It came to me in a flash
by Mike Meyer - May 2018
The answer came to me in a flash. Actually it came to me in a series of flashes interspersed with a lot of thinking but we all prefer the dramatic and instant answer to the long boring reality of hard work. And that is actually one of the flashes.
We have a badly corrupted culture that, unfortunately, has been the lead culture on the planet for the last seventy years or so. The corruption is well known and has been so well documented that it is sickening. Not that it has made a bit of difference. That problem is also a very old. We think things are all bad or all good. We really want it to be that way and when things get tough we just say to hell with it and act as if things were all just really simple and that, of course, makes everything worse.
But back to the first flash mentioned. We want instant answers and will commit crimes trying to make that the case. At the same we know that the pattern is usually ten years of hard work will produce another over night success. But it isn’t really good unless it is an overnight success so we make it so even if it isn’t. At the same time we have the long list of one hit wonders that clearly illustrates some of those overnight successes were based on luck. Yet if it hits then it’s an overnight success and has nothing to do with intellectual effort and hard work. We know it is bullshit and, yet, we can’t do anything about it. That’s what we think.
Another flash (these things are coming quicker) came from a little article that was written back 2016. It was about the anti-intellectualism in American culture caused by the TV program Friends and subsequent horrors. Unless you are a nice, white, silly person you are evil. If you spend time thinking about things seriously you are no good. You need to be mocked, laughed at, and, ultimately, hated. This trend has been building to a climax for at least fifty years.
The popularity of reality TV and American Idol following the demise of Friends clearly indicated the descent into hell. Trump then appeared as, we desperately hope, the rock bottom of this descent. It isn’t but realizing that leaves 300 million people and a good bit of the rest of the planet’s population with no hope.
Full disclosure, I’ve never seen any of these TV programs but that really doesn’t matter. I’ve seen the results around me everyday for the last fifty years. Is there any wonder that we now have people at the top of our political system who have no idea what they are doing there but also can tell people that facts and knowledge are of no value? That lies are fine. No big deal.
These preliminary flashes, remember these are not really flashes but glimmerings of the bigger picture, are also indicators of structural problems that I and a lot of other people have been struggling to understand for a number of years. The more important flash has been, I think, that things have gotten too big for people to handle.
Both our systems and our problems have been getting geometrically bigger while our planet’s lead economy, until recently, has finally succeeded in flushing the toilet that we placed ourselves in. This is some bad shit and the pun is fully intended.
If you are confused and don’t understand what I am talking about because the market is up and the economy is booming and everyone is great again, you are a major symptom of the problem. I would suggest that you Google the word ‘library’ in your city and go there. You could do this online but that is probably beyond your ability to hold onto a thought for more than a minute or two. Once you get to the library start reading middle school science texts. You need a lot more but that is what is needed first and foremost.
Those books will put you as close as you will probably ever get to truth. Believe that. It’s actually not quite the truth but if you keep going you will realize what it takes to know true things. It’s your only hope. And, yes, there are other things to know and other ways of knowing, but those things all exist only in your and other people’s heads. We need for you to understand basic stuff and not keep swallowing ignorant bullshit or we all will die.
The last flash, which I have been talking about along with many others, for the last two years, is that we have hit a point of realization. Back up three paragraphs where I said that our problems and are organizations are getting too big. umair haque just put this neatly together. He does that sometimes. He was worried about organizations. That is a bad American problem because we did really well in the 20th century making things bigger and making more of them. And that made everyone wealthier but that runs out.
I remember my mother saying that just because a little of something is good that doesn’t mean that more is better. Well, our simplistic, all or nothing, anti-intellectual bullshit attitude screwed us and the rest of the planet. We went way beyond the point of what we were doing being good. This is well known and is basically true as much as anything is true that is always in process and evolving.
We need to back things down to human size so we can understand them and get the focus back on how much is good and when does bad start. We actually had to build very large computing systems that are now able to manage large parts of our processes but we haven’t changed enough to do any of that ourselves yet. We need to get things under control. And that does not mean disconnecting from Facebook and throwing your smart phone away or canceling AI. That is the old kind of stupid thinking that got us into this mess.
We simply cannot afford that kind of thinking anymore. A little bit of that use to be ok but it isn’t anymore. There is way too much stupid in the world and way too much in America. We have destroyed our economy by being lazy and stupid so we now have to give the Chinese a turn to run things. They worked hard and know it. It may not be the way we would like it but stupid causes you to lose a turn.
Oh yeah, that’s some bad shit and not fair at all. We no longer call the shots.