Truth or Die

I have written about “truth” in many articles.

I have pointed out the danger of the ‘truth’ we pursue in the name of science, or rather, the danger of listing all the potential disasters as discovered by science, such as incoming asteroids, super volcanoes, mega quakes, super bugs and so on, which has left an entire generation fearing for the future to the point where hordes of them no longer want to start a family.

Don Maclean wrote a similar message in context of those who build weapons, fight in, or excuse war, saying “You have thrown the worst fear that can ever be hurled; the fear to bring children into the world.” (Masters of War)

I have written about truth in relation to law, where those in power claim the right to define “truth” and those who think differently end up in jail (or worse). I have written about the judicial system insisting on “the truth”, by which they mean, in congruence with their own interpretation of the facts.

Doctors trained in western traditional medicine tend to express their diagnoses in the name of truth, regardless of what this does to the patient emotionally, and despite knowing that it is exactly their mental state that helps people recover or not. Not to mention the many so-called preventive screening tests that tell people they are ill when there are no symptoms yet.

In the name of ‘truth’, the police will pursue a perpetrator, regardless of how many innocent bystanders are killed in their car chase, while this behaviour is encouraged and excused by the so-called superhero movies and stories, that have their protagonist do the exact same thing to catch a villain.

I have written a book about the danger of a society that is ruled by the belief that politicians know better than parents how to raise their kids, set a standard of ‘happiness’ to measure children by, and threaten parents into neglecting their children to avoid trouble with the law.

In the TV series “Unforgotten” – which is a very well written and acted series – the protagonist police officers root up the past to find the murderer of a body that has been buried for four or five decades.

In the first series, this body is of young boy who went missing and whose mother has been waiting 50 years for an answer, so that their search may be justified.

However, in the second series, they very soon discover that the murdered man was involved in sexually abusing children, a message even his family would prefer to forget, not stir up. Ignoring some plot holes, the detectives come to believe that three of the victims must have worked together in murdering this guy and some others. Yet despite their boss rightfully saying that the resources had be better used for today’s problems, in name of ‘the truth’ these detectives keep on digging into the past of some of those abused children, causing severe emotional harm to them and their families, before finally leaving it be.

To justify their stopping the pursuit, the officers ask themselves whether the people who were abused “need to be punished”, which is not even the job of the police to determine; their job is to enforce the law –  which they call “keeping the streets safe”, and which therefore can only apply to the current situation – not to make moral judgments. And that is exactly the excuse they use when it comes to enforcing the law against protesters. They say they were “only doing their duty” when they want to clear their conscience of misconduct and mis-accusations.  In short, they measure with two standards, depending on what suits them. But you cannot both claim to be a tool for those in power as well as a moral ruler.

In short, “the truth” can cause emotional harm if it is wielded like a sword of moral superiority, or fear when it is used to ‘warn’ people for upcoming disasters or health problems.

And most people, even those who do not work in the above-mentioned fields, will refer to “the truth” when they are making a point. In pursuit of this “elusive truth”, libraries are filled with philosophy books, each arguing a different truth with equal amounts of evidence.

There are two problems with this – apart from the above mentioned needless emotional harm caused to people. The first is that you would think that after some 3000 years of philosophy and centuries of science, people would finally be intelligent enough to accept the overwhelming evidence: that there is no one truth; that truth is in the mind of the believer (like it or not).

Secondly, and more importantly, where is this desperate need for truth telling suddenly gone when it comes to politics and propaganda?

Where is the truth when politicians tell people they have a voice about issues, when all they have is a vote for a popularity contest? Who speaks the truth that politicians are not leaders but followers?

Where is the truth when it comes to children being told that democracy guarantees them freedom and class equality, while many of those countries maintain a royal family and support a market strategy that increases the income gap?

Where is the truth when schools ‘teach’ children that democracy opposes tyranny and that anarchy is about violence – both of which are outright lies – so that they should be grateful for the restrictions imposed by their governments; messages most of those kids swallow and never again question?

Where is the truth when the “education system” is used to force children into schools – when “education” means helping to bring out latent capabilities” (talents) and “schooling” means “training and disciplining” for subordination and compliance?

Where is the truth when the system rewards those who comply with diplomas and positions in law enforcement, teaching and government, so that they can maintain the current beliefs and status quo?

Where is the truth of schools claiming to ‘teach’ individuality when exactly those who think or act as individuals are silenced with “personality disorder” labels and drugs?

Where is the truth when the factions in the climate change debate keep focusing on ‘who dunnit’ or who is correct regarding the causes – which is argued with words like “evidence” and “facts”, while ignoring the fact that we need to come up with solutions and look at the future.

Where is the truth in a judicial system that is motivated by financial rewards for lawyers and their chance to win in a game of emotional ping pong, using unsupported suggestions and facts that are interpretable – which has been a psychologically supported understanding for at least ten years?

Where is the truth in the slogan that we should be grateful to soldiers for giving us freedom, when soldiers don’t have such possessions to give, but were the ones who took it from people in the first place?

Where is the truth when the police go after the victims because the guilty parties pay for their salaries? Or where the victims belong to minorities – not just ethnic minorities, but personality minorities?

And most of all, where is the truth in a society that claims to support expertise, but relies on the mediocre mob to make all its decisions?

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Yet we are all part of this merry-go-round. Many people accept some of what I said, but they continue to support the system we live in, possibly because they don’t know what else to do.

For example, most laugh at lawyer and politician jokes, implicitly agreeing with the notion that those are incapable, yet they continue to go to the voting poles and keep the system going – I am not blaming those who live in countries (tyrannies) where not voting is illegal.

In name of the ‘truth’, those with different views are silenced and those doing the silencing often have the highest status and hence believe they are doing the right thing. They join or encourage “coercive institutions”, because they believe that equality implies that all people have the same chances and abilities to learn “the truth” and those who do not see that truth like they do, must be flawed, wrong, obnoxious, dangerous or crazy, much of which they are told in training, at school and by the media. Those who can see through the deceptions often do not believe there is an alternative – “this is how it is” and that democracy is “the best bad system”.

The naive notion that democracy – which by relying on  majority vote presupposes that people are psychological clones of each other, and thus ignores that we each have our natural talents and weaknesses – leads those who naturally lean towards coercion and compliance to feel justified in silencing the minority. In other words, it denies that we are all gifted in one field, and naive in most others. Yet, it is implicit in a democracy that exactly those who are not experts make the decisions about the topics that concern any field – experts, after all, are always a minority. Politicians are expert followers of popular ideas and expressing those – which is why they are elected; after all, you would not vote for somebody who did not say what you already believe.

But despite what we have been made to believe, we do not have to organize our society to give the mediocre mob all the power. It is perfectly possible to have a society that acknowledges our psychological weaknesses rather than ignore and abuse them, without making people feel flawed (which the current society is actually doing to most people).

But before such a society is possible, many, many, many people will have to start to understand that our inborn psychological difference make us see different truths about just about anything. We need to start to realize that we will not drop dead, just because somebody holds a different opinion. We need to realize that “truth” is like beauty and taste; it is subjective. Big deal!

Before anything, we need to abolish this steadfast belief in the need to be right and the power of those institutions that make it their job to force people into agreeing with them.

It is vital that we ask ourselves: Is it going to kill me if we disagree? If the answer is no, then choose for tolerance; for accepting differences. We need to get honest with ourselves. We need to start recognizing the deceptions we blindly swallow. We need to realize that the mob itself can act as a tyrant and does so to those who think differently.

