Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
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jennypenny
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by jennypenny »

@jacob -- I'm not sure to whom you're referring, but my points (and Brooks' in the article) argued against a transactional approach. The point is that as a society we've reduced it to something transactional, which is why tenpercenters can maintain it while the rest can't.

The working class are hardest hit by the trend, so it's hard to hold their approach up as an example, unless you're talking about 50 years ago. What I think you're identifying in the upper and working classes is the homogeneity of the groups (much narrower bands financially and socially). When financial considerations are the same for the whole group, the focus is elsewhere. The middle class has the widest range and the most potential for movement (used to be upward, now it's downward), so financial considerations are paramount.

I'm also not looking at social capital with scorekeeping in mind. People here project that onto relationships (and comments from people like Ego and myself) but that's not what we mean. There's a quote from the article above that talks about embeddedness vs. autonomy. That's what I'm talking about ... staying embedded in my social circles, which requires participation and maintenance.

For those who are bad at the social stuff, participating is the hardest obstacle to overcome. For those who are really good at it, they are usually informally tasked with maintaining the group as a whole. We all have our roles to play.


I think some of you are missing the finer points of the article. Brooks isn't arguing that extended/forged families are better because then you don't have to pay someone to watch your kids. That was only a side benefit. The point is that if other people help out with child care, the kids (and those adults) get social and emotional benefits out of the relationship. It's those hard-to-quantify bennies that are missing and why so many people struggle with loneliness and depressions these days.

How many threads have we had on related topics, whether partners, family, maintaining friendships, meaning in life, etc? And how many people retire and get bored right away? Social capital would help with all of that, and again I don't mean in a transactional way (which is unfortunately the answer I think most are looking for here).

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jennypenny
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by jennypenny »

From the Yields and Flows Thread ...
jennypenny wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:39 am
As I look at three possible tiers in the ERE Wheaton Scale, I'd label them Simple, Complex, and Emergent.
levels 0-2: Simple — Direct results, 1 + 1 = 2
levels 3-5: Complex — Multiple/amplified results, 1 + 1 = 5
levels 6-8: Emergent — Unexpected and unanticipated results, 1 + 1 = banana

The first two tiers are more easily explained to others through (almost) universal behaviors and patterns as long as one is close enough on the scale. They also produce results rather quickly, which makes it easier to demonstrate the usefulness of the behaviors recommended at each level. The Emergent tier is much more difficult to demonstrate/explain because of the uniqueness of each individual's web and the inability to anticipate what might emerge from a robust one.

Emergence can be weak or strong. Weak emergent results might be able to be explained by others in that top tier in hindsight by examining the web and its results. The results might be unexpected but still explainable. These are the kinds of examples that are used to help level 5 people get over that last moat, which people often attempt to describe on the forum (erroneously ascribed to 'serendipity' IMO).

Strong emergent results are completely novel results. They might not be explainable, even by Emergent tier people. That's part of what makes it so hard to give examples to help people reach those top levels. There's not always a clear chain of events or repeatable outcome, and often the results are so unique to the individual's web that they're useless to the observer.
I'm not talking about transactional social capital, or even the type of 'working class' capital that makes you part of a supportive group. I'm talking about being an integral part of a group and then being a part of whatever happens to that group good or bad. It means feeling as if you're part of a bigger body, feeling a connection that provides benefits (and sometimes problems) that you can't quite articulate or anticipate.

I think maybe criticism is coming from lower tier perspectives on social capital. I agree the term is problematic. I really like Brooks use of the term embeddedness. I think it's a better way to phrase it because I think that's where the most benefit comes from ... feeling a part of something as opposed to getting something out of it. If you can 'get something out of it', you're not a part of it -- you're outside of it. Once you're truly 'in' it --part of the whole -- transactional approaches are impossible.

IlliniDave
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by IlliniDave »

I'm a product of a "modified corporate family", and my kids were raised in the best modified corporate family we could maintain, geography being the challenge to overcome. My kids are doing similar with their kids, although they are both more prone to use family terminology towards their friends.

