Archive for the ‘ Sociology ’ Category

The Computer has Made People Worse

The combination of the Computer and Capitalism has not improved the Human Race. They have created an authoritarian business ethic, that has made most people less important. As a result, they do the smart thing – they identify with this shift in power – so they can get some of it for themselves. And overlook any ethical considerations this involves.

And, most important of all – this change has destroyed people’s ability to understand what is going on. They have become stupid, as the Computer has become smarter.

The Computer is better at understanding Data – and the more of it there is, and the more complicated it is, the better. Precisely what the human mind is not good at. And this what makes Computerized Capitalism so powerful.

The world has become more complex, no question about it. But it could still be understood – if people wanted to. They don’t – they just want to destroy it. Because it has destroyed them.

This, it seems to me, is the central dynamic of our time. A vast orgy of destruction, that no one wants to see. Everyone is saying “I’m not responsible, someone else is;”

Which is simply a lie.

The Future of the Liberal World Order

This is a downloadable book produced by Foreign Affairs, available for free to its subscribers.

It also has an online article here, that gives more historical depth.

Here are quotes from the book:

In the 1940s, as they suffered through yet another round of destruction and turmoil, policymakers in Washington and other major Western capitals finally decided that enough was enough. They recognized that the horrors of the first half of the twentieth century had emerged because their countries had hunkered down in the face of economic and geopolitical crisis, passing the buck rather than fighting together against their common enemies. So they swore not to repeat their mistakes and designed a postwar order based on mutually beneficial cooperation.

The new administration in Washington takes a different view, of course. President Donald Trump never mentions the order and seems not to understand what it is or why it is a good thing. He appears to see the world in zero-sum terms—international politics as a Hobbesian war of all against all in which there are only deals, not relationships, and in which only relative gains matter. He combines this, moreover, with an acute sense of grievance—a conviction that everybody is winning at the United States’ expense. “Every country takes advantage of us,” he says, and notes that he intends to reverse the process. No U.S. leader has talked this way in several generations, and most responsible officials in most countries, including the United States, are flummoxed—for they understand that if the White House actually tried to turn its more extreme ideas into policy, the entire system on which global security, stability, and prosperity is based would collapse.

This is a huge book, covering everything since WWII. The Liberal World Order has some huge faults, it admits – but they can be fixed.

Underneath all this, however is something even more ominous – people everywhere have become destructive, instead of constructive. That is why they elected people like Trump.

I can think of many reasons for this (they may be reacting to painful experienced in their past – or being destructive is much easier than being constructive) but they hardly matter.

We have to realize that this is the way it is.

And Fear No Darkness

This guy is saying something different – and deserves to be heard. But few are listening.

He describes our problems very well, except for one – the human race has decided to disappear, and let other forces take over. He may be saying this, but if he is – he is not saying it very clearly.

To me, it all hinges on”What is in control?” I don’t mind admitting that I’m a control freak. And I always look for what has its hands on the controls.

The most potent example here is the Automobile – with a person at the controls. He (or she) has enormous power – and is backed up by an entire culture devoted to it – and its roads.

What is the hidden message here? So plain, anyone can see it – but hidden in plain view? It cannot be put into words – but has to be experienced in our unconscious minds and bodies.

Let me remind you, that most of what goes on in our bodies is entirely unconscious. We have to deduce what is going on there – from the actions it causes. A sphincter muscle relaxes, and we urinate.

The same thing happens in our minds (and brains). Pressure builds up, and we have to relieve it. How pressure builds up in the brain, we do not know – but we can feel the results in our bodies.

Jordan Greenhall is right when he notes that the pressure in our times has become unbearable. And that we are headed into an explosion and collapse.

Most people cannot feel this – but it can be easily deduced from their actions.

Bad Information Reproduces Faster

It is like cancer – cells that reproduce without limit, crowd out the normal cells, and then spread elsewhere.

Bad information spreads because it is more interesting, because it is so unusual. Soon there is so much of it – it appears normal.