Sure, maybe it is unavoidable that some call the shots, but why deceive ourselves?

Maybe it is unavoidable that we (some of us) aim for truth – they are born with this need for truth and that is their right – but we don’t need to beat others over the head with it.

Maybe it is unavoidable that courtrooms must make a call in some cases, but we don’t have to accept that it is “the only truth”.

Maybe it is unavoidable that doctors must share their belief about a condition in name of disclosure, but they have to acknowledge that there are alternative methods.

In short, if we are so keen on truth, then let us stop deceiving ourselves or allowing those in power to deceive us.

That would be a great first step to tolerance and peace.

The Ethics of Dollhouse

I usually don’t review movies or books, but so now and then I come across something that sparks my need to write. In this case the TV series Dollhouse by Joss Whedon.

It is based on the idea that people can have their personality and memory removed and replaced, so that they can become a different personality, according to the required circumstances.

That idea is not new, is usually poorly portrayed and often claimed by science fiction writers who buy into the reductionist and materialist 20th century belief that there is nothing more to people than their neurology. Although we know that such an approach is ignoring the very basics of psychology and would it be the case that people were programmable, humanity would exist of clones, even today there are plenty neuroscientists who accept it, so we shall not fault the series for using that as its premise.

Besides, Dollhouse does not claim to be science fiction; the blurb says thriller.

So, I am not interested in the possibility of it, but in the ethical aspect.

What I like of the series is the idea behind it, and, especially, that it deals with everything that can go wrong and with what people might find wrong with it – it starts one episode with a news flash in which characters on the street give a variety of responses, from total disgust to tacit approval.

The Dollhouse – there are many – that is the setting of the story has a number of people, who were once human, and are empty shells as long as they are inside (“like children”), but are imprinted with temporary personalities to engage in specific tasks – from heists to delivering a baby, from being a call-girl for rich clients to infiltrating sects or mediating in a kidnap situation – whatever the client wants, the dolls will provide (for a lot of money). Some of the ‘dolls’ have volunteered after a personal trauma), while others were coerced to sign away five years of their life in return for not being killed after having gotten into trouble.

One of the episodes starts with a journalist stating that the alleged “dollhouse” is illegal and its exact location unknown, and the series has an FBI agent intending to find the Dollhouse and arrest those who run it.

But is it illegal?

This is based on a concept and technology that has thus far never existed, which means no laws have been written that make it criminal to run a doll house. The coercion aside, if people volunteer for this, and the clients voluntarily pay money for those services, there seems to be no illegality, since you need a written law forbidding it to make something a crime.

But legality is not ethics. Many things that are illegal or “crimes” are not unethical or even immoral; they are simply against the law and many unethical things are perfectly legal.

The only true equality that exists in this world is that we all have exactly one life. The right to their life belongs with the individual, not the group – unless a person has destroyed another’s life (like murder), in which case they forfeit their right to their own life: One life for one life. Otherwise, every person has the right to do with that one life what they wish, even if it means selling it to others or signing away their humanity (for five years).

But while ethical is personal, moral is the belief of the group, and like the interviewed characters on the street, so most people watching the series might consider the idea of using human ‘dolls’ immoral. Some say it is like human trafficking; one woman said the dolls were slaves and nobody would volunteer to become a slave “unless they already were”.

Indeed, most people today who end up working as if slaves (like many prostitutes, and those working in diamond mines in third world countries) as well as those who end up selling their children or organs, do not do this out of free will; they are coerced by financial needs; in other words, their life, freedom, children or organs are stolen from them.

For me, unethical is when one person decides to invade another person’s life, so as to have a say about more than their share; they want to decide over more lives. This includes destroying or ‘stealing’ another person’s life, such as in murder, rape, bullying, assault, physical and emotional abuse that leaves somebody without the chance of a healthy life. It also includes coercion and ‘stealing’ people’s self-determination in name of money or a social position, usually with the help of threats in uniform. Politicians, whose job it is to organize public life (not private life), do this when they make laws that inhibit people’s freedom or private choices, such as the choice of euthanasia and abortion. These politicians claim the right to decide over more lives than they were given at birth. In that case, it is political rather than financial power, but it is stealing nonetheless, and because they use the police and judges to support them, individual people are coerced.

Yet, even if most people consider coercion as unethical, a capitalist society promotes businesses that sell services and goods for the “market price”, which is the price people are willing to pay for it. The Dollhouse is a capitalist venture and as long as the dolls truly volunteer for this (without coercion), from a capitalist perspective there is nothing wrong with it, especially when they do so in return for money. Likewise, as long as the clients are equally voluntarily willing to pay for these services, especially since some of those include saving somebody from criminals, I see nothing wrong with it. The ‘dolls’ have a comfortable and safe life inside the house, and have no stress or worries.

From an ethical perspective, therefore, people have the right (nature’s right) to decide over their own life, they also have the right to sign away their freedom and humanity to become dolls (tools, essentially). However, I would like to make a comparison with another ‘service’ that our society does not consider immoral or illegal, but which concerns the exact same ethical issues.

Those who know me, might see where I am going with this.

For what is the difference between volunteers who become dolls (tools) for a company that sells pleasure, and volunteers that become tools for a military army that sells death?

Those soldiers may not have their neurology changed, but they lose their personality just the same; they don’t act as individuals, and if they would, especially in times of war, they would either be fired or killed by that same army they have enlisted with. Instead, they tend to be “brainwashed” – which in its literal sense is just as impossible as neurological personality changes – but in actuality means bullying, demeaning treatment, physical force and fear induction to get obedience, which achieves the same result: the soldiers lose their humanity and become tools.

Coercion, like conscription or keeping people deliberately poor so as to be able to recruit them (which happens in more countries than you might like to know) makes this unethical, but volunteer soldiers do exactly what the volunteer dolls in the story do. The only difference is that it is legal, because it benefits the government that writes the laws.

Personally, I prefer human beings over dolls or tools, because those tools, by their sheer existence, will be used to do harm and to coerce and destroy even more people. If we get rid of the tools, we get rid of the wars and tyranny they cause.

Thank you for reading.

Conflict, War and the Real World

What follows is the third part of my discussion about conflict and war in relation to the novel In the Real World as well as our psychological dispositions.

In the Real World full cover

The story is one of war set in peace time. All the stages, divisions, emotions and moral views of war are played out in a school setting. It starts when a boys-against-girls prank war gets totally out of hand and spreads to the school and eventually the neighbourhood, involving all the members of the school community and the police. Each of the factions includes some teachers, some students and some parents, because social position and age are not decisive when it comes to compliance or rebellion, but psychotype (personality) differences are.

By means of the classes of their history teacher and the stories of their grandparents, the protagonists learn about the two world wars, but rather than battles and politics, it is the human aspect that is highlighted. The story begins around April 25th (Anzac Day), remembrance weekend for Australia and New Zealand, and it ends around November 11th, which is Armistice.

This post comprises a general discussion about war and conflict, interspersed with comparisons to what happens in the novel, while two related posts deal with an explicit psychological character discussion of behaviour and motives, and a brief introduction to the psychology, so as to support this discussion.

I am sure not everybody will agree with my stance in this, and that is fine, for we are all different psychological types and cannot interpret the real world in the exact same manner; this is what conflict is based on, so, even if I have tried to remain as fair as possible, I am still only one personality type and cannot crawl out of my own perspective.

