As the father of philosophical cynicism, it is not terribly surprising that some of the things I write aren’t greeted with enthusiasm. Recently, a number of them were discarded and didn’t get published. During my physical presence on earth millennia ago, I would have responded by urinating on the feet of my detractors. (Don’t believe me? Click here.) No longer having a corporeal presence, that is more difficult–that is to say, impossible.
In any case, I still find it difficult to accept that some of my writings have not been published. Apparently, it is because I speak the truth and your society no longer has an interest in the truth. To me, that is an amazing thing. How can you function?
If I walk through the forest and a tree is in my path, if I tell myself there is no tree, I would surely find myself on the ground, nursing a nasty bruise. Likewise, if I walk toward the sea and continue past the shore, I will eventually drown whether I admit the sea is there or not.
I am amazed by your disavowal of facts–absolutely amazed and it takes a lot to amaze me.
With regard to COVID 19–Laurence J. Peter, a professor at the University of Southern California, proposed that cream rises until it sours. The Peter Principle states that in a hierarchy, an employee advances until they reach incompetency, after which time they neither advance nor decline. A good grocery clerk might be advanced to department manager and continue to do a great job. However, when promoted to assistant store manage, if they perform poorly, they remain an assistant store manager.
In emergent situations, this process accelerates; today’s idiot is tomorrow’s idiot-in-charge.
It was an idiot-in-charge who decided that celebrities should have front of the line privileges for the COVID-19 test.
Idiots-in-charge are the ones deciding that meetings, religious services, etc. should include hundreds of people in an enclosed space.
Idiots-in-charge also engage in independent operations by boarding aircraft when they know or suspect that they have the virus.
Beware of these idiots! They are not difficult to spot–you know what to look for.
Over the past millennia–I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly with regard to the actions of world leaders.
It’s hard to get my attention, much less make me sit up and take notice. Your president’s desire to prevent a cruise ship to dock and discharge its passengers for quarantine or medical care was so ho-hum. Considering ytour president’s track record, no big deal.
However, the US military and US intelligence agencies tend to pay attention as to how information is classified. Yes, there is a tendency to overclassify. This is due, in part, to the fact that while an individual item does not qualify for classification, the amalgem of several unclassified items can provide classified information. However, there is at least some effort to separate the information that should be disclosed from information that, for the good of the American people, should be kept secret.
Right now, your president is trying to classify information about the coronavirus that would be useful to healthcare professionals.
So, do you think his political success is more important than your life?
Over the millenia I’ve seen my share of plagues–black death, bubonic plague, septicemic plague, pneumonic plague, and a few whose names I never could pronounce. With modern medicine, you no longer call them palgues–now call them pandemics. Pandemic sound so much more clinical and therefore less dangerous.
Of course, the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 killed between 50 and 100 million people, which is right up there with the plagues. I grant you that the records from the Middle Age and prior are based on guesstimation–no computers, no accurate numbers, etc. but a million deaths here and a million deaths there and pretty soon you’re dealing with a plague.
Now, the world is facing the corona virus, or as the scientists call it, COVID-19. Will a rose under any other name smell as sweet? Will a disease under any other name kill as many? It’s currently called a pandemic. Due to political pressure, it will probably never be called a plague–regardless of the death toll. Calling a skunk’s fur Alaska Sable doesn’t change its actual identity.
Being that I live in a sewer and am known for my lack of hygiene, I don’t often get out to the movies and they won’t install cable for me. However, I have subscribed to Netflix, so I can see movies and television shows, although they’re what you used to call “reruns”.
As I watch the political goings on, I am struck by the mob mentality. Mob might be a bit strong, but I believe someone once called it group-think. The phenomenon is that members of a group tend to surrender their individuality in order to fit in. Instead of using critical thinking and logic, they go with the prevailing opinion of the group.
The reason I mentioned Netflix is because I can’t say it better than how it was explained in Men in Black:
J: People are smart.
K: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.
If you ever read about me you know that history claims that I lived in either a sewer or a large pot. Trust me, it was a sewer. If you live in a large pot, before too long, it becomes a sewer.
However, that was my choice. After all, I was a legitimate and, in fact, esteemed philosopher. I am credited with being a major force in developing the philosophical discipline known as cynicism. Me, being a cynic, suspect that you don’t believe that.
