The Psychology of a Point of Reference


In this article I would like to explore the idea of how nationalism and internalized points of view arise from a position taken by people when subjectively analyzing a confrontational stand point. How people with only one point of reference cannot see the wider implications of their thought processes and actions. Nationalism is the evil that causes wars, political intrigue and racism at its most harmful. It is this cognitive fixation on topic, subject matter and perspective that allows racism to fester into discrimination and violence against the person with a more open free mind.


Travel they say travel broadens the mind. However much of modern travel is packaged, short and controlled. In Victorian times to be privileged in society meant taking the European tours, often taking several months in order to mature the mind and a civilized perspective. You could not be considered cultured unless you had experienced other countries, cultures and people. Some later would do the Far East journeys seeing the Orient in the raw. Today people arrive on a plane, go to a hotel, go to a beach, read the latest novel and finally get back on the plane home and all in a week. Of course some go on adventure holidays, packaged to allow in as short a time as possible the river trip, the mountain walk, the animal world and finally a certificate saying you went there and did that. Very few modern travelers really have time to know where they are, what the people are really like or the non-packaged culture of the country. I remember many years ago in Spain’s islands watching shows of traditional Spanish dancing and music. Seeing the quaint white topped villas, happy smiling waiters and travel guides with not a real person in sight? What I saw was tourist Spain not the people, not the culture of everyday, not the psychology of their mind-set, but the banal served up culture of materialism and souvenirs. The point I am making is we are actually less travelled culturally than in the past. Even the expatriate who works overseas often is excluded from the society in which he works. They have drivers, villas in foreign areas, special shopping areas away from the poorer districts and a life style out of step with the locals. Many expatriates from the first world see their third world colleagues as inferior in everyway. They put on the face of tolerance but in private can be vitriolic about their host country.

So how does a lack of travel, exposure to foreign cultures lead to nationalistic ideological thinking? What is a point of reference for everyday people? Using travel as our starting point we can see how those who have never ventured outside their own boarders can have cognitive fixation and a reliance on propaganda in order to inform their opinions.

Definition – Point of Reference.

When two people converse they are communicating from a social normalized perspective, only if they have grown up and experienced the same culture. Much of the conversation is implied, meaning they do not have to explain themselves fully about their point of view. The two nationals have a shared perspective 英文串字方法 about life and survival in their country, county, province, city and town. When a topic comes to conversation much is already presumed and so does not need to be aired. It is only the point of conflict that is discussed as to how one or the other perceives it. In psychology this is sometimes referred to as a mental set, which includes shared, parenting styles, education, work experience, social norms, traditions and the changing culture over their years of living. Each national shares this experience to differing degrees. Another important part of a person’s mental set is current affairs as presented in the media such as news, entertainment, sport, economics and politics, the main ingredients of almost every newspaper, internet and television content. The exposure to this propaganda only differs in the tastes of the selective audience that is attracted to the information presented. The reason we might have different opinions is only the degree in which we have been exposed to information that is readily available. We then take this information and assimilate it by incorporating the new knowledge to what we already know, or accommodation, when we have to adjust what we used to know to a new situation and perspective. (1. Piagiet 1952). It is by this process that new perspectives are created in which we have a point of reference when discussing new topics or changes to the social norms of the day.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *