The problem with magical thinking

               I’ve got lots of time on my hands and I’m spending it as well as I can, mainly thinking. Which means trouble. As you may have guessed, my little future me, I have trouble understanding the world. I think it’s crazy. I look around and see tons of little things that could improve our lives, yet nobody seems to care about improving things. So I’m going to make a list, for future … research. Hell, if you don’t want to read a couple of pages, skip to the “Post Scriptum” instead, that’ll get your appetite (and knickers) in a twist..

               Basically, this is going to be a long piece of cra.. my mind so be warned, stupidity lies ahead. Whose? Mine, of course. I’m the guy riding the wrong lane yelling at incoming traffic. For instance, why so much drama with refugees doing bad things? Where’s the police? In my opinion, if they as much as breathe the non-standard way toward the locals, put them on the next plane to Uganda. Or Romania, that’s for the worst offenders, a much worse fate than death since they somehow think pork is life. Wait, that came out wrong.. Dear bacon, delicious bacon, we give thee thanks and pray to thee for forgiveness… So I’m a convert, sue me. Besides, that’d teach them humility, because the alternative is making them vegan – and nobody is that cruel, not even Syrian regulars.

               The wrong way of life is lacking education. That one touches everything and is the only way to get people better (incidentally, that’s also why we’re screwed). I mean, there are a few things one can learn to remove the social stupidity we seem to have adopted. First thing among them is a couple of principles – if you have them, don’t lose them. We have several ethical rules in the western “civilized” world, in theory, one of them being something called “freedom” and the other one called “human rights”. Yet we carefully hide it when we deal with dictators, warlords and all-around bad guys around the world, from North Korea to Libya, going through Saudi Arabia, Palestine and Egypt, and so on. Oh, they have oil, I know. Where’s your principles now, eh? If you value “human rights”, what’s stopping you from protecting your citizens? A bunch of crazy and quite vocal “politically correct” idiots who’d protest even if nothing happens? Yeah, right. They can’t seem to understand why their reasoning is “magical”. So why listen to them? Why cater to them and stroke their egos?

               Magical thinking, that’s something for the history books. It basically means believing something so much you think it’s going to happen because you believe it. What a load of crap, mon ami. That sort of people protested in WW2 because we fought Hitler. They thought a peaceful solution could be found, and it could be found indeed, if you let something like the Holocaust happen without moving a finger. Hell, look at the great leap forward. Or at the mass collectivization of the peasants. Yeah, I’ll bet them’s gon’ say those didn’t happen. Bullshit. They protested vaccines (and they still do), they’re the ones pushing every conceivable conspiracy theory down everyone’s throat. They’re pacifists, idealists, convinced on the righteousness of their actions – but they’re also idiots blocking world peace. Peace is all good, I’m all for that – if everybody is for it. Once you get a Hitler or a Stalin or a Borg, you’ve got a choice – live or be assimilated. Nothing else matters. You don’t have to spy on every single breathing man, woman or child, but you can oppose the other side. How? Guess..

               Every country has a version of a force to protect the citizens from abuse, and I’m not talking about the military. It’s called, usually, “the police force”. They are there to stop abuse. That’s their purpose, to prevent abuse before it happens and bring the abusers to justice after it happens. They should be in excellent shape both physically and mentally, they should be very well educated and very well paid in order to avoid them becoming corrupt. They should be also very well regulated and watched, but they should also be outside the judgement of the common citizen – since any idiot with a good alibi can ruin a career. Does that happen? No. They’re understaffed, underpaid, not so educated and tired as hell, not to mention under a barrage of questions and accusations from people who think they know the law better than the prosecutors. It doesn’t matter if a police officer is found innocent in a trial, I’ll bet my daily anti-malaria pill (which I hate anyway) against a cracked nickel the media’s made him into a monster in the eyes of those around him. Because, you know, judges are idiots and everybody has the right to their opinion… Sure the police can be corrupt. But why? Anybody read up on the Italian war on the Camorra or Cosa Nostra? Dirty cops, dirty politicians, silent citizens, all equal strong mafia. And yet, Giovanni Falcone, Paolo Borsellino and others fought them to their deaths. Imagine what would have happened if those heroes had better support.

