Slug: land-for-pride Date: 2006-08-16 Title: Land For Pride layout: post

Scott Adams, the creator of the way-too-like-real-life comic Dilbert, also has a blog and has commented a few times on the colloquially named “Middle East Crisis” (with surprising lucidity and insight). Today he discusses how both sides can be claiming victory, and gets a bit into cultural matters over there.

What if the Muslims in the Middle East, and the Arabs in particular, want dignity and pride while the Israelis and Americans want physical safety? Then we’ve got something to deal with.

Unfortunately we (in America at least) are poorly equipped to understand that sort of model. Our favorite form of entertainment involves watching people trade pride for money on reality TV shows. You can convince almost any American to humiliate himself in return for cars, money, jewels or real estate. It’s fair to say we don’t “get” why anyone else would feel different.

If you want to win the Nobel Peace Prize, figure out a way to trade land for pride. I think it could be done, but you’d have to find a non-lethal way to fuel pride that doesn’t involve the material world. It sounds impossible but consider that Gandhi turned not-eating and not-fighting into a source of power, and no one saw that coming. His method probably wouldn’t work in this case, but it does show that one good idea can change the game.

Interesting stuff.