Closing Post for Judgment Hurts

Dear Readers,

I have been writing Judgment Hurts since 2012 and I feel that I have probably said everything I want to say on the topic and that it is time to move on.

I will leave the blog up as it is, and maintain my Facebook page.

I want to thank all of you who liked, followed and commented on my posts for your support, and please keep spreading the word: Judgment Hurts, especially when spoken. If we wish to create a peaceful society, we must act with tolerance and understanding toward each other.

Personaly, I will continue to send this message and explain those differences on my psychotype blog ,as well as in my books, both as Nōnen Títi and Gina Poekeleen.

For it is our inborn psychotype differences (not gender, ethnicity, orientation, group beliefs or nationality) that cause judgments, usually with the best of intentions, as we tend to believe that all people must benefit from our beliefs the way we do. Yet, we are different; that cannot be changed. That makes us diverse, resilient, progressive, intelligent and caring as a species (the flipside of conflict).

Over the Invisile Wall

I also have two Facebook groups:

Who am I? Understanding Personality Types is connected to our Wellington Meetup group about psychotypes, but you don’t have to live in Wellington to become a member of our Facebook group.

Serious about Fiction is for those interested in fiction as a serious pursuit and to create a better world. This group is meant to discuss fiction in all its diversity, but not to be used as an advertising medium, although you can share your book as a means of discussion.

Thank you for reading; thank you for not judging; thank you for being you.

p.s. All my books are available in print from RealNZ Books

And as eBooks (both ePub and Kindle) from meBooks

You can also directly go to Amazon.com

Judgment by Legislation

Violence by Civilians and Police

We are having a pretty rough time in the world today and I am not just talking about a virus that is innocent of any malicious will and simply trying to survive.

The rough times come with the riots, the violence and the inhibition of human rights that are inappropriate for the situation, and are in many countries imposed after the danger is largely over, which suggests an agenda different than protecting the people from a virus.

In the absence of such an agenda, the politicians making such decisions are simply not capable of leadership.

I live in New Zealand, so I will take my example from there, but with the explicit notion that circumstances here are a lot better than in many countries and that the COVID situation was handled well.

But two things happened in New Zealand in short succession recently. Some thugs shot a police man dead and some thug police officers used extreme and unnecessary violence in apprehending people.

The PM went on social media expressing her sadness for the loss of the police man, but I did not hear any official response to the violence by policemen.

So, what is the government saying? What is any government saying with laws that promote police violence and openly state that the lives of people in uniform are worth more than that of civilians? That those who are supposedly there to protect the public, are more valuable than the members of that public.

Sure, they don’t outright say it, but any law or judicial court that believes it right to punish civilians harder for hurting a police officer than a police officer for hurting a civilian, is saying it, even if not explicitly so. The message to the officers is, that they will probably get away with their violence, because the judge is on their side (after all they work for the same state) and the message to the civilians is that you won’t stand a chance if you disagree with the police, and therefore that justice will never be served.

That is the message people grow up with. That is then made worse when such inequality of human worth also includes ethnic differences.

Why do such laws exist?

The police are said to “protect and serve”, suggesting their job is protecting the public and serving them, which is what kids are told at school, but that is a deception: They serve the state and they protect the state.

The state is only interested in obedience from the public at large – its identity is made up of an image of identical “nationals” – which they try to enforce with threats rather than outright violence.

Such threats include incidents such as where the police or soldiers abuse individuals, because that sends a message to the rest of the people, a message of fear, while counting on the idea that most people will not care about the few abused individuals if they did not know them personally.

Most of the time, that is exactly what happens, but sometimes you get a global response, like when the atrocious behaviour of the police in the US sparked the global BLM movement and has, in that sense, created a lot of awareness in a short period of time.

But how to maintain that awareness?

By telling people the truth.

However, not just in schools, but even at university level, it is openly taught that judicial repercussions are there to “deter” others from potential misbehaviour. This expresses a focus on using the individual as a means to an end rather than hold each individual responsible for their own actions. – Children are taught that “criminal” is about doing wrong, which is not true: it is only about doing something unlawful. If the law says you are allowed to kill somebody because of the colour of their skin, then it is lawful to do so, but that does not make it right. Judicial courts are about lawful, not about justice. If the law says police are entitled to more protection than civilians, then that is the law, but not just.

