Moron fatigue, a possible cure?


 

 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2Moron fatigue is the result of  having a mind and knowing what you’re talking about. In a world full of absurd fake information of all kinds, supported by raving fanatical lunatics howling over every trivial issue, it’s more or less inevitable.

The good news is that moron fatigue, like the people who cause it, is superficial. You won’t die of it, and unfortunately neither will they, but it is annoying and intrusive, like a rash.

It can cause stress, which is more serious. If you’ve been listening for hours or what seems like decades to morons, or seeing their “revelations” for too long, you may feel like you need decontamination. You’re right.

No, I’m not going to suggest tolerance or acceptance. Quite the opposite. Morons should not be tolerated in your life in any form. They shouldn’t be tolerated in your career, either; they’re instant risks, as well as being utterly useless. There’s no such thing as a “useful idiot”, even in politics, where being a moron is a career requirement.

They certainly shouldn’t be “accepted” as though they were some form of unavoidable thing. They are quite avoidable and should be.  Accepting the presence of a moron is like accepting a sort of endless liability. It’s ridiculous.

The immortal Celts in EnglandPredictably enough, the culture of engagement of the previous decade has left a slimy, sleazy, filth of intrusive moronic issues, situations, and problems. These types of engagement are all intrusive. Your privacy, like your peace of mind, is always at risk.

This world is based on types of engagement. Being a “social species” (sounds absurd, doesn’t it?) humans have to engage with some things, despite their better judgment and sense of personal hygiene. The obstacle course of modern life, of course, means you may have to engage with nice, sweet, smug, plump, fizzy, morons.

These endlessly employed, fully qualified, useless things seem to be built in to everything from middle management to those tiresome, pedantic fools with no imagination who just happen to be running things incredibly badly.  They’re experts on nothing and have inputs in to everything around them. They’re the people who add 20 steps to something which should only take 1 step. They’re the drones in meetings, the tedious bastards who turn minor issues in to month-long epics.

The cure for moron fatigue

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?

The proven cure is disengagement. You need to be clear about what you’re disengaging yourself from, and understand the values of disengagement. In the past, hermits were people who’d disengaged from society for basically the same reasons. Hermits were supposed to be ascetics, spiritual, whatever, but there were other good reasons for becoming a hermit:

Intellectual and professional contamination: The most common effect of morons is to intrude their imbecility in to everything.

  • Obstruction: Morons get in the way of doing anything; they add obstacles to any process, any logic, any simple task. They are inefficiency incarnate.
  • Religion: There is nothing more offensive than being told what to believe by some parroting fool who’s spouting beliefs like a broken sewer pipe. How many experts on God have you met? How many have the spiritual nature of a used piece of toilet paper?
  • Bores: The bore is to humanity what sexual diseases are to sex. They come in all forms, from the truly ponderous, excruciatingly dull to the mono-subject Car Bore, College Bore, Sports Bore, Politics Bore, Money Bore, etc. You’ll find teams of elite bores infesting any subject.
  • Materialists: Everything about a materialist is external. There’s usually nothing internal. There is no person in a materialist, just a cliché- obsessed shopping list.
  • “Smart”, born-dishonest, hypocritical people: Everyone thinks they’re a genius, a great actor, and that other people believe every word they say. Some people are almost orgasmic when they think they’re getting away with something. This is the classic description of all-round morons.

All these morons have one thing in common – They all take up physical time and mental space, and everything they do leads to some uncomfortable situation for you. Aesthetically, they’re usually bland-hideous and spectacularly uninteresting on every level. Intellectually, they’re nothing.  Pretty damn good reasons for disengagement, wouldn’t you say?

The practical methods of moron fatigue cure

Whatever you’re disengaging from, remember that your mind and your life can benefit by simply excluding these fools. Most people have a natural instinct to disengage, but don’t know how to do it.

A few options for disengagement:

  • “The online hermit”: Lose the bores, lose the intrusive people, and lose the incompetent by unfriending, blocking, or simply abusing them until they go away. Change your contact addresses, change your avatars, become invisible. That will at least get rid of the serial offenders.
  • Don’t be nice about unacceptable things: Tell people where to go. Do NOT tolerate unwanted intrusions. Ruthlessly eliminate the unacceptable. Avoid subjects and people where you already know the likely outcomes, which saves time.
  • If you don’t like someone, don’t engage: Simple, efficient, and worthwhile if only for reducing the crowds of time wasters and lousy sources of information. Snap judgments may be right or wrong, but the instant-disengage approach allows you to filter out the fools.
  • Don’t make a career of being surrounded by morons: Busy career people learn to adapt to morons by a simple, but self-inflicted process of developing “working relationships” with morons. This seems harmless, until you realize you’ve spent 30 years wading around in them and the results of their stupidity. That’s 30 years of dealing with non-achievers, problem-causers, obstructionists, and non-innovators who’ll never amount to anything. Save yourself some time – Map out a career path where you don’t have to deal with these plodding idiots.

Everyone has a personal suite of morons in their lives. Everyone’s need to disengage is therefore different, too. These are hints, but the bottom line is “Lose the morons any way you can”. You’ll feel a lot better.

www.sydneymediajam.com

 

Why we should be paid to read the “news”


 

 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2False news be damned. The real news isn’t much better. It’s a tale of a failed civilization. Worthless rich animals parading around a disaster area from pole to pole being “important”. Meaningless, do-nothing statements galore. Fanatical fools of all kinds. Organized crime up to the armpits, aided and abetted by governments. The news is more like an obituary at the world’s expense.

Civilizations fall for one reason and one reason only – Mismanagement. It weakens them to the point they simply fall apart. It doesn’t really matter how they’re mismanaged; the effect is the same. They lack the cohesion to resist their falls. All else follows.

When governments aren’t governments, they’re actual crimes in progress. Leadership, there is none. Just a few tiresome hacks reciting old dogmas and playing with public money, giving it to each other and themselves like it was their own. Their stupidity, mediocrity and illiteracy is confirmed with every word they say and everything they do.

