Vincent Ocasla

People used to think it was common sense in the past to believe that the world was flat, but eventually science proved this “common sense” assumption wrong and that the planet was a sphere. In fact as more evidence came in, it showed that the earth was more like an ellipsoid and so the spherical earth assumption was falsified.

Throughout history, science has demonstrated to us many times that, what we may thought to have considered common sense, was in fact false and there is no sign of this trend stopping.

Therefore, the notion of common sense is an ILLUSION. As Albert Einstein once put, “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”

As an excellent example: When Collin Turnbull, an anthropologist, was studying pygmies in 1961 he took one of them, who had become a friend, out of the forest on a trip. The pygmies he was studying had spent their whole lives in the forest – they were known as ‘the forest people’ – so to go outside it and see for miles across the plains was a new experience. Normally we use size constancy to interpret things that are a long way away but the pygmies had never experienced long-distance views before. When he saw a herd of buffalo in the distance he thought they were ants and refused to believe that they were buffalo because they looked so small. And when he saw a boat some distance away across a lake he thought it was just a scrap of wood. As it got closer he could see people on board and he became very agitated and thought it must be magic. (Nicky Hayes and Sue Orrell, Psychology: An Introduction 2nd Edition, Page 48)


If greed really were the root cause of wars and acquisition of more material things, why is it, when we place people in an environment where scarcity is removed and resources are abundant, people don’t express that behavior?

It is the culture, the socioeconomic system, the environmental situation, and how it interacts with our genetic make-up, that is at the root cause of “selfish”, “greedy” behavior. Our present culture reinforces and rewards greed, training people to consume, compete and cheat and steal and neglect everyone and everything else. In a culture where greedy behavior is not reinforced, where sharing and cooperation is in fact rewarded, in an environment where there is plenty of food, water, and all the natural resources necessary for survival, greed will not be expressed, until harsh conditions forces them to act in greedy ways (i.e. there is suddenly a famine).

Video to better explain:

Simply put, greed is NOT the root cause, and even if you still believe it is, this assumption isn’t a practical method to solve the problem of it.

How do we define “root cause”, well according to Wikipedia:

A root cause is an initiating cause of a causal chain which leads to an outcome or effect of interest. Commonly, root cause is used to describe the depth in the causal chain where an intervention could reasonably be implemented to change performance and prevent an undesirable outcome.


While it may be true that our genetic disposition sets tendencies towards our wide range of behaviors to which we are all capable of expressing (i.e. the “warrior gene” [variants of the MAOA genotype] that makes males [only applied to males so far] more prone to committing violent and aggressive behavior), it is the environment that pushes the triggers (so for those that have this “warrior gene”, if punched in the face, may have a higher probability to respond violently, while those without this gene, may be more likely not to respond violently, but these propensities can be influenced from past experience, and can be changed over time through exposure to cultural/mental programming).

Over time, if the environment no longer reinforces a particular behavior, such genetic tendencies may simply be reduced or eliminated altogether within the population’s gene pool until the behavior becomes less likely or very difficult to express at all even when conditions like scarcity manifests (assuming the culture doesn’t intervene to reinforce the behavior despite the absence of the gene(s) responsible, if any).

Genes drive behaviour, but culture can select genes: study (Oct 28, 2009)

‘Warrior Gene’ Responsible for Gang Membership, Weapon Use (June 5, 2009)

Genes and Cultures – What Creates Our Behavioral

“Cultural evolution, a process very different
from genetic evolution by natural selection, has played
a central role in producing our behaviors.” (Cavalli-Sforza
and Feldman 1973, 1981; Ehrlich 2000; Feldman and
Cavalli-Sforza 1976; Feldman and Laland 1996).

Selfishness May Be Altruism’s Unexpected Ally (May 2, 2008)

Evolution of Fairness Driven by Culture, Not Genes (March 18, 2010)


  1. #1 by rufong on 05/07/2010 - 08:24

    Vincent Ocasla Our attitudes and behaviors changes when bio-social pressures forces us to do so.

    Greed is a human behavior as well as a mindset (hence greedy behavior or greedy mentality). When we are taught or learn (new environmental influences) that there is another, better way to live that doesn’t require us to be so greedy, we stop behaving in greedy ways. If we don’t know any better, we just continue the way we always do.

    There is little doubt that greedy behavior (influenced by greedy beliefs) leads to social stratification and wars, however, it isn’t the root mechanism.

    There is a cause for greed and it isn’t because people somehow make a personal choice to be so out of thin air as if by magic, it is because that’s how they were raised up and conditioned to think and behave. And the socioeconomic system demands that we be greedy (i.e. consume to keep the economy going). So we have advertising and mass media to reinforce by making people feel okay about it. People are indoctrinated to believe that absolute greed is right, greed works, greed is freedom, etc.

    However, yes, we can change our mindset, hence our behavior, but this requires new environmental influences, such as being exposed to new ideas (The Venus Project), meeting new people (Jacque Fresco, Peter Joseph, Roxanne, or some “spiritual” person), and or joining a new community that helps reinforces a less greedy set of behaviors hence a new way of life. We don’t just suddenly change our minds/behavior overnight, it takes a gradual process of being exposed to and adapting to new information and stimuli.

    A drug addict who has been taking drugs for 50 years doesn’t just suddenly decide one day to stop taking drugs. He has to be influenced by other people, be convinced and conditioned over time to stop taking drugs. Conditions have to force him to stop taking drugs. Either a lack of access to the drugs, or it could be that he’s had enough of the lifestyle. There are so many factors to account for.

    What I am saying is not to imply that culture ALONE influences our behavior and that we cannot change, because we can certainly change, and there are many other variables that changes our mindsets/behaviors. But what I am saying is that culture DOES play a huge factor in determining our conditioned, unconscious, habitual behaviors. And this is certainly observable if you go to China, USA, Russia, Africa, India, since each culture have their own customs and ways of doing things in general.

    If we are somehow behaving contrary to the dominant culture you were raised in, it simply means we have been exposed to different environmental influences. Either your parents acted contrary to the culture, you didn’t attend the same schools as everybody else, read different books, etc there’s so many conditions, variables, influences, stimuli, to consider.

    To put it this way, nothing is self-activating. Jacque Fresco calls this the Mechanistic Point of View.

    Anyway, there is nothing wrong with greedy behavior (which is really another way of saying selfish behavior). Without being selfish (i.e. feeding yourself) you would die. There needs to be a balance between selflessness (i.e. feeding others) and selfishness. They both complement each other in order for a social system to survive.

    I would suggest watching this:

    Nature or Nurture; How Do Genes, Environment and Free Will Affect Human Behavior?

  2. #2 by rufong on 05/07/2010 - 10:53

    Wes Robinson if you think about it the status quo is quite a wide range its really only extremes that are seen as undesirable, you could say society in the whole is everyone’s compromise, as we see today there are controlling forces that are not compromising their greed, and are undermining our whole species.

  3. #3 by rufong on 05/07/2010 - 10:57

    Jimmy Jonny Willy Philly: In the long run we have to realize that our own personal development is tied in with everybody else’s and must transcend into something more feesable based on the common good. The lecture ‘social pathology’ covers this topic really well. Like I said it would definitely be a step in the right direction.

  4. #4 by rufong on 05/07/2010 - 10:57

    Joel Mariano: Wellness of the whole is integral to survival of the one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: