29 Juni 2006

Europa außerhalb Europas

Die Türkei paßt nicht ins EU-Europa. Timothy Gordon Ash hat, wie er in The Guardian von heute berichtet, Ersatz gefunden:
In fact, why doesn't the European Union invite Canada to join at once? In most respects it would be a much easier fit than Ukraine, let alone Turkey. It effortlessly meets the EU's so-called Copenhagen criteria for membership, including democratic government, the rule of law, a well-regulated market economy and respect for minority rights (Canada's a world-leader on that). Canada is rich, so would be a much-needed net contributor to the European budget at a time when the EU has been taking in lots of poorer states. [...]

Take the list of things that many Europeans consider to be most characteristic of us - by contrast with the United States. We Europeans believe that the free market should be tamed by values of social justice, solidarity and inclusiveness, realised through a strong welfare state. We don't have capital punishment. We believe that military force should only be used as a last resort and with the sanction of international law. We support international organisations. We love multilateralism and abhor unilateralism. We tend to think that men and women should be able to live more or less as they please with whomever they please, irrespective of gender and sexual orientation. We pride ourselves on our diversity. Check, check, check. Welcome to Canada.

[...] To look at Canada and its values is to understand how foolish it is to try to define Europe by reference to an allegedly unique set of "European values". Values matter, but these European values are shared by most Canadians more than they are by many Europeans. And many of these values are also shared by Americans in the liberal blue states of the US.

28 Juni 2006

The Least Reinforcing Syndrome (LRS)

Amy Sutherland hat am 25. Juni in ihrer Kolumne Modern Love in der New York Times über Nutzanwendungen von Einsichten aus dem Tiertraining auf den Ehealltag berichtet. Man kann sich diesen ebenso lehrreichen wie vergnüglichen Text auf der angegebenen Seite auch von der Autorin gelesen anhören. Die Illustration stammt von David Chelsea.
For a book I was writing about a school for exotic animal trainers, I started commuting from Maine to California, where I spent my days watching students do the seemingly impossible: teaching hyenas to pirouette on command, cougars to offer their paws for a nail clipping, and baboons to skateboard. [...]

The central lesson I learned from exotic animal trainers is that I should reward behavior I like and ignore behavior I don't. After all, you don't get a sea lion to balance a ball on the end of its nose by nagging. The same goes for the American husband.
Verändern ohne Meckern wäre eine Formel für diesen Umgang unter Menschen. Statt sich in den für Ehepaare mehr oder weniger typischen hochritualisierten Nörgeleien zu ergehen, lockt eine der beiden Personen die andere in neue Verhaltensweisen. Das eine Mittel ist die Belohnung, das andere das Syndrom der geringstmöglichen Bestätigung:
I followed the students to SeaWorld San Diego, where a dolphin trainer introduced me to least reinforcing syndrome (L. R. S.). When a dolphin does something wrong, the trainer doesn't respond in any way. He stands still for a few beats, careful not to look at the dolphin, and then returns to work. The idea is that any response, positive or negative, fuels a behavior. If a behavior provokes no response, it typically dies away.
Jen Strange hat sich über diese Anwendung von Techniken der Tierschulung auf Menschen in ihrem Blog sehr empört:
Instead of "thinking of my husband as an exotic species," what about "thinking of my husband of another human being while thinking of myself as a human with faults too". [...]

And instead of taking the "this didn't work" data as motivation to change the procedure, how about taking it as motivation to change the hypothesis to something more like "Maybe treating my husband like an exotic animal wasn't where I should have started. Maybe the problem is more in my own heart and my inability to love him sacrificially, practicing longsuffering when faced with his idiosyncrasies."

This is the scientific method gone bad wrong. [...] Let us live together in love, not manipulation.
Das ist ein kleiner Kulturkonflikt, und zwar nicht einer zwischen wissenschaftlicher Methode und Lebensklugheit, sondern zwischen zwei Arten, den menschlichen Umgang zu verstehen. Das eine ist eine am Wort, an der deutlichen Erklärung, am formulierten Text orientierte Herangehensweise, das andere ist eine am ganzen Verhalten, an allen Äußerungen interessierte Praxis des Umgangs, die den Mitmenschen nicht länger auf seine bewußte Handlungsüberwachungszentrale reduzieren will. Ich habe mich sosehr an die zweite, an Sutherlands Herangehensweise gewöhnt, daß mich Stranges Kommentare schon sehr überrascht haben.