quinta-feira, 6 de novembro de 2008

Universals (sobre comunalidades humanas)

Senhoras e senhores:
É noite fechada nas seis horas da manhã artificiais de Porto Alegre, onde vige o horário brasileiro de verão. Descontada a questão do Sr. Orlando, a imagem de hoje vem de:
e comemora minhas reflexões sobre como estou feliz por ser primavera. Declarei há tempos que o mês de outubro é meu preferido. Minha amada babá Emília Mayer Ferreira declarava que a quinta-feira era seu dia preferido da semana. Gostei de dar-me conta de que ela se apropriara de um dia para si. Decidi apropriar-me de um mês, o que me dá 30 dias, por contraste a suas 52 quintas-feiras anuais.
As reflexões sobre o meu self e contingências relacionadas levam-me a fazer a postagem de hoje sobre "universals", que é um tema percolante a minhas preocupações com a teoria da ação humana: nossa (se me humano declarardes) motivação é egoística ou altruística? Claro que mais sutil do que isto -e por preguiça, como agora, nunca deixo claro com suficiente vigor- é pensarmos que jamais saberemos com certeza o que motiva a ação humana, cabendo-nos apenas pensar em teorias. Com isto, ao invés de dizermos se o indivíduo A é bom ou mau, por exemplo, seremos mais sensatos em pensar sobre a aderência da teoria B à qualidade das explicações e previsões sobre seu comportamento. Seja como for, estou transcrevendo algo que anotei em meu diário (não creio tê-lo transferido ao Blog) berlinense. A primeira o quê, indagar-se-á o leitor diligente, que diabos? Lá vai:
A primeira chamada para os assim chamados Universals foi feita por Sam Bowles na p.403 do livro de Microeconomia que eu estava lendo precisamente aos 24 de dezembro do ano passado (isto é, 2006). Ele estava preocupado com o capítulo twelve, intitulado Chance, Collective Action, and Institutional Innovation, que chamei de, seguindo algum de seus resumos, Within Group Dynamics of Societal Changing Institutions.
:: pois na p.403, ele diz que Hernán Cortez tinha claros os universals encontrados na sociedade

Asteca, e sua estrutura de classes. Aí vem o Bowles:

"Some types of social arrangements - markets, states, monogamy, private property, worshiping supernatural beings, social ranking, and sharing the necessities of life among non-kin, for example - have been ubiquitous over long periods of human history and have independently emerged and persisted in highly varied environments. Others of passing importance generally occupy limited ecological niches.
"Some scholars, like Cortés, are impressed by the similarity of institutions in quite differing environments and have postulated a coherent set of 'modern' social arrangements toward which most independent societal trajectories are said to be tending. Talcott Parsons (1964) termed these evolutionary universals - those ways of ordering society that crop their general evolutionary viability. Parsons offered vision as a biological analogy to these evolutionary universals; another example would be sexual reproduction. Both have emerged under a wide variety of circumstances and in a great many species Parsons identified money, markets, bureaucracy, stratification, and democracy as human social examples. Friedrich Hayek (1988) refers to the markets and private property nexus - his 'extended order' - in a similar vein. As we saw in chapter 2, many attribute the evolutionary success of these institutions to their societal efficiency. Marx's conception of the historical succession of institutions under the influence of changing technology as illustrated in the epigraph of chapter 11 (At a certain stage of their development, the material forces of production [technologies] ... come into conflict with ... the property relations within which they had been at work before. From forms of development of the forces of production these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins the period of social revolution. Karl Marx, "Preface", Critique of Political Economy (1859)), similarly posits a tendency - albeit a very long-term one - for institutions that advance dynamic efficiency to prevail. [...].” [fim do bowles]

Em continuação, tivemos a Sra. Kate Fox, com seu interessante livro "Watching the English; the hidden rules of English Behaviour". Precisamente, ela define alguns termos, como cultura, regras e civilização. Tri-interesting:

