There is a dim glow on the horizon, it is a wallowing in the comfortably numb state of golden slumbers.
Humans are not all that special.
We may be human, but we’re still animals.Steve Vai, “Liberty” (from the album “Passion and Warfare”)
Like animals, we do not expect things “out of the ordinary” to happen. Instead, we expect that tomorrow will be another day much like today, or at least much like a typical day for the season we are in. Even in the realm of scientific discovery, our so-called “scientific” method is based on probabliity statistics, basically assuming that if something is likely to happen in the here and now, it will probably also be likely to happen over there, again (soon). Our brains have developed to recognize patterns (via the repetitions we observe). The sun rises over and over again, rain comes from clouds, thunder follows lightning “… and they lived happily ever after” comes at the end of stories. We may never hear a different ending, because in that one out of the ordinary case, we simply won’t survive.
When Jimi Hendrix prouldly answered the questions “Are you experienced?” and even more poignantly “Have you ever been experienced?” with “Well, I have”, he was not referring to experiencing the age of 28, or 29, or whatever number beyond the meager age of 27. That is not to disqualify the large number of valuable insights he shared at that tender age. It just puts his insightful wisdom somewhat into perspective.
As I mentioned above, we are not very prone to seek out perspective. We are much more chill than that. If we see a piece of cornbread lying on the shelf, what would motivate us to go looking for another piece of cornbread somewhere else? Nature has always worked fine so far, why should tomorrow be any different?
Ah, well this is the point I have been waiting for: nature does provide us with some exceptional cases. Some of these cases seem so exceptional that you might wonder whether they are truly real facts or merely fantastic fictions. Holocaust deniers exist. QED
Likewise, liars exist. Crazy people exist. Manipulation is not beyond the realm of possibility … especially not if someone can “get rich quick” that way, maybe even without ever getting “caught“. Once upon a time, our elders used to tell us such stories — and for good reason, namely: to warn us about what might or at least what could happen.
Today, fiction and news are no longer quite as distinct as they once seemed to be. We are presented with documentation about so-called “facts” by machines which are portrayed as completely objective and as truth without any skepticism, doubt or perhaps even just plain reasonable thinking. To question a machine’s so-called “results” seems much like heresy.
Is that so? What if I were to provide some counter-factual evidence? Try this:
One of my friends maintains that it is pretty much useless for me to provide such evidence, or to appeal to rational thought, the scientific method or crap like that. He argues that people will gladly buy into a myth as long as believing that myth will make their life simpler, easier, more enjoyable, happy, fun or whatever.
Who can deny the willingness of lemmings to run off the edge of a cliff?