link: marketing character

         

                   EDUCATION IN CULTURAL CONTEXT: CAPITALISM AND 'MARKETING

                                                             CHARACTER ORIENTATION'

                                                    

Theme: The study of education in its cultural context provides information about the powerful emotional forces which operate in the formation of character within a given culture. The correlation between character orientation and social structure is a very important consideration for the 'science of education'. With the development of modern capitalistic society, a unique character orientation has evolved as a mode of relatedness with the world, the so-called 'marketing character orientation'. Market character orientation is a neurotic form of outlook derived from the unsuitability of humanness in a materialistic capitalistic society and so-called 'adjustment' which inhibits normal development and instead fosters neurotic development or 'neurosis'. Mentally and emotionally crippled individuals of 'marketing character orientation' perceive themselves and others in terms of their value on the market.

"American civilization is not a human civilization. It is a 'business civilization.' Dependent on the 'business ethics' of the business civilization, educational institutions prevent the individual's personal and psycholgical growth to maturity. Few individuals become mature in a culture which makes 'common sense' out of mental dishonesty." (Henry Overstreet The Mature Mind p.175)

Influence of culture on character formation The character of the average individual is determined to a large extent by the socioeconomic and political structure of the culture in which they live i.e. their 'cultural context'. Study of the cultural context explains some of the causes for the formation of character. And the study of a specific character orientation common to many individuals in the culture provides information about the powerful emotional forces which are operating in that culture. These same forces are instrumental in moulding the social character and the functioning of the society.

Marketing character orientation or 'marketing character'   In spite of all the emphasis put upon man's happiness, individuality and self-interest, capitalistic economic theories of modern technological society have taught people that the aim of life is the successful fulfillment of their duty to work. They are made to believe... conditioned to believe.. that it is in their interest to work for money, prestige, and power. As a result of the demands of the system, ethical norms are formulated on the premise that man is powerless and insignificant. People are persuaded to make value judgements on the basis of material success rather than faith in human dignity and courage. Bewildered by the moral confusion of this irrational value system, they become easy prey to its demands and are influenced by the enthusiasm of political leaders. With the development of modern capitalistic society, a unique character orientation has evolved as a mode of relatedness with the world, the so-called 'marketing character orientation.' The individual of marketing character orientation is unaware of the fact that it is in their 'real' self-interest to live in harmony with themselves and their fellow human beings.

 The individual experiences himself both as "the seller and as the commodity to be sold on the market, his self-esteem depending on conditions beyond his control. If he is 'successful' he is valuable; if he is not 'successful' he is worthless. The degree of insecurity which results from this orientation can hardly be overestimated. If one feels that one's own value is not constituted primarily by the human values one possesses, but by one's success on a competitive market with ever-changing conditions, one's self-esteem, is bound to be shaky and is in constant need of confirmation by others. Hence one is driven to strive relentlessly for success, and any setback is a severe threat to one's self-esteem ; helplessness, insecurity, and inferiority feelings are the result. If the vicissitudes of the market are the judges of one's value, the sense of dignity and pride is destroyed." (Fromm, Erich. "Man for Himself: an Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics." Holt, Rhinehart and Winston, New York, l947. page 72) 

The individual perceives himself as a commodity to be sold on the market. His self-esteem thus depends on conditions which are beyond his control. He considers himself valuable only if he is 'successful' on the competitive market. Unable to feel that his own value is constituted by his own human values, his self-esteem is insecure and he remains constantly dependent on others for approval. To protect his sense of dignity and pride, he is driven to strive for success. As a nonproductive form of human relatedness, the market character orientation does not develop the individual's human potential. Nor does it foster any form of permament relatedness. On the contrary, it creates the quick changeability of attitudes characteristic of a changing market. No one particular attitude is predominant and the semblance of human qualities can be sold and exchanged when others are more desirable. The manipulation of the individual's character contributes to his confused feelings about his self-identity. He perceives his own powers as commodities which are alien to him. What becomes important to him is not the achievement of his self-realization, in the process of using his powers. What matters instead is his success in the process of selling himself and his powers as commodities for the market. To be successful he must please others and play different roles. He must substitute prestige, status and success for his own feeling of identity. Utterly dependent on the way others perceive him, he is often forced to keep up the role in which he is successful. Perceiving himself in terms of market value, he perceives other individuals in terms of their market value. With the extinction of individuality and indifference to a person's relationship with himself and others, the meaning of the right to 'equality' for conditions of development degenerates.

