Live Together With Self-Interest?

The vicar said when Tom and Jane, who were both divorced, were married:

“To make your marriage work you MUST put your collective interest first, and your individual interest second.”

They both thought this. might be difficult to ACCEPT without question, but they would try.

Tom, with his calculating brain, reasoned that if he put himself second and Jane put herself first, Jane would get the better of the marriage.

His self-interest would be lost!

Jane had similar thoughts.

Both their egos were quivering.

They didn’t trust the other to honour the bargain.

So, secretly, they both looked out for themselves.

The marriage would suffer. But was this the best rational course to take?

This is a conundrum. Two people fighting with themselves to decide what is in their best interests.

We know that cooperation is required to get a good marriage, but neither Tom or Jane can guarantee the other will do the right thing.

Because of their previous relationships their trust had been eroded.

But without trust the second marriage might fail!

What is the moral of the story?

Trust is required to get the most out of life even though we may open ourselves up to exploitation.

But if we don’t trust we close ourselves off from the good things in life.

In the final analysis:

Tom and Jane’s SAFE STRATEGY protects them from the worst of their union, but it also separates them from the best!

WHAT DO Y0U THINK?

Two Futures

What if you had the choice of two futures!

Lets look at fictional John’s choices:

In one future John’s prospects were bleak, he had a hum drum office job which seemed to be going nowhere, his dreams of business success were slim.

In the other future he would be a very successful businessman making loads of money and he was guaranteed to be happy!

The first future would be in the REAL world, the second would be in a virtual-reality environment.

Once in the virtual-reality machine you think you are in the real world but it is just that in this future you are a complete winner and everything goes right! Life is great!

BUT, John holds back from entering the machine.

He thought life in the virtual-reality world would be bogus and unreal!

But why should an AUTHENTIC REAL life, with its ups and downs, be preferable to a bogus happy one?

In the REAL world you would become someone on MERIT and LUCK, where in the VR machine you are a winner automatically!

Maybe you would be better off in the VR machine because in the REAL world success depends so much on LUCK.

Were you born in the right place and at the right time?

Were you blessed with the abilities to get your success?

Do you know the right people that could help you get ahead?

So, it probably would be better NOT to be at the mercy of Lady Luck, when you could choose to be successful and happy automatically in the VR machine. RIGHT?

NOT REALLY!

When you think about it, we would rather determine our own futures by our WILL and EFFORTS.

So, in the long run, when we consider what’s in our best interests, we care for more than instant success and happiness.

We want to create our own journey!

Goodbye to the VR machine!

Bring on the HARD WORK!

Computer Government!

REJOICE!!!

Computer A has just won the election and will be the new leader in the White House!

In the past leaders and cabinet ministers who knew little about economics or other subjects were trusted to make decisions.

Could a computer do better?

Computer A will be able to determine the effects of policies on the general happiness of the electorate.

It will remove humans from politics altogether!

What a scenario that is!!!

Do you find it creepy?

Well, whether we realise it or not, we put our trust in computers all the time.

Computer run our finances in the bank.

Computers run railways and plane flights.

So computers could also run our economy.

Economists rely heavily on computer models and predictions already.

Could a computer get rid of politicians altogether?

Well, getting rid of humans altogether is NOT easy.

The problem is that the GOALS need to be set for the computer and this is done by humans.

There are many grey areas in political decisions.

For example: One policy might make many people happy at the expense of a minority of the population.

Or we might prefer a less happy society where no one has to live a miserable life.

A computer can’t decide which of these outcomes is better, only we can do that.

Also, what we desire changes with circumstances.

The richer a society becomes they might feel obliged to help others in less prosperous countries.

Computers can’t decide this.

Even if a computer knew what we wished there would be questions–such as:

Should a democratic society simply follow the will of the majority or should the opinions of the minority also be taken into consideration?

Maybe someday computers will take over most of the political decision making.

BUT…I don’t see how they could decide what is best for the electorate and get rid of all the politicians forever.

What do you think?

 

 

 

Try To Avoid My Mistakes!

Do As I Say, Not As I Do!

An environmental activist was preparing a paper on global warming.

He was going to tell his audience that commercial flights pump more Co2 (carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere in ONE YEAR than all of Africa does.

He would tell them that ONE long-haul flight is MORE polluting than 12 months of car travel.

