Project 313 – Post No. 138

Not many people read the occasional rants I sneak in these posts. There are two reasons for that . . . one, many of my readers don’t really care about the rants and skip reading them. Two, I don’t add keywords relating to the various topics I write about. 

If I did, it might invite more scrutiny than I care to handle right now. Not that I shy away from discussions; on the contrary, it’s what I live for. 

However, I’m fairly busy and discussions take time. To be sure, I’ll always make time for discussions with regular readers but I don’t need to interact with strangers who might want to discuss things I write about. 

Understand, I’d normally be all over that . . . but, as I said, I’m busy. Plus, the majority of people don’t really put the effort into working things out or even attempting independent thought so they’d basically repeat what I’ve heard and read hundreds of times before. 

I heard a phrase not that long ago . . . I think it was Sam Harris or one of his guests who said we are the “ambassadors of our ideas.”

I really like that phrase . . . and I wish to FSM that it were truly the case but it’s not. 

The majority of people — especially these days — are parrots of other people’s ideas.

Mind you, strictly speaking, we all are. It’s ludicrous to imagine any one of us — coming after multiple centuries of humans have lived and died — would come up with original thinking. In fact, if I do come up with an original (to me) thought, the first thing I do is research it. 

I research it because I’m certain others have thought of it before me and have either found arguments and reasoning in support of it or arguments and reasoning against it. Either way, I’ll learn something and I can then — if warranted — adjust my own thoughts accordingly. 

Not only if you come up with it, but even if you read or hear an idea you find attractive, it’s still your responsibility to research it thoroughly; both internally (you reason it out based on what you know and what you have experienced) and externally (read what others think about that same idea). 

At the end of your research, you should know all the strengths and all the weaknesses of that particular idea and should be able to express them all in your own words (signifying understanding and not merely parroting). 

I read another phrase recently; one I really liked. It was in a comment at the Colonialist blog discussing the tendency of humans to avoid uncertainty. The phrase is:

The old human trait of sorting things into black or white and leaving the grey shelves empty.

To be clear, I’m not talking about things like what to have for lunch or who will win the Superbowl of what’s the best condiment for pasta (FYI, buttered and lightly salted) . . . no; I’m referring to ideas that drive the wheels of human history, that shape the behavior of entire populations, that often result in conflicts which can escalate into personal and even global violence.  

The big ideas; the important thoughts about who we are and what we are doing and why we do what we do and what we — maybe — should be doing instead. 

Ask a question of someone with a strong opinion about something and if they respond with a slogan, understand they are ignorant. They are non-thinkers and aren’t worth your time. A lost cause, if you will.

. . . and they probably work at a cable news channel or are faithful viewers of one . . . 

And now, the photo:

Project 313 138

I’m really liking these variations on lava rocks walls. 

Anyway, one thing I see that worries me is the same thing that always takes down empires; overreach, corruption, overspending, special interests . . . all driven by fear. The main fear is the fear of a little hardship. We avoid it like the dickens and in doing so, it eventually ends in widespread and massive hardship. Wars, economic collapses, or both.

I especially worry about our current path . . . 

. . . because the majority of people are yelling at each other about the extremes and forgetting the gray. 

That approach makes us blind to things we could do that might actually help. 

Instead, we behave like a . . . Centipede Bachelorette Party After Eating The Cupcakes Laced With LSD.

Centipede Bachelorette Party After Eating The Cupcakes Laced With LSD

And . . . that’s it

Some of these posts will likely be longer as the mood hits me, but most will be thus; short, uninteresting, bland, and relentless.

You can read about Project 313 HERE.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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19 Responses to Project 313 – Post No. 138

  1. I think the reasons for polerization are complex. If the people involved are within normal parameters in terms of mental heath, then hopefully the differences can be worked through and the relationship maintained. But, when personality disorders are part of the picture, engaging can be detrimental to yourself. I am speaking more of the interpersonal, but this also plays out in what is supposed to be the democratic process.


    • disperser says:

      If you’re saying people are crazy (and thus the world) I tend to agree with you to a degree.

      But, polarization doesn’t need that extreme of a reason . . . people are easily manipulated because they’re susceptible to emotional arguments rather than rational ones.

      Rational arguments require effort to understand; emotional arguments elicit a visceral response (like bad sushi) and thus appear “real”. Rational arguments are more complex and require higher cognitive abilities and a broader knowledge base; emotional arguments are immediately attractive because they play to whatever one is already pissed off about.

      And, most of all, people are lazy . . . they prefer hearing about simple solutions rather than acknowledging complex causes and buying into solutions that might take a while to be effective.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. GP Cox says:

    We might be a lot of trouble here in Florida. The Democrats just elected a Socialist to run for Governor.


    • disperser says:

      Well, truly, every politician is a socialist . . . just for different groups.

