Month: February 2014
Developing an understanding of who I am and why I matter has been an interesting journey. For those that know me, they know that my work on my dissertation has been exhausting yet extremely rewarding. The reason that I have found it to be so rewarding is that quite frankly, it is relevant, specific and worthy of being shared. Throughout my dissertation I focused on learning more about the economic system within the United States, the culture of wealth and the differentiation of mental behavior for the people in poverty. What I learned was extremely interesting, which is why I began to see how entrenched our system actually is.
Each social position within the United States has a role to play. My focus was guided by the mental set of people who have wealth guiding the mental set of people on poverty. What is most interesting is that through my research I learned that the people at the top have no idea what it means to live in poverty. Therefore, all of the guidelines that are created are done so from the mental set of wealth. Comments such as “If they only worked harder” or “They just need an education” are comments which are elitist.
As I continued to develop my research, a theory continued to come to me. Social Cognitive Reality. Simply put, people living in any given socio-economic location have their own developed social system, which is enveloped into a person cognitive map, which is that person’s reality. There are definitely people who managed to find their way out of poverty, yet, for the most part, people in poverty remain in poverty. The same is said for people of middle class and of wealth. It is not that people at each stage intend to remain this way, rather the people don’t know any better, and to learn a new reality is extremely difficult.
Consider where you are in life right now. Consider making a complete life change. Would you be able to adjust to a complete alteration of who you are, what you are and why you are.
Just saying to be successful requires hard work is an almost impossibility. The factors associated with changing locations, positions and cultures are far more ingrained than people understand. Therefore, the mental model of removing poverty from our system is not the way to go. Nor is it simply increasing minimum wage or even giving out funds to the needy. The American society needs people from all walks of life to sit down, collaborate and discuss options for redeveloping our society. The people in poverty survive in poverty, the people in wealthy live in wealth. Giving to one and or taking from the other may seem to politicians as the correct sentiment, yet, the most important lesson I learned from my research is that in order to change a society we need to change the culture..which cannot be done with money.