This conversation is closed.

The "family" is the most over-rated, hypocritical social structure that we have. The roots of most social ills lie within the family

Inequality, gender bias, favouritism, abuse, fanaticism. White-washing and "fakebooking".
Look closely at your own and say it is free from any or all of this.
Blessed is the person who can put her/his hand on their heart and say - my family is not any of these things.

Closing Statement from Ishika Ghose

The first person who must learn is I myself! Insight.
I must try and learn from this "conversation" how to put my "question/idea" in a way in which most people can understand the question first ---- without taking offence, becoming defensive or analysing my reasons for questioning.

What was also interesting and partly expected were the very very angry responses I had from one of the earlier contributors Edward Long.There were times when I felt I had offended him personally.

The idea per se has not evolved/changed in any way as a result of this conversation.
Perhaps because I was looking for more people who would accept the idea itself rather than ask for solutions simultaneously.

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    May 4 2013: "Blessed is the person who can put her/his hand on their heart and say - my family is not any of these things."

    I don't think this person is blessed. This person is either white-washing, fakebooking or just concentrating on their own delusions, egos or whatever it may be. On the other hand - they may be doing it for their own good and entertainment of others at the same time - to protect themselves while still trying to maintain stability and send a positive message. In some cultures, anyway.

    "Inequality, gender bias, favouritism, abuse, fanaticism." - strong words, but it doesn't have to be like that if what you concentrate on is not your own achievement, gain or victory of any sort, but the so-called greater good. People are different, people change when awareness grows.
    My family background is a bit atypical, there was favouritism and problems in older generations, these problems were mostly a reaction to other, quite meaningful social issues - war and hunger.
    It doesn't mean that the "family" in itself is an evil concept, war and hunger are.

    And, as I said, people are different, people change when awareness grows. If they don't want to or don't feel like it we have to remember that they're still people and that there are reasons why they don't want to which may be rooted in something outside themselves... This something may be inequality, gender bias, favouritism, abuse, fanaticism in the environment and escalation of those both in the family and environment as an effect.
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    May 3 2013: All humans come from a family, and as such, yes, you are correct in saying that social ills lie within the family.
    But, I think your statement of "family" being over-rated, and a little over the top.

    Could the roots of most social ills lie within the "disfunctional" family?

    Let's substitute 'family' with marriage:

    "Marriage is the most over-rated, hypocritical social structure that we have.
    The roots of most social ills lie within marriages."

    Now government:

    "Government is the most over-rated, hypocritical structure that we have.
    The roots of most social ills lie within government."

    Now religion:

    "Organized religion is the most over-rated, hypocritical social structure that we have.
    The roots of most social ills lie within organized religion."

    All social structures are made up of humans.....therefore, we, humans, are responsible for all social ills.
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    May 1 2013: Families are made of people. Anything made of people has the potential for good or evil. If our parents are screwed up, we have two choices. 1) be defeated & become screwed up parents ourselves, or 2) Learn from their mistakes & become better parents. My family & my wife's family were pretty screwed up; we went for option 2).
    What would you replace the family with ? I seems the best option to me.

    • May 2 2013: Peter
      I am only asking a question not looking for solutions.
      Humans find the solutions once they admit there may be a problem.
      The family has gone on for ever. It is unlikely that there will be an alternative.
      Communes were once very fashionable but died out.
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        May 2 2013: Why are you asking a question without looking for solutions? What is the point of your post? Are you raising awareness regarding the evils of traditional family structure? Do you want responses to your post or are you simply using TED Conversations as a wall for your graffiti? Please advise.
        • May 2 2013: Dear Edward
          Would be nice to have honest answers to the question first, now that you admit there may actually be a question!

          The solutions, if there are any to be had, follow the answers.

          Each person will find their own solution or their own way as Adelo and Peter Law have already described in this conversation.

          I am sorry you think it is graffiti. Then again a lot of people now treat graffiti as art!