World War 3 is now obsolete. It’s unnecessary. A few more decades of this level of maladministration in this high population mass and total failure will do the job, probably better than weapons.

Didn’t know that, eh?

I’m not going to do an analysis. There’s no need. It’s obvious how badly the whole idea of civilization has failed at all levels. The news is like a sports commentary – “Yes, the horse is running up its own arse”, and variations which mean basically the same thing.

When experts spend time hiding behind quotes from others, they’re not experts. They’re not even thinking. The easy out is to cite references to everything but facts, and that’s the language of the times.

When people “believe” anything and everything without even understanding the basics, it’s not belief. It’s self-fraud. It’s the admission of total incomprehension, too, another drastic self-harm methodology you can get online anywhere. When it applies to “news”, it’s mass self-fraud and self-harm.

If humanity ever expects to get out of this dunghill it’s built over itself, the only option is honesty about the hard facts. Anyone expecting a sudden outbreak of honesty? I ask because without realism you can’t achieve competence. Without competence, you’ve got no chance of doing anything right.

How many physical functions can you see in this one picture? Trillions, in fact, from atoms to macro structures, and all working together. Now, imagine an “intelligent life form” which doesn’t even get the basics. Still feeling brilliant?

News, as everyone knows, is a commodity, as much as it is information, whatever the quality of that information. Bullshit futures should be way up. So should disingenuous futures. Anything which is utterly useless is highly valued; that includes people, ideas and dribbling policies based on simple-minded money grabs.

If there’s a certain justice in the fact that the people making billions by destroying future generations before they’re born could be making trillions by not destroying them. There’s more justice to be had from the ridiculous come and go news which is instantly contradicted, or simply fades in to the oblivion it deserves.

So – How to get paid for reading the news without being a paid troll?

  1. You could bet on which new disaster will be announced, or which country is going to fall to pieces next, etc.
  2. Bullshit subsidies. News organizations could pay readers for reading specific information, in cash or reward points, etc. Appropriate, at least, when you bear in mind they’re reading about the next death threat from global incompetence.
  3. This is the currency of publishers. Non-news is published for that reason. Why not bribe the readers, too.
  4. “Applause money”. Pay readers to say how great the news reporting is. Requires no honesty or other difficult to obtain personal resources.
  5. “Youth culture allowance”. Pay kids to absorb the culture of necrosis. Don’t think of it as news; think of it as a sort of gangrene.

Well, trash? Will that save your ridiculous business models and your gutless selves? Will you be able to bleat on uselessly for a few more decades with help from paid readers?

I’ll give humanity 50 more years. Fail now, and you fail forever. Why would a pack of dishonest, gullible, naive, “evil” little fools get a second chance? You might as well pay the readers, because they’re as likely to go extinct as you are.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

Beating CO2 with cyanobacteria and marine algae


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2If you’ve been watching the eyebrow dragging Trump administration grovelling to Big Oil like everyone else, you’ve probably got the message. Oil is God, and humanity can go to hell with as much pollution as it likes. Easy to mass produce marine algae and cyanobacteria could change that.

CO2 levels have been rising at a fantastic rate throughout human history, and particularly recent history.

According to New Scientist (8 April 2017), the average American (remember them?) produces about 16 tonnes of CO2 per year. The average European produces 7 tonnes.

Both are way too much Why should any human produce 70 or 360 times their own mass in CO2? . It doesn’t matter at this point. The story now is that all this CO2 is causing climate change. The other story, such as it is, is that +2C is the target, and +3C will have “apocalyptic” ramifications. Sea level rise could be 2-3 metres, which I think is way too optimistic. I think about 8-10 metres is more believable, and even that may be under the mark. All previous estimates of ice melt have been on the shallow side so far, excuse the pun.

Note: I consider the mean level of CO2 in ppm as the only provable, working definition of CO2 levels. CO2 levels have risen from 313 ppm when I was born to 400 ppm last year. That’s a gigantic increase.  Forget Little Ice Ages and paleo historical excuses; in all climate change scenarios, adding CO2 doesn’t do anything but warm up the planet. Adding 36 billion tonnes per year, therefore, can’t do anything but speed up the heating process.

Marine algae and cyanobacteria to the rescue?

So – How to reverse global warming? With machines? Expensive and probably slow, with possible inefficiencies, and no guarantee of adequacy of scale to meet needs. With chemicals? Same story, basically. Bio agents which can absorb CO2, on the other hand, are easy to mass produce, hence the interest in cyanobacteria and marine algae, which can be produced by the giga tonne.

The fact is that simply cutting emissions now won’t do enough fast enough, thanks to the oil lobby and their subhuman political pets. An accessible, 100% reliable way to physically reduce CO2 levels is required.  The algae and cyanobacteria are just that.

Marine algae and cyanobacteria

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?

Most CO2 is captured by marine algae, not trees and plants. Marine algae are a huge global biomass which basically drives the carbon cycle through the oceans. Marine algae can be produced in gigantic quantities and released in to the oceans. The worst side effect is likely to be massive increases in the number of fish. (That’d be a great outcome if the fish weren’t full of micro-plastic, of course.) The algae will act directly on any CO2 they encounter. There is some reason to believe that acidification and water temperature negatively affect marine algae, but warm water species could be used to mass produce the required amount of algae.

Cyanobacteria, a (very) rough analogue to marine algae, are one of the world’s oldest forms of life. They’re super-tough; they’ve survived everything, and they’ll survive global warming better than anything else. They’ll survive because they’re major beneficiaries of everything humanity does wrong – CO2, nitrogen compounds, phosphate/fertilizer soil mass murder, and more. All the crap humanity produces won’t affect cyanobacteria. They can live through plagues of volcanoes asteroid strikes and even human city sewer and drainage outlets. You can grow cyanobacteria anywhere on Earth, and they’ll be fine.