As explained before, politicians are not natural leaders, leadership is not equivalent to being in power, and words and actions based on “national security” express an interest to protect the state from the people.

Whether politicians are unwilling or not capable, either way, they are not suited for the job. Of course, the politicians are not the only ones responsible for the disaster our world is facing. We have long known that democracies cannot deal with crises, and that has become only too obvious over the last four months.

Therefore, all the people that keep such systems in place, by voting for politicians who are not leaders or by allowing such imposition where there is no reason, are helping incapable politicians abuse their power.

The people committing violent actions as a group, act largely because of their uniform. Uniforms protect them against individuality. We see this not just in the police, but in the military, in school bullies (especially uniform schools) and in gangs; exactly those institutions that reward blind obedience and punish individuality. The police man may be a decent guy when at home, but once in a group, they act as a group. Vandalism by kids is almost always committed when they are in a group and in uniform.

Of course, if you protest the government, especially in countries that openly flaunt police and military power, you may risk your life or freedom, since those powers are hired to enforce obedience at any cost.

So, we must start in countries where there is still a willingness to make things better on the part of the governments, where they may simply be unaware, but with the best of intentions.

The first step to creating awareness and helping to create better leadership, therefore, is to help the public see this: the voters. In the past, when there was no internet, children were completely indoctrinated by schools and many of them still believe the stories they were told then.

But we now do have an internet and we can help people learn the truth. So, let us start there: create awareness.

Violence is always wrong, but sometimes people are driven to it and laws that promote the deceptions and inequality based on obedience, are the poison that creates the violence against those in uniform.

The murdered policeman may have been a good family guy, who had done nothing to deserve being shot, but many of the people who are violated by police or end up in prison, did nothing wrong either, except disagree with the state or respond to discrimination and inequality by the state, which led them to seeking revenge. This may be a slower process, but nobody begins life as a criminal.

We need to remember that violence creates violence and oppression creates revenge. Judgment hurts, after all, so if you hurt or discriminate a person often enough, they will lash out. That is called survival instinct.

Smart leaders prevent that by creating respect.

If the government wants to express its good will, then the abused civilians must also be mentioned on social media by the PM, and if you want people to respect each other, the government has to start with respecting all people. The first thing that has to go is the law of inequality (apartheid) between those in uniform and those without. That is a simple measure any government with good intentions can achieve.

Thank you for reading.

ALL THE PEOPLE TOGETHER NOW

The US is a disaster. Many countries in Europe are acting as if dictatorships. Many politicians are openly declaring tyrannical measures and say those are justified. The Netherlands is on the brink of revolution against ignorant politicians. Even in countries that returned to virtually normal, like New Zealand, the military is suddenly called in.

Some of that is probably because of, or started with, ignorance. Too many people think of viruses like they do of bacteria: a life form that can be eradicated, which is nonsense. The lockdown and social distancing was always only going to work as a short term measure, so as to give the medical facilities the chance to cope.

In addition to the draconian measures many governments are trying to enforce, there is the fear of the vaccine and that it will be forced. Again, that is based on people believing that viruses can be killed. But viruses are not alive the way people are; they are not living beings. In some definitions, they qualify as life, because they use two-way communication and adapt, but in other definitions, they are not considered alive. What they are, are bits of information and the vaccine is there to give our bodies the code to lock the doors in time so as to prevent the virus from even getting in. If you catch a viral disease, your body does the same thing, but the defence is slower because the code (and lock) has to be derived from the virus first.

Right now, governments that act either on panic, fear or ignorance, are causing more danger to mental and physical health than if they relax the measures. Some of those governments may be trying to create a dictatorship, simply because that gives them power over the economic crisis they have, themselves, caused.

We need to remember a few things: War and tyranny are nearly always a response to an economic or environmental crisis, whether the rulers caused that or not. Those working in law enforcement and the military must make the decision NOW, whether they want to support such regimes, because they are the ones who make those possible. No war and no tyranny can exist without those who enforce their ideas.