          I could also ask you why you sound so angry. Then again this is a free forum, You are free to be angry and I am free to post an idea which you consider graffiti.

          Yes I do want replies to my "idea/graffiti".
          Even a simple yes or no , with or without solutions,would do.
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        May 2 2013: RE: Dear Edward. . . " I have not seen a question in your post. What sense would there be in a "yes" or "no" answer to an unasked question? I am simply curious why you have engaged in a free exchange of ideas but are making response to your idea very difficult by limiting them to a "yes" or a "no" when you have not asked a question. Do you really not get it, or are you being recalcitrant by design? Let's start over. To what exact question do you want a yes or no answer? Are you implying a yes/no; agree/disagree/; true/false question? If so, my answer is "NO/DISAGREE/FALSE". What you are experiencing here is similar to a family environment where others show patience and a desire to resolve difficulties by rational, respectful exchanges. Dive in Ishika!
        • May 3 2013: "Look closely at your own and say it is free from any or all of this."
          That is the "question"
          You can respond in any way you like. I am not making it "difficult."

          I see neither rationale nor respect for my "idea" in your comments.
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        May 3 2013: RE: Look closely at . . . " I am not obligated, qualified, or motivated to offer a rationale for your idea. I am not sufficiently informed to even consider expressing respect for your idea. Please explain how the following statement represents a question: "Look closely at your own and say it is free from any or all of this." What sense would it make if I answered "Yes", or "no", to that statemnent? I suspect you simply put some graffiti on the TED "wall" and did not expect to be held accountable to support your remarks. Well, you are responsible so support your absolute condemnation of the family as a social entity. Elaborate. Explain. Justify with data. Thank you Ishika!
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    May 1 2013: And what of those blessed people who can say their family promoted none of those things? Does your sweeping generalization about the organic evil of the family structure apply to them? Also, what alternative(s) do you accept as a proper childhood environment? By the way, what I know about the items on your list of evils I learned from the world, not from my family. You posted this as an "Idea worth sharing". What exactly is your idea? Thank you for participating in the free exchange of ideas here on TED Conversations.
  • May 1 2013: Inequality, gender bias, favouritism, abuse, fanaticism. White-washing and "fakebooking" - yes & more in varying proportions. There is also on occasion the caring, concern, support, sharing, communication, counsel, cooperation, help, sacrifice, unfettered love, comfort, companionship, laughter & happiness to be found. The individual in the family has scope of fostering some attributes over others. Agreed, as an entity families vary over the spectrum. I do not mind the family at all & count mine as unbounded blessing. Along with friends, the extended family with its variety of characters, some weird, others unlikely, have all contributed to to my enrichment. I have learnt to respect & appreciate 'family'.
  • May 5 2013: Mary what a great way of putting it - "some of us do not know we have the choice of changing who we are".

    Thank you.
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      May 6 2013: I said that from the bottom of my heart.....because I had to come to this knowledge the hard many of us.

      I feel priviledged to have exchanged thoughts with you Ishika.

      Be Well,
  • May 4 2013: Anna, you too seem to understand what I am trying to propose as an idea.

    I am also trying to see if my idea that the "dysfunctional family" is the rule rather than the exception is what other people feel too.

    Thank you for your thoughts and contributing.
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      May 4 2013: Ishika, yes, you are correct, of course, as humans we are all dysfunctional....that is, we are not perfect.

      Each of us brings deeply entrenched ideas, biases, prejudices, inclinations, to our relationships.

      Some of us work hard at changing who we are for the better.
      Some of us do not know we have the choice of changing who we are.

      I think all of us have heard you. Some of us heard the truth in your words and got on the defensive, but some of us know that your words reveal alot of truths.
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    May 2 2013: Family being the first structured unit towards forming society, your proposition seems have some merit...with varied degree in the socio-cultural backdrop one is living.

    Say in countries where monarchy is in place....the FAMILY has got highest importance....that being said even in so called democratic countries we see the political leadership follows family tree....

