Self-Improvement · Uncategorized

Don’t Outsource Your Mind

A sad casualty of the information age has been the general dumbing down of arguments made by people, especially on the internet dot com In days past, those who were motivated could read and craft arguments from such sources, with few SparkNotes, 5-minute histories, or other shortcuts available. Less-informed folks might mouth off in a tavern debate, but they had to conjure up wild claims without the generous assistance of a search engine. Faking it took some effort, despite the imperfections.

Today we sense a different horizon. Every Jermaine, Reese, and Zephyr can simply pop a question into Google, hit the search button, and copy-paste a hyperlink purporting to back their claims – even if it comes from the likes of Quora, Yahoo Answers, or perhaps “Ask Jeeves,” if the latter even exists. There’s no prerogative to read the actual body text or explore citations, because  what supports them MUST be accurate and beyond reproach.

On the surface level this dynamic is not so problematic, yet it renders a larger-than-life proportion of the national population quite confident in their own opinions, no matter how incomplete those thoughts might be. The internet’s affordance of little introspection for their purposes means those fragile links serve to enhance the ego, and assure a diminished likelihood of further investigation of the material. After all, with that argument remanded to the “settled science” cranial bin, what more is needed?

Perhaps a great deal. Unfortunately, the people who bother to distill petty emotions and look at raw information are left victims of fellow internet people and their mindless bloviation. Since the former group tends to be humbler and more patient, discussions typically end with their voice being drowned out by a million smug cries from the effectively illiterate. Ambition to change the norm shatters upon a weathered hill where the shallow brains defecate pure dopamine satisfaction, while always thirsting for more.

In the interest of not becoming one of these said gremlins, it is imperative to be illiberal with the surrender of your mind. Before wading into a debate, pause to consider how thoroughly the concept has been understood. Failing to do so can result in a situation where bluster and invented facts are necessary to remain credible, methods avoidable when adequate preparation is undertaken. Sure, the appeal is significantly less wonderful, but  at least time is not wasted by lowering ethical standards merely to survive.

Just a (measured and researched) thought.

Relations and Dating · Self-Improvement

We Occupy Different Worlds

There is an awful lot of emphasis on “coming together” and “being one tribe” in today’s world, both before and after the death of Coors Light. Companies can’t stop preaching the virtues, politicians are ever-willing to trot out their statements of welcome, and educational leaders do much the same. We are all one, they seem to mutter, and you best believe it.

The only problem is, reality tells a starkly different story. Depending on who we are and where we come from, our perceptions and experiences stand to be radically disparate in nature, regardless of how much propaganda can be hoisted to block out those facts. No serious person is going to argue that the 6’4’’ white man has any realistic identification or solidarity with a 5’2’’ Hispanic guy. Perhaps if they work in the same economic field we might witness some closeness, but each will be reacted to as though they are two entirely separate creatures, based on skin tone and height. Only an exasperated fool would attempt to join them.   

In the field of dating, those differences matter, as we well know. The same could be true of a fit and lipped Latina versus a 250lb “Baby blue eyes” blonde. Is anyone willing to argue that somehow they are on even terms? (This excluding the Alt-Right and minority men who worship skin color). Differences matter, and no one actually believes the aforementioned claptrap unless they have to.

Now some empowered soul will stand and declare, “You’re wrong! It’s a about equality under the law.” Please humor me more. Is a working class person without financial resources liable to be treated the same as a rich fellow who can pay for the fancier esquire? The answer is not in doubt, but citizens are expected to cover their eyes and ears.

Even in the economic realm, disparities translate into divided universes. The college kid whose parents are loaded has far more freedom in terms of extracurricular activities and graduate schools than another specimen forced to pay their own way. I am reminded of the self-righteous classmate who mocked me for having a summer job in university while he took a stipend from the parents for an unpaid internship with the high and mighty. Means lead to starkly opposite ends, at least in the medium term.

As time goes on, this prevailing truth continues to manifest itself in the public square. There is no debate that BMM supporters view the world differently than “Defend the Police” adherents. Certainly Democrats and Republicans have separate views of legitimacy, which raises the deafening cry of what will happen in November 2020, regardless of the outcome.

Will everyone unite, because “We’re all Americans after all”?