So, if you want to save the Earth, you have to cut down on your air travel or use other forms of transport.

Just then the air-stewardess asked him if he would like some wine.

HYPOCRISY!!!

No, says the activist.

He said his flights have a negligible impact on the environment.

What he is proposing is MASS change in air travel.

His flying around the world telling people about climate change was needed as part of the solution.

His refusing to fly would be a hollow gesture.

THIS IS A CONUNDRUM!!!

If individual contribution is insignificant, so it doesn’t matter on way or another BUT, it would matter if everyone felt the same way.

The activist thinks you can reconcile the two thoughts.

What you have to do is persuade a large number of people that their contributions matter.

So, the collective effort works, NOT the individual one!!!

There’s an ethical thought here: You have to apply the same rules to your own conduct as you do to others.

If he advocates reducing emissions, he cannot make exception for himself!

 

This reminds me of another case of “Do As I Say, And Not As I Do.”

Lets say a father tells his son:

“Don’t smoke, it’s bad for you.”

“But you smoke a pack a day!”, says the son.

“Yes, but I don’t want you to make the same mistake!”

SOUNDS LIKE A PERFECTLY REASONABLE REQUEST TO ME.

 

Are Politicians and Politics Important?

Both of the above are very frustrating to say the least.

When elections arrive, we have to make choices and even NOT making a choice is itself a choice!

If you are a member of the electorate in a democracy, lucky you.

That means you are in POWER all the time and no election can get rid of you.

The downside is that you are always on duty!

Isn’t it wonderful that we are able to elect representatives to do some of the worrying for us!

Maybe they are important after all! Your Call.

By the end of this blog you can make your decision!

 

Define-Politics:

The activities associated with the governance of a country or area.

Debates between parties having power.

Elected representatives making decisions that apply to members of a group.

Define-Politicians:

People who are professionally involved in politics, a holder of an elected office.

 

The purpose of politics is to distribute power among all of the politicians in a party.

What is the “balance of power?”

It is an equilibrium of power sufficient to discourage or prevent one nation or party from imposing its will on another or interfering with another’s interests.

Why is politics important in a society?

When people live together in groups, they must agree on a set of rules because conflicts arise.

Politics is the mechanism in which people can set those rules, or modify them as circumstances change.

So politics is important in society because the people’s rival views and interests must be reconciled by compromise and negotiation.

Politics help people get along under various constraints.

In a group there is diversity (we are NOT all alike) and scarcity (there is never enough to go around), so politics tries to sort it out.

Politics has evolved from monarchy and dictatorship to democracy, where people vote.

Now everyone knows they have rights and politics is a way to get those rights.

Politics is the science of optimum allocation of resources for the benefit of everyone.

Sounds good!

How does politics affect individual life?

The individual has to be educated and informed about the issues of the day because they affect them.

There is a lot of political manipulation and deception going on.

This happens when politicians promote their own agenda which l lot of the time is not good for the ordinary person.

The common man pays taxes and the government uses the money hopefully to improve the individuals life.

We need to know how our money is being spent.

That’s why the individual has to involve themselves in politics.

What’s important to know about politics?

A lot of politicians are elected on their personality, NOT on the words they speak or the promises they make.

So, politics is a popularity contest instead of an intelligence contest, although saying that, I believe and hope most candidates for political office have above-average intelligence.

Some points to remember about politics:

Politics can’t work without COMPROMISE, if a person is unable or unwilling to compromise, they shouldn’t go into politics.

There is NEVER going to be a SOLUTION which makes everyone happy.

Doing the most that can be done with the least cost to others is the most you can hope for.

The BEST people for the job rarely go into politics.

The strains and demands of the job plus a public that is rarely satisfied is too much for most people.

Some corruption will exist in any political system.

There is NO such thing as a “perfect political system.”

In conclusion:

I’ve thrown a lot of thoughts about politics. into the pot.

What do you think, IS THE POT BOILING?

Can we trust politicians of the political process?

Are politicians masters of the Dark Arts, conniving and stirring up trouble for their own ends and expecting us to swallow the concoction OR do they switch between white hats and black hats? Your call.

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF TODAY!!!

 

 

The Changing World

Since 2005 the world has changed in four key areas:

Today, the world is: Young, Urban, Wired and Hot.