    However, what I feel in the dawn of formation of society some other societal structures / authorities became more prominent over family e.g Religion, Cultural influence, Community Pressure Group, even legislation of the state etc. So in such case even if a "family" wants to do something in contrary to what the other forces of society think or believe , "family" will fail to execute.

    I am giving an example , I know a number of families around me who accepted the inter-religion marriage of it's members ....but in broader society that has got no acceptance even in this era !!
  • May 1 2013: There isn't anything to be said about those people who can say their family promoted no negative things except "good for you and do the same for your children."

    Most people first see inequality in how fathers can treat mothers. Almost all American advertising
    up until very recently in our human evolution clearly depicted the wife only as a homemaker: weak, susceptible to sudden shopping urges and fits of emotion; an overall drain on her husband’s wallet. People who never witnessed any form of gender inequality growing in their families up are either very fortunate, very blind, or very forgetful. These people can refresh their memories by pasting the following text in Google:

    Didn't I warn you about serving me bad coffee? Outrageously sexist adverts from the 1950s when society believed a woman's place was firmly in the home

    The adverts in this Daily Mail post are from the 1950s but their effects linger on even today. The family is where we learn all our biases as children. My dad worked and my mum cooked. Thankfully, it has evened out considerably, in fact, it has actually reversed! But I still see differences. My parents have come to an equilibrium that works for them, but the inequalities still exist. If you don’t believe me, just ask my mother. You’ll be surprised at my father’s answer.
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    May 1 2013: Over-rated, hypocritical, roots of most social ills, inequality, gender bias, favouritism, abuse, fanaticism. white-washing and "fakebooking"….

    I have met those families. They always made me glad I grew up in an orphanage, got kicked to the street at 16yo, allowing me to enlist in the USMC at 17yo, at 20yo I was back on the USA streets. Now at +60yo for those type families, I still feel the same and empathizes with the children of the children.

    At +60yo life is very good for me. I will retire in a few years. My wife and I will be very comfortable in retirement (wherever she says we will retire too%~). What we grew up with, almost broke us, but good people always make things better. I guess I am good for her, she is very good for me. My wife is well educated. I am a high school dropout with +160 SemHrs from a few universities (still no degree%~).

    Always take what is best in your life (no matter how small) and build your life on the good foundation. Do and say what you need, when it is safe, and escape to a better place when possible. The USA is not perfect for me and my wife it was tough, but there are always options with a bus-ticket and a few months rent. Also, I do not tolerate or respect cruel people … there has always been another job and more education to move forward.

    REMEMBER - !HAVEFUN! (Sometimes very quietly)
  • May 1 2013: Rather a dismal idea. The family is composed of people no different from those who are not family, essentially human beings. They are not any different merely because there is a genetic or marriage connection. And these human creatures come in all varieties. Why such an idea needs to be floated is beyond me because you are then questioning the human being itself. Which therefore is a futile proposition. There is an underlying, and I believe an unnecessary, anger which is of your making and you seem to be seeking some sort of solidarity on this forum with your thoughts. What we need today in the world is an acceptance and an understanding that we are all human and we are, more or less, going to be so. Let's then deal with the more important issues - such as how we should sustain our existence and make it a tad more worthwhile.

    PS: I notice you have posted this conversation on Facebook which makes you as human as everyone else who uses it and suffers the denigration of people who sneer at them.
    • May 1 2013: I’m afraid I find your approach bullish and dismissive, and your arguments leading.

      You have not taken into account some very basic academically-accepted sociology concepts such as the difference between nature and nurture, or indeed that all culture is learnt. You are harping on the ‘nature’ aspect which really has nothing to do with the author’s statement. The author is questioning the socialised (i.e., nurtured) ill-effects that stem from the culturally-learnt institution of the family.

