Albert Bandura: Dissecting group psychological and socio-moral mechanisms

Yesterday, I spent the entire evening reading a long article by Dr. Albert Bandura, in which he “argues that we can disguise environmentally harmful practices and dress them up in words to help ease our consciences, but such practices will have a negative impact on the planet and the quality of life of future generations, no matter how we label them,” and that “we must stop attempting to disguise our actions and switch on our environmental conscience to save the world.”

I shall advise everyone who reads this blog post to do the same thing: spend an entire evening reading this article, and do so for no other reason than try to get a hang on what it really is that is keeping us here. We have the IPCC science on global warming and manmade climate change, but still we allow ourselves to not worry too much about the rising CO2 and methane levels in the atmosphere, but keep at it, polluting the air relentlessly. What is more, we have all the knowledge which is needed in order to realize that the planet is in dire need of rainforests, yet we continue to allow forestry, mining, and agricultural companies to join forces in cutting down and destroying the rainforests of this world. We have all the knowledge which is needed in order to understand that the world’s fish resources are being depleted at record pace, but allow the owners of whole fleets of trawlers to keep at it. These are just a couple of problems that all sincere adults ought to the very least to have heard about by now. I’m tired of writing long lists of ecological problems. In my honest opinion, and as I am quietly and solemnly coming to see it, everyone is free to do the googling.

Dr. Bandura’s article is a psychologist’s attempt to describe and explain the psychology, the group dynamics, the social and moral impediments that are constantly at work here, and making it what looks like absolutely impossible for humanity to respond wisely to the mass of scientific evidence of ecological degradation and planetary climate stress that we are all facing here, no matter who or what we are, and irrespective of whether we like it or not, and irrespective of whether or not it is our belief that we have anything to do with it. As a matter of fact, I think the reason why people can still allow themselves to wash the stains of personal guilt off their hands is a matter for future scientific ethics discussions to try to deal with. As it is, right now, intellectual dishonesty among a large part of the scientific community is making it possible for ordinary everyday people to make the claim that “some scientists are saying the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has got it wrong,” and then go ahead and feel good about themselves while they just get on with lives in good rhythm, not making any changes to their highly polluting lifestyles. ‘Cause what’s the use? — “Al Gore and the IPCC has got it all wrong anyway. And by the way, I know there was a short ice age some six hundred years ago, this is all a matter of natural cycles, that’s what I’m saying. And if you say otherwise, please feel free to get stuffed! Get out of my way, you’re not welcome.” — //blush//

It is my working hypothesis that people in general are way too afraid of the probable end result of global warming and manmade climate change to even contemplate the idea of actually trying to do something about it. It is my most basic argument that many people are extremely worried that the world ought to be saved. I can read it on my personal computer screen, and I can hear them whispering between themselves: “Is the world about to come to an end?” And in loudness: “Well, if so, there is nothing any human being can do about it, so grab a beer, mate, you deserve it.”

Echoing in your mind is perhaps a general realization that the actual fact of saving the world for future generations to enjoy living in, is going to take the co-operation of more than six-and-a-half billion people, and that the likelihood of such a thing ever to take place in this world is rather slim. So go ahead. Fuck the world, I don’t care. And don’t even think you can try and save it, ’cause noone else will. You’ll only end up feeling sorry that you ever sat down, read up on James Lovelock, and took to think to yourself: “We’re screwed.”

– — – —

P.S.: I know I am going to return to Dr. Bandura’s article shortly, just because I have a thing or two to say about the population connection, too. — A problem which is not played down even the slightest in the linked article; to the contrary it is being played up as the world crisis the on-going population explosion really is. As a matter of fact, there is no measure of intellectual dishonesty to find in the article. Again: to the contrary, large parts of the article is informed by the professor’s wish to arrest a situation in which too much intellectual dishonesty among scientists and political groups is becoming a problem as concerns making way for the social undertaking of climate change mitigative activites, for example. So well done, Bandura. Well done.

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