They can be grown in dams, ponds, and anywhere on land with enough fertilizer. All they need is light and as much CO2 as they can get. These bacteria fix nitrogen and CO2, so they’ll be right at home anywhere in a greenhouse environment and Earth’s hopelessly mismanaged land areas. No level of human incompetence can stop them.

One of the early suggestions for growing marine algae was to deposit iron in the seas to encourage their growth. There was much criticism of this idea for various reasons. One of the most persuasive reasons is that natural processes could be too slow and diffuse. That’s probably right.

The need for marine algae and cyanobacteria will have to be predicated on mathematics, not the natural cycles of these organisms, anyway.

The equation is this:

X marine algae (ma) will absorb X amount of CO2.

Allowing for losses through predation (P), Xma will be slightly under the target amount in any given application.

So Xma – P = Y, the actual, measurable CO2 reduction.

The obvious solution is to add projected P as a production factor so that Xma + P = Y. Couldn’t get a lot simpler, really.

Add to this that 35 billion tonnes of CO2 is emitted globally. A fair percentage is absorbed by plants and algae, but the net increase is still adding to CO2 in the atmosphere.

If E = over absorption level emissions, you get a real time need for absorption which reads:

Xma + P = E – Y. Meaning your added absorption has to include the new emissions, while also dealing with the excess CO2 as it happens.

To reduce net excess CO2, defined as 1900 levels, pre auto and mass production, you need to quantify:

A = current levels

Ex = 1900 levels

Therefore, A – Ex = Y as the target for absorption to physically reduce CO2 levels. You can set whatever target you like for Y, there’s plenty of CO2 to go around, but it has to deliver a clear reduction back to bearable levels on an ongoing basis.

By “ongoing”, I mean forever. More CO2 will simply generate more algae and cyanobacteria. The problem should strike a balance with adequate absorption. Let’s fix this problem, permanently, and idiot-proof the future with proper atmospheric management.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

 

 

The pathology of spiritual toxicity


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam“Spiritual toxicity” is a poisonous characteristic of a spiritual environment, sometimes known as you. It’s characterized by negativity, manipulative thinking, and in some cases subversion of a spiritual norm. The most common source of spiritual toxicity is media.

You can diagnose the spiritual state of any community by its media. The more extreme, the unhealthier the community. That might sound a bit convenient, in the middle of the fake news environment, but it’s a common factor historically.

The Romans, not famous for their sensitivity, but famous for their murderous politics, managed a level of toxicity which created the hyper-expansive Republic, but reversed to create the decaying ghoul of the Roman Empire.

The Chinese version in ancient history was visible in the First Emperor’s reign. Almost all books were burned by the Legalists, to restrict knowledge. Restriction of knowledge ultimately destroyed the Chin. The end of the Chin in turn later started the period of the Warring States.

Love Chinese culture. I have Chinese immortals in my stories, including one guy who recited a poem. His friends asked, “Ancient?” He said, “Not very. I wrote it this morning.”

These are the practical applications of spiritual toxicity to human communities. This condition is an ongoing threat to humanity. It can cause insanity, inverted logic, and basically retard human development. It’s endemic, as a pathology, and it’s hard to fight if you don’t know how.

The other problem is “spiritual ecology”. The spirit, which for the purposes of this article means the mentality’s driver, exists in a real sense, reacting to influences and contaminants from all directions. It can exist consciously, in attraction or repulsion.

Rather unfortunately, the traditional reaction to spiritual toxicity is morality. Morality is cumbersome, not quick to apply itself, and positively lethargic in new innovations. It’s like sending an elephant to catch a flea. In a spiritual ecology, it’s a floating mass, not an active participant. The spirit acts quickly, and in multiple directions. A moral monoculture, as supplied by most religions, is hardly able to register, let alone stop, spiritual activity. You might as well send a rock to catch a rabbit.

The spiritual ecology is as real as the physical. It affects your personal reality, the one that matters most, directly. A toxic idea may be quite enough to provoke the same Fight or Flight reaction as a maniac with a machine gun.

Even Homo Sapiens, (a species “blessed” with a level of self-incomprehension on an almost unbelievable scale), can be affected immediately by certain types of spiritual toxicity. The Great Mystery Which is You doesn’t mind getting the hell out of spiritually toxic environments, whether it understands them or not.

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?

That reactive response, however, also brings with it some risks. The equally blessed human ability to run straight in to more trouble is reasonably well known. Reactive responses to spiritual toxicity can be irrational, and more to the point, useless.

A better option is systematic fightback. Ugly, nasty events have a unique character which is pretty consistent and easy to spot. Emphasis on toxic elements in ideas, like anti-Semitism, etc. are usually promoted by a fairly clear type of mentality. Toxicity, like any good pathogen, requires vectors and transmission. Stop either, (or preferably both) and you stop the toxicity in its tracks.

One of the reasons modern spiritual toxicity is so easily spread is that the medium for the vectors is communications. Forget airborne pathogens; this is a lot more efficient in spreading contamination of any kind. This is Digital Plague, live and well and coming to a nutcase near you.

…Or you. Some types of toxicity have sweeteners; sex, money, ego, power… Put it this way; absolute power does more than corrupt. It also takes over the person with the power, who becomes a mere tool of the power.

There’s a huge irony here, too, chuckling quietly to itself. Morality, that choke chain on human honesty, often offends to the point where the immoral is a welcome relief. Spiritual toxicity does well among the spiritually oppressed. The more oppressive the morality, the better it does, in fact.

Humans are natural hedonists, naturally avoid danger, and naturally prefer comfort and safety. (In my view, anything else is basically dishonest.) Morality feeds on these things, in the same way as spiritual toxicity, if not for the same reasons, at least notionally.