      Still, some of Gillum’s proposals do reek of disproven ideas that are attractive to people who have little experience with life (typically young and fairly affluent voters with little purpose in life other than getting incensed about stuff they think have easy answers).

      It will be interesting; the approach of snubbing centrist ideals worked for Republicans (Trump got elected) and now we’ll see if it works for Democrats. If you go by registered voters and assume Democrats are moved to vote “against” Trump, he’ll win. Florida is in fairly decent financial position (as opposed to, say, Illinois) so some of his arguments will have traction but I think are detrimental in the long run. But, who cares about the long run, right?

      If it doesn’t work this time around, it probably will next time because the political pendulum never stops swinging.

      . . . I suspect Centrists will eventually have to form a viable third party to get any representation at all.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well done Florida!


  3. You are so right about people today being parrots of someone else’s ideas and thoughts. Reminds me of a quote: “To find yourself, think for yourself.” Socrates
    I don’t mind if people are parrots AFTER they have listened, learned, pondered, researched AND experienced. But, I find too many people today who have not done any of that…they just parrot what someone else said without knowing any facts or reasons, etc. But I guess it’s easier for people to just be parrots and sheep. :-(

    PHOTO: Cool! Very Fred Flinstone-Barney Rubble-y!
    DOODLE: Far-out! Crazy! Groovy!
    HUGS!!! :-)


    • disperser says:

      I think that’s often the disconnect between people; be it by accident of birth or by design, most people experience a limited version of the reality surrounding them. People of one culture seldom experience different cultures (besides perhaps ordering some ethnic food), and the same goes for religion, race, economic status, political affiliation, and on and on. All they know is what they’ve been told.

      People here routinely will telly you the USofA is the greatest country in the world . . . but, what do they mean? There are many things we’re not great at. The only metric I know that’s somewhat on the money is military power but while that may be a part of it, most people mean something else. Something they can’t identify.

      Is the ideals we don’t live up to? The freedom we’re slowly curtailing? The rights we profess to value but don’t respect?

      It’s something we say because we’ve heard it said . . . and we want to believe it.

      Truth is, there is no “greatest country” in the world. Depending on what you care about, there are different countries that may better fit your ideals and values. Even then, it’s at the expense of other ideals and values.

      Still, we have the mechanisms to fix mistakes and address injustice and make things better which is more than what many other countries have to offer . . . but we often lack the will to invoke said mechanisms or we only apply them to the benefit of special interests.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. mvschulze says:

    I look forever always to your rants. But it is alarming how many (politically speaking, 40% in this country?) can accept without question the juvenal rhetoric so prominent in our daily soup. It’s alarming, and it’s worrisome and so incongruous with the concepts of critical, or even just rational thinking.
    While I’m here, love the photo and doodle too! M :-)


    • disperser says:

      40% accounts for just one side. When you combine the rhetoric of the left and right I say the total number is closer to 80% if not higher.

      I don’t think I’m far off the mark when I say we’re slowly moving toward more polarized groups and eventual open and frequent violence between them.

      It’s already at the point where anyone (on either side) conceding even a fraction of an inch of legitimacy to criticism of the group or validity of an argument from the other side is ostracized and branded as a traitor. Groups dynamics are such that people value inclusion more than they value honesty and an open mind.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mvschulze says:

        In a number of ways, the retrospectives of John McCain during the past few days, have portrayed a rational, and basically honest deliberation. Perhaps his eulogies will motivate others to raise the bar. We all could use the encouragement. M :-)

        Liked by 1 person

      • disperser says:

        I hold no such hope since many of the eulogies are offered with a hint of political agenda mixed in. Plus, while the words are grand, the motivations and actions of the individuals giving the eulogies haven’t changed.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I suppose the bottom line is that we can’t all be philosophers or big thinkers. Not all brains are equal! I am reminded of the advice of a tutor at university, he would constantly say “You must be prepared to challenge, you must be prepared to challenge, assume everything you read is written by a congenital liar”


  6. It’s not really that surprising is it? (In respect of the opening sentence)

    I prefer to drizzle a little olive oil over pasta, with a touch of freshly ground black pepper, each to his own however.

    I’ll go with those who’s taste buds have not been ruined with SPAM, like the War Office

    I’m beginning to think I was lucky not to have a tertiary education, when I see what all the highly educated spruik


    • disperser says:

      No, it’s not surprising; most people prefer the comfort of ignorance rather than the stimulation of differing opinions.

      Olive oil infuses too much of a different taste. Rather than enhance the pasta flavor, it subdues it . . . and the pepper kills it. But, as you say, to each his own.

      . . . mm-mmm . . . Spam and pasta . . . now, there’s a thought. Thanks, ElBob.

      I think education is always useful . . . it’s what you do with it that’s often cringe-worthy.


  7. AnnMarie says:

    Love them lava rocks all texturely colorful! And love them doodle colors!


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