 The individual neglects himself and forms superficial relationships with other people. Within a culturally manifest marketing orientation, people relate to each other like interchangeable commodities. The inevitable effect on the individual is to create a profound sense of loneliness and anxiety which results in his search for depth and intensity of feeling in love relationships. Under the illusion that his loneliness can be cured in the love relationship he becomes unaware of the indivisibility of love for one person and love for one's neighbour.

 Capitalistic economic theories of modern technological society emphasize 'happiness', 'individuality' and 'self-interest' People are taught to believe that it is in their interest to work for money, prestige, and power. They are persuaded that the aim of life is the successful  fulfilment of their duty to work. As a result they lose sight of the fact that it is in their 'real' self-interest to live in harmony with themselves and their fellow human beings. As a result of the demands of the capitalist culture, ethical norms are formulated (authoritarian ethics) on the premise that the individual is  powerless and insignificant. People are persuaded to make value  judgements on the basis of material 'success' rather than faith in human dignity and courage. They are bewildered by the moral confusion of an irrational value system and as a result they become easy prey to the demands of political leaders.

Rather than fostering the individual's instinctive powers of motivation, the system inhibits his development as 'mature growth' or 'self-actualisation'. Combined with the de-emphasis on individuality and the need to  conform is the emphasis on initiative and self-responsibility. The result is a feeling of helplessness which is cause for the individual's subtly receptive attitudes towards 'experts' and 'public opinion' to tell him how to think.

The marketing orientation character and education:

Marketing character and perception of knowledge... devaluation of learning and knowledge

  Emphasis on superficial understanding...A study of the correlation between character orientation and social structure is very important to a science of ethics. As well as explaining some of the causes for the formation of character, the stuy of a specific character orientation which is common to most members of the culture, tells us which powerful emotional forces are instrumental in molding the social character and the functioning of the society.

The market character orientation  also affects the individual's perception of knowledge and the thought process. 'Thinking' means grasping and manipulating factual data for purposes of power and prestige. 'Intelligence' means efficient mental adaptation to a given situation. 'Knowing' is a tool for producing results and 'knowledge' is a commodity. 'Truth'  attained by observation and analysis of data becomes obsolete.  'Psychology' as study of the psyche has degenerated into being used for manipulation of oneself and others, for 'market research' and advertising as well as for political propaganda. With the devaluation of psychology, intelligence, knowledge and truth, the individual is discouraged from thinking, learning and knowing.

In the educational system, learning and the acquisition of knowledge have degenerated into the gathering of as much information as possible to increase its exchange value on the market. With the emphasis on knowledge of factual data, students are trained to increase their useful knowledge... As a result of the deemphasis on individuality, they are not encouraged to develop their innate reasoning powers - their power to think.

  Rather than fostering the individual's instinctive powers of motivation, the system inhibits his development to self-actualization. Combined with the deemphasis on individuality and the need to conform is the emphasis on initiative and self-responsibility. The result is a feeling of helplessness which is cause for the individual's subtly receptive attitudes towards 'experts' and 'public opinion' to tell him how to do things and how to think.

 "The marketing orientation of character affects the individual's perception of knowledge and the thought processes. The function of thinking is to grasp quickly with the purpose of successful manipulation of factual data. With emphasis on superficial understanding, the efficient and widespread education for 'intelligence' leads to the simple efficiency of mental adaptation to a given situation".(Erich Fromm Man for Himself p.76)

Capitalist culture fosters mental dishonesty   "There has been a special tendency in Western culture, historically determined, to assure that (the) instinctoid needs of the human being, his so-called 'animal nature', are base and evil. As a consequence, many cultural institutions are set up for the express purpose of controlling, inhibiting, suppressing and repressing this original nature of man." (Maslow Psychology of Being. page 164)   