               Education, mon ami, that’s the key. And by that I don’t mean stuffing little minds with tons of useless information (or useful information, for that matter), I mean two things in particular: critical thinking and ethics. Ethics in particular is a good tool, too bad we don’t use it at a wider scale. For instance, a question like “Is the oil from the middle east worth keeping our mouths shut at blatant human rights violations?” is an ethical one. Though, keep it to yourself, since popular opinion politics made the Tunisian representative president of UN-women executive board, with a Saudi representative as a vicepresident. All that in countries that prohibits women from driving cars, among other things.. Though I may be wrong about Tunisia. Critical thinking, on the other hand, lets us judge various situations better, and give answers to questions like: “is the following sentence valid or misleading: which politician should we vote, the one promising a wall around our country to stop immigrants or the one promising everything they can to get our vote even if he knows 99% of it won’t ever get done?”. I’ll tell you the answer in a minute, because it’s way worse.

               Ethics and critical thinking can show you something few understand and fewer still practice – nothing works unless enough good people sweat it. It’s like that old joke that goes like this: if one in three individuals is gay look around, if you don’t see any it’s time you dust off your rainbow dress. The answer to the question above, the one about voting, is the logical one: that question is quite misleading. If you have only two choices, you don’t have a choice and therefore it’s time you create one yourself. We don’t give much power to the police because we fear a police state, and yet… who the hell gave all that power to journalists? Oh, they’re a check to state abuse? Bullshit. What are paparazzi then? Who checks Fox News? Who checks if the things the media tell us are real? And who answers or gets punished if they aren’t? The balance of power is one thing, burning bookstores and cars in protest to police brutality is another. The average Joe or Jane won’t understand why sharing stupid facebook posts on vaccine conspiracies or making viral some unscientific anti-GMO videos is actually hurting people. Hell, I’ve heard calls for a consensus democracy and I can’t even get one with my wife. Consensus presumes people actually know their shit, and they usually don’t. You don’t treat cancer with lemon juice and you don’t cure leukemia with a … shudder… vegan lifestyle. And yet, various movie stars who never did have either of those diseases swear by it. Hell, if critical thinking were a thing then those who swear by homeopathy in major illnesses would be sent to church for treatment, it’s sort of a win-win scenario there. Let god judge who’s worthy and who isn’t, real medicine is for atheists.. Bullshit, innit?

               If we valued our “christian” values, poverty would be a thing of the past. I mean, global debt is around 199 trillion US dollars, with a 57 trillion increase since 2007. Meanwhile, I’d love to see this question answered: who the hell do we owe all that money to? Klingons? Oy vey… Jesus, Mary an’ Joseph, that’s a big number. And yet, the police force in most countries is severely understaffed, underpaid and under equipped. But the problem is immigration, you know.. Out of a couple million refugees who stormed Europe, a few thousand idiots create problems by accident or willingly so the answer to that is…. brace yourselves… build a wall and send everybody back. God forbid we use some of that debt for creating a better world. Nooo, let’s build walls, mass-surveillance things and maybe even churches instead, like in Romania. People’s salvation Cathedral my arse, that’s one big … drain on their finances but it’s not like they’re poor or something..

               We constantly mistake education for the accumulation of knowledge and in the year of our lord 2016 we still don’t have a good plan for targeted education. As much as I love math and physics, them’s not for everyone. You don’t need math to be an incredible salesman, you don’t need physics to be an outstanding banker. We still need welders, electricians, firemen, cops, nurses, doctors or farmers – but we won’t get them unless we change the way we teach our young. What do we teach them? Crap. There’s no link between the real world and schools. Everybody wants the highest degrees of academia with the highest pay and biggest bonuses from day one, only from browsing facebook. School sucks, they say, the teachers are crap and the information is useless – that’s true on all counts because we should teach them how to use that information they’re forced to memorize. Instead, we tell them they have to learn all sorts of crap but what they learn to desire is quick fame and fortune. Patience and hard work is for dummies. Hell, reality shows and winning the lottery is the way to go, and if they don’t get that there’s always sports. And if they suck at sports, they can be whatever they want, in their dreams. We make them aggressive, fat, depressed, vocal narcissists who’d rather troll videogames and post pictures of their food while complaining nobody gets them than do something for somebody else. We do need better teachers for that, but noo, let’s go into more debt. We’re idiots raising a generations of entitled, impatient idiots. If that’s what we wanted then congratulations are in order, we’ve got that done perfectly.