My post-career plans are grounded in family, though I do intend to reserve part of the year to nourish the introvert. Maybe it would have been easier to shuck my traditional family and pick again every new place I showed up. Except for getting married at one stop I just made friends, some have persisted and others have not. So friends and non-family social circles have a role too, and I suppose it's wise to be flexible in how they are weighted.

A lot of people flame out in modified corporate families, which can result in a collapse back to corporate families in which the burning may or may not continue. Seems like the advantage to the chosen family method is the ongoing freedom to chose a different family if an existing one becomes undesirable. Of course the ability to change communities (relocation or just changing affiliation) requires a certain amount of 'privilege'. Those stuck without it would more/less be left in a school-district defined commune that in the US that typically means an increasingly government-run situation in a government structure that's increasingly top-heavy. That's often a self-perpetuating situation as people with the wherewithal to get out usually do.

Interesting stuff to think about, anyway. As always I tend to see both/and as the preferred way for those with the option. Having a family in the traditional sense along with other friendships and social interactions (less than many do because introvert) I don't really look for or think much about where the lines may sometimes get blurred. I value family and it seems wise for people who don't have much in the way of literal family to create productive relationships to function in domains that otherwise would tend to default to family.

daylen
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by daylen »

jennypenny wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:21 am
I'm not talking about transactional social capital, or even the type of 'working class' capital that makes you part of a supportive group. I'm talking about being an integral part of a group and then being a part of whatever happens to that group good or bad. It means feeling as if you're part of a bigger body, feeling a connection that provides benefits (and sometimes problems) that you can't quite articulate or anticipate.
This is partly what I meant by synchronization(*), so I think we are on the same page. It is also more of an Fe approach to focus on social situations holistically. I can see what jacob means now by social capital extending to flows and networks. This is a great moment for me since it illustrates a pivot point on my project where alpha+ beta think in syncs and delta + gamma think in capital.

The way I talk on this forum is not usually how I talk in real life with other people. I act very different depending on the situation(**), but here on this forum I can share more about what I am thinking without causing too much havoc. :)

(*) This concept is highly versatile.. sporting events, walking patterns, sympathy, echo chambers, families, neighborhoods, cities etc. Anytime social animals interact there tends to be emergent order.

(**) ..and have been nearly since I started talking, because I learned very early that people would get uncomfortable with what I was saying and how I said it.

bigato
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by bigato »

tony: too lazy to dig it out now, but yes, the value has been proven to be positive in all levels of the introversion/extroversion scale. Which doesn’t mean they will all like the same kind of interactions.

daylen
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by daylen »

Eh, happiness is overrated. An evolutionary adaptation insuring that social animals stay gullible and compliant (hunger games anyone?). Allowing larger synchronizations to dominate by ignoring long-term memory (..and in turn sustainability). :D

AnalyticalEngine
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

Serious question. Has anyone actually read these studies about social relationships causing happiness? Because I hear a lot of pop sci discussion on the topic, but I'm wondering if there isn't a serious flaw in the logic.

For example, is this just correlation or causation? Do relationships make people happy? Or do happy people have an easier time making relationships? How do they control for things like propensity to confirm to social expectations? What about other things that might make "deep intimate relationships" difficult, like having niche interests, atypical personality, or minority status in other ways? (Ie, racial, religious, sexual minority, etc)

Not that I doubt the thesis, but I feel like sometimes these discussions/studies are taken out of scientific and social context.

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Ego
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by Ego »

jennypenny wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:21 am
I'm not talking about transactional social capital, or even the type of 'working class' capital that makes you part of a supportive group. I'm talking about being an integral part of a group and then being a part of whatever happens to that group good or bad. It means feeling as if you're part of a bigger body, feeling a connection that provides benefits (and sometimes problems) that you can't quite articulate or anticipate.
Spot on.

All systems REQUIRE a little disorder. That goes for forests, governments, ant colonies and human beings.

Most people tend toward solutions that require adding. We EREers enjoy solutions that require subtraction. Smaller less complex systems are easier to control. The benefits of having control over systems is obvious. The costs are not so obvious and can appear suddenly without warning.