They must remember that helping the enforcement puts them on equal terms with, for example, the SSrs in WWII. Same for the health workers who, instead of treating patients, are willing to be used to enforce testing or vaccines, like the doctors in the concentration camps did. Those were also caring doctors before the war, and suddenly they find themselves doing things they never thought they would. Remember that the psychology of people does not change, regardless of the time and circumstances. People will do strange things out of fear, such as dob each other in, because the governments make that easy. That is fear induction, so do not fall for it.

And let us not get complacent. During the 1930s most people also said it would not be that bad; “just wait and it will all blow over”, but a little bit of studying history, and you know that it will not. Not speaking out now, is aiding the oppression. The virus is never going to be as dangerous as governments with absolute power.

Let us all be sensible together.

Using the military to enforce laws is by definition declaring war on the people. You cannot justify doing this and still say you act because of public health.

All the people of the world: We have the internet now. We can actually communicate and stop governments abusing their power, a chance the people in the past never had. Please stand up as one: all the people against those who try to oppress them. Try to do this without violence. Remember, they need their nations in order to be rulers, but we do not need them.

You Have to Understand Your Scholars

Once more, allow me to explain the very foundation of all the scientific quarrels, the accusations of “pseudoscience” and the general feeling of dissatisfaction for both the traditional views and those on the other side. If we are all here to increase knowledge for all the people (for science in general), then let us start by understanding where our different views come from, so we might, at the very least, feel less angry at each other.

In my book, I make it a point to explain why you cannot ignore psychology when doing philosophy (and vice versa). You need to understand the person in order to put their theories into context. Likewise, you cannot take science without understanding the scientists, no matter how desperately they all want to believe that science is objective and factual. Objectivity may apply to mathematics and the hard sciences (although not absolutely), but the less exact the sciences, the more they rely on interpretation. Whether something can be scientifically ‘proven’ depends on the topic. In reality, the only thing that can be proven are mathematical statements; everything else can only have evidence to support a claim. That is why science “always improves upon itself”.

An exact science is one that deals with inanimate objects or data alone, in which repeated experiments always turn out the same result – the scientific method is based on this expectation. Inanimate objects are those that can only react, and do not have two-way communication, which is why this repeated result is possible. But even in those exact sciences (physics, chemistry, technology, computer sciences and astronomy), we still deal with expectations and understanding. Only that which can be conceived of can be researched. Science can only find what it is looking for – even those few insights that have come about from accidents, still required somebody to notice the anomaly and decide to investigate it further. Experiments are set up according to expectations and the results are likewise interpreted.

The interpretative sciences are those that rely on a certain understanding of humans or of other life forms and how they might react and interact, because life expresses two-way communication; it reacts and adapts to the environment, and will, consequently, never produce the exact same results. Those sciences cannot use the scientific method of the hard sciences, since there are simply too many variables possible; adaptation, by its very definition implies that outcomes will always differ.

So, you cannot do any science without human involvement, and therefore, the human mind is the limiting factor of what can and will be considered acceptable, or what will even be deemed worthwhile putting resources into investigating.

We also have to understand that science is research or investigation of beliefs. Belief and science do not oppose each other, they need each other. Nobody can start investigating what they do not believe exists or could possibly exist.

Likewise, the difference between knowledge and understanding. Knowledge is always about particulars, while understanding is always about a general. In order to have knowledge about a particular, you need to deduce from the rule (the law), from the general. In order to have understanding you need to notice some aspects of particulars and group them (create a general). In my book I describe this in more detail, but here is a little extract:

Deductive reasoning starts with one or more general truths, for example that all creatures with fur are animals. Next it looks at a specific (my dog has fur) and then deduces that my dog must be an animal. So, using a series of inferences, it leads to a logical conclusion about a particular (my dog), because if all the premises are true then there is no other logical way than that the conclusion must be true. Deduction gives answers about particulars; it analyses the one in light of the many (or the law) and so gets to be very specific.