Conflict

There are different sorts of conflict:

  1. Grand scale international conflict, we call “war”
  2. Small scale conflict between interest groups within a society, like religious or discrimination issues
  3. Conflict of individuals with the society they live in, usually with the authorities
  4. Interpersonal conflict; conflict between individuals
  5. Internal conflict; conflict individuals experience within themselves (dilemmas).

Conflict arises when people’s sense of future (hope), reality, truth or justice – their existence or existential belief – is perceived to be in danger. This sense (or belief) is objective to their Self, which is how information works to keep us alive, but not identical for all people; each type has a different ‘objective’ sense of real, of just, of true. – Nations and cultures also adopt a set of core beliefs, which become their identity (or ‘self’), as do interest groups, such as those based on ethnicity, culture, religion or orientation.

However, because defending this Self is a survival necessity, people try to convince others, judge others or impose their beliefs (using fear, guilt, shame, criticism), often with the best of intentions, and the emotions get involved, notably anger and resentment, which are related to our sense of justice.

Especially where it concerns the relation of the individual with authority – whether parents, teachers or social institutions, including the judicial system – injustice is felt when one personality type is treated with the responses suited for another type, so that treating all people the same in any social setting cannot work, because what is Self-evidently fair or just to one type, is Self-evidently unfair or unjust to their opposites; the inner Self experiences this and that cannot be changed. All attempts to justify, reason and mediate in conflict are jeopardized if this basic psychology is not understood.

Internal conflict or dilemma can happen to any person, especially when they are forced to compromise their own conscience and when feelings of guilt and shame are involved, but those personality types that experience either normative beliefs or reality as binding (objectively and necessarily the same for all), but not both, are more prone to this. It occurs when the demands of either of these objective experiences is non compatible with their subjective senses or beliefs. These types clash with other people over events, mutual feelings and situations rather than global beliefs. Their clashes are personal and they either make up or the relationship is terminated.

Those personality types that experience both normative beliefs and reality the same – they either experience both as objective (or binding) or both as relative (or optional) – have less of a problem with inner dilemmas, but they get in conflict with each other and with the society, in which one aims to maintain the status quo and traditions and the other wants to change those. They base their stance in the world on beliefs, they voice their ideas and they fight over the long term and often in groups.

Likewise, those who experience the group as prior (Js) feel justified in asking of the individual that they sacrifice themselves; they accept that the group’s representatives as authority are in a position to say so and the group needs to survive. Those who experience the group as arbitrary (Ps), see that as some self-important individuals trying to tell everybody what to do. For them, there is no justification in favouring some lives over others, and “the group” has no life, so it has no need to survive.

Large scale conflict has four common prerequisites: nationalism, militarism, imperialism, alliances. Individuals or their beliefs are of no consequence in war, because the fighting factions, which have neither emotions nor a sense of justice, are bigger entities, and individual people are mere numbers that make up such entity, no differently than that people are collections of body cells; we don’t consider them when we act as a person. Even if these bigger entities acquire a sort of a ‘self”, this self does not have the same sense of justice as people, because it lacks emotions. The goal of these bigger factions is power, not justice. That is why Mr Fokker uses the example of the Portuguese Man of War, which acts as if it has one mind, and all the individual parts that stray are eaten.

I have previously written about the need to remain within the right level when discussing information and objectivity; to keep in mind the difference between system and part (Homological Composition: 199). In that case it was about bias sampling (in psychology), but it applies to social issues as well. Our entire society is about comparisons, competition and fighting. This starts in schools, which are meant to educate, as in “bring out latent capabilities”, which would be people’s natural talents, and a society needs diverse talents. Yet, as Nikos explains, schools go against nature in trying to get those who naturally compete to get along and measure everybody to one standard, thus ignoring the much-needed diversity.

Regardless of how many fashionable slogans are used to imply the opposite, the system (or bigger entity) measures by standards important to its own self, not that of its parts. Even if a society needs diverse talents, it cannot consider the individuality of its parts, and will therefore treat all individuals as if identical – individuality can only be experienced within a level, not across levels or dimensions. We cannot consider the needs of our individual body cells, because we need to function as a whole; the same with entities to which we are mere parts. That is why Grandpa Will says that nations can win a war, but people can only lose in them.

In short, competition and combat are ingrained in people by those institutions that exist on behalf of the bigger entity that needs its parts identical, because it can control them that way. Whether deliberately or not, our language is filled with war terminology. Even ill people are said to “battle cancer” and the kids immediately use military terminology in their prank war, even when things are still fun, words like ceasefire, truce, guerrilla, war rules, sneak attacks, deserter. Later, at school, even the adults join in.

Nationalism is the identity of the group, imposed on its subjects, and therefore the segregation of people according to these bigger factions, usually nations, which cause people to look at each other as “us-them” and identify by common traits: clothing, language, flag and so on. Schools are a bit like nations, but within the school, teachers and students are segregated, as are students of different ages – as Nikos says, second graders will look down on first graders because they are a few months younger – and the older grades have different uniforms, as does every school, so that members are recognisable and identified by their uniform, by the group they belong to, not as individuals. Parents and teachers are also supposed to stay out of each other’s turf. There are clear boundaries of what each is supposed to do and each group has their own rules.

Militarism is the presence of tools for aggression, in the form of soldiers (human tools) and weapons for defence (technological tools), but also weapons of mass destruction, which are meant to reduce the number (power) of the opponent, because it is about numbers. Soldiers are tools to this bigger entity they represent, because they act as a group without individual choice. Soldiers who disobey often lose their life or freedom. Conscripted soldiers excepted the rest agree to exchange their individuality to become such tools. Without having numbers of tools, the bigger entity cannot compete.

At school, the expectation is that students do as they are told or risk detention, expulsion, or other punishment, which are the tools for compliance – compulsory education is like conscription. By taking out the few that cause problems, schools then guarantee that the rest of the students will do as they are told, just as soldiers were executed as deserters if they did not comply as an example for the rest. Besides that, in some countries, including New Zealand, the military go to schools and teach kids about weapons and militarism.

Uniforms are not only an identity that makes individual people numbers in a set, but they become a measure of behaviour. It is known that kids of non-uniform schools behave better in public places, even if in groups; those in uniform feel they can vandalize or threaten, because the group protects them that way. Same with soldiers taking liberties with civilians. Being in a uniformed group makes people a part of a bigger machine (a tool of war).

Imperialism happens when one faction increases its control beyond its own boundaries (invasion, colonization) and thus a tendency towards bigger and fewer factions – like we saw the USA and USSR or east-bloc countries –  and as they invade the other’s home and privacy, they annihilate the others, if not literally then their culture and beliefs, and often based on race, gender, religion and other outward traits.

Likewise, the school in the book assumes that it has the right to invade into student’s private life – they use the counsellor for that – but also put the public street and shop under their control; it attempts to make the shop keeper report kids who come and buy from them, and they send letters to coerce parents under threat of social services. The only choice the subjects have is to submit or they lose their chance of a future (or life).

Alliances or “mutual defence agreements” are promises made to support each other in their pursuit of power, which we also see in gangs. Such ‘friendships’ among nations are usually presented as something positive, but apart from a bigger faction, imposing its “us-them”, it is about the expectation of belonging, no matter what they do – as Charlotte says to Mariette, you are “supposed to stick with your own team”.

We see this not just in nations, but in political parties: ministers are not to go against the pre-agreed stance of their party or coalition, even in their own special field, regardless of consequences for the people or common sense; same in many other social subgroups. People often like to be in factions, which is why we talk about “the Allies”. Of course, the allies in one war become enemies in the next, usually because they start bickering among each other.

