Let's Prehend
A Manual of Human Ecology and Culture Design

GOLDEN MEAN, Midas' Curse

The principle of the Golden Mean, GM, contrasts the contracted versus expanded life stance. Contracted GM is simply illustrated: If the price is too high, the buyer feels ripped off. If the price is too low, the seller feels ripped off. If the price is right in the middle, they both feel ripped off. This social situation is called an adversarial or a Ripoff culture. A rip-off culture favors the victor over the vanquished and stresses the extrinsic rewards of victory over the intrinsic rewards of producing, creating and serving.

The opposite is called the Service culture characterized by an expansive GM: If the price is low, the seller has served, as when a businessman donates surplus goods to charity for merely a tax write-off, or when the bakery lowers the price of old bread even though it competes with fresh. If the price is high, the buyer has served, as when shoppers buy those machine-maid Girl Scout cookies, or the pedestrian buys and pencil on the street. If the price is right in the middle, both have served. A service culture stresses implicit personal rewards, win-win relationships - a small step toward a generous culture.

Thus the Ripoff-Service Parameter, RISP, measures the degree of dissociation, iD, of the socioeconomic process, a D Chart measure. It operates in every social and political situation. Imagine how it applies in marriage, work, child-rearing, etc.

A common example of the contractive GM in a rip-off culture is the assessment of one person by another based on their net worth: If a person is too rich, he is resented. If a person is too poor, he is despised. Hence, if a person has middling wealth, he is both resented and despised. Therefore, in a contractive GM culture, when someone inquires as to your wealth, be evasive and devious. In an expansive GM service culture, wealth and life style are less competitive, the tension decreases, empathy increases.

Self-concept exhibits the same principle. In contractive GM: If one's self assessment is too high, one is considered an egotist and lives the fool. If one's self concept is too low, one is degraded and suffers shame. If one's self concept is in the middle, one is both a degraded egotist and existentially embarrassed. In such a contracted GM rip-off mode, self concept is inherently trivial and fixated. Self concept is a trap, a contraction, a distraction from the ecstasy and the existential tasks of life. In the expansive GM of a service culture, the ego is relieved of the burden of defending itself; and attention is expanded toward creation and cooperation.

Encouraging attention to the self, especially in children, encourages an excess of self-consciousness, self-pity, resentment, passivity, leading towards a shallow life lacking in deeper participation. In contrast to such a ripoff, the service modality turns the child's attention outward to the task and to other people. The child gains both competence and empathy, and is more likely to experience the joys of the expanded life.

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