More about Consequences and Alliances in a Dispersed Culture
My acquaintance operates a substantial enterprise on the Net. She marvels about the extent to which people reveal personal information. Sexual confessions and marital complaints flow easily between strangers.
There may be some commonalties with her observations and conduct disorder in our dispersed culture. There is:
a) No parental role in the Net audience. People who disapprove can tune out or don't visit in the first place. There is no lingering ridicule, no embarrassment at the supermarket the next day when you pass friends or neighbors. There is no continuing alliance with anyone else in the group. You can say whatever you want and not be compromised on separate issues related to handling the children, getting food, visiting your mother, or keeping your job.(1)
b) No enduring personal identification. Once you shut off the modem, you no longer exist and never have to return just as it must seem to an adolescent visiting distant malls or the Jersey Shore.
Some of these effects operate in other domains. For example, Internet postings are often discounted as unreliable perhaps because of the lack of enduring accountability. Although my Rotarian friends know of this Forum, they don't drop in although their children might. I can make a gaff here and not explain it at lunch. The academics who publish on hard copy have errors on record, maybe for centuries. I suspect, but cannot prove, that making written errors is perhaps a larger crime for academics than sexual indiscretions. (Unless you plagiarize, misquote, or take your love poems from Cliff Notes!)
Susie is engaged to one of my ADHD clients. She comes to sessions to ensure some consistency between meetings. Susie is herself irate one morning about a lap dancer who accepted up to $3000 per week in gifts from a local man who is alleged to be near bankruptcy and to have killed his wife for the insurance money. Indignantly, "How could she have done that?!!!" (There should be some parts in Symons or Buss that describe the conduct of females towards less virtuous females.) I respond with some notions of Inclusive Fitness; given the absence of shared children, the lap dancer will pursue her own self-interest. Susie is conscientious, even in regard to applying moral precepts to strangers. She was reared in a traditional Italian family with lots of mutual inspection between generations. It was hard for her to grasp that in a dispersed culture, with no prior allegiances between victims and opportunists, there is a higher risk of short term, self-interest being persuasive. The stripper opted for immediate gains; perhaps the gentleman biased her tactics by implying infinite resources that would let them both play forever.
A friend of mine works at the pizza shop and routinely serves me spaghetti. She shaves my price and I usually get a larger portion than the next person in line. I've cultivated the friendship because she's lively, bright, cute, and a lot of fun in the midst of gray clinical days. She's going to college this fall after working for a year after high school graduation. She expects to do badly her first year because of "emotional relocation." She may be right. I think she might do better if her grades were posted at the pizza shop.
1) One child has OCD and freezes on exams and classroom questions because "they will laugh @ me if I make mistakes." How many OCD cases hide until they have disproportionate misery? How many of them have a fine time on the Net?