They say that old habits die hard, and we talk about muscle memory when we do the same thing over and over again almost involuntarily, perhaps because we really do not know any other way to behave. It may be that we are simply hoping that by repeating the action, practice will make perfect and we will get it right next time, or we may just be insane to expect a different result.
This came to mind when four conservative Premiers met recently and demanded more privatization of the healthcare sector as a solution to the crisis. It did not seem to cross their minds that creeping privatization may have actually been a cause of the healthcare crisis and that new approaches may be the way to go.
And there is plenty of evidence from psychology that people are uncomfortable with change, if not outright hostile to new ideas. In addition, there are systemic, structural, informational and institutional barriers to change that will need to be overcome if a new politics is to take hold. From our first-past-the-post electoral system to the power of stock markets and global corporations and entrenched ideology, the task is daunting – but not impossible!
This session will explore the psychological factors that make us mental prisoners of neoliberalism, and the subliminal messaging that colours our thinking. We will also look at the economic, social, and administrative and governance factors that impede change, as we ask “what do we have to do to break the mould and make real progress towards a just and sustainable province?”
“Don’t Think of an Elephant - Know Your Values and Frame the Debate” George Lakoff. 2014
“The Political Mind” George Lakoff. 2009
“Thinking Fast and Slow” Daniel Kahneman. 2013
“Evil Geniuses” Kurt Andersen. 2020
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