Inductive reasoning comes to a conclusion by taking a number of particulars and generalizing them. For example, we have noticed that people talk, cats meow, dogs bark, chameleons flash colours and dolphins make clicking noises, and these have in common that they are used to convey a message, and so we conclude that animals use a form of communication. Induction is only concerned with the aspects all particulars have in common and makes a generalization that allows us to understand the larger picture.

Note the difference in the two conclusions. The first (that my dog is an animal) is very certain, because in light of the premises, my dog fits all the requirements. But the second conclusion is drawn in light of the observed instances and there is no certainty about all animals. The first therefore qualifies as knowledge: we know that my dog is an animal, but the second qualifies only as an understanding: we understand that animals need a form of communication, but there may be exceptions.

… the more instances or particulars of one kind agree, the more probable that a general can be concluded. For example, if every cat we have ever encountered meows, then we conclude that all cats meow – the strategy used to make ‘laws of nature’. (Homological Composition)

Current day academia calls itself an institution of knowledge and, consequently, tries to apply the same scientific method to all its topics. But only the exact sciences need deduction and analysis to get to knowledge. After all, if you are calculating the trajectory to get your spaceship to Mars, you had better be exact, and if you are taking a chemical element and want to use it to create a reaction, you had better make sure you know what it is or you might blow yourself up. Knowledge is certainty about a piece of data, a fact, a substance or instance because it matches the laws, the rules set to explain it.

Understanding applies to patterns. You need to create a general rule, have understanding before you can make the law and decide about particulars. Understanding is about the type, the universal and the bigger picture. Both, obviously, need each other.

Psychology deals with the mind, which includes everything we see, hear, understand, reason, feel, imagine, and learn from the day we are born. That is also how our psyche (our mind or the “I” person you are) came into being, from endless inputs and tiny adaptations (two-way communication). Nobody can step outside of their mind or step into the perspective (mind) of another person. Consequently, we have no means of comparing other than by communicating amongst ourselves; in other words, by sharing our subjective reasoning and experiences can we form a picture of the whole, of reality, but no one person is capable of doing so alone. – Remember the parable of the five blind men and the elephant; each only feels one part of the animal and only by communicating with each other can they conclude what this is.

The problem is that our mind, for survival reasons (also explained in the book) needs to perceive our world as objective, and most people, mistakenly, assume that every other being must necessarily reason, perceive and experience the exact same way they do.

Now, from evolution theory we understand that natural selection relies on diversity for the survival of the group. But this applies equally to our psychological (non-material) survival – our progress and evolving intellect as a species. We need diversity if we want to create a society of many talents and insights and skills.

The problem academia faces today, apart from having over-specialized so that nobody talks to each other anymore, is that it is becoming dogmatic. It has collected its truisms, such as that it is an institution of knowledge, that there can be one ‘objective’ standard for all disciplines, that people outside of academia are by definition not scientific, but mostly, that it is all about competition, objective arguments and status. Like the church before it, the institution has become more important than the reason it came into being: to collect knowledge and understanding and broaden the mind. Today, it is expected that every child that leaves school goes to university. Without that, you are not really considered smart. In doing so, it has neglected the notion that people are diverse. It measures all to one standard.

But people are born with different natural talents: those who are by nature practical and detail oriented are a different type of people from those who by nature theorize and speculate. The former SEE detail and, hence, excel at doing detailed research work to measure their particular to the existing laws in order to get knowledge about it. The latter create the new laws, because they SEE connections and relations in largely diverse particulars. Likewise, those who naturally reason deductively are different people than those who reason inductively. Both in seeing (perceiving) and reasoning, we need both types to advance humanity, and both cannot predominate in same person.

Most academics are investigators not theorists, and that is not new; only a hundred years ago, the whole of physics turned against Einstein, because theory did not belong in academia, according to them. Such notions change from field to field.

The problem is that nobody can see past their own perspective; nobody can reason beyond their conceptional limits and consequently, nobody can accept the possibilities that are too far removed from their own experiences and imagination. This is different for different types of people, and inborn.

