Just putting this here for future reference:
“System 1″ in “Social Psychology” parlance is your “unconscious” or “emotional self” (or perhaps “ego”), whereas “System 2″ is your “conscious” or “intellectual self” (or “id”).
Most humans generally believe, or should I say, would prefer to believe that it is “System 2″ that controls “System 1″.
Reading the excellent “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman (as well as a number of other books on the subject) it is pretty clear that we’ve got it completely wrong. Rather in the vast majority of situations it is in fact “System 1″ that is running the show and “System 2″ is at best providing verification for what “System 1″ is doling out. This makes a lot of sense when one consider “System 2″ is slow, requires effort, and even (according to studies), induces the equivalent of pain to actual use.
In social situations it appears “System 2″‘s function is to really provide “cover” (aka “window dressing”) for “System 1″‘s already predetermined notions. That is, “System 2″ isn’t really functioning from an analytical sense and providing “well thought out” responses, but rather supplying plausible, but not necessarily accurate, explanations for what “System 1″ has already determined (albeit perhaps wrongly and certainly in many cases arbitrarily).
This is why intellectuals (which I would for argument sake have to include myself), don’t necessarily come out with better answers than (so-called) non-intellectuals. The “intellect” isn’t really often providing “value-add”, just better obfuscation. Worse it inclines said intellectual to believe they have a better understanding than they do (ie: be more damn sure of themselves).
This isn’t really news if one is a parent. One watches their children not necessarily improve their judgement, with age, but rather get better at justifying their judgement even if it’s just as wrong as it was before.
In fact I think the true difference between children and adults, and sadly this includes myself, is not necessarily better judgement (though experience does finally get through or rock heads eventually) but rather is their competence at windowing dress their arbitrary already predetermined positions.
That is, they are better at dishing out bull shit.
James Dobson said regarding the Newtown, Connecticut shootings:
And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that’s what’s going on.
Then James Dobson would seem to be implying that God is an asshole, because only an asshole would allow 6 year olds to get viciously killed for the so-called “sins of their fathers”.
I’m an agnostic at best, but I don’t choose to believe that God, if he exists, is that sort of god. In that case, it would seem to imply instead that James Dobson is the real asshole.
Actually “asshole” is a bit of understatement.
Public relations has been around for a long time:
“All men of conscience or prudence ply to windward, to maintain their wars to be defensive.”
- Roger Williams (as quoted in “A People’s History of the United States“)
I’m going to skip commentary on the morality of extrajudicial killings, whether this guy deserved it (or if anyone can ever “deserve it”), whether there is a better way, or who’s right and who’s wrong. That is subject to nuance and could fill a few pages to say the least.
All I can say is this (via Twitter and Facebook) is sick:
Celebrating death, anyone’s death no matter how bad they are, is twisted. Ok. I’ll give you maybe Adolf Hitler, Stalin, or someone similar, but in the last 100 years, you can probably count them on one hand.
Moreover to do it like it was some Hollywood billboard, complete with faux-distressed type is just off the rails.
That every news outlet isn’t decrying this, that ever “civilized” western citizen (including Israelis) aren’t horrified says just how far our collective psyches have been perverted.
Death as entertainment. Life so cheap. Would our god, the god of Christ and the Jews, treat life so irreverently (yes, I am an agnost at best, but I was raised Judeo-Christian and thus hold certain expectations of my brethren)?
According to USA Today, here are the”business leaders meeting with Obama” regarding the budget (the so-called “fiscal cliff”):
- Frank Blake, Chairman and CEO, The Home Depot
- Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs Group
- Joe Echeverria, CEO, Deloitte LLP
- Ken Frazier, President and CEO, Merck and Co.
- Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, Coca Cola
- Terry Lundgren, Chairman, President, and CEO, Macy’s Inc.
- Marissa Mayer, CEO and President, Yahoo!
- Douglas Oberhelman, Chairman and CEO, Caterpillar
- Ian Read, Chairman and CEO, Pfizer
- Brian Roberts, Chairman and CEO, Comcast
- Ed Rust, Chairman and CEO, State Farm Insurance Co.
- Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott
- Randall Stephenson, Chairman and CEO, AT&T
- Patricia Woertz, President and CEO, Archer Daniels Midland
So, and maybe this is just left out, who’s representing “labor” here?
Or to put it another way, who’s representing the other 99% of Americans?
Ah, change we can believe in…
I’m glad Obama won (mostly out of a “better than the alternative” viewpoint), however this screen grab of the election map from Fox News makes me depressed:
Because we are such a polarized nation. Look at the size of that red part – it’s hard in a way not to believe Romney didn’t win looking at it. He didn’t of course – the blue parts have more population (and while smaller, there are actually more blue states in play). Still it’s huge – from a physical standpoint, more than half of America really didn’t want the man.
But it’s also depressing because for a large percentage of the population in those red states, saying that they “didn’t want” Obama is an enormous understatement. For them this was a royal shafting, nearly the re-election of the “anti-christ” himself.