URBAN–Now more people live in cities than the countryside.

Take Brazil for example, 85% of Brazilians live in cities.

YOUNG–Most of the above are young. 62% of Brazilians are under 29.

Half of Indians are under 25.

Two thirds of Africa’s population is under 35.

Only North America, Western Europe and Japan are aging.

WIRED–The third area is CONNECTIVITY. Over a third of the world’s

population has access to the Internet.

This is Worldwide Mass Media.

HOT–The planet is changing before our eyes!

Because we burn fossil fuels for energy which pollutes.

Carbon dioxide has just passed 400 parts per million in the atmosphere.

This figure is an abstraction, it is invisible, but it sets in motion big changes.

We need to put it into concrete terms for real understanding.

With more carbon dioxide, warm air holds more moisture.

Ice caps melt and that means more water in the oceans.

Sea levels rise so there is more flooding around the world.

As oceans warm there is more energy for extreme storms.

Many places, instead of rain, are experiencing drought.

These physical and visual changes are climate change in concrete terms.

Animals and plants are becoming extinct, rainforests are being cut down, storms, droughts  and floods plus higher temperatures are all physical visible changes.

What we are seeing are worldwide changes since the Industrial Revolution which began in 1750.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

As the world stumbles towards a climate catastrophe, the differing national attitudes toward climate change highlight why there has NOT been an effective global response.

The world needs to be UNITED in putting a solution into place.

The climate is a Global Problem!

 

What needs to be done is:

A Independent body of scientists, engineers and environmental experts needs to be set up. They would be committed to resolving climate change that overrides nationalistic loyalties. Every nation would have to sign up to it.

They could be funded by a % of every nation’s GDP.

It’s remit would be to generate policies and action plans to limit or remove carbon emissions.

This would result in CONSISTENT action around the world.

BUT…

The problem is that ACCEPTANCE of climate change has yet to be worldwide.

We’ve done a terrific job of screwing up the planet, NOW WE NEED TO RECTIFY IT!

Ice caps melt, gases that were frozen years ago are now released into the atmosphere.

Things are out of joint!!!

We have to try to STOP greenhouse emissions ASAP!

Climate change protesters will never succeed until all countries work together!

Britains reduction of carbon emissions is just like a grain of sand compared to the pollution caused by other countries.

China is building coal-fired power stations at an alarming rate to meet the consumerism of the Western world. Should we STOP buying cheap Chinese products?

Everyone wants something done, but don’t interfere with their choices, convenience or wallets.

So, that’s the sad story of climate change.

 

OVER POPULATION

2000 years ago the population of the world was 250 million.

In the 1600’s it was 500 million.

By 1800 it was ONE billion.

Now it is 7 billion!

With overpopulation available resources diminish.

Over. population creates unrest in underdeveloped countries which leads to dictatorship and centralised totalitarianism.

Overpopulation stops small countries from developing and that creates a crisis.

With crisis comes governments that want CONTROL over everybody and everything.

Unrest and insecurity leads to more control by central governments and an increase in their power

 

There are over 50 countries in the world that have dictatorial, authoritarian regimes.

That is about a THIRD of the world’s countries!

If the underdeveloped and overpopulated authoritarian countries align themselves with Russia or China than the military position of the US and UK would be less secure and the defence preparation would have to be intensified.

Most of the dictatorial countries are on full or semi war footing which promotes crisis and that justifies permanent control of everybody and everything by a central government.

Thinking about this overpopulation problem in the world maybe more countries would become authoritarian.

THIS IS A HORROR SCENARIO!!!

The problem of numbers in relation to available resources might well become troublesome by the next 50 years!

THE PROPHECIES OF MANY DYSTOPIAN NOVELS MAY COME CLOSE TO THE TRUTH!!!

 

THIS IS A BRIEF BLOG BECAUSE LIFE IS SHORT AND INFORMATION ENDLESS SO NOBODY HAS TIME FOR EVERYTHING.

SO WE ARE FORCED TO CHOOSE BETWEEN A BRIEF EXPOSITION OR NO EXPOSITION AT ALL!!!

 

 

 

The Self

A person is but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard of NO more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying Nothing!

Paraphrasing Shakespeare!!!

Interpretation:

A walking shadow=Impermenance, No Fixed Self.

A poor player=No self direction, does not create or direct his role in life.