Those whose focus on reduction and detail will necessarily dismiss the big picture and claim scientific knowledge as the reason the new view cannot be accepted, because their mind does not include the new general rule you are putting together (the possibility), which does not yet exist for them. But all human progress has to start with theories and induction before those can be tested as knowledge. Yet, in a world where those who naturally see or reason in possibilities are by far in the minority, the established institutions will always dismiss them. Academia is an established  institution and part of the schooling system; it exists to teach traditional knowledge and not upset the status quo, which is what new theories and insights do – we call them “scholars” for a reason; schooling is not education.

Hence, if they cannot change, then we must. We need a different language to distinguish the theorists from the investigators, like the first ‘scientists’ distinguished themselves from the religious orders. We need to own the words that are currently used in a negative way, because getting angry is not going to help.

I am reminded of the beautiful move, “Pride”, in which a group of London gays and lesbians integrate in a Welsh mining community in order to help them with their fight for survival. As this is in the 1980s, they are called names (“perverts”), but they decide to proudly use that name (instead of fight it) to achieve change – a global mindset change, which now accepts different orientations.

Likewise, if today’s scholars claim to own science and within their institutions only, then the independents must claim “fringe” for those who naturally see the big picture, theorize and induce. Make it “out-of-the-box fringe” as opposed to “in-the-box-science” or something like that – I hope somebody will improve on my attempts.

In short, in order to educate ourselves and theorize to create a broader insight, we need a new approach, and whenever was there a better time for this than with social media allowing those with other views to connect too.

Thank you for reading.

Governments Beware – NOW is the time to be cautious

Governments are usually portrayed as representing the people. However, the composition of the members of a government seldom represents the composition of the population.

Until very recently, male politicians predominated in virtually every western country, as did white or Pākehā representatives. In the slightly more distant past, the representatives were the aristocrats and before that, in some places, the representatives were members of the dominant religious order.

Likewise, but even more profound and in addition to all the above, there is a psychotype (or personality type) discrepancy.

Now, psychotype, we know, is inborn and not changeable, so that we are talking about a difference akin to that of ethnicity and gender. Psychotype is not about a belief, or a material body we have in addition to our Self, but it IS our Self; it is our mind, the mind that developed into the person we are. It is our perspective; it is our existential Self, that will, therefore, be defended for survival.

The vast majority of civil servants, politicians and their advisers, academics, police, teachers, judges and other law enforcers are of a similar type; they are Js (in psychotype terminology), judicious people who experience the social norms and moral values as objects (objective), and tend to internalize them – which is why they take these jobs. They have a natural inclination to respecting authority because it is that, as well as the conviction that individuals should sacrifice for ‘the greater good’ (the group, society, nation). About half of any population is born with this perspective, so that we can expect roughly half of the people to believe that the above professional groups have the right to make decisions and censor those who disagree.

Of course, there are other psychotype traits that also play a role and make the difference more complex than I portray it here, but for the purpose of this post, we need to be aware that half the population’s natural perspective is over-represented in any job that has to do with rules.

The other half of the people (again with variations due to other aspects of psychotype) has a natural inclination to perceive the norms and moral values as relative, imposed by people on other people; they do not internalize those values, are non-conformist and insist on their autonomy, because the nation, society or conceptual group is not a living being. Rights come from nature for this group – the Ps or persuasive people – and any human being who makes rules for others violates those rights.

Note that a perspective in this sense is not something we choose, reason, accept or create, but something that comes from our inner Self, and these two perspectives are absolutely opposed to each other.

These differences have always been and will always be the moral battleground and the cause of all interpersonal and social conflict in any group.

So, this very short post is meant to warn the members of the J-group, those who do their very best to rule and be sensible in light of COVID-19, that the longer the restrictions stay in place, the more people of the P-group will start to oppose them.

Like I said, it is not just the J-P difference: Extraverts (Es), despite the original notion that they might have more problems with the social isolation, are actually more inclined to accept the situation (even if they are Ps) and roll with it, because they experience, as explained before, the threat of the virus more powerful, so they are more willing to protect against it. But introverts (Is), including IJs, feel very much threatened by the loss of their individuality. This makes them angry, which can result in both physical and mental illness, or outright rebellion.

In short, governments who rely for their advice only on people of their own in-group – their own psychotype group – will face more and more problems if they do not make an effort to respect the needs of the other half of the population.