               Very few people know what they want and even fewer actually put in the time and sweat. Of course I’m probably wrong, but it’s not something I’ll admit willingly to anybody. It’s just I hate this world so much for emphasizing form over content. I’d rather get my hands dirty shoveling manure with good people for 8 hours a day than juggling index funds and business plans with back-stabbing sharks for 12 hours a day, if I were paid enough for it to live and not go into debt. At least, at the end of the day, I know exactly what’s waiting for me at home. But that sort of work doesn’t pay. I wonder what would happen if all those underpaid and overworked folks would go on strike all at the same time… Especially since an overflowing toilet is murder, but at least a banker can fix it, right?

               I’m what you might call a minority here, I know. But ask yourself this, mon ami, do you work to live or do you live to work?

Post scriptum:

               I’ve been keeping these in my bookmarks for some time now, let’s see if they fit the story. Examples of things that could be improved via critical thinking and ethics:

– IoT everywhere, but… dude, put a cork in it. At least encrypt it. Who’s in charge of checking the security and privacy of components? Because even cars can be a big privacy issue.

– Why is this not more out there? Apparently Bitdefender Free is broken on Windows 10 but there are no warnings for it, no errors, no nothing. People think they’re protected when they aren’t. I wonder if other “free” security tools work like this.. Cough, AVG, cough, Trend Micro, cough, and so on..

– The very best in magical thinking.. Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) thinks “likes” and “positivity” is a viable strategy for stopping ISIS. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, this one deserves the very best face palm in my book. Oh, the stupidity, it burns..

– The magical thinking sandbox – if we want it now then we have to have it right now, economy and laws be damned. I mean, they know there’s only 24 hours in a day, right? They know classic businesses have to pay taxes, provide healthcare, insurance and so on, right? They know most businesses targeted by this “on-demand economy” have peak hours where demand skyrockets and unfair competition kills their income forcing them to either stop paying taxes or go into bankruptcy, right? Then how come nobody makes them compete on even terms? Either force the likes of Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and so on to pay the same taxes and compensation classic model businesses are paying or remove those for good – let them fight fairly… Problem is, the customers are idiots and until they don’t become cogs (ahem, contractors) in the on-demand wheel o’ fortune, they don’t want to see the bigger picture.

– Advertising goes full retard, because apparently if the customer doesn’t want to see their screen 90% covered in ads, then that is a certain signal they need more ads forced on them (like sperm, maybe one or two will get through, hopefully). Which is a reason they don’t want to talk to the makers of ad blockers because it breaks the holy covenant. And so, they banned Adblock from attending their conferences. Not that I actually use Adblock, I’ve embraced Origin instead. Take that, Teal’c…

– We can track cell-phones, send drones to kill terrorists, we can analyze metadata to pinpoint if you’re pregnant even before you do, and yet, it’s March 2016 and we still can’t track big arse planes. It’s been 2 years and we still can’t find a bloody 300 ton Boeing 777 with a 400 passenger capacity. Did they have encryption, too?

Mastercard thinks your selfies can be better than passwords. Gee, what happens if I hit my face and need money to pay the hospital bills? No answer there..

IoT could be used by spies, US intelligence director tells unsuspecting senators. Gee, you think? Maybe he’s worried about his spies losing the high ground..

– Bo Andersson learned a good lesson last week, always fear the power of idiots in large numbers. I mean, profits? Capitalism? Sales declining? To hell with it, Lada will prevail even if it sells no cars. What’s lo..gic gotta do with it?

               I don’t like people, you know. I don’t like people for reasons of idiocy, I have no problem with the smart ones or hard-working ones. I may also be projecting, yes, among the possible identity equality (heh, wrap that one around your turban). However, try as I might, I can’t do much in my current situation. With or without me, Earth keeps spinning and the world keeps changing into something that gives me nightmares and nobody knows the future because that would be underestimating the amount of human stupidity. Actually, that’s not right. Cthulhu knows, Cthulhu always knows… That’s got to make a good bumper sticker, innit?

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One thought on “The problem with magical thinking

  1. Pingback: A murder of … crows. Part 2, the future unraveled | In Vino Veritas

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