What is the truth? My Psych-girl (a third wave behaviorist, clinical Psychologist) is skeptical, not only of “the truth”, but especially of my assertion that I’ve a handle on it.
You sure can’t trust the old standard bearers, if you ever could? And now, there’s the new media (of which WordPress.com is part) available to anyone, anytime, anywhere and “the news” (reports, videos, pictures, opinions, studies, research, etc.) is ever-present there for your consumption. However, what you see, hear, and read is all subject to, not only interpretation (yours and the originators), but to artificial intelligence (AI), or algorithms (codes that select what you search for on search engines like Google and Bing, etc.) that arrange the results in a hierarchy, tailored specifically for you. The algorithms are invented and manufactured by persons you don’t know but who surveil you (See The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, Shoshanna Zubodd, 2019.) via social media sites like this one, Facebook, Twitter, etc., who might not have your best interest, or the “truth”, motivating them. (See Dr. Robert Epstein‘s research on SEME, or, Search Engine Manipulation Effect.)
What motivates them, in fact, are the same things that motivate everyone, everywhere, all the time: money, sex, status, and power. Some say these algorithms and social media have “weaponized” communication. I agree. I think what has been accomplished is weaponized lying. Or said another way – pleasure and pain / life and death / good and evil / heaven and hell / love and hate, and so on. These are universal motivators that have existed since the beginning (of modern man). Can you trust them? (Them being the authority-the standard bearers.) Come on. Your search results are different from your neighbors (be they friend or foe) even if you type in the same word or subject! It doesn’t matter if you believe in faith (religion) or science, or both – all and everything is subject to confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance. Said another way, “Seek and you shall find.” Sometimes.
Chasing the highs
Intermittent reinforcement is the strongest, most powerful of reward mechanisms. Some call that “chasing the highs” or, Craving for Ecstasy (Shout out to the rock-n-rollers The Revivalists, and Dr. Harvey Milkman), and drugs, sex, rock n roll. Whatever winds your clock.
Below I’ve posted an excerpt from my book (pages 34-7) that seems especially relevant today. I wrote it four years ago, almost to the day. See if you don’t agree that I just might have a handle on “things”, or “the truth”. After all, a good measure of whether or not one’s worldview is correct is how accurate it is in predicting the future (shout out to Scott Adams).
Is it? Up to me?
Psych-girl, “It’s up to you.”
Excerpt from Election 2016
Page 34: Obama’s UN Speech. September 29, 2015
What a week for speeches and interviews! We had the 3Ps = the pope, the POTUS, and Putin. And there was also Trump. How to separate the fact from fiction? Obama’s speech at the UN was so sad, so full of contradiction, almost moment to moment. The reason is, he’s a humanist, i.e., believes that humans are born basically good despite all evidence to the contrary, which is why his policies and presidency have been such a big fail. I fell for it, wanted so much to believe in humanism and hope. I’m afraid it’s not true. Freud was right about the pleasure principe and the reality principle. It’s in his book Civilization and Its Discontents.“The truth will set you free, but not before it’s finished with you.” [fn 12] Trump is the id and the ego (das ich) unburdened by the superego (das uberich), as is Putin to a lesser degree. The pope, well, got all his bases covered, having forsworn sex, the root of life and the living.
Oh no, I think I just heard Bill Clinton explain his sexual/not-sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, as a manifestation/expression of his genes. He said, I think/believe I heard, that he is or his genetic makeup
fn 12 “You have been snared by something untrue. You are deluded.” David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest (1996), 389.
is “4 percent Neanderthal,” and so he is not responsible for all that which happened back then when he was president in 1998. (And apparently, HRC bought that.) [fn 13]
This is the essential excuse, that it is–whatever it is–not one’s fault but the consequence of circumstance beyond one’s purview, unless, of course, the something that happened is believed to be good. Then the question is how much credit belongs to you, your team (parents, siblings, pastor, teacher, therapist, coach, friends, mates, partner), your luck, and/or God.
fn 13 this is from a live interview of Bill Clinton in Erin Burnett OutFront on CNN.
Page 36: In a Nutshell. October 1, 2015
What is wrong?
