Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Sociological Look at Deviance, Buddhism, and Success

Success, Deviance, and Budhism.
(and sociology)

These terms may appear to have nothing in common.

See, in sociology, there are two terms: goals, and means. Your goals are your life's goals, which for most Americans, is money, success and women. And lots of each. Deviance occurs when the means to reach those goals are not sufficient. An equation is used to determine the risk/benefit value of each situation, and the choice is made.

Yes. It looks exactly like this.

The person in the position analyzes the potential gain by being deviant, and the potential risks. If the gain is worth the risk, then that person will be deviant. If it is not, then that person will use conventional means to meet those goals. It works a lot like the movie Fun With Dick and Jane. Dick was fine, working towards his goals. When he lost his job, he still used conventional means until the risk/benefit equation was thrown off balance. Then, he went deviant.

No further caption required.

But take a second to think about this, where do our goals come from? See that guy up top, that I posted earlier? He's a buisnessman. He's got the suit, breifcase, and "heh heh, I got dis" look. As I stated earlier, the typical American view of success is having more. More of what, you ask? More of everything. A bigger house. A bigger car. A bigger rhino.

Or a bigger rhino-car!

See, more is relative. The only way to have more of something is to compare it to something else. Most middle-class Americans look at the big corporate businessmen and say they have succeeded. They won the game. They have much larger houses, a much larger paycheck, and the top-of-the-line cars. Yet they still embezzle money, they still give themselves fatter bonuses, and hoard all the cash. Do they not see that they have succeeded? Of course not. They don't live in middle-class neighborhoods. They live in wall-street CEO neighborhoods, where everyone has a gold-plated rhino car. They see their success as inadequate. They need that extra dollar so they can buy another private jet. All because that ass Jim down the road has two! And so, because they cannot reach their goal of even more success, they resort to deviance. Instead of robbing liquor stores, they cheat investors out of money.

"The plan is simple. We cheat the liquor store, and rob the investors!"

See the problem here? Everyone is defining their goals based on everyone else. Did you know that in buddhist countries, poverty is high, yet the happiness levels skyrocket? Also, did you know that countries which switch from Buddhism to a more Western economy/culture report higher profit, yet a significant drop in happiness?

It's all about goals.

Buddhism asks you to find your own value. To stop putting so much weight on the opinions of others, and instead find an opinion of yourself. In this way, your goals are no longer determined by others, but instead by you. If you have food, water, and shelter, you are set. Everything else is a luxury, not a neccessity. You don't need to get that new car, because you already have one that works fine. You don't need that new house, because you already live in one that is perfect. If you have your goals met, and your neccessities taken care of, life is good. Failing to meet goals causes depression. Meeting goals causes happiness. And guess what?

You can set your own goals.

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