Friday, July 17, 2020

In these troubled times

Dear H,

I don't think we're built for the news.  At least not the way it's run nowadays.  Just think that, maybe not even six-hundred years ago, we'd hear only snippets of the world.  Not a constant barrage of injustices and outrages every second of the day, but hearsay, only here and there.  The weight of the world was for rich men and kings -- heavy is the head that wears the crown.  Today we have the weight of the crown but not the substance.  We have the knowledge and lack the wisdom, the will, the ability to do things.  When men knew all they wore crowns made of gold.  The Age of Information?  From this view, more like a crown made of thorns.      

We were engineered by God for ignorance.  There is too much to know and too much to fit together and too much to emotionally process.  So we brought ourselves out of the grime and found out that "omniscience" was a bitch*.  We ate the fruit of knowledge and were surprised God evicted us from the Garden of Eden.  

The view from the heavens was too much.  It was so much it looked like we were sitting in hell -- even when our homes were well-ordered and our coworkers were angels and we had everything we needed and we were in good health.  We felt like the world was collapsing because we wouldn't and couldn't try to understand why it's enjoying.  There wasn't enough time to learn about good so we spent all our time learning about evil.  We needed to know why people were fighting but not why most families were playing**.  We went looking for injustices to protect ourselves from injustices and forgot about justice -- about how billions of good and unreportable transactions happen every day, smoothly, and happily, and rightly.  We went looking for diseases to keep ourselves clean and now we're basically mentally ill.  We were getting pushed into a race war and forgot that most neighbors of other races were friendly.  It's a shit view the news gave us of ourselves, and they did it on purpose and we swallowed it.  2020 could have been a great year, but we feared and freaked out and now it's a rough one. 

Bacon says that a man who studies revenge keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well.  We have no time to heal our wounds because we constantly get fresh ones.  Americans are emotionally conditioned by the news to be wounded, to hold grudges, to hate others.  We keep getting wounds because we keep asking for them.  We keep asking because humanity, at bottom, runs on emotions.  That means we're attracted to things that get us scared or boiling -- things that make us feel living.  Not information, but sensation.  The more we go for sensation, the more the papers push it. 

What we don't admit is they push it because they have to.  They have to because the news is a business.  In a business, the first thing is always the money.  In life, the thing you're always running out of is time.  Thus if people give their time to sensation, then nobody's got any left for information. 

News isn't a war for the truth, but for our attentions -- which means for our wallets.  Capitalism, the right of men to spend where they want, has sent us to the moon and deranged our understanding of the earth***.  We like to blame the newsmen -- and I admit, in America, 90% of the time, they're the devil.  We could light them on fire and the world would be brighter for it.  But in the end they're only whores delivering what we pay for, and I think we'd do better to blame ourselves first.

Your father,
-J

*We like to think of ourselves as advanced, and in many ways we are; but Yuval Noah Harari says in Sapiens that human beings used to be smarter.  He actually says our brains were bigger.  I don't believe that bigger necessarily means better, but I do believe our brains were used more.  We had to read nature and improvise or we would die of stupidity.  It was nature's war on humanity that gave us our geniuses.  

The big change came when we got jobs.  Division of labor.  Suddenly idiots could make it.  You could be a one-track train and still make it through the jungle.  If you were only good at laying bricks you could let other people build the brick business, let other people invest the money, let other people design brick ovens.  The more interconnected we were, the further geniuses and specialists took us, the dumber many of us got.  Our innovators led to the proliferation of dunces.  Life no longer required adventure and gymnastics but narrow-mindedness and a soul-cramping routine.  The modern man, compared with his ancestors physically and mentally, is kind of a spiritual midget***.   Every advancement we've made has wrecked another section of us.

I believe we're on the cusp of another de-evolution.  NBC reports now that IQs are dropping across Europe.  Many things were questioned, such as immigration from low IQ countries to over-use of cell phones, and these may be factors.  But nobody so far as I'm aware had brought up the big one: that our most intelligent women are encouraged to be doctors, and instead of breeding the next generation of good doctors, they're out there healing the dimwits -- whose follies are funded not by their own personal success, but by the National Health Service; i.e., by their dwindling number of superiors.  Feminism was supposed to be the liberation of an army of minds -- but it has more accurately meant the culling of them.

What NBC also says is that IQ rates, at least for the meantime, are staying stable in the US.  I believe, first, that this is because our women are superior breeders; but beyond this I believe it's because the US is still largely a capitalist country.  The chief selling-point, truly or falsely, of a socialist society, is security.  If you fail at life then somebody else can pick up the pieces.  In the US we have little security but lots of opportunity; and the chief benefit of danger is it keeps you from rotting spiritually.  We're all in a constant fight, and the fighting is the one thing keeping us from total degeneracy.  

The socialists are breeding dimwits because they don't need their wits.  John Philip Sousa thought we'd lose the ability to sing after someone invented the gramophone.  He was partly right: families put on the radio and now even happy birthday gets mangled.  How much worse is it when everyone deserves to survive comfortably -- no matter what?  

**I hate to be trite, here, but the advice of Mr. Rogers is for posterity. 
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.   
And here's another hopeful one from E.B. White,

Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society—things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

***The chief characteristic of spiritual midgets is envy; and the political manifestation of envy is leftism.  Bacon says in his essay On Envy (some of his Old English modified by yours truly), 

A man that has no virtue in himself always envies virtue in others. For men's minds will either feed upon their own good or upon others' destruction; and whoever wants the first will prey upon the second; and whoever lacks hope to attain to another's virtue, will seek to even himself out by tearing down another's good fortune. [...] Envy is a galling passion, and walks the streets, and doesn't keep at home.  [...] It's also the vilest affection, and the most depraved; which is why it's the proper attribute of the devil.

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2 comments:

  1. One of your best of 2020 and I couldn't agree more.

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  2. Hi J. This was a fun read. Overall very accurate and interesting observations grounded on truth. It would make a good discussion. Nicely written too.

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