Friday, January 3, 2014

I feel guilty. It's been years since I last ranted about the irrational nature of our modern world, yet some readers desperately hang on waiting for a post. I wish I could say that in the interim we've managed to fix the world, correct the injustices and become a rational global society so there is nothing left to write about, but that's pretty much the opposite of what has happened. Rather, bad economics saw us slip a little farther down the notch of insanity, while most of us tried to hide from the madness. As a species we seem to pride ourselves as being "intelligent" but then we go off and do the stupidest things. We may know more than our ancestors, but we seem incapable of applying that knowledge collectively to better our lives, our planet or even ourselves. We keep buying into that next vile of cheap snake oil in the hopes that "this time it really will cure us" without every really considering that our problems are always caused by 'buying snake oil'. You'd think at some point we'd learn, but I suspect we'll just keep doing this over and over again until we can't or we hit some major turning point. Either is as likely at this point.

I don't feel guilty anymore : -)


  1. I hope I haven't given you the impression that I've been desperately hanging on for another post. :) I vaguely remember checking this blog maybe 3 times last year. I've slowed down on my blog, posting once every other month on average.

    I've been questioning this idea that keeps coming into my head that somehow our ancestors were more intelligent than what we're doing, just 100 years ago, and that we've been regressing. It sure seems like it, but I wonder if that impression is just remembering a happy set of circumstances that happened to work out just right, only remembering good things about the past, and forgetting the stupidities and injustices. I remember reading a book review years ago in The Atlantic, talking about the UK in the 1930s, about how there was a long period of hardship. and destitution. Before then there was a period of excess, and social breakdown. What the book seemed to show was that a better society emerged afterward the hardship. I have wondered about this as well, that perhaps too much success; if it becomes too easy, it creates conditions for what you're describing. A theme I remember from the made-for-TV movie, "Pirates of Silicon Valley" is that success is its own enemy. After a while people think they can't fail, no matter what they do, which sets up conditions for failure.

    1. Hi Mark,

      Well 'desperately hanging' may be a bit of an stretch :-), but strangely enough this blog has 44 subscribers which is up from its high point when I was actually posting. Can one interpret this as actually getting paid not to post?

      If you play with the definition of 'smart' just a little bit you can alter it so that it is a measure of how one interacts externally with their environment. In that sense clearly there are moments in history where are ancestors were doing a better job than we are now. It doesn't have to mean that they had better or easier lives, but rather they within the context of their known world they were behaving smarter than we are today. We may know more, but do we really put that knowledge to use in significant ways?

      I read an article that suggested the end of the 1800s was such a period. Rampant inventions, lots of progress and I guess cultural and artistic growth. Followed by a sever turn into world wars and at least a half a century of strife. I suspect that its a 'natural cycle' to the way humans interact. Things get good so people forget to protect against the bad...