napster is a valuable program and an indication of things to come. However, in its current state, it will have a very hard time remaining legal. I believe the only way Napster will survive will be to change its service and it may in fact be forced to by the courts. I would suggest that Napster develops some system of paying royalties to artists whose songs are downloaded over their software. It is really the only practical way that Napster can continue and even though it will cost the company a lot to implement this system, it will mean that Napster will be safe from litigation by the music industry. It will mean that Napster users will no longer have to worry that they are breaking the law, and will encourage artists to embrace online distribution. I would recommend that Napster subsidises the cost of the royalty payments by showing advertising within the application much like GetRight http://www.getright.com/ and CuteFTP http://www.cuteftp.com do. This advertising could be used by advertisers to target music enthusiasts, meaning increased revenue for Napster. I believe that if the royalty option, subsidised by advertising is implemented, Napster will be able to continue safely and profitably.   

Test Mod 1. Background The Napster software http://www.napster.com, launched early in 1999, allows internet users to share and download MP3 files directly from any computer connected to the Napster network. The software is used by downloading a client program from the Napster site and then connecting to the network through...

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Culture is a hot topic. Scholars...Culture is a hot topic. Scholars Fukoyama, Huntington, to mention but two disagree about whether this is the end of history or the beginning of a particularly nasty chapter of it. What makes cultures tick and why some of them tick discernibly better than others "“ is the main bone of contention. We can view cultures through the prism of their attitude towards their constituents : the individuals they are comprised of. More so, we can classify them in accordance with their approach towards "humanness", the experience of being human. Some cultures are evidently anthropocentric "“ others are anthropo-transcendental. These two lingual coins need elaboration to be fully comprehended. A culture which cherishes the human potential and strives to create the conditions needed for its fullest materialization and manifestation is an anthropocentric culture. Such striving is the top priority, the crowning achievement, the measuring rod of such a culture, its attainment - its criterion of success or failure. On the other pole of the dichotomy we find cultures which look beyond humanity. This "transcendental" look has multiple purposes. Some cultures want to transcend human limitations, others to derive meaning, yet others to maintain social equilibrium. But what is common to all of them "“ regardless of purpose "“ is the subjugation of human endeavour, of human experience, human potential, all things human to this transcendence. Granted : cultures resemble living organisms. They evolve, they develop, they procreate. None of them was "created" the way it is today. Cultures go through Differential Phases "“ wherein they re-define and re-invent themselves using varied parameters. Once these phases are over "“ the results are enshrined during the Inertial Phases. The Differential Phases are period of social dislocation and upheaval, of critical, even revolutionary thinking, of new technologies, new methods of achieving set social goals, identity crises, imitation and differentiation. They are followed by phases of a diametrically opposed character : Preservation, even stagnation, ritualism, repetition, rigidity, emphasis on structures rather than contents. Anthropocentric cultures have differential phases which are longer than the inertial ones. Anthropotranscendental ones tend to display a reverse pattern. This still does not solve two basic enigmas : What causes the transition between differential and inertial phases ? Why is it that anthropocentricity coincides with differentiation and progress / evolution while other types of cultures with an inertial framework ? A culture can be described by using a few axes : Distinguishing versus Consuming cultures Some cultures give weight and presence though not necessarily equal to each of their constituent elements the individual and social structures. Each such element is idiosyncratic and unique. Such cultures would accentuate attention to details, private enterprise, initiative, innovation, entrepreneurship, inventiveness, youth, status symbols, consumption, money, creativity, art, science and technology. These are the things that distinguish one individual from another. Other cultures engulf their constituents, assimilate them to the point of consumption. They are deemed, a priori, to be redundant, their worth a function of their actual contribution to the whole. Such cultures emphasize generalizations, stereotypes, conformity, consensus, belonging, social structures, procedures, forms, undertakings involving the labour or other input of human masses. Future versus Past Oriented Cultures Some cultures look to the past "“ real or imaginary "“ for inspiration, motivation, sustenance, hope, guidance and direction. These cultures tend to direct their efforts and resources and invest them in what IS. They are, therefore, bound to be materialistic, figurative, substantive, earthly. They are likely to prefer old age to youth, old habits to new, old buildings to modern architecture, etc. This preference of the Elders a term of veneration over the Youngsters a denigrating term typifies them strongly. These cultures are likely to be risk averse. Other cultures look to the future "“ always projected "“ for the same reasons. These cultures invest their efforts and resources in an ephemeral future upon the nature or image of which there is no agreement or certainty. These cultures are, inevitably, more abstract living in an eternal Gedankenexperiment, more imaginative, more creative having to design multiple scenarios just to survive. They are also more likely to have a youth cult : to prefer the young, the new, the revolutionary, the fresh "“ to the old, the habitual, the predictable. They are be risk-centered and risk-assuming cultures. Static Versus Dynamic Emergent Cultures Consensus versus Conflictual Cultures Some cultures are more cohesive, coherent, rigid and well-bounded and constrained. As a result, they will maintain an unchanging nature and be static. They discourage anything which could unbalance them or perturb their equilibrium and homeostasis. These cultures encourage consensus-building, teamwork, togetherness and we-ness, mass experiences, social sanctions and social regulation, structured socialization, peer loyalty, belonging, homogeneity, identity formation through allegiance to a group. These cultures employ numerous self-preservation mechanisms and strict hierarchy, obedience, discipline, discrimination by sex, by race, above all, by age and familial affiliation. Other cultures seem more "ruffled", "arbitrary", or disturbed. They are pluralistic, heterogeneous and torn. These are the dynamic or, fashionably, the emergent cultures. They encourage conflict as the main arbiter in the social and economic spheres "the invisible hand of the market" or the American "checks and balances", contractual and transactional relationships, partisanship, utilitarianism, heterogeneity, self fulfilment, fluidity of the social structures, democracy. Exogenic-extrinsic Meaning Cultures Versus Endogenic-intrinsic Meaning Cultures Some cultures derive their sense of meaning, of direction and of the resulting wish-fulfillment by referring to frameworks which are outside them or bigger than them. They derive meaning only through incorporation or reference. The encompassing framework could be God, History, the Nation, a Calling or a Mission, a larger Social Structure, a Doctrine, an Ideology, or a Value or Belief System, an Enemy, a Friend, the Future "“ anything qualifies which is bigger and outside the meaning-seeking culture. Other cultures derive their sense of meaning, of direction and of the resulting wish fulfilment by referring to themselves "“ and to themselves only. It is not that these cultures ignore the past "“ they just do not re-live it. It is not that they do not possess a Values or a Belief System or even an ideology "“ it is that they are open to the possibility of altering it. While in the first type of cultures, Man is meaningless were it not for the outside systems which endow him with meaning "“ In the latter the outside systems are meaningless were it not for Man who endows them with meaning. Virtually Revolutionary Cultures versus Structurally-Paradigmatically Revolutionary Cultures All cultures "“ no matter how inert and conservative "“ evolve through the differential phases. These phases are transitory and, therefore, revolutionary in nature. Still, there are two types of revolution : The Virtual Revolution is a change sometimes, radical of the structure "“ while the content is mostly preserved. It is very much like changing the hardware without changing any of the software in a computer. The other kind of revolution is more profound. It usually involves the transformation or metamorphosis of both structure and content. In other cases, the structures remain intact "“ but they are hollowed out, their previous content replaced by new one. This is a change of paradigm superbly described by the late Thomas Kuhn in his masterpiece: "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions". The Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome Differentiating Factor As a result of all the above, cultures react with shock either to change or to its absence. A taxonomy of cultures can be established along these lines: Those cultures which regard change as a trauma "“ and those who traumatically react to the absence of change, to paralysis and stagnation. This is true in every sphere of life : the economic, the social, in the arts, the sciences. Neurotic Adaptive versus Normally Adaptive Cultures This is the dividing line: Some cultures feed off fear and trauma. To adapt, they developed neuroses. Other cultures feed off hope and love "“ they have adapted normally. Neurotic Cultures Normal Cultures Consuming Distinguishing Past Oriented Future Oriented Static Dynamic Emergent Consensual Conflictive Exogenic-Extrinsic Endogenic-Intrinsic Virtual Revolutionary Structurally-Paradigmatically Revolutionary PTSS reaction to change PTSS reaction to stagnation So, are these types of cultures doomed to clash, as the current fad goes "“ or can they cohabitate ? It seems that the Neurotic cultures are less adapted to win the battle to survive. The fittest are those cultures flexible enough to respond to an ever changing world "“ and at an ever increasing pace, at that. The neurotic cultures are slow to respond, rigid and convulsive. Being past-orientated means that they emulate and imitate the normal cultures "“ but only when they have become part of the past. Alternatively, they assimilate and adopt some of the attributes of the past of normal cultures. This is why a traveller who visits a neurotic culture and is coming from a normal one often has the feeling that he has been thrust to the past, that he is experiencing a time travel. A War of Cultures is, therefore, not very plausible. The neurotic cultures need the normal cultures. The latter are the generators of the former's future. A normal culture's past is a neurotic culture's future. Deep inside, the neurotic cultures know that something is wrong with them, that they are ill-adapted. That is why members of these cultural spheres entertain overt emotions of envy, hostility even hatred "“ coupled with explicit sensations of inferiority, inadequacy, disappointment, disillusionment and despair. The eruptive nature the neurotic rage of these cultures is exactly the result of these inner turmoils. On the other hand, soliloquy is not action, often it is a substitute to it. Very few neurotic cultures are suicidal "“ and then for very brief periods of time. To forgo the benefits of learning from the experience of normal cultures how to survive would be suicidal, indeed. This is why I think that the transition to a different cultural model, replete with different morals, will be completed with success. But it will not eliminate all pervious models - I foresee cohabitation.   

Culture is a hot topic. Scholars Fukoyama, Huntington, to mention but two disagree about whether this is the end of history or the beginning of a particularly nasty chapter of it. What makes cultures tick and why some of them tick discernibly better than others – is the main bone...

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