      She is not, as you accuse her, questioning human beings. (I assume you meant humanity because your sentence as you have written it is too vague and open-ended). Questioning aspects of humanity is not a futile proposition at all—in fact, it’s called sociology. In any case, questioning these aspects does not make a person angry. That you fault the author for seeking solidarity on this forum while you boorishly rally loudly in the opposite direction would seem the greater crime.

      The fact that she posted on Facebook doesn’t prove anything either. I can speak, but I don’t like certain topics of conversation. Given your logic, I should give up speaking altogether lest I be sneered at.

      I agree with you that we need acceptance in this world. The author is not saying otherwise. But to get there we have to be willing to discuss the notion that certain social institutions that we have been taught to hold in high regard might not be serving all its members justly.
    • May 2 2013: "Why such an idea needs to be floated is beyond me because you are then questioning the human being itself. Which therefore is a futile proposition."

      I strongly disagree with this sentiment. I may be reading into it wrong and in that case my apologies, but questioning the human being itself, the humanity as a whole, and ourselves as human beings is in my eyes perhaps the greatest power the human being possesses.
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    May 1 2013: I had a family since birth, it's composition changed over time and I realized in time I under-rated my own family for long. I am deeply grateful to my family and I am happy to be a member of it.
    I know, not everyone may feel that way. But I do not agree that roots of most social ills lie within the family. I think that's a sweeping comment.
    • May 1 2013: I am not asking people whether or not they are happy with their families. Or even grateful for the ones they have.
      I am asking people -- examine your own closely and honestly and tell me that no one in your family including yourself is guilty of Inequality, gender bias, favouritism, abuse, fanaticism. White-washing and "fakebooking".
      That is all I am asking.
      Let me put it this way. Society is a macrocosm of the family structure (microcosm).
      This is not a comment. Its a thought. Sweeping or not
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        May 1 2013: Even if you see millions of white swans, you can never claim that ALL swans are white. If you see just one black swan, you can claim, NOT all swans are white. Nobody can honestly claim that he/she has ALWAYS remained equal, free from gender bias, favoritism, abuse, fanaticism etc. But humanity is more about striving to be better than assuming an absolute stance of purity. The same goes with society.
        For arriving at a radical idea that is in the title of your conversation you may need more compelling explanation than what you offered in your OP.
        • May 1 2013: But you can still ask the question: are swans over rated?
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        May 2 2013: Sure you can, but you may not. It will make no sense unless you can cite reason and evidence in support of your claim. Mere your feelings will not justify such a radical idea.
  • May 22 2013: Just as the social ills lie within the family do the remedies. I believe the hardest choice any family has to make is understanding the ailment and then having the courage to correct it.
    • May 22 2013: Yes indeed. I could not agree more.
      If only families would "admit" to having problems we might be one step further to understanding and correcting.
      Thank you for joining in
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    May 7 2013: Hm this is an interesting idea and in some ways I do agree that family is over rated and it causes allot of pressure on people to start a family when they may not want one and I kind of hate how all governments are trying to make more families when:

    1) The world is overpopulated as it is we don't need more children.
    2)The governments of the world have bigger fish to fry.
    3)It is none of the governments concern if I do or do not have kids.

    The idea of starting a family also is a huge reason for the gender pay gap as it is assumed all women are going to have children and need time of work. So I dislike that assumption greatly.

    However family is also our primary source of socialization. I personally don't think my opinions were hugely shaped by my family but I do think they are the ones that gave me the ability to go out and seek my own views. I was never forced to believe what they believed in any way shape or form. I think family can only really cause a problem if people are forcing old fashioned views onto their children who are the future. I see that as holding us back. I think if more people found a middle ground with parenting where they were relaxed about how their kids expressed and found themselves but still kept them in line enough so they don't become miss led to think they will always get their way family can be amazing.
  • May 4 2013: Thank you Krisztian !! Will Edward please take note! One more person "hears" me! No I have not progressed to the next step - the alternative to the family - yet!