 "...deception and hypocrisy are neither absolute evils that virtuous men suppress to a minimum level nor residual animal traits waiting to be erased by further social evolution. They are very human devices for conducting the complex daily business of social life. The level in each particular society may represent a compromise that reflects the size and complexity of the society. If the level is too low, others will seize the advantage and win. If it is too high, ostracism is the result. Complete honesty on all sides is not the answer. The old primate frankness would destroy the delicate fabric of social life that has built up in human populations beyond the limits of the immediate clan. As Louis J. Halle correctly observes, good manners have become a substitute for love." (Wilson, E. Sociobiology 553)     

As a culture which fosters mental dishonesty, the capitalist culture devalues the natural integrity of the human organism. 

Marketing character valued in terms of success on the competitive market  The marketing character orientation is a form of relatedness to the world whereby the individual's self-perception in terms of commodities for sale on a competitive market. As a result, they do not feel valuable in terms of their own intrinsic values i.e. 'human values'. They feel valuable if they are 'successful' on the market.  To be successful they must please others and play different roles. They become completely dependent on the way others perceive them and are often forced to keep up the role in which they are most successful. They must substitute prestige, status and success for their own feeling of identity. What matters to them is  their success in selling themselves and their powers as commodities on the market. Consequently  their self-esteem depends on conditions which are  beyond their control and so is insecure. They remain dependent on others for approval and in order to protect their sense of dignity they continue to be driven in their striving for ‘success’. Dependency on success is not functional in the development of human potential and for this reason the market character orientation is a non-productive  form of human relatedness. 

"Conflicts inherent in the culture produce effects which are relevant to the problem of maturity of the individual in the American culture. The individual is a divided self, with doubts, fears and inner tensions manifest in the 'mentl illness, violence, crime, alcoholism, drug addiction, anxieties, prejudice, etc. Conditioning influences of the culture are conflicting. Cultural conflicts include the faith in education and contempt for educated people, apathy and driving ambition,etc. When there is a lack of wholeness in the conditioning influences, the individual cannot grow into a psychologically whole, mature human being. The individual is a compartmentalized self, trying to harmonize the various 'selves' of his experience - the domestic self, the business self - the religious self, the political self etc. all housed in one physical self. In the face of the cultural conflicts, the compartmentalized and divided self has difficulty maturing into a psychologically whole human being. The individual has difficulty building sound linkages of responsibility with the world when education in the cultural atmosphere education is both exalted and despised. It is difficult for a child to grow to maturity in a culture in which the natural hazards of life are vastly multiplied by the confusions of the culture and in which he faces an abnormal temptation to remain dependent and irresponsible... where the same two parents send him to school, want him to bring home grades they can view with pride, talk ablut the inmpracticality of what is learned in school, admore,people less for what they know than for what they own, and make it clear that teachers are nobodies compared with business men and movie stars." (Overstreet The Mature Mind 141) 

It does not foster any form of permanent  relatedness but creates the same quick changeability of attitudes which is characteristic of changing markets. The individual learns that the semblance of human qualities can be sold and exchanged  when others are more desirable and so no one particular attitude predominates.This manipulation of character contributes to confused feelings about their own identity.

 Since they perceive their own powers as commodities which are alien to him they do not attach importance to the use of their powers in a process of achieving self-realization or 'self-actualisation'. Perceiving themselves in terms of market value, they perceive others in terms of their market value. With this extinction of individuality and indifference to their relationship with themselves and others, they denigrate the right to 'equality' for conditions of development. They neglect themselves and form superficial relationships with others ...relate to each other like interchangeable commodities. The inevitable effect is to create a profound sense of loneliness and anxiety which results in their search for depth and intensity of feeling in love relationships. Under the illusion that their loneliness can be cured in the love relationship they become unaware of the indivisibility of love for one person and love for one's neighbour i.e. ‘universal love’.

 Rather than fostering the individual's instinctive powers of motivation, the system inhibits his development to self-actualization. Combined with the deemphasis on individuality and the need to conform is the emphasis on initiative and self-responsibility. The result is a feeling of helplessness which is cause for the individual's subtly receptive attitudes towards 'experts' and 'public opinion' to tell him how to do things and how to think. In contrast, the 'productive character orientation' as a mode of relatedness to the world is the result of a spontaneous process of self-realization in which the individual recognizes his powers, identifies with them and puts them to productive use.