In the school, the third term saw teachers against students, but after the break, Mr Fokker and Kathleen’s dad, among others, change allegiance and later Charlotte does as well, while Mr Shriver and Jerome try to remain neutral. These changes of allegiance change the numbers and suddenly Mariette finds a huge force against her. Most students in the story follow without thinking, which is what the comparison to the crucifixion is about. They follow the group, even if the allegiances change; they first obey the school, later Mariette and in the end Charlotte, but none act as an individual; those who do are removed.

No war without soldiers

Without most of those prerequisites (power, promises, weapons, factions), war would not be impossible. The presence of “us-them” thinking and militarism are possibly sufficient on their own. Today most people understand that where guns are present, they will be used, and so for tools of war. As Mariette says: “soldiers do not exist because there are wars; wars exist because there are soldiers” – the concept, the universal “soldier” makes war possible and the same for tyrants, which cannot exist if there were no people to do their dirty work for them.

The First World War (The Great War, or “the war to end all wars”) was a war over power and (oil) money, resulting in 15 million deaths and another 20 million injured. People actually believed that this war could ensure peace, which is a contradiction in terms, but they bought it anyway, because they believed the propaganda, and more than anything, it provided them with hope.

Like Charlotte at the end wants to emphasize her win, so the WW1 allies wanted to put Germany into the ground completely, so they took everything, to feel better, which resulted in extreme poverty and lots of hate, and thus, an easy way for a disgruntled Hitler to win votes. The Treaty of Versailles was a forced signing of submission, and, obviously, they did not feel obliged to honour that.

The Second World War was therefore a direct result of the first one, which resulted in another 70-80 million deaths, which is about 3% of the world population at that time. But those were “casualties” (numbers), not considered individual people. It was the faction that won or lost, the Alliance, not the people; they all lost no matter what side they were on.

So, WW2 was a direct extension of WW1, which was about money and power, which means that claims to noble justifications are excuses. The real reason, in both cases, is power fuelled by emotions. No, I am not taking sides – like Mr Fokker’s so my family lost many people in the war – and had Germany won the first war, and done this to the Brits, the result would have been exactly the same.

Likewise,  the prank war (which the boys decide has to come out in their favour no matter what and will “guarantee them peace in the future”) was over power and hormones, resulting in several injured, and the second war (the one at school) is a direct result of the first one, when Mariette is disgruntled for being punished (“where two fight”) and left bankrupt (her values and privacy were taken), so she looked to blame someone, resulting in one death and many injured or without jobs. She says all men are stupid for fighting in wars, and yet, she plunges herself straight into one; it is that easy when the emotions get involved.

In the real world the power of teacher and parents, who could stop things getting out of hand, has been removed by the politicians, who today give all power into the hands of the kids, which is equivalent to the soldiers in World War 1 being led by incompetent boy officers.

The adults standing by and doing nothing is like the European politicians allowing Hitler to get so much power. Except one or two voices, they did nothing, because they lacked the insight, and they dismissed the people who had it.

Mr Moralis does not feel guilty about Mr Shriver; he was just doing his job. “I was only doing my duty” is the phrase most soldiers use to excuse their own role in the world wars. They do not look at the others as people, but as toys, as numbers or uniforms, and so they behave themselves; they are not individuals, so they do not take individual responsibility. Obviously, they can also not be individual heroes then. The problem is that the stories we tell our children are about brave individual soldiers, but as Grandpa Will explains, those do not exist; individuals are silenced; there is no place for individuality in an army. Those stories are propaganda to entice the next generation.

Mister Moralis, when he discharges or scolds Miss Coven, is like a government that disowns its soldiers if news of atrocities or incompetence gets out, and his using the year sevens as spies is like the soldiers in WW1 using children as shields against snipers. They are not seen as people, but as objects.

Mariette uses the metaphor of sheep in a herd, who run after the leader and straight off a cliff. She understands PM wanting revenge; it is the soldiers, the pawns, who agree to be tools for destruction, she cannot get.

The truce was the stupidest thing Mariette had ever heard, yet she went back to battle after the funeral.

The day the police is present in the school, the situation is like a time of occupation, as Grandpa Will describes when he was little, when the soldiers walk the streets and the civilians are frightened, but everybody pretends to go about their business.

Like the boys in the prank war, so Mariette starts looking at the teachers as being “all GG lookalikes” – ignoring their individuality. The difference is that she does it on purpose, while most stereotyping is unconscious, which is why people don’t notice they are doing it, but it underlies this “us-them” mentality, which we also saw with regard Jews, gypsies and so on and which is also responsible for bullying and discrimination issues. For peace, we need to treat people like individuals and hold them responsible as people, not as groups.

As long as we agree to be mere parts, the entities that control us will continue to fight. You cannot talk about a “just war”, because this justice is a human concept, and the war is between the bigger entities; their justice cannot be compared to ours.

Obviously, I have explained that some types are more inclined to accept “the greater good” and it may sound like I am blaming them for war. But the greater “good” is that which benefits the members of a society as well as the society itself. Wars do not benefit individual people. You might say it is for peace or freedom, but if a government can order you to give your life for its freedom, you don’t have much of it to begin with.

However, as said above, I cannot step outside of my own type perspective any more than anybody else can, which is why my words may have angered some readers. Yet, even if “the greater good” does not exist for my type, I can recognize that these bigger entities are real. Likewise, those who naturally support the greater good can recognize that a bigger entity can be beneficial or harmful.

My point is that even if thinking in “us-them” comes natural to people, schools and other institutions do not have to emphasize it; they make the choice to do so, because it benefits the bigger faction to treat all people as if identical – what counts is the whiteness of the wool – but identical people do not benefit a society or progress; we need all talents, diversity, yet, until we understand our psychology, we cannot stop this.

In other words, we could take charge and make our institutions work for progress for all people instead of setting them up against each other, but only once we understand the difference between us (all individual people) and them (those bigger faction that claim to rule us).

If people are honest about wanting peace, they have to change the stories they tell their children.

The stories we tell our children

I would like to start a collection that features different stories about war, so as to instil in our children a mindset towards tolerance and peace instead of competition and combat. I am not trying to dismiss those who died in the wars, but I am sure that, if they had the choice, they would prefer being seen as an individual with a real story rather than a number in a uniform. I am proposing that we collect stories that tell of individuals, regardless of whether they became soldiers, and not about superficial acts, medals or bravery, because from a psychological perspective, most of what is today labelled as brave, is simply not considering consequences, or it is achieved with ridicule, force or threats and mixing up the concepts that apply to people with those of bigger factions.

We consider ourselves an intelligent species, then let us step away from the yolk that keeps us mere numbers and start acting that way. We need to understand that peace is only possible if we stop thinking in groups and not let bigger factions take away our humanity.

  • We need to tell stories of those who crossed the borders of us-them.
  • We need to tell the stories of those who stood out without wearing a uniform.
  • The stories must be of peace makers, not combatants.
  • They must tell children that being afraid is not something negative and brave is not its opposite.
  • We need to emphasize that only individuals can be heroes.
  • That there are individuals in every place and they are no more alike than those in our place.
  • Stories of humanity, of feelings, not of acts.
  • That we need to identify people by their name and not by their uniform or country; the moment they have personal named, the animosity goes away.
  • We need to emphasize our humanity, not our belonging.

If I do get enough responses, I will publish these stories as an eBook anthology. We might also create a list of positive books or movies for libraries and schools.

write to judgmenthurts@gmail.com

Thank you for reading.