The problem, obviously, is how people react to the supposedly non-toxic moral spiritual ecology. This is the Supermarket of the Soul, the bland shiny face of spiritual consumerism. The various washing machines of the soul, like church, dogma, raging lunatics insulting their own belief system with every breath, and other marvels, abound.

Like junk food, junk morality isn’t good for you, either. It makes you more susceptible to spiritual toxicity, and like junk food, not healthy enough to fight it. The tides of spiritual toxicity, whether absurd assertions or perverse thinking, work on a numbers basis. If one form of spiritual suicide doesn’t get you, the others will.

…So what’s so bad about spiritual toxicity?

One thing, and one thing only. It disintegrates your identity. If you add a contaminant to that organism, it can’t function normally. For the spirit, that’s a type of chronic disease. It affects your thinking, your relationships, and even your relationship with yourself.

Been on speaking terms with yourself lately? Getting along OK with whoever/whatever is you? If so, your levels of spiritual toxicity are low.

If you’re spending a lot of time convincing yourself you’re right about things, that’s a high level. You may be at actual war with yourself on some or many issues.

Symptoms of toxicity include:

  • Self-justification
  • Self-avoidance; dodging you own opinions, for example
  • Frequent conflict with friends
  • Hypocrisy on any level, for any reason
  • A hideous, all-embracing doubt which cripples your decision-making

Interestingly, anxiety, a paralysing dread for no materially identifiable cause, may be a symptom of onset. Ever had that feeling that you loathe something, and can’t define it? That it’s a danger, or hidden threat?

This is spiritual Fight or Flight, incarnate. It’s a survival instinct at the spiritual level. The human spirit, under-educated and largely ignored by spiritual monocultures which enforce conformity, but not spiritual life, (what a surprise) isn’t well armed to manage the threats.

I don’t want to write this idea in to any blind alleys or extended exercises in missing the point. The point is that spiritual toxicity is an active, working poison. Remember that, and act according to your instincts, which have got you through the last few million years.

 

www.sydneymediajam.com

Religion decoded and made useful


 

 

Beliefs are supposed to mean something. In the Golden Age of Meaninglessness, you get a brochure, not a meaningful belief.

Religion is not dogma. It’s not an excuse. It’s not a means of personal moral superiority, however banal and pointless. It’s supposed to be useful. Religion, in most of its original forms, is a codification of both belief and conduct for spiritual benefit. In many ways, it’s just common sense.

The degraded forms of religion we see today are far removed from benefit, despite the fact that religion in some cases is all some people have. The tedious, pompous and often obsessive forms of religion aren’t much use, however, in delivering value.

Religion basics

Consider the basics:

  • “Thou shalt not be a jerk”. This covers all forms of misconduct which cause injury. All religions have this basic tenet.
  • Worship: Worship what, how, and why? Can you have a real religion, based on “Just add worship”? If you have no idea what you’re believing in, how do you worship it? Unless it serves some useful purpose, seems rather unfair.
  • Belief: Humans only actually believe something they trust. They trust it because they’ve seen it proven in some form. Any other “belief”, however tiresomely expressed, is hypocrisy.
  • Religious deities: One god or many? One god and saints, or whatever, the usual format is to break down religious subjects in to examples, parables, with a story and a range of metaphors. This applies from the Bible to folklore. It’s a common teaching method in ancient and modern societies.
  • The soul: The worst defined subject in human history, the soul is the nominal incarnation of self. It doesn’t have ascribed values, material or otherwise. This lucky concept is the recipient of any amount of babble which is supposed to be good for it. If the average soul could get a word in edgewise, it would tell the babble where to go, or demand that the babble explain itself. “Preaching to the speechless” could also be described as incredibly hypocritical and cynical.
  • The Afterlife: This remarkably poorly defined subject is the reward for “whatever”, the mass of bullet impacts and asteroid strikes life delivers to most people. As explained by people who have no idea what it is, it’s a pretty iffy reward. “Bribed with Heaven and threatened with hell” isn’t much of an improvement. It’s an exertion of assumed authority which can backfire, causing resentment and discouragement. Credible rewards are based on something; this dismally expressed topic delivers very little.
  • “Evil”: Evil simply means injury. Evil is a one trick wonder. It causes injury, in whatever form. Any fool can be evil; it’s a devaluation of oneself and a useless range of possibilities.
  • Good: A rather shoddily defined expression which deserves better. Good can relate to acting responsibly, being kind, or, in fact, acting like a normal human being. If you commit an act of kindness, you know why you do it. True good doesn’t big note itself.
  • Moral pretensions: This is the age-old pretension of being good. It’s false by definition. Actual good is also practical, rather than pretentious. To claim to be good is making a necessity out of a virtue; not a great idea of you don’t have that particular virtue.
  • Morality: These supposed “life rules” have to make sense to be effective. Morals are useful, provided they’re practical and applicable to situations. Otherwise, they’re just more spiritual spam churned out by ignoramuses trying to be authoritative.

Religion in practice

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?

If you’re thinking that a lot of this is just common sense, you’re right. The original sources of religions were directly involved in practical needs. Why would a farmer, 5000 years ago, believe anything that wasn’t common sense? Imagine telling a subsistence farmer that they need a whole new range of things to not only do, but believe unquestioningly. Not very appealing, is it?

What use is self-promotion by others to people in real need? The original sources of the major religions were positively minded, from Confucius to the latter day religions. The Confucian idea of turning society in to an extended family, in fact, applies as well to the Warring States era as to modern times. Everyone knows extended families work well, too.

The original sources were practical people. None of these people were mere talkers. Jesus and Buddha were fundamentally teachers, and good ones. (For the non-press-release version of Jesus, read The Gospel of Thomas.) The Prophet Mahomet would go out and plough people’s fields himself. Moses was a lawgiver and a source of a code for people who needed cohesion. It’s a very practical approach to living in a wilderness/desert.

Believe what you will, but be aware that none of these sources was anything but useful. If religion diverges from usefulness, it’s obviously not as it was intended.