Implications for education The market character orientatiton is a non-prodctive form of human relatedness and does not develop the individual's human potential. Nor does it foster any form of permament relatedness. On the contrary, it creates the quick changeability of attitudes characteristic of a changing market. No one particular attitude is predominant and the semblance of human qualities can be sold and exchanged when others are more desirable. The manipulation of the individual's character contributes to the confused feelings about his self-identity. The individual perceives his own powers as commodities which are alien to him. What matters is not the achievement of his self-realization in the process of using his powers. What matters is his success in the processs of selling himself and his powers as commodities for the market. To be successful he must please others and play different roles. He must substitute prestige, status and successs for his own feeling of identity. Utterly dependent on the way others perceive him, he is often forced to keep up the role in which he is successful. Mentally and emotionally crippled - perceiving himself in terms of market value he perceives other individuals in terms of their value on the market. -he perceives other individuals in terms of their value on the market.

The meaning of an individual's fundamental right to 'equality' for conditions of development degenerates. The meaning becomes associated with the extinction of individuality and indifference to a person's relationship with himself and with others. Neglecting himself, the individual forms superficial relationships with other people. Within a culturally manifest marketing orientation, instead of people relating to each other as human beings, they relate to each other as interchangeable commodities. The inevitable effect on the individual is to create a profound sense of loneliness and anxiety which results in the search for depth and intensity of feeling in love relatiohnships. Unaware of the indivisibility of love for one person and love for one's neighbor, he is under the illusion that his loneliness can be cured in the love relationship.

The marketing orientation character and education:

... 'extrinsic motivation'... 'grades'... 'educational crisis'... decline in motivation and so-called 'problem of motivation'... .. .

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References:

 Fromm, Erich. "Man for Himself: an Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics." Holt, Rhinehart and Winston, New York, l947

"In American culture the emphasis is on freedom of the outer aspect of life, freedom of choice and action. The individual is not allowed the inner freedom to act from conviction and internal harmony." (Erich Fromm Escape from Freedom. 253)

     "...intrinsic human values are not valued in a society which measures the individual in terms of

material success. Focusing on the demands for adjustment to

 

The success of capitalism depends on the denigration of human values...

"The success of capitalism depends on the denigration of human values. Without realizing it, the people in a capitalist society are instruments of capitalism. In order to adapt to their social environment, people in a capitalist society must live by the 'values' of capitalism. 'Happiness' is based on material 'success.' A person in a capitalistic society is judged in terms of the requirements of the 'job.' The criteria of a person's health and worth are based on the person's suitability for 'the job,' the 'workplace'. Their 'adjustment' to the 'society' is the cause for their neuroses which result from the unsuitability of humanness in a materialistic society. The intrinsic human values are not valued in a society which measures the individual in terms of material 'success.' Concentrating on his efforts to 'adjust' to the demands of capitalism, the individual loses sight of his own intrinsic values which make him human.... "we must not fall into the trap of defining the good organism in terms of what he is 'good for' as if were an instrument rather than something in himself, as if he were only a means to some extrinsic purpose." (Abraham Maslow Toward a Psychology of Being p. l79)

 "The whole personality of the average individual is determined by the way people relate to each other and it is determined by the socioeconomic and political structure of society to such an extent that in in principle, one can infer from the analysis of one individual the totality of the social structure in which he lives."(Fromm Man For Himself 79)

Very important to a 'science of ethics' is the study of the correlation between character orientation and social structure. As well as explaining some of the causes for the formation of character, the study of a specific character orientation which is common to most members of the culture tells us which powerful emotional forces are instrumental in molding the social character and the functioning of the society. The personality of the average individual is determined by the socioeconomic and political structure of the society in which he lives.