Freedom derived from independence is a strong tonic for the young. It can be hard to see the downside. Those of us who love subtractive-solutions are especially vulnerable to the cost-blindness that results from extreme independence.

One of the criticisms of social media is that young people are able to profess their opinion on a wide variety of topics in a way that is public, permanent and easy to reference in the future. It is hard to evolve positions when others can simply link to something you said in the past and point out the inconsistencies. As a consequence they grasp firmer to their youthful, extreme position.

Those of us who grew up pre-social media know that our opinions have evolved over the years and will continue to do so. Thankfully if we haven't written a book we are free of the permanent record that could entrench us. We can open ourselves up to a little disorder and can let that disorder work its magic. We are free to evolve.
Last edited by Ego on Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

thrifty++
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by thrifty++ »

Very interesting topic. I think its all pros and cons. Personally I significantly prefer the modern western way of doing things.

Totally agree with Ertyu's comments about how extended families can be oppressive, particularly in non-western or pre modern western times. Think about all the stuff around arranged marriages, honour killings, homophobia, corruption and nepotism, and overall dysfunctional levels of oppression of control, in ones nuclear or extended family.

In family dominated cultures the success in your life is overwhelmingly determined by how functional your family is and how well you fit their expectations. This can lead to utterly miserable consequences for those with dysfunctional families and/or who don't fit family mould expectations.

I think the best situation someone can achieve is to have a functional supportive western nuclear family and extended family, and the extended family will group together as a result of this. I have seen such families and have been immensely envious. Hell I have been immensely envious of people with functional nuclear families. I have always needed to find economic and emotional support outside of any family from a young age, so what the book proposes is horrific in my mind.

There are probably some things the west could generally take some other cultures in terms of seeking to support extended family members and immediate family members a bit more. But I think overall, like most things, it seems like something where the western way of doing things is better than any other cultures. And I think other cultures do think this but may not always express it, but all try to immigrate to western countries to have the western way of life and western morality
Last edited by thrifty++ on Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

daylen
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by daylen »

Ego wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:52 pm
Those of us who grew up pre-social media know that our opinions have evolved over the years and will continue to do so.
Such an ENTJ thing to say. The antithesis is how do you know your opinions have evolved if you have no recollection of them? Social media is not required (Si works too; Ni can be deceiving). Not attacking you or anything; I enjoy your participation. ;)

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Ego
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by Ego »

Well, fortunately for me the guy who developed the system you've been so actively promoting here did a tarot card reading just for ENTJs and posted it on youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZKuydeCDiU

ENTJs got the 2 of pentacles. What is a pentacle anyway?

daylen
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by daylen »

@Ego No idea, ha. You just illustrated one of our major differences. I do not really think in terms of promotion nor do I seek other systems to adopt. For me, I find more joy in the development of systems. Part of that is just constructing a bunch of different versions that likely do not fit neatly together and sorting through them to find the least paradoxical one to play with for a while.. then doing that over and over (because I am insane I suppose). When interacting with others here on the forum, I am mainly trying to find flaws in my current best system. :)

bigato
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by bigato »

AE: those are serious studies, you can look them up in detail.

steveo73
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by steveo73 »

Loner wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:38 am
Well, this is very true. Although I do buy into it, I have also felt a bit icky about the way certain people (not necessarily here) talk about social capital exactly for this reason. Thinking about social capital as social capital transforms the relationships into means, not ends. The thing with social capital is that you shouldn't consider it as social capital. When I help out a friend or family member, I don't go thinking "Yes! I indebted him to me of 1.5 favors!"
I find the idea really weird. One thing that has helped me enormously in lots of relationships (work, friends, kids, marriage) is being comfortable being open and honest and being able to speak to issues. If you are doing things for some score or some long term pay off I think you are being fake and weird.

