Anyone that either knows me in person, or has read my posts on this blog, will know that I have a fairly hair trigger with respects to some aspects of existence. It’s a part of life when one finds themselves continuously submerged in a sea of stupidity coming from nearly ALL aspects of life. It’s hard to be (I quote comedian Steve Hughes) “Intelligent with a temper”.
Steve has a bit about causing a row at a family function due to critically examining something or other on television (“Why are these people dancing?!” I believe was the scenario). One of my closest and oldest friends has a similarly hilarious story due to seeing a “So you think you can dance” spot at a family gathering. I have a similar reaction whenever I am watching something and see some new show about some group of jerkoffs raping the earth of some natural resource or another for quick cash, or the latest varient of Duck Dynasty. A program that I am proud to have never watched even a second of. Even before I found out it was all a fake crock of shit.
And don’t even get me started on music. . .
“You’re culturally intolerant!“.
But a lot of culture consists of overhyped and glorified garbage, a shameful representation of human intellectual progress. If this is the best we can do, then maybe the idiots who say “bring on the comet!” are right. Fuck saving this doomed, earth raping and self absorbed species.
There was once a time when I thought of the VAST majority of society as stupid sheepish morons (mechanical animals, to borrow from Marilyn Manson). And there are indeed, many that are. And they make themselves quite noticeable once you learn the signs. Both fortunately AND unfortunately (if their presence can not be avoided). Though I once thought that most people are stupid, I’ve since realized that stupid may not always be the right way to describe a/the majority. Though not stupid, many are just . . . tuned out.
I have grown less trigger happy with the stupid label than I once was, partly due to acknowledging that most people have strengths in diffrent areas. For example, the philosopher or mathematician that knows nothing about how to fix a broken vehicle.
For one, ignorance should never equate to stupidity. And second, its GOOD to have people in specialised careers. Attention divided between multiple feilds of study/performance will likely lead to lackluster overall results.
Most people tend to be not stupid persay, but what I call average. Many are just not as interested or concerned with what facinates their smarter fellow citizens. Though a problem that needs to be tackled in some contexts (politics, Climate Change and other important policies), its not an issue in others. The ability to think critically is really all that matters. Since this one skill helps protect you from almost any form of trickery or bullshit.
I also have to take into consideration the ddistraction factor. Common tenants of a culture like its religions, sports, gaming, pop culture tend to act as intellectual opioids. But even if many people are aloof in many ways, I have found some to be open to new information. It’s nice when you make them realize some tidbit or another that is apparent to you (such as how reality TV is rarely based in reality, or the insane amounts of sugar in foods).
Every little bit counts.
Being distracted is one thing. However, what annoys me more are statements prefaced with either “I believe” or “apparently”. Because what follows more often than not tends not to be factual, sensible, or otherwise worth hearing.
I am not talking about religion, spiritually and anything really related to that end. Though it could be correctly argued that such are also un-factual or non-sensible in different ways, I generally will not say my piece about another person’s beliefs. Unless they are potentially harmful to the person (or others), or the person is viewing ME from atop a soapbox, I am generally content to let everyone conduct themselves as they please.
Though both “aparently” and “I believe” have acceptable contexts, they are at times used annoyingly in others. Mainly in a context wherein the information to debunk the statment is easily available.
A common example for the word aparently is, anytime someone tells you something they heard about some topic.
For example, “I heard that microwaving food is dangerous because something happens to the food, and it becomes dangerous”. When I hear this, my typical reaction is to reach for whatever internet enabled device is handy and do a quick query. The VAST majority of the time, I get my answer in seconds, to under 2 minutes. Which is often “Bullshit!”.
I often come across this when out for coffee with a group of friends of mine. These things are said, and usually accepted without a second thought. Something that could be overlooked 15, even 10 years ago. But these days, when a wealth of information is just a tap away for almost everyone, its no longer acceptable.
I would like to think its just an unfortunate habit left over from days before the mass proliferation of the internet into day to day life. But seeing all the obvious bullshit that even millenials share on social media, there is obviously a deeper problem. We are allowing ourselves to be to blindly trusting. Which is terrible, in an age of a digital version of the wild west with ever more complex and sneaky ways of taking advantage of the foolish and the ignorant.
So, no matter how legitimate the claims looks . . . check. I’ve yet to find one that checks out. Even an innocent looking one about a U-boat in the Great Lakes turned out to be untrue. It looked so foolish a story to fake (whats the point of faking THIS?!) that I almost didn’t bother checking it. But I did. And im glad I did, since I saved myself from the embarasment of sharing a fake story.
It only takes a second. Open up a web browser and pop a few choice terms into a search engine. Make this a habit.
I will now move onto belief. Or more, people saying “I believe in blah . . .” or “Do you believe in blah?“.
With this, again, I am not really talking about religous arguments. What I am speaking of usually involves more generalised phenomena than ideology (though the 2 can be attached, such as religion and god/deity). People often ask questions like “Do you believe in Ghosts/Nessy (Loch ness Monster)/Big Foot/Demons etc”. Its a question that didn’t really bug me before. But I have been bothered by it in recent years.
I guess its because the whole concept of believing in this or that, has largly been lost for me in recent years. If I were to take the typical atheist black and white “Its a yes or no question!” route, than yes, I am atheistic towards / do not believe in many or all manors of mythical manifestation. But it goes beyond that really. Though indeed a rational position held by many, its still far to simplistic for my liking. There is more to life than the soley black and white shades observed by the average intellectual simleton.
I am not a believer or prevayer of myth, or what can not be yet explained. But that is not the end of the story. First off, a worldview like “these things do not exist. End of story” is not one I go for, because I am sensitive to the obvious burden of proof entailed by it. Many choose to ignore this. But I try to be more careful than commiting the same fallocies as my intellectual opposition. Quote all the Hitchens you want, its still a positive claim.
Though I do not believe in any phenomena of supernatural nature, I also do not write entirly write it off. The best way to explain it would be to say that I just leave those questions unanswered, and move on. These phenomena (including the big one, the deity question) do not affect my day to day existence in any measurable way. As such, I feel no need for a concrete personal conclusion in these areas.
Even though this seems to be a much less rational position than I once held, I have become MUCH more skeptical than I once was in one important area . . . proof and/or evidence. Lets use Ghost hunting shows as n example.
There was once a time when I let alot slide, in terms of these shows. I didn’t really criticize many of the findings, and in truth, didn’t find many probems with how it was all conducted I put a lot of faith in the teams and production companies of the show’s. Like everyone else.
Not anymore however. I try to avoid the shows if at all possible (they hurt my brain). But if I do find myself watching one for some reason or another, I always find myself looking for logical explainations, or more importanly, trickery.
For example,on one of these shows there was a claim of a door mysteriously opening on its own. And, big surprise,the door opened whilst the team and production crew were nearby. The first thing I noticed was that the shot of the door didn’t include both the bottom or the hinge side of the door.
Why does it matter?
Because the room that the film crew was in was darkened. The room that the door conected with was a brightly lit hallway.
This image shows exactly why that bit of camera trickery is important. A solid mass moving the door, perhaps? And I don’t mean a paranormal one either.
To close, it pretty much all boils down to society being far to complacent in taking many things on faith (be it verbally regurgitated bullshit, or evidence of paranormal/weird phenomena). Though possibly an unconsious habit of old, there is no excuse for it today.