ManBungalow wrote:I have similar thoughts to those just above. I was recently walking along a pavement (true story) by a road and was strolling round a corner when a car drove round the corner in the opposite direction. Basically, it was driving straight at me until it turned the corner of the road, following the curvature of the road as you do. Most people wouldn't bat an eyelid at that. If I'm walking along, and the car is driving around and doing nothing wrong, what's the problem? It just occurred to me at that moment (and there was nothing special about that moment for any particular reason) that a heavy locomotive was driving straight towards - and I was aware of it at the time - me at a considerable speed, and I was trusting that it would turn without even stopping to consciously think about it.
It interests me how the primitive (though by no means redundant) instincts/reactions we have are adapted to - and shape the nature of - our modern lifestyles. If one really stops to analyse anything that a person does, it can somehow be related to some evolutionary characteristic.
Oh of course this is evolutionary, in the sense that the evolutionary perspective has much to offer to the social sciences in this regard.
(see: http://scienceblogs.com/evolution/2010/ ... -as-dif-6/
(in it, he provides a great summary of Elinor Ostrom's work (Governing the Commons, Understanding Institutional Diversity).
This reminds me. In Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich, basically Ivan was kind of a jerk and his family is full of jerks, but his servant, Gerasim, takes great care of Ivan, as Ivan is terminally ill and becomes weaker and weaker. Ivan asks of Gerasim, 'why the hell are you being so nice to me? What have I really done for you?' To which Gerasim responds, 'I help you because I expect others to help me if I was in a similar circumstance.' Ivan: 'well, what if others do not do as you expect?' Gerasim: 'well, what am I do, other than to act in the right manner right now.' (spoiler alert! Ivan dies).
So in regard to your scenario, one influence may be the expectation of being helped/being treated correctly by others. In other words, it's not necessarily "walking in another's shoes," but the weak ties of society may be guided to a good trajectory simply through the expectation that others would treat you well if the tables were reversed. (of course, there are other influences, but this one's important).
BigBallinStalin wrote:What we're looking at is nearly all of us following the rules of the game. Our incentives, we face and operate along, reward us for not doing such stupid things. Sure, there are cracks because it isn't perfect. But what's interesting about this is that these rules are informal. They're not codified, yet we generally behave in accordance with them. Sure, there are formal laws (Govt says, "Don't kill people!"), but those aren't the only kind of rules at play.
This also interests me. There are a lot of aspects to address in this matter, but the main concept I'm trying to express is as follows:
(or similar) can impose meticulously defined legislation/rules for every aspect of our lives and that which goes on around us.
There are always exceptions and subjective interpretations which make trying to enforce very specific rules something of a fallacy.
Check out that link from scienceblogs.com. And F. A. Hayek devoted much of his work to showing how the underlined is not true (The Fatal Conceit, The Constitution of Liberty, The Use of Knowledge in Society, etc.). If we blend Hayek's insights with those of Elinor Ostrom's on polycentrism--basically, self-governance/local governance, then the underlined becomes truer--but only in particular circumstances. As we scale up the government (federal government, provincial/State government), then it becomes less true/less effective in fulfilling such goals. In other words, the central planning becomes further isolated from the local knowledge/information and incentives of those over which it governs, thus rendering it marginally less effective. The lack of a price mechanism, as defined by markets without state intervention, also contributes to this ineffectiveness as well (use of knowledge in society).