Unselfish 04: What’s in It for Me?
Are we too busy to help one another? Or can our failures to answer large and small calls for help be traced back to our cultural myths about society and human nature?
We might see a conflict between pursuing our personal goals and answering a call for help. We might see asking for help as a weakness or failure to be self-supporting.
We’re so used to being consumers that we risk seeing every situation as a potential trade. Do we apply our concept of market fairness and feel like suckers if we answer a call for help without asking “What’s in it for me?”
Visit www.leadteamculture.com/lead/unselfish-podcast-show-notes-04/ for full show notes and transcript download.
Quotations and References:
[05:32] “…whether you’re heroic or heartless may depend on a contextual factor whose impact is far greater than we would tend to assume.”
Nisbett, R. (2015). Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. (page 36).
[07:21] “Oh, you’re late. They were expecting you a few minutes ago. We’d better get moving. The assistant should be waiting for you so you’d better hurry. It shouldn’t take but just a minute.”
“The assistant is ready for you, so please go right over.”
“It’ll be a few minutes before they’re ready for you, but you might as well head on over. If you have to wait over there, it shouldn’t be long.”
Darley, J. M., & Batson, C. D. (1973). From Jerusalem to Jericho: A study of situational and dispositional variables in helping behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 27, 100-119. (pp. 103-104).
[08:50] “Conflict, rather than callousness, can explain their failure to stop.”
Darley, J. M., & Batson, C. D. (1973). From Jerusalem to Jericho: A study of situational and dispositional variables in helping behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 27, 100-119. (page 108).
[09:34] “Pursuing the ends of virtue does not begin with making choices, but with recognizing the circumstances… In this sense, character is expressed in what one sees as much as what one does. Knowing how to discern the particulars, Aristotle stresses, is a mark of virtue.”
Sherman, N. (1989). The fabric of character: Aristotle’s theory of virtue. New York: Clarendon Press. (pp. 3-4).
[15:45] American Sociologist and activist Virginia Eubanks describes a regrettably common inner-city situation…
Refer to Eubanks, V. (2018). Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor. New York, New York: St. Martin’s Press. (pp. 174-176).
[19:20] The “Lucky Country”
Refer to Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (2018, October 20). The Lucky Country. Retrieved October 28, 2018, from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lucky_Country
[20:08] “Our land abounds in nature’s gifts…”
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (2018, October 24). Advance Australia Fair. Retrieved October 28, 2018, from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_Australia_Fair
[24:41] The results of this study suggest Americans significantly over-estimate social mobility…
Kraus, M. W., & Tan, J. J. (2015). Americans Overestimate Social Class Mobility. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 58, 101-111. (page 104, Figure 1).
[26:06] Kraus and Tan’s study reported actual statistics suggesting that hard work or higher education is not enough to improve the incomes of most poor families…
Kraus, M. W., & Tan, J. J. (2015). Americans Overestimate Social Class Mobility. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 58, 101-111. (page 103 for sources and page 104, Figure 1).
[27:09] Data presented by economists Emanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman…
Saez, E., & Zucman, G. (2014). Wealth Inequality in the United States Since 1913 Evidence from Capitalized Income Tax Data. Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research.
Saez, E. (2017). Income and Wealth Inequality: Evidence and Policy Implications. Contemporary Economic Policy, 35(1), 7-25.
[28:17] Today, over a third of US adults have college degrees…
Percentage of the U.S. population who have completed four years of college or more from 1940 to 2017, by gender. Retrieved Apr 19, 2018, from Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/184272/educational-attainment-of-college-diploma-or-higher-by-gender/
[29:55] “Thinking of the world as an open horizon (rather than, say, a stacked deck of cards) is consistent with the meritocratic frame: the world is yours; all that is required are hard work and talent. Students, in turn, believe that they work extremely hard and are exceptionally talented. They generally do not work hard, although they are adept at performing a kind of busyness that looks and feels like hard work.”
Khan, S., & Jerolmack, C. (2013). Saying Meritocracy and Doing Privilege. The Sociological Quarterly, 54, 9-19. (page 15).
[30:59] “They see many at their school who suffer this fate. These people are the staff, the men and women who make the school function day in and day out… Gathering all of the students’ interview responses together, we learn that staff are unlucky, have different priorities, or – most commonly – are casualties of an unjust era that we have since overcome.”
Khan, S., & Jerolmack, C. (2013). Saying Meritocracy and Doing Privilege. The Sociological Quarterly, 54, 9-19. (pp. 13-14).
[33:39] “The poorhouse preceded the Constitution as an American institution by 125 years. It is mere fantasy to think that a statistical model or a ranking algorithm will magically upend culture, policies, and institutions built over centuries… the digital poorhouse diverts the poor from public resources… it investigates, classifies, and criminalizes.”
Eubanks, V. (2018). Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor. New York, New York: St. Martin’s Press. (pp. 178).
Disclaimer, copyright, and image and music credits:
While this document, and the recorded audio podcast episode it describes, includes published peer-reviewed psychological research and therapy papers, it is not therapy and no therapeutic benefits are offered or implied. If you have concerns about your physical or psychological health, please seek medical advice. If you have concerns about the health of your most important relationships, please seek professional relationship counselling services.
This document, and the recorded audio podcast episode it describes are © 2018, James David Thomas.
The image for this episode was modified by the author in Adobe Illustrator CC using Adobe Stock # 206550676 © ojogabonitoo under a standard license. Visit www.stock.adobe.com/
Music used in this episode was mixed by the author in Adobe Audition CC 2018 from a public domain recording of the Piano Sonata no. 8 in C minor “Pathétique”, Op. 13 by Ludwig van Beethoven, performed by Paul Pitman. The recording was sourced from www.musopen.org