Nōnen Títi (INFP)

 

When do people notice that moral values change?

Today, if somebody is commanding or direct – which, unless it is due to stress, tends to be the natural way of expression of some personality types – if it is a man, it will be commented on and explained as male chauvinism; if it is a woman, it is more likely to be go unmentioned or, even explained as being assertive or intelligent.

In the past, if somebody was commanding or direct – for the exact same personality reason – if it was a man, it would be explained as a strong character; if it was a woman, she’d be called a bitch, not just by men, but by women as well.

People were ignorant of their biases, because they grew up with them. Yet, if you point this out to people today, they will accept that people then were ignorant, but will deny that they, had they lived then, would be like that.

In the past, the vast majority of white people believed that black people had lower intelligence, and they had university studies to support that belief. They were also afraid of black people, based on similar studies about violence. Black people had similar fears of white people – and probably more justified, especially if these white people were the police.

Today most people consider themselves non-biased. They will feel outraged if you suggest that, had they lived earlier, they’d have agreed with the university studies of the time. They cannot imagine that they’d have accepted the beliefs and values that are today unthinkable. –  I know of an older English person, who had little experience with interracial communities, simply because of where she grew up, and when visiting California, she made a remark using the word “blackies”, giving those hosting her almost a heart attack. It was just a word, but it was the wrong word for the time and place.

Of course, the word was a generalization, which is exactly what discrimination is based on. Today, the generalization is directed at people with Muslim backgrounds or those wearing head scarfs. It is no more justified, but the same emotions underlie it.

A third example is that of sexual orientations. Not too long ago, anything but heterosexuality was considered abnormal. Then came the push for equality. For a while homosexuality was acknowledged, but not asexuality, which was scorned by homosexuals as much as by heterosexuals. Next they all got together and even included those who were outcast for reasons other than their sexual orientation, and today, we have young children declaring they are homosexual or bisexual or whatever other term they hear connected with this, for no other reason that that being heterosexual is no longer acceptable – and this happens at primary schools, where most kids are just repeating the general opinion without having any experience to justify their beliefs. We’ve almost reached the level of bias of the ancient Greeks, where all men were supposed to be interested in pretty young boys, even those who couldn’t care less – hence “platonic”.

Of course, this is in itself a sign that none of these orientations is really accepted yet, because if truly considered equal, nobody would have to mention it or feel pushed in any direction.

Then there are the contents of beliefs, like evolution theory and climate change, which much more recently had people denying what they today support, simply because the group beliefs have changed. Even if this change came in their own lifetime, they will still deny having believed the opposite.

I use these examples, because they are, today, clear in people’s minds, and I use them to point at another form of discrimination, which is less obvious, goes much deeper and happens at every level of society, in every community, no matter where and when they live: that of psychotype discrimination. At the current moment, as said before, I will still accept that most people discriminate against certain personality types unwittingly. They are ignorant of the existence of these differences; hence they judge others according to a false image of acceptable, without knowing that they are doing so because the university studies tell them there is only one sort of acceptable psychology and the rest of the people have “disorders”. But I will not accept that ignorance for much longer, or I’d acknowledge writing in vain.

But in this post, the link to the psychological types is just an aside. The main message is that we start realizing that moral values are values that change, because they are the values of the group. Moral values are not identical to ethical values (which are personal values), although, in some people, they are the same. Moral values change over time, but they do so slowly as the ideas spread from person to person and start to influence people’s behaviour and responses. Exactly because moral values spread slowly, people often don’t realize that they changed their beliefs until later. We can look back in history and condemn the Spartans for throwing babies off a cliff if they were not physically ideal, but we cannot see how the ingrained values of today’s society cause similar judgments and behaviour towards children who are psychologically not ideal.

People who are immersed in a culture, seldom notice that they are influenced by the moral values of their group and take those for granted. But moral values are “should” values – they are values used to judge according to the standard. Once people accept them, they start telling others to behave accordingly; they judge others by those values, like ex-smokers making a big fuss about somebody who smokes and denying that they would have felt annoyed being told the same thing only a few years earlier.

We have to remember that social institutions, such as government, judicial and schools exist to keep people compliant, and that means having them believe in the values that the group stands for – and universities are still part of the education system – so they will keep denying diversity for as long as they can and the moment they can no longer deny it, they will start claiming always having had these values and that everybody else is wrong. We are clearly seeing this with climate change today. The media will support this change, as always reporting what “scientists say”.

But “should” is a judgmental word. It is a word that causes hurt in others, and this hurt is either turned inwards, causing stress, or outward, resulting in revenge. So, if we want to be truly tolerant and truly accept equality, we have to stop judging – or, at the very least, stop proclaiming that judgment is something positive that we have a right to using. As I explained in other posts; judgment is the equivalent opposite of manipulation, so if we can be aware that manipulation is harmful, we can be aware that judgment is.

Judgment hurts, that’s all there is to it.

You’ve Got to be Realistic

Sure!

But what if being realistic is different for each type of person?

The big problem of our society is that it promotes ideas like truth, reality and logic as if these are self-evidently the same for all people.

Courtrooms base their judgments on truth, yet three thousand year of debate has never delivered such a truth, and even academic psychology is finally starting to admit that witnesses all notice different things according to their existing beliefs, regardless of what happened.

The school system, including academia, is based on logical reasoning, factual knowledge and empirical evidence with methods designed for inanimate objects, to the exclusion of understanding and holistic reasoning.

The democratic political system is based on popularity contests, funding and unsubstantiated votes, meaning that numbers, not ideas with explanations, are counted.

This means that the western judicial system is inherently unjust, because it favours those people who created it in their image and are good at dealing with inanimate data, but do not understand human motivations. In actuality, the judicial system exists to control the largest amount of people with the least possible effort and to silence those who are different.

It means that the school system is inherently discriminatory, because it favours those children who are alike to those who run it and medicate or label those with other (perfectly healthy) personality types, because they are different. In actuality, schools are created to mould the children to fit in, based on the idea that most people will not later question what they are told when young.

It means that the political system is inherently mediocre and oppressive, because it silences born leaders with insight for the long-term future in favour of the ignorant masses. In actuality, people are silenced with the deception that a vote equals a voice, so that those who protest it are told to shut up because they had elections.

Did you notice that I don’t equate lawfulness with justice, school skills with education and democracy with freedom? Those deceptive equations are spooned into people from the day they start school, but they are almost opposites.

The Groupmind

Sure, I understand how the groupmind works, and I understand that the vast majority of people truly believe in these misgivings, exactly because they internalize their beliefs from outside. I am not blaming them.

It is very difficult to turn the groupmind  around, which is why we still have racism, genderism and why today, still, genes and brains are assigned all power, despite evidence to the contrary. The groupmind is that of the masses, which means that those in the fields who discover new things are not heard until decades later – if that soon.

Sure, if you spread fear or negative messages and reasons to blame somebody, it moves a lot faster through the groupmind, because it is the emotions that spread them. But positive messages, such as the notion that people are diverse – not just superficially in things like ethnicity, gender, orientation and culture, but especially in their deep inner Self (their psychology) – and that we need to celebrate that diversity instead of ignore, deny or suppress it, those messages spread slowly. It is easier for most people to point the finger at those who are different and blame them for what goes wrong, than to accept the complexity of the group.

Should Ignorance be Held Responsible?

Ignorance means not knowing something.

From a psychological point of view, it is not possible for everybody to know everything. All people have certain beliefs and ideas ingrained in them, those that are part of the group mind, and these are seldom learned consciously.