This wasn’t McReligion. You couldn’t just order a god to go with a side dish of pretensions like you can now. The original sources promoted responsibility, not excuses and evasions. They also weren’t obsessed with materialism.

Some of the best exponents of religion are practical in the sense that their every conscious moment is devoted to helping others. This help in turn benefits others indirectly. Some of them aren’t even members of a religion. They simply practice it, and make themselves very useful in the process. If religion is the process of putting useful things in to practice, however, they qualify as religious people.

You don’t have to be a saint to be a practical religious person, with or without a particular religion. You don’t have to preach about something you barely understand yourself to be effective and practical.

You don’t have to be a jerk, either. However fashionable being a petty little attempt at a real person may be, the jerks are always the useless, the greedy and the mindlessly addicted selfish, causing injury to others.  The one trick wonder is only that and no more.

Believe what you trust, not just any old garbled dogma. Put in to practice what you believe, and avoid injury to others. How much simpler could it get?

 

www.sydneymediajam.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The psychology of ‘Not’: Meet your (unexpected) inner conservative


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media JamIf conservatism is famous for anything, it’s famous for what it doesn’t do. Conservative platforms since Thatcher and Reagan have been all about ‘Not’:

  • Not regulating.
  • Not funding.
  • Not culture.
  • Not education.
  • Not public health.
  • Not social justice.
  • Not science.
  • Not environment.
  • Not modernizing.
  • Not listening.

These Nots are basics, monotonously droned out by conservatives in every Western country on Earth without exception. They’re therefore usually ignored, and therefore not at all understood, by progressives. This range of Nots are everything about conservatism that any progressive has ever claimed them to be, and devalued accordingly.

The problem is that’s a very simple, and shallow, way of looking at conservatism. It’s also a great way of totally misunderstanding what Not really means in practice.

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?

For example – The usual appeal to “tradition” is often based on a personal reward. It brings back to you things that barely exist anymore. Tradition, however, is also the incarnation of a range of Nots, too, if you spin it that way. These appeals to tradition are great for those lost in the modern world, modern thinking and modern initiatives.

Tradition can be a huge reward. It’s a return to the womb or the family home of childhood, a safe place in your mind. (You could call it a luxury, on that basis.) It’s also a well-known psychological manipulative process. It’s guaranteed to appeal to the insecure, the overstressed and the under-acknowledged. It’s particularly effective on the modern psychological plague, anxiety.

This is the major, classic version of ‘Not’. These pre-adult nostalgias are at their core all about things  that are ‘not’ the things now bothering you. It’s like watching an old TV show from when you were a kid; you’re back home, somehow, at least for a while.

Let’s be fair about this –

  • Everyone over 10 has an established ‘Not’ zone, and a range of experiences and preferences to back it up.
  • The ‘Nots’ are real, perfectly valid psychological buttons, and they work on anyone. People use their Nots as valid reasons.
  • There’s a natural, and reasonable, right to insist on your personal ‘Nots’.

The problems with ‘Not’ as a basis for anything start with the ultra-dangerous “Not real”. This is a double entendre in a whole new class:

  • It can mean your personal Nots are real.
  • It can mean that any reality which isn’t a Not, isn’t real.

The separation between reality and Not is based on deep Fight or Flight catalysts. Fear is always effective, delivering adrenalin to upgrade non-specific Nots to personal crusades or deeply held, sudden beliefs in anything and everything.

Case in point – Many people fear change, and by extension, progress. Others may fear ideas, which leave them lost and totally unprepared for the thinking that goes with new ideas and new things.  They feel insecure, and disadvantaged by these things, and, in fact, they are. Their Nots have excluded them.

This is another universal human experience. It can be a very honest experience.  Many are highly distrustful of the often fake, facile logic of business culture. They distrust it, both on the job and in general.  That distrust is usually backed up by truly lousy personal experiences, and the belief in Not, which is a natural defensive reaction to adversity, becomes entrenched.

It’s a type of logic, perhaps not very focused, but it can drive a drastic response to anything. It can also drive a demand for more Nots. Nots are both a combination of conflict evasion and a position for conflict. Any Not can be used as a stonewall reaction to any group. It can be a rallying point. Add some dopamine, and you can even use it as a basis for “friend or foe” relationships.

The reality or unreality of Nots in history

Put enough Nots together, and you have a society based on Nots. That would be all fine and ducky, but Nots have a 100% record of failure over time.

  • China had a policy of not introducing foreign goods, for decades; look at China now.
  • Tsarist Russia had a policy of two very separate economic classes, not connected in any way and a strict social hierarchy on that basis; look at Russia now.
  • The sun did not set on the British Empire; Not-style mindsets destroyed it with unpreparedness and mismanagement based on the Not mentality. Look at the UK now.

The moral of history is that it’s not about Nots. Nots are straws in a hurricane. Life isn’t, and can’t be, entirely about negativity. The question is this: Does everyone’s inner conservative, the usually self-serving Not-addict, recognize the risks? Probably, Not.

 

 

 

The Global Stupidity Plague


 

This is the Age of Dumb. Stupidity is now a force of human nature, if not the other kind of Nature, which seems unimpressed. Homo Sapiens, not famous for its intelligence, but not this dumb, is experiencing a true plague of stupidity.