Struts and frets his life on stage=Life is full of limits.

Heard of no more=Death

A tale told by an idiot=Our language based life.

Full of sound and fury=Jumping up and down making noise but signifying Nothing.

So, did Shakespeare tell us the whole story?

Question–Who Am I?

Well, lets start with the body.

Your body can move, touch, see, taste, hear and smell.

What’s another aspect of you?

The aspect that thinks and feels. Words such as mind, heart and soul come to mind.

Also consciousness.

But these aspects are constantly changing, so I’m never exactly the same me that I was before!

So, who are you?

You are a physical body and a psychological being.

You have flaws and good points.

You are a social animal that likes to be with people but you are also unique!

What is your First Person Point of View?

Your life story, the life events that has brought you to this present moment.

What Do You See In The Mirror?

The face that stares back at me, is me, but it does NOT correspond to what I feel I am!

I was thrown into this world and my face resinates with sadness and hostility.

Do I really know this face in the mirror???

 

Who am I?

I am many things..

I am a congenial human being.

I am a worker.

I am a competitor.

I am an intimate being.

I am an actor.

 

Do you ever lose your sense of Self?

At times It seems I am in a dream world.

My body is functioning without my mind being in control!

I am tomorrow, what I establish today.

I am today, what I have established yesterday.

 

Are You Like A Book?

Yes, because we have life stories.

I am me because of my stories.

You are you because of your stories of life.

We all have similar selves BUT I’m a one of a kind story!!!

 

Who Am I?

The conclusion I come to is:

I am unique, but I am also like others!

SO THIS MEANS I CAN NEVER GIVE A DEFINITIVE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION!!!

1984 Revisited Today

Before we get into the nitty gritty, lets remind ourselves of the plot:

Winston Smith lives in a totalitarian country called Oceania.

He works for the Ministry of Truth, which alters history and spreads public lies.

The realities of his existence in this society are:

Police patrols are everywhere.

The Thought Police rely on informants to report thought crimes, such as reading books on a variety of subjects, restrictions are abundant.

Big Brother, the Party’s leader, stares out of telescreens in every house and every street corner. The screens are two-way, promoting propaganda and also watching everyone within it’s scope.

 

Winston defies his totalitarian masters and has a love affair and he puts his rebellious thoughts in a diary.

He is found out and sent for punishment in Room 101.

He is tortured and broken, his love affair is over and his spirit is torn apart.

He is released to the outside world but he has nothing to do with his lover, or she with him.

He has accepted his lot and he now loves Big Brother!

 

In “1984”, the novel by George Orwell, the state has a total disregard for the will of the people, in fact in the novel, the people have NO will, period!

Now, here’s what has happened in the UK recently.

The people voted to leave the European Union in June of 2016.

Now, three and a half years later, the will of the people is still disregarded by the elite and our politicians.

They have blocked every attempt to execute the will of the British people.

The people’s vote is still up in the air and Britain is still in the EU!

Total disregard for the will of the people, just like in “1984”.

 

Looking at the predictions in the novel and the state of the world today, the novel got it right in many areas.

Lets look at the areas in which the novel got it right:

SURVEILLANCE–In “1984”, Big Brother is watching!

Telescreens and posters of Big Brother’s face are on every street and all public areas.

The telescreens broadcast government propaganda and they are two-way so they can spy on people.

TODAY–CCTV cameras are everywhere watching us going about our daily activities.

Stores and online shops gather data on you and your shopping habits.

Social media tracks our likes and dislikes and government and private individuals hack into our computers.

ENDLESS WAR–In “1984”, the war is used to keep people in a constant state of fear, the economy is always in wartime mode. The people turn aggressive toward their enemy.

TODAY–We have the “War on Terror” which is endless.

It keeps the populace in constant fear and they are suspicious of everyone.

Security is tight which suspends some of our liberties.

The war has restricted some of our freedom.

DOUBLETHINK–In “1984”, this is accepting two contradictory beliefs as correct, such as:

War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery and Ignorance is Strength.

The people are kept ignorant of the news by changing it and this keeps the Party strong.

TODAY–Some governments use such slogans to confuse the issues.

The Party censors all information. Just like the dictatorship in North Korea today.

NEWSPEAK–In “1984”, shortened versions of words are strung together to create new words.

