AS ABOVE SO BELOW - THE EFFECT OF DECEPTION ON SOCIETY
Deeply ingrained in every problem in society lies the timeless aspect of deception. In South Africa alone we need look no further than the proposed State Secrecy Bill, Service Delivery, the Toll Gate saga, Fracking in the Karoo, and the Michael Tellinger Constitutional Court Action against Standard Bank, the South African Reserve Bank, and the Minister of Finance to name a tiny few to realise the extent of the questions around this phenomenon.
The undeniable reality of our inextricable Oneness forces us to ponder the effects that deception may possibly have on society.
Findings reported in the Pearson International Edition (Twelfth Edition) of Social Psychology (2009) indicate that when people find themselves on the receiving end of lies, not only do they react with mistrust of, and disliking toward the perpetrator, perhaps of even greater interest, after to having been exposed to someone who has lied, most people are more willing to engage in such behaviour themselves. In a specific study participants were exposed to lying/liars to test if some lies are worse than others and if frequency had an effect. Apart from some amazing findings, the one that is most disturbing is that participants of the study who were exposed to frequent lying showed stronger tendencies to lie themselves than those who had observed only one lie or no lies at all. Together, the findings indicate that deception undermines the quality of social relationship because it spreads from one person to another. It seems possible that such effects contribute to the kind of scandals that rock large corporations... Lying by top people in these companies encourages unethical behaviour by many others, sometimes with disastrous results.
This phenomena ties is with the Cialdini Effect as it is described in the Report: The Spreading of Disorder by Dr Kees Keizer et al of the Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences, University of Groningen in the Netherlands who wanted to understand for example the effects of living in a neighborhood that is covered with graffiti, litter, and unreturned shopping carts. In a nutshell, the “Cialdini Effect” means ‘disorder begets disorder’ in communities and society at large: when one social or legal norm is obviously violated, we are tempted to loosen our grip on others. Or, as Dr Keizer writes in the more precise language of psychology: “one disorder (graffiti or littering) actually fostered a new disorder (stealing) by weakening the goal of acting appropriately... The mere presence of graffiti more than doubled the number of people littering and stealing.”
Dr Keizer adds: “… Exactly why our capacity to act honorably melts away in nasty settings is a mystery and he speculates that, when the instinct to act appropriately is pushed to one side, competing instincts - such as to do what feels good or to give in to greed - take over. If we can see that bad behavior has gone unpunished, perhaps we feel that our own lapses will go uncensured. Whatever the reason, the implications for policy are clear. Slapdashery in the environment breeds slapdashery in behavior, and small transgressions can lead to bigger ones. A community left in squalor will, we can speculate, eventually see its social norms dramatically lowered …”
One way of describing this ‘mystery’ is through the Morphogenetic field of Rupert Sheldrake. According to Sheldrake, the ‘morphic field’ underlies the formation and behaviour of ‘holons’ and ‘morphic units, and can be set up by the repetition of similar acts or thoughts. The hypothesis is that a particular form belonging to a certain group, which has already established its (collective) ‘morphic field’, will tune into that ‘morphic field’. The particular form will read the collective information through the process of ‘morphic resonance’, using it to guide its own development. This development of the particular form will then provide, again through ‘morphic resonance’, a feedback to the ‘morphic field’ of that group, thus strengthening it with its own experience, resulting in new information being added (i.e. stored in the database). Sheldrake regards the ‘morphic fields’ as a universal database for both organic (living) and abstract (mental) forms.
It is the Consciousness of our inter-connectedness and our uBuntu that not only highlights the effects of deceit and moral disorder but leads to the formation of new societies that deeply care for one-another and the planet we live on. Ke Nako! (Time is Now!)