For sake of brevity I won’t comment on the mass-brainwashing that represents other than there’s plenty of reasons to hate Obama, but most of them aren’t the Republican talking points we’ve heard. Still these people, undoubtedly have a heartfelt belief that a huge disaster has just taken place. I literally feel for them – they may be misguided (or maybe I am) but they’re good people. They don’t vote Republican because they’re evil, they vote Republican because of the particular bus they got on when they were kids. So, yes, in their worldview a huge disaster has taken place.
Again, I feel for them and no, not out of some holier-than-thou pity, but because in this polarized environment it’s not really clear what the truth is and I could just as easily be on the other side of this.
That said, it is truly sad that neither side can see the truth of this, that Obama and Romney were mostly going to bring us the same sack full of crap, that yes, we are in the end lashing out out about the same issues (just in two completely opposite directions), and that yes, we’re all good people just the elites (on both sides) are using and misusing us to their own ends.
Finally, I should conclude this in a totally “inclusive” manner by noting even the elites just want the same things we do. They may be more driven or more damaged (certainly more damageing), but most of them (pretty much all of them, though some may be “sociopaths”) don’t have any desire to be evil either.
Of course, nor do wild animals, but no one would suggest to let them run free in our streets either.
I think we’ll all be glad when this election is over, but as long as we see “objective journalism” as viewing both sides being equally disingenuous:
then we really don’t have hope of getting out this mess we find ourselves in.
I’ll leave it to you to figure out who is being more disingenuous but the point is, by some curious miracle all things are not “equal”.
A report from the newspaper yesterday detailed how relatives of Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao have grown extraordinarily wealthy during his time in China’s ruling elite. The NYT reported that his family has “controlled assets” valued at $2.7 billion. His wealth stands in stark contrast to the poverty that afflicts large numbers of people in China, and was built in some cases, with financial backing from state-owned companies.
In response, China has blocked the newspaper’s site in both English and Chinese for mentioning his family’s wealth. Users that cited the Times article on Sina Weibo, a popular Twitter-like microblogging service in China, have also seen their postings removed.
As I have noted elsewhere, from a human rights standpoint it’s not clear that China is all that different than the “red menace” that we grew up with. While Russia has embraced some semblance of democracy and free speech (albeit now dying a slow death), the same cannot be said of China.
So why isn’t China the “red menace” anymore? Moreover, given that it still subscribes to the practices that made us label it such, why are we continuing to prescribe to “free trade” with them (to the detriment of our workers may I add)?
The answers are I believe:
- Because it behooves our ruling class.
- Because it never was about human rights: it was about capitalism. Human rights was a ruse.
Alternatively the nouveux left ascribes to the belief that it will lift China out of poverty and with economic prosperity, political reforms will ensue.
The later point has some validity, albeit it’s not an open conversation that has been had with the vast majority of Americans on who’s backs such gained Chinese prosperity has been laid (that is, their gain, has been our loss). I’m fine with an informed decision on that grounds, but as a hidden subtext, not so.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think China is “evil” per se (this is particularly true of their “people” – leadership is perhaps another thing). Certainly they have some evil-ish policies and one can’t ignore their human rights record. That said in the spirit of the “Prime Directive“, who am I to question what works for a billion people with a completely different culture than mine? They are in fact feeding their people, something which wasn’t happening when the west was heavily interfering.
Still, we can’t disregard the inhumane treatment that dissidents and others receive. That should make us at least question this devil’s deal we’ve made. This is a conversation to be had on the front steps, not the back rooms that most of these trade deals have been effectively consummated in.
As the Guardian reports:
A comprehensive study by the American Academy of Pediatrics was published on Saturday. Widely seen as the best measure of the onset of puberty in American boys, it showed that they are showing signs of puberty six months to two years earlier than previously assumed [emphasis added].
The surprise finding builds on previous discoveries that appeared to show girls have also been developing faster. A study in 2010, which was published in the US Journal of Pediatrics, created headlines when it revealed girls were hitting puberty earlier, with some developing breasts at seven. Nor was it just in the US. Other studies have revealed the same trend in girls all over the world.
Why we as a society aren’t absolutely freaked out about this is beyond me.
No, I am not saying it is conclusive evidence of something going seriously awry, but it should give anyone significant pause – what might be happening in our environment that is causing this?
I’m not saying this relates to cancers, but cancers are typically associated with growth factors. One might think that would be another question we would be asking. Again maybe “much ado about nothing”, but it seems like we should have some “ado” until we’re sure about it (rather than just being a “curious” note).
But given our inaction on what is undoubtedly the most pressing concern of our generation, global warming (yet another 60 degree October day today), it’s not very surprising.
I don’t think it’s possible to put it more clearly why we we’re losing jobs and why “free trade” isn’t free:
“Let’s not kid ourselves about just how cheap offshore labor really is. We not only pay substantially less per hour, we also avoid the costs we would incur if these workers immigrated here. We don’t pay for their medical expenses when they show up in the emergency room without insurance. We don’t pay for their pension costs if they don’t save for retirement. We don’t pay for their children’s public education. Nor do we pay for their out-of-wedlock children, their unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation, their slip and fall torts, their wear and tear on our public infrastructure, and the cost of their drunk driving, drug use and other crimes. We outsource pollution, its adverse effects on our health, and its clean-up costs. Neither the employees nor their employers are here to vote and seek political handouts.”
- Edward Conard, in ““Unintended Consequences”