Observing events in your time, I must admit it adds great credence to the importance of the cynical philosophy. In fact, while every age needs a certain amount of healthy cynicism, your age will never be cynical enough.
But I digress.
I was thinking, after seeing political, social, and religious interactions over the past decade, how I am perfectly adapted to live in this time. If I had lived in your here and now, I would have readily eschewed my desire to find an honest man. It was a fool’s errand in my time, and today, um, well . . . .
Today, it is often not the person with a powerful title who has power; the power is frequently wielded by those who whisper in the leader’s ear–those once called the powers behind the throne.And, indeed, a throne it is.
If I lived in this day and age I could . . . .
No. Never mind.
I miss my sewer.
The news is abuzz with the latest polls. A word of advice from Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) is appropriate. He told us, “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.”
At best, polls are lumped into statistics, although I believe they are somewhere between “Pipe dream” (as in, “Wow man, I can see it too! Far out!) and “Hallucination.”
Today the polls are not reporting the national standing of the candidates , but instead they are reporting on the first two states that will sorta, kinda have the first sorta, kinda primaries. Let’s put this into perspective.
Iowa has a caucus (February 3, 2020), which is different than a primary. It’s more like a block party than a political event.
New Hampshire, has the first actual primary (February 11, 2020).
The spotlight is tightly focused on these powerhouse states.
Just to put things into perspective–there are 538 votes in the electoral college.
Iowa’s power block? Six.
New Hampshire’s share? Four.
Between these two key states, together they represent not-quite two percent of the votes that actually are counted in a presidential election.
However, focusing on those two states definitely helps to sell television advertisements.
There are people who perceive facts and act accordingly and there are people who do not accept facts. Instead, they ignore facts and believe(?) that by repeating a falsehood over and over, it becomes real.
They do nothing material to change reality. They don’t invent, they don’t discover, they just pretend a blatant fallacy is factual.
Gravity is a fact. No matter how much I want to fly without mechanical assistance and no matter how many times I say “There is no gravity,” it does not change the effect of gravity by a single Planck–the smallest measurement of energy.
Society has learned how to orbit the earth, it has invented computers that can do millions of calculations per second AND fits in your pocket, and it has cured many formerly fatal diseases and injuries. All of these successes were built on facts.
Nevertheless, some people are happier with their preconceived notions, even when the facts are clear.
I’ve spoken. I’ve written. I’ve done what you would call “performance art.” All this has taken centuries.
Let me put that in perspective. Your father’s birth to your death might be around a century. Now multiply that by 20 or 30. Got it? Good.
I resorted to walking around in daylight carrying a lighted lamp claiming to be looking for an honest man. THAT is how desperate I was and am for exposing the truth. However, sooner or later, when one is not successful, it is wise to give up and seek another course.
I’ve been writing here (wherever here is) for over a year. Being dead, I do not have Twitter, Facebook, or whatever, nor do I want them. I have always fallen victim to the belief that people would seek the truth; if I were a video game, that might be true.
Bottom Line: If you want me to keep writing, do what you can to get others to follow this blog. If there aren’t sufficient people interested in what I have to say by the Autumn Equinox, I will cease writing and take my efforts elsewhere.
If few respond, then I must believe that people prefer the sensational and inconsequential to the truth.
The ball–as you say–is in your court. I’ll be napping in my sewer (look it up if you don’t believe me).
I swear, I never get any peace and quiet. It had been a long day, walking through town with my lamp lit, telling anyone foolish enough to ask why that, “I’m searching for an honest man.” What a load of rubbish–but they continue to buy it.
Eventually, I made my way home to my sewer, crawled in, tuned out the cockroaches and rats, and closed my eyes. Immediately, some ignoramus (assuming that he was in fact, ignorant, rather than stupid) shook me and demanded an answer to his question.
“What is politics?” he asked.
I stared at him with the best malevolent look I could muster. He was undeterred. When I realized that my scowl would not get rid of him, I figured that the next best way was to give him some cryptic answer. Perhaps then he’d leave.
“Do you believe politics is more like chess or poker?” I asked him. He stammered and admitted that he did not know.
“It’s like both,” I told him. “It’s a long range game, but a long range game in which bluffing and cheating are not only allowed, but encouraged.”
He looked more puzzled as he walked away than he had when he had approached.
He’ll never understand politics.
I understand politics, so I went back to sleep.