Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Let me speak to you about dumbness because that is what schools teach best. Old-fashioned dumbness used to be simple ignorance: you didn't know something, but there were ways to find out if you wanted to. Government-controlled schooling didn't eliminate dumbness - in fact, we now know that people read more fluently before we had forced schooling - but dumbness was transformed.
Now dumb people aren't just ignorant; they're the victims of the non-thought of secondhand ideas. Dumb people are now well-informed about the opinions of Time magazine and CBS, The New York Times and the President; their job is to choose which pre-thought thoughts, which received opinions, they like best. The élite in this new empire of ignorance are those who know the most pre-thought thoughts.
Mass dumbness is vital to modern society. The dumb person is wonderfully flexible clay for psychological shaping by market research, government policymakers; public-opinion leaders, and any other interest group. The more pre-thought thoughts a person has memorized, the easier it is to predict what choices he or she will make. What dumb people cannot do is think for themselves or ever be alone for very long without feeling crazy. That is the whole point of national forced schooling; we aren't supposed to be able to think for ourselves because independent thinking gets in the way of "professional" think-ing, which is believed to follow rules of scientific precision.
Modern scientific stupidity masquerades as intellectual knowledge - which it is not. Real knowledge has to be earned by hard and painful thinking; it can't be generated in group discussions or group therapies but only in lonely sessions with yourself. Real knowledge is earned only by ceaseless questioning of yourself and others, and by the labor of independent verification; you can't buy it from a government agent, a social worker, a psychologist, a licensed specialist, or a schoolteacher. There isn't a public school in this country set up to allow the discovery of real knowledge - not even the best ones - although here and there individual teachers, like guerrilla fighters, sabotage the system and work toward this ideal. But since schools are set up to classify people rather than to see them as unique, even the best schoolteachers are strictly limited in the amount of questioning they can tolerate.
The new dumbness - the non thought of received ideas - is much more dangerous than simple ignorance, because it's really about thought control. In school, a washing away of the innate power of individual mind takes place, a "cleansing" so comprehensive that original thinking becomes difficult.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
There are more billionaires with a lot more money. Bailouts work! What more proof do you need?The past year saw an increase in the number of billionaires, from 793 to 1,011, Forbes said. The number is still lower than the record 1,125 billionaires recorded in 2008.Not only are there more billionaires than last year, but the ones at the top are even richer than last year. The top 10 billionaires have a combined net worth of $342 billion, up from $254 billion in 2009, Forbes said.
Posted by Idler at 7:26 PM
Friday, March 05, 2010
Thursday, March 04, 2010
A Filipino woman in Saudi Arabia is scheduled to be lashed 100 times by the government as punishment for being raped. To add to the tragedy, the Filipino has been held in prison since September 2009. In December 2009, the woman — known only as “Camille” — miscarried. Now, she is facing a medieval crime — all because she was raped.
Posted by Idler at 3:49 AM
Monday, March 01, 2010
Of all the nonsense that twists the world, the concept of 'altruism' is the worst. People do what they want to, every time. If it pains them to make a choice - if the 'choice' looks like a 'sacrifice' - you can be sure that it is no nobler than the discomfort caused by greediness... the necessity of having to decide between two things you want when you can't have both. The ordinary bloke suffers every time he chooses between spending a buck on beer or tucking it away for his kids, between getting up to go to work and losing his job. But he always chooses that which hurts least or pleasures most. The scoundrel and the saint make the same choices on a larger scale. - Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
Posted by Idler at 2:40 AM