 

Let’s get through the obvious manifestations of Stupidity Uber Alles  first:

 

  • Governments: Politics is obsolete. It’s about getting elected, creating conflicts, and making things worse. The whole idea of government needs to be about fully accountable, properly oversighted people doing things right, not this planetwide disorganized mess.
  • Culture: There is no culture. The banal, pointlessly trivial, endlessly obstructed lives most people live can’t fit culture in anywhere. There’s nowhere to put a culture in this boorish sewer of a world. How do you fit a culture in to poverty?
  • Society is non-existent. Thanks to governments and lack of culture, society is a word, not a fact. There’s no social cohesion at any level. Quite the opposite, hating other members of the society is now the norm, and highly socially destructive.
  • Crime: Generations of corrupt weaklings and idiots being “tough on crime” have produced the richest criminals in history, bankrolled by stupid, useless governments and pointless laws making everything illegal extremely profitable.
  • Progress: Progress ground to a halt decades ago. Forget gadgets using 1970s touch screen tech and binary code, which are ancient tech. Digitization did make a difference, but only to the technology, not the people. Apes using phones are still apes.
  • Sanity: Sanity is unmarketable in any form, for any reason, in any sector. The fabulously out of touch “meeting culture”, in which executive gargoyles can be away from their actual jobs for decades, has removed any need for rational thought at all levels of commerce and leadership.
  • Careers: Most careers will cease to exist soon enough, as expertise is taken over by Artificial intelligence, which couldn’t possibly be any dumber than human intelligence. A career will be like a successful game show contestant.
  • Pollution: Pollution was almost under control 30 years ago. Now it’s a religion among the truly unhygienic minds in charge. To pollute on principle, which is how it’s done now, is to say you’re a grovelling little sycophant peasant like everybody else in your septic tank of a life with no opinions of your own, and you want to network.
  • Health: Thanks to the above stresses and unsanitary ex-societies, a huge number of people are suffering from various medical conditions. In the past, the opposite was the case. The eternal hordes in hospital ERs and elsewhere are relatively recent.

So… Do you think there’s a problem?

Paul Wallis, Live Lazy and Love It, AmazonConsider this – All of these things are anti-survival. It’s like living for no other reason than to find a cliff to fall off. This is Applied Stupidity, in its most unambiguous form. Stupid things are said – And believed. Stupid things are done – And considered brilliant.

So what’s new, you ask, finding a new (inconsiderately empty) beer bottle in which to live? Humans aren’t that stupid, that’s what. Even for a species which built enough nukes to wipe out itself and everything else at least 7 times over, this is dumb.

 

The current manifestations of stupidity are:

  • Refusal to deal with any major issues on any level, however disastrous.
  • Obsession with trivia at the expense of major issues.
  • Prolonging and tolerating useless conflicts all over the world.
  • Failure to deal with basics, ranging from water to food, health education and housing.
  • Incomprehension of the obvious, with denials in the face of facts.
  • Ignoring experts.
  • Tolerating corruption.
  • Tolerating greed.
    Ignoring the public interest in EVERY area, all the time.
  • Paying freeloaders to run countries.
  • Electing freeloaders to run countries.
  • Wondering what went wrong afterwards.

The most primitive societies were survival-based. If you tried doing any of these things in a cave society, your chances of getting a woolly mammoth parked up your backside were excellent. In this society, you get cheers and applause based on how anti-survival you are.

Hierarchical societies are effectively hierarchies of stupidity. The more senior, more experienced idiots rule. In this society, which is made entirely of hierarchies, stupidity is a virtual law of physics. The more stupid the action, the more stupid the result, and the more stupid people are, the more they fail to see that.

Remember “normality? Thanks to stupidity, most people don’t.

The normality of the past in the West was based on:

  • Clean, safe, if not palatial, homes.
  • Just about everything was more or less affordable, except major luxuries.
  • Health care whenever you wanted.
  • Public sanitation and hygiene were pretty good.
  • Air was breathable.
  • Food was edible.
  • The sea didn’t make you sick when you swam in it.
  • Pollution levels were much lower.
  • Psychological conditions like depression were much rarer.
  • Reasonably good, if not dazzling, education.
  • Much fewer people, less crowding, less stress.
  • Workplace culture wasn’t psychotic.
  • People weren’t paid to make workplaces psychotic.
  • A good chance of a career, with considerable effort.
  • Almost no nutcases, anywhere.
  • Very low levels of crime, and mainly minor crime except for organized crime.
  • No hordes of fanatics, and the few there were, were despised.
  • To be a sycophant was to be a failure.
  • Talent wasn’t hated.
    Intellect wasn’t hated.
  • The people with the skills did the jobs, not people pretending to do them.
Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?

Forge the exceptions for a minute; that’s not the point – These relatively modest, unpretentious, things were reasonable expectations. They weren’t called “welfare” or “entitlements” and certainly not the result of any ideology except the right to personal freedom.

They were also legitimate expectations after the worst war in human history. Politicians didn’t win that war. They caused it, and damn near lost it so often it’s amazing it turned out the way it did. The public certainly didn’t idolize politicians. JFK was the last modern politician to be truly admired.

Progress meant physical wellbeing, quality of life, scientific and social. That was “not stupid” in context with the way things are now.  An educated society made an educated choice.

The pathology of the global stupidity plague.

So up to about 1970 or so, humanity, if no collective genius, was survival oriented and doing pretty well. That date is important.

You need to be able to track a plague from its inception. The history of bad decisions dates from about then. The Nixon era, in which the last Republican, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was a dim memory, started a culture of bad decisions.

The dumb can lead the dumb. Bad decisions, of course, are a great way of creating opportunities for more bad decisions. Following global leaders may not have reached the abysmal depths of Nixon until now, but these were the symptoms after Nixon:

  • The USSR collapsed after massive mismanagement.
  • Japan destroyed its well-proven social system and replaced it with a stagnant nothing.
  • The USA, as the “world’s only superpower”, went backwards socially, technically, educationally, politically and morally from the 1980s onwards as a result of “conscious” political policies. The anti-intellect culture started then, too.
  • The Middle East, one of the most prosperous areas in the world, went in to meltdown.
  • Europe made many bad calls on the refugee and debt crises, compromising its own credibility and global image. Financial scandals like LIBOR added to the general malaise of maladministration.
  • Britain chose Brexit, without a plan to achieve it, or a model for existence outside the EU.
  • My own country, Australia, mismanaged everything and got everything backwards economically, technologically and socially. That’s not so new; it’s just that the current degree of mismanagement is unusually thorough, even for our very low standard idiots.
  • People with no scientific credentials at all, and obviously no basic knowledge of chemistry, became experts on global climate.

