"You are your Position" LO5951

Sat, 2 Mar 96 14:5:11 GMT

Never one to miss the opportunity to make broad, sweeping

Eric Opps' comments sparked these two caricatures... read light
heartedly, please....

Having also worked and lived on both sides of the Atlantic, here
are some observations. Both sides have in common the pesky habit of often
being highly competitive, hierarchically- oriented individualists who tend
to identify themselves through externalities. So in the States where
there is a loosy-goosy class system around democratic sounding ideals, we
like to place prestige where we can think of it as a result of our own
hard work and actions, or, if not ours personally, at least of our fathers
and grandfathers. You know, Horatio Alger, John Wayne, the Kennedy's and
all that. Action oriented. We like prestige where we can assure
ourselves that everyone has equal access. "Where'd you go to school?
What do you do? Where do you come from?" These simple sounding questions
carry a very heavy weight in the US. Of course, you can't just come out
and _ask_ how much money someone has...

Europe has a history of a class system with much more rigidity.
So if you're born into some sort of nobility, or close enough, you can
rest pretty easily. Same goes for the other end of the scale. You can
labor along without the tedious concerns of "aspirations". The place to
find a flexible hierarchy of one-upmanship in Europe is in the democratic
institution loosely called the "intellectual class." In Europe "You are
your capacity to reason" or "You are your -ism." The battle is of
cultural and theoretical knowledge, cynical witticism, and expositional
flair. You can eschew the banal desire for material wealth through,
heaven forbid, "business" as vulgar and insulting of one's intelligence.
And, as luck would have it, no one really expects you to _do_ anything
with this "knowledge" other than perhaps impress others. Contemplation is
an end in itself. After all we are alone in a hostile universe....

Oh, yes, but times they are a-changin'....

	Jackie Mullen

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>