Tag Archives: social

The Japanese Don’t Loot?

Many people suffer from a severe case of individualism, a condition defined by a lack of concern and/or empathy towards other people in situations where one cannot be benefitted. Symptoms include putting one’s own needs before all other considerations, denying aid to others in the name of personal inconvenience, and begrudging the less fortunate. Causes range from individualistic upbringing to media influence. Though there are treatments available, such treatment is only effective with people who desire change.

I bring up this overgeneralized diagnostic of individualism because I recently read an month old article about the (general) lack of chaos and crime that followed the earthquakes in Japan last month. People have brought up a number of arguments to explain the witnessed behaviour.

Some argue it’s a patriotic aspect,

The Japanese are resourceful, innovative and disciplined people with a great sense of national pride. While they also have criminals and felons, it is not quite in comparison to the sleaze balls we have in [American] streets.

Others argue differently,

Sociologists will tell you that the lack of looting is just the result of large numbers of people developing a more orderly society to cope with living in a smaller land mass. Personally, I’ve always thought it’s because they’re a more highly evolved race.

..and others yet have said it’s simply because looting is a youth act. The aging Japanese population is simply too old to have an abundance of looting.

A shot of a Japanese street

Personally, I believe it’s the cultural aspect that comes out first as the best explanation. The (mostly) homogenous population has probably resulted in very similar cultural values and morals among a lot of Japanese, which has lead to social organization. I think that they refrain from looting in the name of dignity, and benevolence. But who knows. In any case, the low crime rate after such a large disaster is inspiring. Whatever reason is behind it, I do hope the Japanese share their secret to morality in event he toughest times with the world.

Image: Dino De Luca / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: prozac1 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Conformity — Do you pass the elevator test?

Conformity; the unwritten, unenforced laws that everyone obeys. Yes, that means you, too. For example, When you step into an elevator, which way do you face? After pondering for a few seconds, your answer is likely the elevator doors. Why? Have you ever tried facing the back of the elevator? There’s nothing that says you cannot; go try it. How about asking someone on the bus for their seat, no matter how many empty seats there are available? Cutting in line during the morning Tim Horton’s rush?

Chances are you will feel very uncomfortable doing any of these small acts of out-of-the-norm behaviour. You may even break a sweat. You feel this discomfort because of the bonds of conformity, your instinct to be one with the crowd. But why do we conform? Why do we care so much about what other people think?

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