But since we all deal with information differently – this being our true or psychotype diversity – these ideas and beliefs are different for all of us.

Half the population will see what they already believe; unconsciously they simply do not notice what is not already a possibility in their mind, even if it is right in front of them.

The other half  of the population, equally unconsciously, will explain things or find the explanations according to what they perceive, regardless of any other information or reason.

This results in misunderstanding and contradictions most people don’t even notice.

School children are given double mind messages, like that they have to be individuals, but if they dare act on that, they get sent to the counsellor for labels and tranquillizers. This has been going on for at least twenty years.

Based on this, and the idea that all there is to people is what can be measured from the outside, there is a tendency to pre-emptive incrimination. With the best of intentions, some people are interviewing mass murderers and other criminals, who explain something about their personality. This then gets put into lists, taken to schools, and every child that ticks a number of boxes is deemed a potential criminal and medicated. This kind of conclusion can only be drawn by those who do not understand psychology.

Yet we know that every personality can turn out really good and beneficial people and every personality can turn out monsters. Hitler would have been a model student at school.

Therefore, not only is everything that happens in a courtroom flawed, because it believes in facts, which are interpretable, but all scientific evidence is equally influenced by wishful thinking, and it is exactly those people who experience (perceive or reason) according to objective criteria, who cannot see those subjective influences, and, hence, are more susceptible to them.

And as politicians have been raised in that same school system and rely on the judicial system to enforce their laws, they take the word of those with academic degrees on faith, even if the person expressing it comes from a discipline that has absolutely nothing to do with the topic they are talking about – like an English professor talking about psychology, only because she belongs to Yale University.

They gather their committees of ‘experts’ from those who have their titles because they repeated what they learned at university. After all, if you don’t agree with your professor, you are unlikely to get your degree and acquire a teaching position.

The academic system has abandoned psychology in favour of “neuroscience” (the study of the brain) – the hardware as opposed to the software – and it denies the existence of unconscious motivations because they cannot be tested by brains scans. Hence, it only measures according to outward behaviour and reasons that is all there is to people.

Consequently, where in the past children were expected to behave or be punished for misbehaving, today we attack their inner person instead of their behaviour. We send them the message that they are flawed as a person, based on measurements of brains and hormones, even if we know that the brain and hormones are responses to habitual behaviour, not the cause of that behaviour. We found some superficial chemicals and use them as an excuse to silence those children who are born different.

Politicians throw handfuls of tax payers money into creating more medications to silence more children and the judicial courts are used to punish more parents who try to respond to behaviour.

And all that, because of the naiveté of those who do not understand people, but believe that people should be studied in the exact same manner as inanimate objects and that the results can be concluded in a similar manner, and they are (still) running the academic system and have everybody believe in objectivity, truth and reality the way they see it.

Their ignorance comes from having been supported by like-minded people. Only those with the same type and background get to write in “peer review” journals. All other evidence is dismissed. This is NO different than white skinned males sitting in courtrooms and governments and deciding that only their perspective is worthwhile, because they all agree.

Okay, that sounds all very bleak and radical, and I do back these statements up with explanations and examples in my books and in other posts.

The short of it is that we are psychologically diverse, and those who work in the hard sciences are simply not capable of understanding human motivations any more than those who naturally understand psychology can understand the complex mathematics to do with the hard sciences.

But, because people cannot help their psychology and some are bound to that objective view – and, as that is shared easier, they assume they have the right to impose it – I am not blaming them for their ignorance, like I hope they don’t blame me for not understanding mathematics.

Of course, I am not working in the hard sciences, and I don’t impose my mathematical skills of the space program or on engineering.

So, who takes responsibility?

In that light, my question is, can we hold people responsible for the disasters that come from misinformed decisions made by people who are in the wrong job for their inborn talents?

In New Zealand, politicians keep getting a substantial salary, even if they no longer work, while people are begging in the streets. Those who (after having been informed about the dangers) pushed their laws of obedience on parents and children, following the USA where there were already school shootings as a direct result of that, can live a life of luxury, while around them those they caused harm are falling apart. We recently had a shooting in New Zealand.

These politicians were informed but not open to new ideas, because they lacked the long-term insights. After all, most of those who become politicians do so because it provides them with instant gratification (celebrity and a salary) regardless of the consequences of their mistakes. The few that do have the bigger view get tangled in the red tape the system is made of.

Did we hold the politicians responsible who allowed Hitler to rise to power? Did we hold the governments responsible who detained entire generations of native children in many countries, because only white people were deemed worthy?

Who is responsible today for all the destroyed families, who have to live with anxiety and tablets, because without those they risk the police coming and taking their kids into state homes?

Who is responsible for those kids who get medicated for being a different healthy personality, and then, after more than a decade of getting these negative messages in schools, start shooting?

I know that those who make the decisions are stuck in the group mind. None of us can completely avoid that. But supporting a system that destroys people, even if it is in ignorance, is not something I can excuse. To me, nobody is totally responsible, but as soon as somebody takes a social role (and the benefits) of being in a position of power, where they could make life better for everybody but they buy into the discrimination, even if ignorant, they are accountable.

To me, academics need to start realizing that they are not gods because they follow the scientific method. Politicians need to acknowledge that they are not gods because they won a popularity contest. Judicial representatives need to stop acting like gods, because they wear uniforms or memorized law books.

The basic flaw that causes all this misery, the flaw the groupmind has internalized as reality, is that we are diverse in our physical appearance but inside we are all identical. Despite using words to the contrary, this is how the system behaves.

This flaw reasons that what can be seen is real and the rest is not. This flaw has created an image of a conceptual person, created from the abstract averages of countless observations, in which the individual is ignored in favour of this theoretical mean. All individual people are then expected to match up to this mean, which in the eyes of today’s academic neuroscientists is a rational being that takes no action but that which they base on logical reason and have weighed up patiently, and who does not display emotional “neuroticism” or anything else that scares such academics.

The problem is that this being does not exist. Those who uphold that ideal, do so, because they see themselves through those lenses, no differently than an anorexic person sees fat where there is none. They assume identical beings and claim equality to justify that.

Psychologically, it is natural to measure standards to our own inner perceptions and beliefs, and to deem others faulty if they think differently, which is how our Self must survive. However, this nature must be seen in the context of diversity and the understanding that others see this the opposite way and, therefore, that it is about perspective. In other words, we can acknowledge that we are all equal but not identical.

Sure, currently, there is a trend in academic psychology to accept The Big Five personality types, which is the academic alternative to the psychotypes. They buy themselves into the publications, saying they have empirical evidence and those outside of academia (those who practice it) do not, which the politicians, teachers and judges blindly accept.

The problem is that they have no theory, so their empirical evidence is literally evidence for nothing. They cannot explain why those five groups, except that they recognize them in their own psyche or in others from their own (psychotype directed) observations. They then label some types positive and others negative (like neuroticism for those people who express emotions). Sorry, but that is still discrimination.

In short, we all experience the shared realm differently, but some believe that what they observe must be the way everybody else does, so they call it objective and they call those who see differently wrong or flawed, and they run the academic system, the school system, the judicial system and the government.

And for me, that makes them responsible. They claim a position of power, but they abuse it. For now, I will admit that they do so out of ignorance, but I have been writing for more than two decades; others have been writing similar messages for almost a century, and my patience is running out.

Yes, you have to be realistic, but that includes understanding that your ideal is not a real human being, and that what you see on the outside is not all there is to people.