    Mary, your thought of substituting the word "family" with marriage/government/religion - well I consider them all "family" structures. The family being the unit and everything else multiples and variations of that unit.
    I think the accepted belief that the "dysfunctional family" is the exception rather than the rule is wrong. Its the other way around. My thoughts. May be over the top. But my perspective on the world as I see it.
    And as for the "human" angle to it - but ofcourse we are "human". This conversation would not be happening if we were not.

    Scot, am trying to see if other people consider this idea/graffiti of mine a problem too. And only then can we look for solutions. I daresay most people have found their own solutions and others are "happy" just to live with it. No one really wants to rock the boat.
    Many have rejected the family structure completely - the "loners/misfits/outcasts" (labelled by society not me), and are not even going to respond to TED conversations. I wish one of them would.

    Edward dear, your persistent protestations are wonderful! I look forward to them. Where would this "graffiti" be without you adding a little bit to it every day?
    They tell me more than you can imagine. Dont stop!
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    May 3 2013: i hear what you are saying, but what would be the alternative? do you have anything in mind?
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    May 3 2013: I googled "over-rated".

    Guess what? There is an actual site on where people make a list of what they think is "over-rated".

    Guess what else? Family is not on there.
  • May 2 2013: I'm sorry you seem to have had a bad experience growing up.

    Most in the West would, I'd hope, emphasize the great outcomes of a well-run and loving family. Seems to be even the case with animals that have 'family structures'
    • May 3 2013: Au contraire!
      I was part of a "normal" family with all its problems and joys.
      It interests me that people are so quick to jump to conclusions.

      I too would "emphasize the great outcomes of a well-run and loving family."

      I am asking people to examine their own families and say they are free from the things I mentioned at the family level TO START WITH. You did not say anything about that. Some people did.

      I suppose I must learn from this "conversation" how to put my "question/idea" in a way in which most people can understand the question first ---- without taking offence, becoming defensive or analysing my reasons for questioning.
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        May 3 2013: "I suppose I must learn from this "conversation" how to put my "question/idea" in a way in which most people can understand the question first ---- without taking offence, becoming defensive or analysing my reasons for questioning."

        Yes :)
  • May 2 2013: My family is not any of these things. I guess I'm blessed? I agree with you that the family done wrong is VERY wrong. I would agree that most social ills lie within the family, but I wouldn't agree that that is because of the existence of family. I would say most social ills come from broken families. By "broken" I mean non-functioning, not divorced. There are plenty of families where all of those things you describe exist. But it doesn't have to be this way. I also know plenty of happy families that love each other, help each other out, and genuinely enjoy spending time in each other's company. Yes, they have their problems and struggles just like anyone else, but as a whole they are sincerely happy with each other. My family isn't fakely happy. I'm part of it, I know we're happy. So the question is, how do we help the dysfunctional, unhappy families causing all these societal problems change into happy ones? What are your thoughts? I have some if you're interested.
    • May 3 2013: Thank you Scot.
      You are indeed blessed.

      As you say "there are plenty of families where all of those things you describe exist".

      More than we know or acknowledge.
      • May 3 2013: I am kind of confused what you're trying to accomplish with this thread though. Are you trying to raise awareness of problems in families? That's a good thing. But people will be a lot more willing to listen if you have some suggestions on how to fix the problem as well.
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    May 2 2013: .
    "Most social ills" are caused by invalid (harmful) happiness.

    Instinctively, family is the happiest structure of symbiosis:

    6. Marriage (Primary Symbiosis)
    A. Origin
    B. Definition
    C. Properties
    D. Mechanism
    Marriage woks just as one whole spiritually inseparable biological machine made of two halves-parts.
    a. Husband
    The husband half is biologically assigned in charge of food-seeking, habitat constructing, defending, donating all kinds of co-body-safety messages ceaselessly to his wife (kissing, embracing, and so on) .
    His ability and smartness come mainly from the ceaseless intimate encouragement of the other half of the marriage ---- the wife.
    b. Wife
    The wife is biologically assigned in charge of the child bearing, child bring up, house hold, and etc.
    She transfers all the physical substantial materials from her own body into the baby’s. Also, she exhausts all her spiritual energy to bring up the baby or child ---- the DNA-carrier of both the husband and wife.
    That is where her mother-greatness and beauty come from.
    Her beauty and virtue are support-enhanced by the ceaseless intimate co-body message from the other half of the marriage ---- the husband.
    This is the right way that the husband and wife of a marriage work; and the right way that happy life of the couple comes from.
    Then, there will be no issue of gender equality at all.
    E. Caution
    (from Be happy Validly, p.19-23)

