Sunday, October 19, 2014

America In Realization [10.19.14]

Youth




Two of my agendas

  1. Create political awareness among American youth.
  2. Start a youth (non-political) organization to bring about social change and grow the immense potential that lies inside each and everyone of us.



Muslim Community



"I know the arguments against speaking of Islam as violent and reactionary. It has a following of 1.6 billion people. Places such as Indonesia and India have hundreds of millions of Muslims who don’t fit these caricatures. 
There is a cancer of extremism within Islam today. A small minority of Muslims celebrates violence and intolerance and harbors deeply reactionary attitudes toward women and minorities. 
... As Karabell explained to me, “If you exclude the last 70 years or so, in general the Islamic world was more tolerant of minorities than the Christian world. That’s why there were more than a million Jews living in the Arab world until the early 1950s — nearly 200,000 in Iraq alone.”
If there were periods when the Islamic world was open, modern, tolerant and peaceful, this suggests that the problem is not in the religion’s essence and that things can change once more."


The effect of models (of the world) in our brain and how it leads us to stereotyping

The way human brain works is by building "model"s of how the world works. Each concept that we learn, we build an internal model of that concept
There is a "summarized model" of each concept we  learn - that comes to our mind just as we think of that concept. 
So for example, thinking of "Microsoft" could remind you of Bill Gates or the Windows Operating System you have on your laptop. But Microsoft is not just Bill Gates or not just Windows. Gates or Windows are only the "summarized model" of Microsoft in your brain.

The problem with this is that it could make us fall into the trap of "stereotyping" the world and not reflect the totality of a concept but only a part of it.
As an instance, it might happen that you have read the novel "Godfather" and from that point on whenever you hear of Italy, you are reminded of Italian Mafia. But that's stereotyping. Not all Italians are part of a Mafia gang.

How do we build these models?

We build these models as we learn concepts, possibly in a social context.
This applies to every domain.
Let me give you an example from Marketing.

A few days back I wrote:
Microsoft has lost it's "Brand Appeal" in the past few years that it once enjoyed. Google and Apple lead Microsoft in terms of "Brand Appeal". 

When you think of Google or Apple products you think of them as being "cool", "awesome", "wonderful", and so on.

How?

That's how you learned about Google or Apple. You heard your friends say, "Apple products are so cool" and that's how the model of "Apple products" in your mind got represented, as being something "cool". 

In Marketing jargon, it's called "word of mouth" - advertising through the mouth of satisfied customers.

"Brand Appeal" depends more on what people "think" of products than the products themselves.

It might be the case that Microsoft products are better, but people are not doing enough of those "Wow"s - "Windows is so cool!"  or "Surface is simply sensational!"
In other words, "Brand Appeal" could fall victim to human stereotyping.

The effect is not just on customers and consumers, but also on job seekers - when you look for jobs, you want to work for the "coolest" company around.



Now, I would like you to contemplate whether stereotyping all the Muslims (all 1.6 Billion of them) with terrorism would be wise.

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