Bad Ideas, Belief, Biases, Communication, Conversation, Creative Thinking, Delusion, Education, Fantasy Based Community, Honesty, Human Nature, Intellectual Honesty, Judgementalism, Learning, Liars Lies and Lying, Life, Living, Magical Thinking, Obligations to Society, Quality of Life, Reason, Self-Flourishing, Skeptical Thinking, Society, Thinking

Willful Stupidity and the Good Reader

(About a 4 minute read)

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”  — George Bernard Shaw

I suspect future historians will now and then speak of us as an “Age of Wonders”.  The wonder of our electronics.  The wonder of our communication technologies.  The wonder of our medical advancements —  especially in the field of mental health.   And so forth.

But sadly, I suspect future historians will also speak of us as an “Age of Willful Stupidity”.

If so, they will doubtlessly say our age began over 100 years ago with the Stupid Bolshevik Revolution in Russia that was soon enough followed by the Rise of Stupid Fascism in Italy.   And the historians are bound to point out that the willful stupidity has continued largely unabated straight through to today’s many Stupid Denial Movements.

I suspect future historians will write whole libraries on that one theme alone — willful stupidity.  And I expect — I actually expect — that somewhere in those libraries there will be a book or article with an insightful footnote saying, “The first casualty of willful stupidity is the art of listening.”

Continue reading “Willful Stupidity and the Good Reader”

Abuse, Bad Ideas, Competence, Fun, Human Nature, Life, Magic, Magical Thinking, People, Play, Poetry, Quality of Life, Reason, Science, Superstition, Thinking, Truth

Magic Got the Upper Hand in Her Calculations

(About a 2 minute read)

I once knew a woman, very pleasant.
Middle aged, a real estate agent.
She smiled and laughed easily but
She had no grasp of technology,
Let alone the principles of science,
Let alone the cosmic division
Between natural causes and the gods.

The world to her was still magical,
She was so like a child in that way.

And least you think she was a happy person
Or a good person to always be around,
Rather than merely visit now and then.
She couldn’t fathom why light bulbs
Must burn out someday, and would blame
You or the last person in the room,
For messing with her bulbs.

“Did you screw with my bulb”, she’d say.
Truly! She’d say that!
And she wasn’t kidding you.

It was like being blamed
When you were a kid for Steve’s misdeed.
No one believed you, you’ll recall,
Thought you were lying like a child
When you pointed out the true miscreant.
She wouldn’t believe you, you see.
She had it all wrong, and you were the child.

She’d take you back, back to kidhood,
In so many ways.

Magic once excited me but it grew up
Strong and brave to become the sciences.

Some of us still long for our youth
And the fun we had taming talking rabbits,
Or flying on the throw rugs of our dreams.
But I tell you it’s not really pretty
When an even pleasant, cheerful person
Blames you for the crisis in her life.

I suppose somewhere back of her mind
Was the prize winning Nobel knowledge
That her bulbs sometimes burnt out
For reasons lesser than your malice,
Your bad character, and ill-will.

But magic usually got the upper hand
In her intellectual calculations,

Much helped, I think, by our Age,
A frightening Age when all of us clearly see
That truth has become comfortably
Relative, and easy to access.

Just look deep inside, the deeper the best,
To check your proposition X
Against the movements
Of your intestinal gas
To see if X feels good to you.

“What’s true for you
Is not true for me
And you’re not my reality check.
I’ll consult my intestines for that,
Thank you kindly.”