"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Saturday, January 27, 2018

She Thought Mayon Volcano Was in Naga City, So What?

In an interview with Jay Leno, Barack Obama stated, “If we don’t deepen our ports all along the Gulf — places like Charleston, South Carolina, or Savannah, Georgia, or Jacksonville, Florida — if we don’t do that, those ships are going to go someplace else. And we’ll lose jobs. Businesses won’t locate here.” Glenn Beck, of course, was quick to mock the US president for that mistake in geography. Recently, the Assistant Secretary for Social Media of the Presidential Communications Group in the Philippines, Mocha Uson, made the error of placing Mayon Volcano on Naga City. Even a facebook page supportive of former president Ferdinand Marcos was quick to mock Uson:

Above copied from Bagong Lipunan Facebook page.

With the above picture, the page noted how lacking in knowledge Uson was and suggested that her millions of followers were probably equally ignorant in Philippine geography. Of course, Uson likewise received ridicule from supporters of the former Aquino administration. The blunder happened while Uson was trying to point out that mass media should pay more attention to more important issues such as Dengvaxia, pork anomaly in the Senate, and the current activity of Mayon Volcano which has displaced tens of thousands of people in the province of Albay.

Similar to Obama's mistake, there was an opportunity to punch, and people did punch. This is simply intellectual bullying. Schools in the Philippines have been paying close attention to bullying. Unfortunately, bullying is often equated to physical harm. A study published in Psychology reported that prevalence of bully victimization rate was about 40% among sixth graders in five different schools in Western Visayas. Of these victims, more than half experienced verbal bullying. What was not specifically noted in this study was how many of these victims were humiliated in a mental way. Intellectual bullying needs our special attention because this type of bullying unlike other types is most likely to continue even in adulthood.

Leon Seltzer, PhD, writes in Psychology Today:
What’s the ultimate hazard in all of this? How might “brainy bullies” end up harming themselves as much as, or more than, their targets? 
For many of the gifted clients I worked with — some of whom, initially, couldn’t resist trying to put me down — this verbal artillery, earlier so pivotal in protecting their easily splintered self-esteem, was now habitual, an essential attribute of their behavioral repertoire. And it was significantly impairing — at times destroying — their personal and professional relationships. However unawares, routinely demeaning others to feel one-up on them both offended and antagonized their (presumed) inferiors. In turn, these individuals, feeling deprecated by such intellectual bullying, all too often either left them or found ways to get back at them.
Uson certainly has millions of followers so those who are intellectually bullying her are likely to see themselves being attacked. But the harm does not end at this point. Seltzer continues:
...the intellectual bully, with such poorly developed empathy — having come to rely on their cerebral gifts to feel better than others — would find themselves facing an opposition their very intellect precluded them from dealing with effectively (almost like accidentally falling on their own intellectual sword).
Driving home the difference between an intellectual and physical bullying, Seltzer cites Paul Jones:
"The athlete bully . . . begins with the idea that 'If I can beat you in a physical contest, then I am your master and I am better than you,' but eventually is conditioned to accept that physical domination is not socially acceptable. He grows up when he realizes he can’t get along with other adults by bullying them." 
"[In contrast] the intellectual bully . . . begins with the idea that 'If I can beat you in a mental contest, then I am your master and I am better than you.' However, the intellectual bully rarely learns that mental domination is similarly unacceptable in civil, adult discourse."
Intellectual bullying is truly insidious. And browsing through Facebook only demonstrates how serious the problem of intellectual bullying is in the Philippines.


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