"This is a book about the 'rules' of the Englishness, and I cannot simply assert that we all know what we mean by a 'rule', without attempting to explain the sense or senses in which I am using the term. [...] I am using a rather broad interpretation of the concept of a rule, based on four of the definitions allowed by the Oxford English Dictionary, namely:
0 a principle, regulation or maxim governing individual conduct;
0 a standard of discrimination or estimation; a criterion, a test, a measure;
0 an exemplary person or thing; a guiding example;
0 a fact, or the statement of a fact, which holds generally good; the normal or usual state of things.
"Thus, my quest to identify the rules of Englishness is not confined to a search for specific rules of conduct, but will include rules in the wider sense of standards, norms, ideals, guiding principles and 'facts' about 'normal or usual' English behaviour.
"This last sense of 'rule' we are using when we say: 'As a rule, the English tend to be X (or prefer Y, or dislike Z).' When we use the term rule in this way, we do not mean - and this is important - that all English people always or invariably exhibit the characteristic in question, only that it is a quality or behaviour pattern which is common enough, or marked enough, to be noticeable and significant. Indeed, it is a fundamental requirement of a social rule - by whatever definition - that it can be broken. Rules of conduct (or standards, or principles) of this kind are not like scientific or mathematical laws, statements of a necessary state of affairs; they are by definition contingent. If it were, for example, utterly inconceivable and impossible that anyone would ever jump a queue, there would be no need for a rule prohibiting queue jumping."
"[my search the rules of Englishness will effectively involve an attempt to understand and define English culture. This is another term that requires definition: by 'culture', I mean the sum of a social group's patterns of bahaviour, customs, way of life, ideas, beliefs and values."
"At the same time, I am conscious of the wider danger of cross cultural 'ethnographic dazzle' - of blindness to the similarities between the English and other cultures. When absorbed in the task of defining a 'national character', it is easy to become obsessed with the distinctive features of a particular culture, and to forget that we are all members of the same species. fortunately, several rather more eminent anthropologists have provided us with the lists of 'cross-culture-universals' - practices, customs and beliefs found in all human societies - which sould help me to avoi this hazard. There is some lack of consensus on exactly what practices, etc. should be included in this category [...]. For example, Robin Fox gives us the following:
Laws about property, rules about incest and marriage, customs of taboo and avoidance, methods of settling disputes with a minimum of blood-shed, beliefs about the supernatural and practices relating to it, a system of social status and methods of indicating it, initiation ceremonies for young men, courtship practices involving the adornment of females, systems of symbolic body ornament generally, certain activities set aside for men from which women are excluded, gambling of some kind, a tool- and weapons-making industry, myths and legends, dancing, adultery and various doses of homicide, suicide, homossexuality, schzophrenia, psychoses and neuroses, and various practitioners to take advantage of or cure these, depending on how they are viewed.
"George Peter Murdoch provides a much longer and more detailed list of universals, in convenient alphabetical order, but less amusingly frased:
Age-grading, athletic sports, bodily adornment, calendar, cleaninless training, community organisation, cooking, cooperative labour, cosmology, courtship, dancing, decorative art, divination, division of labour, dream interpretation, education, eschatology, ethics, ethnobiology, etiquette, faith-healing, family, feasting, fire-making, folklore, food taboos, funeral rites, games, gestures, gift-giving, government, greetings, hairstyles, hospitality, housing, hygiene, incest taboos, inheritance rules, joking, kin-groups, kinship nomenclature, language, law, luck superstition, magic, marriage, mealtimes, medicine, modesty concerning natural functions, mourning, music, mythology, numericals, obstetrics, penal sanctions, personal names, population policy, postnatal care, pregnancy usages, property rights, propitiation of supernatural beings, puberty customs, religious rituals, residence rules, sexual restrictions, soul concepts, status differentiation, surgery, tool making, trade, visiting, weaning and weather control.
"There is one significant omission from the above lists, although it is clearly implicit in both and that is 'rule making'. The human species is addicted to rule making.”

sorry if there is too much of English at the dawn.
p.s.: aos 4/nov/2010, coloquei o seguinte post scriptum: dias atrás, passei a indagar-me se a tortura de semelhantes (ou mesmo de animais) e o comportamento caroneiro nas boas intenções de terceiros também são universals.

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