The Decision to Not Be

This, it seems to me – is a common response to today’s problems. The decision to remove ourselves from the picture – and just let things be. That way we won’t be responsible for anything that goes on – and plenty of bad things are going on.

This, to me, is the worst thing we can do – it’s mass suicide. But that does not bother other people.

Take the Woman’s March on Washington as an example of a slightly different approach. I have a sister who participated in this. She said they had a good time – and she came home satisfied with herself, for having done it. What did they accomplish? Nothing, but this did not bother her – this is not what they set out to do.

What did they set out to do? I thought it was to get President Trump to include Woman’s Rights in his programs. There is no evidence that this happened. And no evidence that people like my sister have realized this. They made a grand gesture, and let it go at that.

This is also true with the people who use LinkedIn to do Professional Networking with other people. Professions, of any kind – do their own networking, and do not need another organization to do this for them. But there are a lot of people who are not professional, by any stretch of the imagination – but badly want to be thought of this way. LinkedIn was made for them – it accomplishes little, but it makes its users feel better, about themselves.

We are dealing with two realities here – what’s really going on, and what’s going on in people’s minds. The two, in our time – are badly out of sync.

And no one finds this a problem.

The Human Mind Has Serious Shortcomings

And we should be taking them seriously – instead of doing our best to ignore them.

We seem to think, if we try hard enough – we can do anything. This was one of the causes of Fascism (the worship of the great leader) – and our present irrational worship of the Computer. We seem to think it is the embodiment of the perfect soul – and the perfect machine for creating wealth. There is some truth in both of these assumptions – but taking them seriously is causing us big problems.

One of the disadvantages of the human mind, is simply put – insanity. Which occurs in forms without number, and degrees of seriousness without number. We should bear carefully in mind that we (all of us) are prone to this very serious problem.

I have mental problems, and I am sure everyone has them. But I can see few people recognize this – and instead, insist they are perfectly sane. They fear, and fear greatly – if they start to admit their shortcomings, too many of them will show up, and sink their ship.

Their ship was already sunk, but this was not obvious yet. And it started to sink right after WWII. I was a young man then, and I can remember that time well. Americans back then considered themselves perfect – not consciously, but unconsciously. And acted on that assumption. I regarded this with some amazement – but who was I to contradict them?

Fast-forward to the present. The human race is in serious difficulty – very serious difficulty. But most of them have no awareness of this. If they already know everything, they think, how could they possibly learn more?

People everywhere have their TVs and their cell phones. That keep them perfectly informed – they think.

This is mass insanity of the worst kind.

Another Weapon in The Eternal War with Other People

Every culture has attitudes and activities that it considers essential for its survival. What these are can be almost anything, and they can be conscious, or unconscious, or both.

The American culture I was raised in was a strange mixture, that I have never understood. But I have come to realize that many of its important values are unconscious and hostile in nature.

They are engaged in an eternal war with other people – and will use any weapon at their disposal in that war. Including the latest one, the Computer.

A new subject in Software Development is the User Interface – making a program, or device, more useful to the User – and to the company that markets it. Ideally, from the company’s point of view – it should make itself absolutely necessary to the user – without the user realizing this. A case in point, is the smartphone – that everyone has to have, even though they could easily do without one. It has become a habit, an addiction, a way of life.

The American combative attitude towards people in other countries is obvious – but this also exists on a much smaller scale – in any office, business, or organization.

I will use my mother as an example. She was a schoolteacher back in the Thirties, teaching in a one-room rural school. She boarded with the families of her students – so she knew them well, and they knew her well. Most importantly, she was her own boss – in control of her own school. Then she was forced to be part of a consolidated school district – that was run by an organization – principals and superintendents. She hated it.

This competitive instinct, as they liked to call it – was useful in the Industrial Economy – even if it was socially destructive. But the Information Economy works better with people cooperating with each other.

At the present, we have a mixture of both – that generates great confusion. People don’t know which way to behave – but tend to prefer the old way, even if it destroys people by the millions.

Including America itself.