The USA’s secretary of state, John Kerry, spoke before the United Nations’ gathering in New York city recently and said that what started the chaos that is Syria today–which borders on a catastrophic World War III, seemingly irresolvable, except by that which ended World War II–is a peaceful civilian protest because of a scarcity of jobs/employment (money, which equals security for most of the world’s population) for young men who, as always, want only to show off and display their power/prowess by providing for the means of staying alive for themselves, their mates, and their children (potentially). In other words, there is no work, which is the sense of dignity for men. Work provides value not only for society/community but also for the individual. It is what makes a man a man–providing value for his family and community/society/nation. Of course, all this sensing is hierarchal, from son to father to leader to God to heaven to eternal life. And so a protest is to question the authority and therefore must be resolved, but if the hierarchy is false (that is true) and cannot be resolved, one must use force, because everybody knows that might makes right,
Page 37: despite what those atop the hierarchy say. When push comes to shove, he who pushes hardest wins (true).
Set that aside for the moment and return to the concept and question of work. Work is labor, and labor produces something that is necessary for survival–be that food, clothing, or shelter. And there is also energy, which is work and working. Emotion is energy in motion or the manifestation of that which motivates a human to work. One works because it makes one feel good about him or herself. Work provides satisfaction emotionally as well as practically. A man without work is worthless, which, to a person, feels like failure. In other words, a man without meaningful work feels as if were a waste, useless, which is intolerable. So a man must work to work. Get it? Man must work to have purpose, to be of value to himself and to a potential mate and to his children. To work is to live, to be alive!
So why is there no work for young men not only in Syria but also around the globe, including in America? A book could certainly be written, but let me instead use a personal example.
There was a time in my life when I built furniture–fine, handcrafted, solid-wood furniture–not only beautiful but also that which would last for lifetimes, maybe forever if properly cared for. And yet there was not enough market for it to make a living. Why pay x amount for a table or a bookshelf or a bed, whatever [art?] if one can drive to a box store and buy the same thing (functionally) for a fraction of the cost?
Artists, for the most part, cannot make a living. Why/what does it, art or quality, matter when one can save money? When one saves money, that frees up money for more important things, yes? Who needs a craftsman and a relationship with the corner store/shop when one can drive a few miles to a box store and buy a bookshelf/bed/table, even a house? On credit! Nothing matters but one’s immediate gratifications and those then in comparison to one’s rivals/neighbors. All is relative today. All is to display one’s worth and value, a mirage. The internet and the adjoining addiction to screens have amplified the obsession with keeping up with the Joneses. All becomes an illusion and delusion. The truth cannot set you free when it has become relative and subject to anyone’s interpretation and manipulation. [End of excerpt.]
One more thing regarding “the truth”, Independent thinking, and “The Great Debate”.
I see a confluence (Psych-girl might call it “fusion”) with a notion that keeps popping up in my studying of the human population and its condition. The notion that all men (humans) are not (and will never be) created or otherwise, equal! But, here I must insert a caution: Beware of concept creep (shout out to Nick Haslan); the most grievous example would be Adolf Hitler’s misinterpretation of Friedrich Nietzsche’s notion of the perfectibility of man (Ubermensch) or Superman.
That noted, consider: Beginning with Abraham Maslow’s research into his theory of human motivation and personality wherein he stated that he thought only 1% of the population was self-actualized. David Foster Wallace, in Infinite Jest, writes of “figurants”, or people of no consequence regarding what happens – they are like furniture, akin to extras in a movie. (See pages 827-45.) Next is Ken Wilber‘s theory of spiral dynamics and the evolution of consciousness wherein he stated (thought) that only 2% of the population had evolved to “2nd-tier” consciousness, or were “integral”. Scott Adams thinks that only 33% of the population is capable of successfully managing the now super complex world. Michael Malice recently stated to Joe Rogan that he thought all but 2% of the population were “non-player characters”, or people of no consequence to the collective outcome of humanity. Note: The Russians call said people “useful idiots”.
What I think
So all these really smart, independent thinkers, are sort of saying the same thing: Everyone is not equal. That’s a problem. And one that no one is allowed to talk seriously about.
Point being: The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and, beware of what you ask for.
It’s up to you, or is it?