I accept that they may not be aware of these differences – although it is my belief that those who decide over people should aim to understand them first – but this post is intended to create that awareness.

Sure, you can use the police and soldiers to crush those who rebel, but before you do, consider the percentages, because you will turn half the people against you.

In short, beware that you are not a natural representative of half of your population, but that that half still expects to be equally valued and respected.

Over the Invisile WallThank you for reading.

Open letter to the New Zealand Government

This is a letter of thanks, and I have chosen to use this medium, since it seems the only way to reach the members of government.

As a philosopher of mind, specializing in type psychology, I have observed the behaviours and responses of people during the recent crisis, and also during that of a year ago in Christchurch, both of which more or less unprecedented.

In that light, I would like to thank the people in New Zealand for being so sensible and for caring for each other. In time of need, we can clearly count on each other, which makes me proud to be able to live here. As I said in an earlier post with regard being aware of the different needs of different types during a crisis, so the best of each type shows in this as well. Practical types offered practical services; logical types offered analysis and scientific data; caring types took care of the community; artists helped to make the situation bearable and theoretical people looked at the big picture and the global effects to come up with solutions. In that light everybody contributes the best they can and the overall consequences for the group are better.

But I want to especially thank the government for its handling of both situations with care and insight.

A few people may know me as a writer and be aware that my books and blogs do not always speak positively about politicians. I certainly do not hesitate to express my objections when I see measures that are bound to cause more problems down the road than they solve today.

That is my job as a philosopher; to notice and warn against assumptions and to question every aspect of what we take for granted, including our political system. From that perspective, democracy is not very well equipped to deal with emergencies – not just the pandemic, but the climate emergency we are facing – exactly because it is generally not natural leaders who are elected into these posts.

Despite the general belief, the ability for leadership is inborn, not learned.

A natural leader does more than make decisions; they have the ability to communicate with the people; they have the ability to understand and see the big picture; that is, how a decision made today will affect the long-term future, the wider community and all other related fields, including that which comes after they are no longer in office. They have the ability to care first and foremost for the group they are responsible for, and they have the ability to be firm and caring simultaneously; to set aside tradition in favour of new ideas, but not jump impulsively on every new idea and to know the difference between those. In addition, they are aware that they have a privileged position and the power, but not the right, to tell other people how to live.

These abilities are present in those with the right personality type from young onward, yet most people who end up in a position of leadership – whether a self-appointed tyrant, a monarch or an elected politician – do not possess the psychological talents for these skills. But Jacinda Ardern does have these talents, which may be why New Zealand handled the situation so much better than most other countries and I wanted to acknowledge that. Having observed her press conferences, decisions, explanations, personal examples, caring and insightful expressions, I have seen a natural leader at work, in all the aspects mentioned above, and hope that those of you who agree with me will share this letter, regardless of what party you belong to or what your friends say.

Just to clarify, in my view, not only are there better methods of governing than democracy – and, no, dictatorship is not the only alternative – but democracy itself could be modified to give the people a voice instead of a mere vote, to allow people who understand and have expertise the say in their fields instead of ignoring them in favour of (usually outdated ) mob beliefs, and to elect people for their inborn talents and personality type rather than based on popular beliefs or the “us-them” standoffs created from having political parties.

When I say people in their fields, I do not mean only those who hold the traditional views or approaches, the academics, the traditional medical carers or the traditional teachers, but also those who come from more progressive ideas and alternative methods of medicine and education, and independent researchers, since new ideas have to come from outside the establishment to prevent dogma.

The difference between a voice and a vote is that the former comes with a personal justification or explanation. In such a situation, we can still vote people like Jacinda into government, but not people like Trump, since his election came from mass hysteria and a lot of people who had no clue what they were voting for.

Nevertheless, as I said, I have observed true leadership in action and as this situation was bigger than silly party politics, I hope that the few people who tried to use the situation to complain or campaign for the sole reason of promoting their party, will try to imagine having had to make these decisions themselves. From a psychological perspective, nobody I am aware of in current politics would have been able to handle the situation as well, regardless which party or other entity they belong to.