This is used by the Party to limit the usefulness of language and to get rid of words that allow people to think and speak about rebellion.

TODAY–Texting creates new language components that affect communication and language comprehension.

Manipulating the language results in differences in understanding.

FAKE NEWS AND ALTERNATIVE FACTS–In “1984”, the telescreens emit continuous government propaganda, so the people believe only what the Party says.

The Ministry of Truth is continuously changing the news to suit the Party.

TODAY–Politicians manipulate people by spreading falsehoods.

Digital age Twitter spreads fake news. Things are talked about out of context. Some facts are completely made up.

ANTI-SEX LEAGUE–In “1984”, sex is used only as a mechanical function for procreation.

Love and the enjoyment of sex are forbidden by the Party.

To Winston his love affair was a political act of rebellion.

TODAY–There are organisations that promote abstinence or want to ban artificial birth control.

 

So, are we turning into a “1984” world?

In “1984”, Winston Smith is subjected to “behaviour modification”, in other words, torture, and in the end he likes his environment of oppression.

TODAY–it seems we are giving up many of our freedoms and privacy.

Fears over terrorism have imposed restrictions on us, like heightened security.

We have suspicions about everything!

Advances in technology have overwhelmed us to the extent we are always glued to our screens and some of the info we get is distorted.

People say: If you don’t have anything to hide, you have nothing to fear.

BUT, when government and private companies can monitor our phones, we have all become SUSPECTS!!!

There is probably NO turning back!

DO WE STAND ON THE BRINK OF A NEW DYSTOPIA?

ARE WE IN A POST-FACTUAL STATE?

Post-factual is when political stories replace facts and evidence as the basis for debate and policymaking.

It’s nothing new that politicians lie.

Politics has always been a somewhat dirty business with its fair share of deceit.

If the facts are politicised, you have post-factuality and potential totalitarianism.

If politics is reduced to only factual questions and “expert” solutions, you end up with technocracy.

Both extremes undermine democracy.

FASTEN YOUR SAFETY BELTS, IT’S GOING TO BE A FAST, FEARFUL AND FURIOUS RIDE!!!

 

Is REASON Used in the World today?

Not very much I’m afraid.

I think rhetoric is used more than reason!

Rhetoric is the writing or speaking that appeals to the emotions, lacking in sincerity and meaningful content.

THIS IS THE WORLD TODAY:

Small wars happen all over the world frequently.

Terrorism springs up everywhere.

Migrants and refuges seek refuge in different countries.

Poverty, inequality and racism are rampant.

Health costs increase yearly.

Climate change keeps gaining on us.

People are living longer but social care is worsening.

Politicians concentrate on their careers and egos instead of on the good of the people.

Overpopulation, due to migration is over stretching infrastructure.

 

Because of the huge scale of these problems we need worldwide cooperation.

But little gets done when so much is at stake!

Politicians dicker among themselves instead of cooperating.

They add to the problems instead of solving them.

The technology (social media, twitter) makes it easier for people to attack ideas quickly.

Rhetoric reigns.

Reason receives little attention.

Politicians don’t try to understand each other because they see no political gain for themselves,

So cooperation is put aside and NO progress is made.

People. and politicians assume that REASONING won’t do any good because their opponents are only driven by emotions–fear, anger, hatred, greed, etc.

As a result of the “do nothing, no reasoning political climate, elections are decided by who gets out the most voters by rhetoric, rousing slogans and accusations instead of cooperation and understanding and who gives the strongest reasons for their policies.

 

WHAT TO DO?

We need to use rhetoric less and question more.

What kind of questions?

Why we believe what we do?

How our solutions would work?

 

We need to ask each other for REASONS.

How do reasons and arguments increase understanding?

When I give a reason to justify my claim, my reason helps you understand why I believe my claim is true.

When you give me a reason for your claim, that reason helps me understand why you believe your claim.

Now when we do the above, we still might continue to disagree, but we will understand each other better.

 

Misunderstanding can lead to mistrust and contempt for reasoning and good argument.

This contempt causes the problem of polarisation, dividing two or more groups that have different opinions.

So lets get rid of those put-downs, abuse and accusations and replace them with more engagement with the problems.

We need serious attempts to REASON together and understand each other.

HELP! I’M IN A POLITICAL RUT, GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!