Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mismatched Meanings

"We can never be sure if our communication was successful; there is no certainty about what actually it was we shared." -Thomas Metzinger

Because all methods of communication include connotation and context specific to all individuals' own unique experiential history--and there is no way to strip away that collateral meaning--completely successful communication will inevitably be unattainable.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Not Getting It

After hearing or seeing a conversation that includes a child-like response that ignores what was just revealed, I often think "...but this one goes to eleven."

Not Knowing What One Doesn't Know

"Foolish people understand quickly, or believe they do, because they are not capable of imagining the difficulties and hence have no hurdles to leap over." -George Sarton

The above quote from the 1950s lines up with a named cognitive bias from late 1990s known as the Dunning-Kruger effect, the idea that unskilled people have no (or limited) capacity to realize the level of their own inadequacies.

Taken together, it seems fitting that a major goal of any society should be to instill the idea that we should never assume we're done learning.

Unique Justice

The visual metaphor created by Lady Justice—wearing a blindfold and holding balanced scales to show the law should be applied equally to all—is as bad as outright bias. A better image would be a blindfold over one eye and, in place of the scales, a magnifying glass held in front of the other. Because language is inherently too inaccurate to describe every possible situation and every event, criminal or not, no laws can be written to fairly cover every incident in life, all of them being unique.

To truly implement justice, there must be room to compensate for our required use of the faulty tool of terminology and the lack of our ability to predict a detailed future using it. Otherwise, justice remains absent.

"The more laws, the less justice." -Cicero

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Existence Wages

If a corporation somehow can't possibly exist without paying its employees wages that won't sustain them, no other proof is needed that the corporation shouldn't exist.

Dishonorable Wealth

Individual prosperity from within an inherently faulty or rigged system is not the honorable achievement so many claim.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Trading Taxes for Military Service

From the book Bursts by Albert-László Barabási in reference to a 16th century crusade: “The king gave land and villages to lords and knights so that they could bring their own weapons, armor, horses and men to bear whenever the king called them into battle. But if the wealth and tax-free status of these men was based on their military service, why, then, were the peasants now being asked to march to Constantinople?” 

Compare this to the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment, written in the 18th century, talking about a "well-regulated militia" and everyone keeping arms to make the militia idea work. Could it be that they were looking to make taxes and military service more egalitarian than was historically the case by not distinguishing between the wealthy and the poor? It is surely the case that those responsible for the Second Amendment would be aware of this aspect of the traditional feudal arrangement, a system they were specifically against. For those who today claiming that the sentence fragment having to do with the "right to bear arms" should stand alone, the historical basis for it is much more complicated.

Consequential Diversion

Naming some potential results as side-effects skews perception of an action's outcome.

Defeated Standards

There appears to be no substantial difference between the standards used at Fox News and The National Enquirer, two places where accuracy and relevance are seen as unfair obstacles to be defeated.

It's Not My Fault

In a failed attempt to avoid responsibility for ourselves, we create a virtual reality that contains gods and constitutions to take the blame.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Book Bliss Surprise

When I read a book that calls me to finish it as fast as possible, it feels like I suspect lottery winners do.


Far too many people make me think that when they watch Children of the Corn they root for the children.

Conservative Custodian

It's hard to see today's political conservatives and not think they need a chaperone.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Flood of Incest

Those who hold the Noah's Ark myth to be true must also then hold that every animal alive today is descended from incestuous first cousins or siblings.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Goal Confusion

The "ends" and the "means" are far too often confused.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Inviting Slavery

Given modern day support by some for wealth-based corporate power to supersede democracy-based government power, it's important to remember the fight against slavery was also the fight against the power of ownership.

No So All-Powerful

To claim that prayer works is to also claim that humans have the paradoxical power to control an all-powerful deity.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Societal Desertion

Given the realities that no one survives alone and we tend to be social creatures, those who push the individualistic notion that everyone should "be happy alone" (or many other similar sentiments) as a primary goal in order to be healthy seems to work against an enthusiastic effective existence.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pushing Impaired Values

The impaired state of mind brought on by sudden and extreme fear, one where invalid primordial instincts take control of our actions, is now a political philosophy.

Monday Morning Believers

There is no way the world could deny a deity if its followers took over an emergency room for a weekend and successfully healed with prayer all those who entered.