 

 

 

 

The Good-Advice Threat of Failure

I can only speak as a writer, but I am sure the same pressure exists for most other artists and also for independent podcasters and scientists, who are trying to have their voice heard.

The pressure I am talking about is that of “good advice’ and how to go about success.
For every podcaster or writer trying to get their voice heard about a certain topic, there are countless others ready to tell them how to do that.

I started writing blogs because the general message was that marketing via blogs would get you noticed and if you did not have a blog, you would never make it as a writer. Of course, writing blogs is still writing and not marketing, so that I actually enjoyed doing it. I found that I could express my immediate ideas that way – as opposed to putting it in a book  that often takes years to finish. I now have four blogs.

Then the advice became more specific: you should write your blogs regularly. Like newsletters – which I tried but found tedious – the message was that, if you did not write at least once a week, you would not get the followers you were after, your books would fail.

I am sure similar pressure of regular podcasts is made for those who have chosen that medium, and I know that a lot of writers are ‘forced’ into podcasts, as the newest way to be guaranteed success. Of course, by the time they are all trying that, something new will come along or there will be so many using that medium that it no longer makes a difference.

Regardless of the target or advised medium, however, the idea remains the same: it is presented as a given, as if there is only one way to do it right and the subliminal threat is that if you don’t do it, you can thank yourself for being a failure.

This misconception does not only concern marketers, but it is what publishers used to do, when they started telling writers how and what to write instead of supporting them. And it is a strategy employed in health care advice, diets, school success and so on.

Even if it is not meant that way, the reasoning comes across as judgmental and threatening, because the advisers promote only one formula. They have, either from personal experience or from having learned it from others, assumed that, if it works for one, it must work for all.

Yet, only those people who believe that we are all clones and respond identical to outside stimuli can possibly think that what works for one person must work for everybody. The society (governments, schools, judicial system) benefits from using moulds to put people in, and thus, any research or advice that supports that message is promoted or taught to children, while individuality (despite the mis-use of the word in schools) and psychological diversity is dismissed, or ignored.

People who cannot be pushed into the moulds , end up medicated, imprisoned or jobless. That they create an unhappy population that way, is usually not the concern of the politicians, who are there for the short term only.

In any case, judgment, even in the form of good advice, can be destructive to people. We have seen this in so-called advice about parenting and diets, how to look, how to be healthy – every few years a new food is attacked as detrimental.  And always, this advice is accompanied by numbers or slogans, “scientifically proven”, “a million copies sold” and so on. The problem is that, most of those millions did not read the book; they just fell for the peer pressure. From those who read it, most did not benefit. And scientific research is based on a few volunteers, usually similar types of people, but that those who did not partake would not have benefited, is not mentioned.

The simple explanation is, of course, that most people don’t benefit from good advice, because  the sender is not the same type of person as the receiver. Not only are their circumstances different, but their personality probably is as well.

My main topic in both fiction and non-fiction is our inborn personality differences, which explains why we are not all alike, and in that light, it is NOT possible for everybody to succeed in the same manner.

We must all learn from their own mistakes; nobody is perfect and that is okay too, and so, each person should be allowed to discover what works for them without social pressure and guilt messages, no matter how well-intended the jacket they are put in.

You can tell people, “this worked for me, maybe it will work for you”, but you cannot not present it as a definite answer. Sadly, if you advertise your books with the honest message that it can help some, or (as I do) that the very premise of the book is that we are not all alike, it won’t sell as well. People seem to want promises of guaranteed success, even after countless failures; they jump on the new idea. This is similar to what gamblers do, always hoping that the next coin you put in, will bring you the jackpot. We all know how that tends to work out.

What we need, therefore, as consumers in this ‘avalanche of information’ age, is to become aware that we have become addicted to the promise of instant success (which is instilled in us when children) and the flawed message that we can all achieve the ideal that only some have set. We need to start supporting each other in the acceptance that we cannot expect the same results; that diversity is something to celebrate, not suppress.

The point I am trying to make is that we should leave each other alone about how we go about our natural talents. Writers write; they don’t need to make podcasts, which lends itself much better to topics that require visuals, like the wonderful journeys of the independent archaeologists and geologists.

My topic, being human psychology, does not lend itself to podcasts at all. What am I going to do; sit there and talk about what people are like on the inside?  Beside that being useless, my personality type is meant to write, not talk. On the other hand, it is perfectly okay for extraverted writers, who like podcasting, or others to take that medium if they enjoy it.

The same with regularity. People are forced to write or broadcast weekly or more often, and, as a result, the topics come across as forced or repetitive or irrelevant, while they could be very interesting if less often. And I don’t know about you, but I simply do not have the time to read daily or weekly posts, no matter how fascinating the topic, or else I’d never get around to my own work.

So, I write a post when I feel I have something to say, regardless of whether that is every day, once a week, once a month or once a year, and so far, at least for this blog, regularity and frequency do not seem to matter. The topic and the title of this blog speaks to people.

As long as we measure success by sales or by numbers, we are causing people to fail, especially with our ‘good advice’. You can succeed with a small audience, even if that audience is just your family or a neighbour. Numbers don’t matter, because ideas spread slowly through the population. Big success tends to come to those who proclaim something the mob already believes. New ideas take time, but, in the end, they are the most beneficial for the society as a whole. So, if you don’t get the big numbers, consider it evidence of being an original thinker.

Thank you for reading.

 

Fatal Flaw in Human Reasoning

 Question: What can be more fatal than a flaw in reasoning the power of humans?

Answer: A flaw in the reasoning power of humans.

Just when, after decades of trying to convince people that we are experiencing global warming and finally seeing some movement among the masses intended to stop our polluting ways, a new way of thinking reveals that, no, actually, climate change is not caused by humans after all. We made a fatal flaw in our reasoning.

Apparently, the debate was based on a simple equation with on one side solar influences and on the other side human influences, and what could not be accounted for by what they knew about the sun, was automatically assigned to human causes.

I won’t go into detail, which can be found on this video.

Apart from the big-headed assumption that their current knowledge was complete, the flaw in reasoning came from the reductionist belief that it was a simple matter of cause and effect. They dichotomised the issue, setting nature against nurture (or maybe anti-nurture, in this case) and reasoned from there.

Of course, it was unlikely from the start that people had the amount of influence on the complexity and immensity of Gaia as was claimed, and this recent discovery did not come as a surprise to many of us. After all, humanity has always been proven wrong about the power it claimed to have: The Earth was not the centre of the Solar system, The Milky Way not the only galaxy, the galaxy not the only one with habitable planets; people not the only ones to have a language or intelligence, white men certainly not smarter or more civilized than other humans, and so on.

This overstating of the power of humans is, of course, not limited to the discussion about climate change, nor is it new.  I previously discussed archaeology, and so with and genetic determinism in biology.

Every time the old beliefs, which had been accepted as a final truth, must make place for the new ideas, which are similarly believed to be the final truth.

Let me first say that I am not attacking individual researchers with this post. I am merely looking, from a psychological perspective, at the way academia reasons, because the flaw is inherent in the system of which individuals are part, but not in the individuals themselves.

Today, we base our lives and livelihood on academic reasoning, as well as the lives of all other living beings and the Earth herself. We use it to try and convince others of our beliefs and we’ll use any means to try and get our message across. In the name of science, of truth and of “being realistic”, we’ve scared an entire generation of kids into believing they have no future – if not for global warming, then because of super volcanoes, asteroids, diseases or over population and war.