    Hence, let's Be Happy Validly!
  • May 2 2013: I am looking for the facebook moaners!!
    Everybody is sooooo happy!

    Most people are extremely unhappy with me for using the term fakebook.
    Including my own family!!!!
  • May 2 2013: Good morning.

    I am going to try and clarify once more what I am trying to propose.
    Repetitive but necessary.

    The idea is that we tend to say a lot of things are going wrong in this world because of societal "evils".
    I believe that "societal" evils have its roots within the family. That's where it starts and not the other way around.

    I have been a part of many families other than my own genetic one.

    I am not proposing in this conversation to "replace" the family.
    I am not going to even bother to respond to personal accusations of what my "personal anger" etc is or is not about.
    I am not offering solutions as to how to rear children etc.

    I am asking people to examine their own families and say they are free from this at the family level TO START WITH.

    The comments so far, seem to be bringing the responses I thought they might. Anger, defensiveness, solutions offered to me for being "happy". May I clarify that I am not looking for solutions.
    The defensiveness is not surprising.

    As someone wisely said many years ago "hypocrisy is the cement of society"

    Thank you Samir for being perhaps the one person who appears to understand what I am trying to say. Must look at those advertisements you mentioned.
    Adelo and Heather you too understand.
    Heather I shall look for the book "Forsaking the family". Thank you.

    Edward the idea is that Societal ills are only family ills magnified. That the family is where it starts.

    TED takes twenty four hours before they decide that the idea proposed is worth posting as an idea. Thank goodness I do not need a critical mass of approval before I propose an idea
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    May 1 2013: You may find "Forsaking the Family" by Simon Parke interesting - it's available on Kindle

    I agree with Edward that this would have been more appropriately a Debate than an Idea, however...

    Like individual human beings, families come in all shapes and sizes and can be good, bad or both. It can be devastating to a person when their family fails to work positively for their own needs - either a child born into a dysfunction family or simply born the wrong sex or sexual orientation for example, can leave devastating feeling of non-acceptance, failure or fear. Families can be highly damaging - but they are still the best framework to raise children. Perhaps people should have to pass a psychological and economic evaluation, as well as a blood test, before being allowed to become a parent?

    On a positive note, most children do survive even the most screwed-up families because as they get older they get more and more of their needs met by people outside the family. People do survive and thrive. Being angry about the failures of families can hold people back from creating and following their own path in life.
  • May 1 2013: Jatrik I see that you agree with the proposal!
    The rest of it forms the basis for another conversation.
  • May 1 2013: Thank you for joining in
  • May 1 2013: Families vary Some are good Some are problematical.
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    May 1 2013: Accept you would not be alive if not for the aforementioned.

    Bad day?
    • May 1 2013: There are many people alive who have no families. Being alive is not the point of this conversation.
  • Apr 30 2013: What is fake booking? My family had none of the other things. It is where I learned of justice and equality, even among other races.
    • May 1 2013: Just my way of referring to FACEBOOK. I call it "fake"book because every one seems so happy on facebook. Everyone is having a party. Even when they are not.

      You are a lucky man
      • May 1 2013: Ahh, I understand and thank you.
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        May 1 2013: I totally agree with you on that one - what a great term FakeBooking - that really is an idea worth spreading. I have one friend who from her fb page you'd think was living a charmed life (except she's depressed), and another friend who only posts when she's angry and wants to moan!