So – This is a plague of stupidity. These were all terrible decisions, affecting the entire world. The logic is delirious, unfocused, and farcically wrong. Babble is everywhere.  Nobodies are suddenly VIPs. Doing dumb things is now normal. Believing anything, however obviously false, is now normal.

This is a very sick world, and it’s not trying too hard to get better.  That’s a particularly damning statement. Nothing is really being done about anything important, on any level.

Plagues usually burn themselves out, sooner or later.  The current insanities will pass. Even the Black Death eventually ended. The damage, however, may not be so easy to undo this time.

Most of the problems above are fixable. It would be relatively easy to achieve a modern version of the old normal. It’s not happening, or even being considered. That, folks, is ultra-stupid, and it could be fatal.

“Make the world smart again” may not be much of a catchphrase, but it beats crap out of the alternatives.

 

America the self-pitying? Or just plain stupid?


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media JamTo us foreigners, America’s apparent total refusal to see the obvious from 2016 is baffling. Trump will come and Trump will go. He’s not the long term problem. The problem is America’s total failure to face any kind of tangible reality, or do anything about it, for decades.

It’s a horrible shame. Things could have been so much better. Ignorance and real, applied stupidity have done the damage.

America’s horrible list of failures

America has successfully failed to face:

  • Trashed generations which could have been so much more.
  • Lost, bungled wars of all kinds despite an effective military.
  • Its own deliberately generated hatreds and polarizations.
  • A culture of intellectually bankrupt financial management.
  • The plague-like spread of organized crime and corruption at all levels.
  • The culture of dishonesty which is now poisoning every single fact.
  • The industry of greed which perverts basic daily business at all levels.
  • A truly psychotic business management culture.
  • Ridiculous prices “because we can” for critical basics like health and education.
  • Unspeakable generational poverty and demonizing of the poor.
  • Stunningly talentless maladministration on every level of government.
  • Colossal waste of people and resources on a fantastic scale.
  • Chronic insularity at the expense of all known facts.
  • The institutionalization of the Rust Belt and the mentality of Failure Incarnate that it represents.
  • Serial corporate law breaking in all sectors.
  • Careerism and related life models based on a world which no longer exists, at great expense.

THE great American novel. Should be used as a political primer until 2020.

Arguably worse than all of the above is the unquestioning acceptance of failure in every possible form. Not one damn thing has ever been done about any of it, all the way back to Nixon.  It’s self-inflicted. Whole generations of weak, facile, astonishingly stupid and even more astonishingly untrustworthy people have made it happen.  Others have allowed it to happen. Guilt is shared.

Consider this little litany, which is just a sample:

  • McCarthyism, the All-American mechanism of oppression still used today
  • Vietnam
  • Watts riots
  • Watergate
  • Enron
  • Lehmann Bros.
  • Insolvent banks
  • GFC
  • Sub primes
  • Municipal bonds
  • Hurricane Katrina/FEMA
  • 911

You can’t have this level of constant, unmitigated, catastrophic national failure by accident. The reaction to decades of failure has been equally pathetic. The only visible reaction to 60 years of obsessive failure has been for someone to occasionally pop out like a cuckoo clock and say “O woe is us”, and disappear in a puff of utterly useless self-pity.

America vs its own success?

For a culture based on success, America has totally ignored the downsides of success. Past success spoiled America in a deadly way. The prosperity of the past was a good excuse to let things slide. They slid. Who cared about some war in a country they’d never heard of, or some riot somewhere? Everyone was comfortable, and comforted by the theory of trust in something called America. The future was going to be so much better, too. It isn’t, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Experts by the shipload from 1945 onwards warned of future problems and were unanimously ignored in all practical terms. From Silent Spring to global warming, ignorance is highly paid bliss.  Ignoring experts is now standard practice. (They’re still warning, but at least they’ve stopped expecting anyone to listen, let alone understand a word.)

The bottom line is that Americans wax lyrical about a vision of America and simultaneously bemoan the inglorious actual failures. Absolutely nothing is done, and more failures inevitably emerge. It’s no coincidence. Failure generates failure. Failure evolves, like a new disease. The next big financial crashes and the next political disasters will be created by failures happening right now. Face it and fix it, or fail again.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

SMJ is finally re-published in a sort of reduced form, still a lot to do.

 

 

Minimalism, a rebuttal


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media JamMinimalism is to me the epitome of this idea-less, loveless, lifeless society. Replace a life with an empty space. Decluttering is one thing; removing all aesthetics and life values is another.

What, nothing matters? No keepsakes, no beautiful things? Exactly what I’d expect from this rathole of a pseudo-civilization; a barren wasteland, with a brand name and a smug little rationale. Minimalism is the sort of aesthetic you’d expect from an underachieving termite.

What minimalism is and isn’t

Listen, phonebrains, while I explain a few things:

Minimalism is called “living with less”. That’s a death sentence if ever there was. Already living in overpriced antique pigeon coops, you want less?  Remember doing more with less, that farcical fraud foisted on business? Remember how it meant doing a lot more with a lot less and achieving nothing but stress?

This is a simulation of the known universe. Minimalism? None.

The universe. Minimalism? None. This single picture has more meaning than any empty damn barn will ever have. You wouldn’t be allowed to put it on your wall, because it’s not a minimalist value.

Minimalism means by definition fewer aesthetics. Can you exist without a likeable environment? Would you want to? Because that’s what this “interior desertification” means. How at home do you feel in a barren space like an airport? Do you go to a “nice” pub, with a friendly environment, or some damn laminated hell with nothing but lifeless spaces?

Minimalism means life without art. Ignore a few thousand years of aesthetics, why don’t you? You could be as pig-ignorant as anyone you’ve ever despised. “Well, how long can you look at the same painting?”, you ask? Answer; decades, if you know a damn thing about how to look at a painting. You’ll always see textures, colour combinations, etc. The painting will reflect differently with different moods, emotions, etc., too.