The problem is not that science can be wrong – because science is the finding of evidence for new ideas and new ideas come from scientific discoveries, so that it is part of a perpetual evolution – but the problem is its assumption that it is right in the current moment. Although it acknowledges past mistakes and proudly claims that it “improves upon itself”, new ideas are always presented as a final truth.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with drawing conclusions from research, or even with using those to influence the way we live – even if the momentum of that comes decades later than the original research, so that new discoveries (as the above example shows) always come at a politically inconvenient time. My issue is that the fatal flaw is in our scientific reasoning itself; this is the flaw that underlies all assumptions on which political motives are built, and the unwillingness of many people to give new ideas a chance before it is too late.

Protagoras is quoted as saying “Man is the Measure of all Things”, which tends to be interpreted in a negative light, because it is connected to relativism, which is frowned upon in current academia.

First of all, I am not sure that Protagoras was a relativist, which I explain in my book, but Protagoras was merely making an observation with his statement; it was not an ought, but an is.

In other words, Protagoras was not proclaiming that people should be the measure of all things, but simply that they are. And that they are, not because they have any justification for making that claim, but because people are the creatures making these measurements and observations they rely on, and they consider themselves objective. Man measures according to its own perspective and it projects its conclusions on the world of other beings.

In principle, there is nothing wrong with that either, because nobody, no creature, can crawl out of its own perspective. It is the only means of measurement we have.

However, it may be inherent in ‘human nature’ – and I refer to this nature without assuming that every individual has the same nature – to see everything from our own perspective, so that, naturally, we believe ourselves the centre of the Universe, the ones with the biggest picture, the most civilized, the most objective, the most intelligent and so on, but if we were truly intelligent, we would learn from past mistakes and not make those claims for every new idea or impose them on other beings.

And it is not just academics who make this assumption. Even independent researchers, who tend to be way ahead in their own topic of interest, still quote the word of academics in the topics in which they do not specialize – especially health and psychology – using it to back up their own view.

That, of course, is also flawed reasoning.

Some people are comfortable with exact data, with mathematics and inanimate objects that always respond the same way, and, therefore, with the hard sciences. They can often work with complex formulae and systems, and that works to the advancement of our technology.

Other people are comfortable with human motivations and the non-exact interactions and information exchange between living beings, which never respond the same way, because they can react and initiate communication. They can also work with highly complex systems, but those are systems of gradations in relationships.

It is fair to say that neither feel comfortable with the other aspects, but, although it is widespread accepted that some people are not as good at math and the hard sciences, because that can be objectively measured, and, therefore, those who are good at it consider themselves smarter, the opposite tends to be dismissed. One reason for that is that human motive is not measurable objectively, so that everybody feels they understand all there is to understand about it, and because the current academic climate favours the methods and beliefs of the hard sciences.

Although there is a difference between experiencing an objective reality and reasoning objectively, the ingrained academic belief is that if it is objective, it must be absolute. Students are told from day one, that there is one correct way of reasoning and that evidence or argument can convince anybody if it is just clear enough; that people who do not agree with the accepted views are wrong or dumb or obnoxious.

This idea is equally accepted outside of academia and children are brought up with the message that they are all individuals, but nonetheless must all be able to see and think in identical ways or be labelled with syndromes.

However, we are not psychological clones of each other, for if we were, humanity could have never survived. Diversity is the vital ingredient of evolution – and this applies equally to the evolution of ideas.

Where, for many people, “objectivity” is a given; it exists, just as do truth and reality, for others that is simply not the case: they see reality and truth changing according to the circumstances. Why that happens, and why we have these disagreements, I discuss in my psychology blog and books, but the short of it is that we each have four information filters that allow us to communicate with the world around us, and each of those filters can be ‘set’ objectively or relatively, so that people do not all experience every view the same. They can have any one or all of those filters set for the objective or the relative perspective. This is inborn and not changeable, and it ensures our survival as a species and our intellectual progress.

Note that this is not about understanding or being smart, but about having a perspective.

Those who naturally reason objectively – use logic, reductionism, deduction and cause and effect – are attracted to the hard sciences, and believe there must be an objective truth out there. Those people have dominated all of academia for most of the last century, because mathematics was considered a measure of general intelligence, and hence, those who were more naturally drawn to the humanities, and usually not as good in mathematics, were not considered acceptable for academia. Consequently, all of western academia suffers from a bias toward the methods of the hard sciences, the expectation of argument and deductive reasoning as a road to the only truth and, although this is an appropriate manner of reasoning for those topics that must rely on hard data and deal with inanimate objects, for the humanities this reasoning is fatal. It is fatal in psychology, and exactly there, those academics who understand how people work, have been edged out of their own field, because of the methods that are applicable to inanimate objects only.

Some people can use their reasoning to include other viewpoints and others cannot, yet those who would be able, are often unwilling, because they have been raised in a system that outright states that there is only one right view.

The problem, the real flaw, therefore, in human reasoning comes with the expectation of objectivity for all people and in all topics. And exactly those who are not interested in psychology tend to dismiss their humanity and thus miss their own subjectivity, because their own inborn psychology inclines them to experiencing objectively. They accept only one standard and ‘scientific method’ for studying humans. In other words, the study of psychology is performed with the expectation that people behave like inanimate objects, thus making themselves and their psychology  the measure of all things academic and, inanimate objects the measure of all things human.

But, like it or not, as long as different people experience differently, objectivity is a subjective viewpoint, which is a statement that will make exactly those who are stuck in their own view recoil, but which becomes evident when, in every argument, both sides claim to have objective evidence, objective reality, objective truth and so on, yet they disagree.

Objective experiences, obviously, exist, but note that I say experiences, and if we share them, you could say they are objective for the sharing group, whether species, beings on earth, all humans or just a few academics, but we experience objectively, because of our position; every creature experiences objectively, in the sense that they consider their perspective self-evidently in congruence with reality or truth, because they have experienced nothing else all their lives. That goes for ants or cats as much as for humans. The key thing is that objectivists experience reality or truth as mind independent, while relativists experience it as mind dependent. That is not to say that relativists believe there is no reality, but only that we all experience that reality differently, and, therefore, we cannot agree on the way we describe it or deal with it. The example of the three blind men and the elephant can help here, because it demonstrates that something can be real  but simply bigger than one person can see.

And because this topic is about existence itself, it is metaphysical in nature, it tends to hinge on existential beliefs, which causes people to get really emotional in defending their viewpoint.

What we need to understand is that this difference between the relative and objective perspective is part of our mind, which is, itself, not objective and not tangible – the mind is not the brain. Yet, those who experience objective reality, and who dominate in society, and those who reason objectively, who dominate in academia, seek the explanation of their mind outside themselves, in reductionist brain cells for example, because those are ‘objective’.

But, dominating in a field is not evidence of being right – although it is often claimed to be as “most scientists agree”, which is a logical flaw. To quote an example from my book, if eighty percent of people were born colour blind, this would not be a good enough reason to say that certain colours don’t exist. Just because the majority of people claim some objective perspective, does not mean that the other perspectives can be dismissed as non-existent.

Yet that is what our current academic climate does – no differently than some centuries ago the church claimed their own objectivity in God – and this constitutes the flaw in human reasoning that is going to prove detrimental, not just for mental health issues and the hopes of the younger generation, but for our ability to deal with nature induced natural climate change events.

 If we want to have a hope of surviving the next global disaster, like those before us, we are going to have to radically correct the biggest reasoning flaw of all: that (some) people can be the measure of all things.

Thank you for reading.