steveo73
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by steveo73 »

jennypenny wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:08 am
I think some of you are missing the finer points of the article. Brooks isn't arguing that extended/forged families are better because then you don't have to pay someone to watch your kids. That was only a side benefit. The point is that if other people help out with child care, the kids (and those adults) get social and emotional benefits out of the relationship. It's those hard-to-quantify bennies that are missing and why so many people struggle with loneliness and depressions these days.
It's all subjective though. Maybe for some people this is true but maybe for other people it's not true. I also don't buy the line that the nuclear family is leading to loneliness and depression. Maybe the nuclear family is common because it works. Maybe when alternative options occur it's because there are no other options. So families live together to decrease their costs.
jennypenny wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:08 am
How many threads have we had on related topics, whether partners, family, maintaining friendships, meaning in life, etc? And how many people retire and get bored right away? Social capital would help with all of that, and again I don't mean in a transactional way (which is unfortunately the answer I think most are looking for here).
I can understand this but you have to remove the transaction idea. So it's about you (or us or me) living our lives to improve our happiness. In this situation it reminds me of Epicurus who said there were 3 primary components of happiness:-

1. Financial Independence.
2. An analyzed life.
3. Friendships.

I'd put friendships into the social capital area that I think you are Brooks are talking about but I'd completely remove the transactional idea and therefore I'd remove the concept of social capital. It's not capital because it's not a competition where you build something up. It might be that way to you and others but it's not to me. I have a lot of good friends. I have fantastic parents. I work with people that I like. People are there for me in tough situations. None of this to me is social capital. It's just the way my life has turned out and I'm freaken lucky. It's about developing good relationships just for the sake of those relationships. There is no transaction outcome that I'm after. If anything the situation is completely different. I'd give away money or whatever to my friends and family because they are my friends and family.

steveo73
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by steveo73 »

jennypenny wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:21 am
It means feeling as if you're part of a bigger body, feeling a connection that provides benefits (and sometimes problems) that you can't quite articulate or anticipate.
I think although we are discussing semantics we have a similar perspective on this. I'm never going to buy the idea of social capital but I like having people that I can rely on.

I had a friend come down from a different state this week who I haven't spoken to for years. We still catch up and get along great.
jennypenny wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:21 am
If you can 'get something out of it', you're not a part of it -- you're outside of it. Once you're truly 'in' it --part of the whole -- transactional approaches are impossible.
Exactly. Once you are thinking I can get this or that because of my social capital in my opinion you've lost it. If you are thinking that way save money. If you want to have good relationships with people the approach is completely different.

I know this discussion is about the nuclear family and on that topic I see no reason why the nuclear family is so bad. I don't think it hurts being in a nuclear family especially in relation to developing healthy relationships with people.
Last edited by steveo73 on Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

steveo73
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by steveo73 »

bigato wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:27 pm
tony: too lazy to dig it out now, but yes, the value has been proven to be positive in all levels of the introversion/extroversion scale. Which doesn’t mean they will all like the same kind of interactions.
This is an important point. My wife for instance has no friends that she interacts with because she just lets them go and doesn't develop friendships. She seems happy enough to me. She just views her life as being more tied to me than to a wider group of people.

daylen
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by daylen »

Causation is not really a thing in social science or psychology. Principles at this level are all statistical (non-deterministic and never proven in all cases). The most certain idea at this level is uncertainty (hence predictably unpredictable). There are plenty of stories, though.

steveo73
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by steveo73 »

daylen wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:23 pm
Causation is not really a thing in social science or psychology. Principles at this level are all statistical (non-deterministic and never proven in all cases). The most certain idea at this level is uncertainty (hence predictably unpredictable). There are plenty of stories, though.
It's all subjective isn't it. It's cool to discuss but it's an opinion and not objective reality.

daylen
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Re: Brooks: "The Nuclear Family was a Mistake"

Post by daylen »

@steveo73 Not exactly. Psychology and social science can be partially objective in the sense that correlations exist, but the objects of study are far too complex to account for all moving parts. Mostly the problem is that communication on these subjects is hard and people cannot agree on what objects are worth concentrating on. Our attention is far too limited to communicate all objects/layers at once.

Remember to use @daylen instead of the quote button unless replying to part of my post. Jacob locked a thread a few days ago because someone did not do this and made a rude comment after Jacob referred them to the rules.
Last edited by daylen on Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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