 With the development of modern capitalistic society... capitalism... the individual loses sight of his own intrinsic values which make him human.

 a unique character orientation has evolved as a mode of relatedness with the world, the so-called 'marketing character orientation.' The individual perceives himself as a commodity to be sold on the market. His self-esteem thus depends on conditions which are beyond his control. He considers himself valuable only if he is 'successful' on the competitive market. Unable to feel that his own value is constituted by his own human values, his self-esteem is insecure and he remains constantly dependent on others for approval. To protect his sense of dignity and pride, he is driven to strive for success. He perceives his own powers as commodities which are alien to him. What matters is not the achievement of his self-realization, in the process of using his powers. What matters instead is his success in the process of selling himself and his powers as commodities for the market. To be successful he must please others and play different roles. He must substitute prestige, status and success for his own feeling of identity. Utterly dependent on the way others perceive him, he is often forced to keep up the role in which he is successful. Perceiving himself in terms of market value, he perceives other individuals in terms of their market value.

 As a non-productive form of human relatedness, the market character orientation does not develop the individual's human potential. Nor does it foster any form of permanent relatedness. On the contrary, it creates the quick changeability of attitudes characteristic of a changing market. No one particular attitude is predominant and the semblance of human qualities can be sold and exchanged when others are more desirable. The manipulation of the individual's character contributes to the confused feelings about his self-identity.

With the extinction of individuality and indifference to a person's relationship with himself and others, the meaning of the right to 'equality' for conditions of development degenerates... and is associated with the extinction of individuality and indifference to a person's relationship with himself and with others. The individual neglects himself and forms superficial relationships with other people. Within a culturally manifest marketing orientation, people relate to each other like interchangeable commodities. The inevitable effect on the individual is to create a profound sense of loneliness and anxiety which results in his search for depth and intensity of feeling in love relationships.Unaware of the indivisibility of love for one person and love for one's neighbour, he remains is under the illusion that his loneliness can be cured in the love relationship.

 The market character orientation also affects the individual's perception of knowledge and the thought process. Psychology, the study of the psyche, has degenerated into being used for the manipulation of others in market research, in advertising and for political propaganda. 'Thinking' means grasping and manipulating factual data for purposes of power and prestige.'Like thinking, knowing is experienced as a tool to produce results and knowledge becomes a commodity. Truth' attained by observation and analysis of data becomes obsolete. With emphasis on superficial understanding, 'intelligence' means efficient mental adaptation to a given situation.

 In the educational system, learning and the acquisiton of knowledge have degenerated into the gathering of as much information as possible to increase its exchange value on the market. .With the emphasis on knowledge of factual data, development of the individual's innate reasoning powers is deemphasized. they are not encouraged to develop their innate reasoning powers - to learn how to think With the devaluation of psychology, intelligence, knowlege and truth, the individual is discouraged from thinking, learning and knowing. Rather than fostering the individual's instinctive powers of motivation, the system inhibits his development to self-actualization. Combined with the deemphasis on individuality and the need to conform is the emphasis on initiative and self-responsibility. The result is a feeling of helplessness which is cause for the individual's subtly receptive attitudes towards 'experts' and 'public opinion' to tell him how to do things and how to think. 

 In contrast, the productive character orientation as a mode of relatedness to the world is the result of a spontaneous process of self-realization. The individual recognizes his powers, identifies with them and puts them to productive use. Every human being is born with the biologically innate potential of a productive character. With intense interest in reality, the individual is affected emotionally and stimulated intellectually. The aim of human development is the individual's self-realization of his productive character, experiencing the world both mentally through reason and emotionally through love. 'Love' implies respect, knowledge, care and responsibilty. 'Reason' implies an understanding of all dimensions. Knowledge of the productive character orientation is simultaneously knowledge of human nature. A 'science of ethics' and a 'science of education' are both concerned with the full development of the individual's powers and potentialities in the process of becoming fully human. They both depend on the knowledge of human nature as a basis for determining what constitutes man's 'true' self-interest. The aim of ethics is virtue and the aim of education is productiveness. An educational system which encourages spontaneous productiveness simultaneously encourages virtue. In the social manifestation of a rational value system, man's social and political activities and institutions create conditions to foster the development of productiveness. Their only purpose and end is man's 'real' interest - man for himself.

 As a mode of relatedness, the 'productive character orientation "covers mental, emotional and sensory responses to others, to oneself and to things." (84)