17 December 2011

Knowledge Is a Scary Thing; Most People Shy Away from It

"Very few really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds -- justification, explanations, forms of consolation without which they can't go on. To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner." -- Ann Rice, in The Vampire Lestat _Source
I ran across the Ann Rice quote on page 28 of this slideshare presentation on energy policy. This is a theme that has been covered repeatedly in the Al Fin blogs: the truth is both dangerous and difficult to find and assimilate.

If the truth were not so dangerous and destabilising, there would be no need for the layers of bureaucracy in governments, academia, big media, religion, and corporations.

The control and obfuscation of the truth is a growing industry in the modern world, and far more instrumental in determining your beliefs than you would like to think.

It is not important what you believe. It is only important that you learn to think and judge the relative trustworthiness of information, relative validity of arguments, and relative likelihood of conclusions. The process of testing ideas, arguments, and beliefs has been ignored (or blocked) at the highest levels of policy-making on national and global levels. Unless that suicidal approach to policy-making is changed, economic and societal ruin are inevitable.

This is one example of obfuscation of truth by insiders, which could lead to significant economic destruction at the trillion dollar level. Similar obfuscation of "truth" is occurring on a daily basis at every government office, in every big media outlet, in large numbers of university and K-12 classrooms, and inside your own head.

First you need to realise that "truth" is a verb, rather than a noun (an ongoing dynamic process rather than a static object).

A million years of biological evolution did not prepare most humans for this rapidly growing and critical challenge. But it is important that as many people as possible be empowered with these skills -- the earlier the better. Once the brain has fully matured -- around age 25 or so -- most people are reluctant to change their minds.
A compact scientific exposure to electrical energy solutions. You may learn -- as Al Fin did -- that everything you think you know, just ain't so.

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Blogger the inquisitive neurologist said...

I distinctly remember changing my mind on estate taxes, Walmart, anarchocapitalism, and the Amish, all after age 35. So, a ray of hope for all rational bloggers: conversions do happen!

Saturday, 17 December, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

Interesting. And perhaps reassuring for many.

Changing one's mind is one of the things that lets a person know he is still alive.

If done properly, the invigorating after-effects can last for some time.

Saturday, 17 December, 2011  
Blogger Ugh said...

Changing one's mind is liberating, but disillusion often follow. I slowly morphed over the years into a more conservative political mindset (not at all unusual), but now find the patrons of the right-wing agenda to be so nauseating that it's shaking my new foundation. Only looking at the fantasyland of inevitable self-destruction the left lives in keeps me from oscillating.

Are we men without a country?

Sunday, 25 December, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

Interesting, Craig.

Whenever we are struck by disillusionment, we should go deeper into our motivations and life purposes, to more basic levels.

Cognitive science suggests that all human ideologies are false. But they evolved for specific reasons, and people fall into them as a logical result of who they have grown to be -- or they are forced into them, as in forced conversions to Islam, or the adoption of a totalitarian philosophy to keep from being imprisoned or killed.

We go much deeper than our ideologies and surface beliefs, of course. That is why it is possible to change our minds without entirely changing who we are.

"Are we men without a country?"

It is much worse and much better than that. But it is best to break these things gradually. ;-)

Sunday, 25 December, 2011  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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