The lifestyle aspect of minimalism is one of its few valid features; it reflects a nothing of a lifestyle. Emptiness, not humanity, not even personality. The irony of using natural materials in “minimalist” environments is that you might as well be back in the caves, where you presumably belong, not living as some sort of allegedly advanced, evolved being.

To me, minimalism is subhuman. It’s a monument to nihilism, that great philosophical cop-out of humanity, in which everything is considered meaningless. It’s as pitiful as “prove existence” for first year philosophy hacks. How spiritually gutless can you get? Minimalism, like nihilism, means you have no skin in the game of being yourself. You can’t win, but you can’t lose, either, with no commitments. You can’t even play the game. That’s minimalism; a void in to which you can escape. You can have it; just don’t ask me to do anything with it but bury it.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

 

The Analects of Confucius, China’s Socrates


 

Confucius may well be one of the least pretentious people in history. He’s a good, interesting match with Socrates, in many ways. He’s also a very observant person. The West has largely overlooked Confucius. In the early days of Western contact, the Chinese habit of literary and colloquial references was totally misunderstood and even taken literally. The result was that Confucius, a very literary person, was classed among the “inscrutable” sayings.

I’ve long thought that referring to China as “inscrutable” simply meant that nobody was looking very hard. Reading Confucius as translated by DC Lau, that impression is confirmed. (I prefer to read native speaker translations of Chinese. The old Chinese idioms are tricky, and often misinterpreted by non-Chinese translators, simply because contexts are very dynamic in Chinese.)

The Analects of Confucius

Analects of Confucius

Inscrutable Chinese Art. See what I mean about not looking?

Confucius apparently had a rather turbulent, sometimes quite difficult, life. An avid student of everything, he was as absorbed in every facet of ideas as Socrates. Anyone with a brain will recognize the likely problems with being that intelligent in any society.

In old China, a land of quite incredible culture and incredible violence, Confucius stood out. He was famous for his mind in a country where famine, war, and corruption were ways of life. He was a “spiritual humanist” (based within the culture’s highest attainments to that time.

(“Spiritual humanist”. What an expression! Wish I could say I thought of it without the obvious inputs from a totally different perspective on life, but I didn’t. Read and learn, indeed.)

Earning respect in ancient China wasn’t easy for anyone, despite a great cultural respect for literacy and intelligence. To stand out in this environment was no minor achievement. A native of Lu, a minor Chinese state, his reputation spread within his lifetime, adding a burden of fame to frustration and what appears to be a constantly evolving knowledge and logic base.

The Analects are a series of notations about Confucius. It’s a pretty eclectic mix, but the man’s wit and compassion are more than obvious.  His status, ironically, has rather obscured his genuine insights and talent for observation. That status has also rather overstated the reverence and focused less on the highly intelligent person.

The Analects are arranged in 20 books in the DC Lau translation.

Central parts of the Analects:

  • The rites: Traditional practices, rituals, and values.
  • The gentleman: The ideal man.
  • Filial piety: Respect for one’s ancestors. (Confucius didn’t invent this. He made it a core value in his system of thinking to develop “society as a family’, perhaps one of the most genuinely civilized ideas of all time.)
  • The Way: Not quite the cosmic Way of the Tao, but the humanized version, with some relationships.
  • Character: The core issue of human conduct and values.
  • Ethics and correct behaviour are fundamental Confucian values.
  • Aphorisms: In the Analects, these statements become aphorisms as isolated  statements. Other text indicates that they originally had more qualifiers and that Confucius routinely explained his thoughts, but they’re extremely interesting even on their own.
  • Anecdotes: Interesting, and clearly intended to give some insights into Confucius’ real personality. (Pity more major historical figures weren’t given real personalities.)

Mysticism isn’t Confucius’ style. He works on practical principles, and tries to develop them.  That 2600 year old bit of good practice makes the Analects very readable and the meanings a lot clearer.

(For the record, Chinese “mysticism” is usually based on idioms and thick-headed Western literal translations. The Chinese sages didn’t go out of their way to be obscure. Add to this the fact that the spiritual side is a core element in Chinese philosophy, and you’re basically reading an alien culture. Western philosophy gave up on metaphysics a long time ago, and has been much poorer as a result.)

Confucius for modern readers

For modern readers, Confucius will come as a revelation or perhaps even a shock, if they fully understand some passages in the Analects. Confucius tries, hard, to take ideas out of the banal and show them as working things. His apparently endless efforts to make sense out of ideas are as interesting as Socratic debates, with a laconic style which is admirable.

For example:

“In his errors, a man is true to type. Observe the errors and you will know the man.”

Love Chinese culture. I have Chinese immortals in my stories, including one guy who recited a poem. His friends asked, “Ancient?” He said, “Not very. I wrote it this morning.”

Think about that for a second. It’s an appeal to the individual, a principle, and a good expression of a practical option for those trying to deal with “errors” in all their myriad forms. Whole books and much turgid pondering of the obvious have been written on the same subject. He does it in 18 words, with a bit of advice.

In one passage, he’s asked how he compares with a man called Hui. Hui is a man “living on rice and a ladle of water” without complaint. Confucius asks how he could dare compare himself with Hui, whom he clearly admires.

Comparing himself to another man, he says that when this man learns one thing, he understands ten things, whereas Confucius claims only to understand two himself.

This very honest character shows up continually in the Analects. The voice is usually very consistent. Any variation of character would actually be suspect. Like Socrates, a real person is clearly visible.

Confucius is old China at its best and most thoughtful. Read this in company with the Tao Teh Ching, and you’ll encounter two key facets of a world of thought you may never have believed possible.

Suggestion: Read when you have no distractions and are in a frame of mind able to absorb this text. It will be worth it.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books