And because I tend to speak my critique when I believe it needed – and I still plan to publish my next book – I wanted to do the opposite and give credit where credit is due, as well. Thank you, Jacinda, and thanks to the Minister of Health and all those who supported them, both in government and out of it. And thanks to John Key, who, in the midst of it all, expressed his support for the government and acknowledged it being handled without fault.

To the health of all the people and thank you for reading.

 

The Danger of Fear

We are now living in a world that has more or less come to a standstill in many places. There are different levels of security in different locations, but everybody is worried and some show that more than others.

Never mind the sad cases of people who took dangerous substances (and died from them) because somebody had told them it would protect them from the virus. Those will eventually get the Darwin Award, probably. It shows us how scared people are. Some are totally losing common sense, and some are abusing that.

However, even those who appear to have common sense, are also responding to fear, and not always in a positive way, nor are they aware they are doing it.

For example, in my rather large and very conservative neighbourhood, where people have been on lockdown for less than twenty-four hours, I already see people in Facebook groups and other social media expressing generalized judgements about other people. Most of those judgments come from their own fear; maybe they do not really understand what a virus is, so they assume that “stay home as much as possible”, means they have to stay indoors, and then they use their time to make negative public judgments about those who have understood that people pass viruses on to each other, not the trees and the footpaths.

It is perfectly okay to go out – certainly if you live in a neighbourhood with lots of space. There is nothing wrong with jogging and even using the equipment; after all, we all go to the shops and handle the groceries. Key is that we keep a distance from each other and if you want to touch things other people may have touched, it may be a good idea to disinfect it first, but that does not mean lock yourself in your house and do nothing.

Okay, I know there are also governments around the world, who in a similar panic, have forbidden people to leave their home altogether. In those cases, you are talking a danger to your life and freedom that comes from the police, not the virus, so I would heed those decrees, but I foresee that these measures will evoke more aggression.

But even where I live, where the lockdown is based on sensible views and most people respect that, an increasing amount of judgments are made on social media, exactly by those people who believe that fresh air is no longer safe. They exchange messages with others, using words like “stupid” and “antisocial” about their neighbours.

Now we know, of course, that some types of people are simply more likely to judge others, and in normal circumstances, they are just annoying. However, during a crisis, these people can become dangerous. They begin with making judgments, then they ignore calls for respect, and before you know it, they form a group and will be actively expressing peer pressure until nobody feels inclined to get their perfectly safe fresh air anymore.

I know that the vast majority of people deal with what is in front of them and not with possible scenarios or comparisons to the past, so it will be hard to convince them at this point of this danger.

Most will think that it will blow over, and it might, depending on how the situation unfolds. Maybe the people I referred to will become just annoying neighbours again, who believe judgment is a right.

But – and I know this is an example that is used too often, but it is also the most telling – in the run-up to WWII we saw exactly such behaviour in neighbourhoods where previously friendly neighbours suddenly turned on each other. And as we saw there, and this is repeated in most every conflict, such situations escalate; the more fear, the more people choose in-groups and the more violent their behaviour becomes towards others. It starts with simple judgments about other people’s behaviour (or traits), but it can end in war.

Of course, this is not a war situation and not about observable traits, but the fear behaviour is the same. And as a philosopher, it is my job to alert people to the danger of certain trends. So, even if it may seem premature, it would be useless to wait with alerting people until it is too late.

We need to respect each other. When I tried to express this need for respect in the Facebook group where those people were calling others stupid, they removed my post, not theirs. Thus, the need for judgment is already winning from the need for respect. Hence this post.

Keep an eye out for fear behaviour and negative judgment, because it sneaks up on you and what this world needs, right now, is positive messages and encouragement. Luckily, there are still many people doing exactly that. So, let us try and keep things humane.

Thank you for reading.

Rights and danger in times of the COVID-19 virus

It’s a tiny little ball of information, way smaller than bacteria or other lifeforms, yet it has managed to put the entirety of humanity in a state of alert.

And why?

Is it this tiny ball of information itself that is dangerous or the much bigger ball of internet information people are spreading about it?

Is it necessary to put entire countries on lockdown, with the resulting anger and deliberate retaliations that follow such measures? Is it wise to do so? Or would it be much more sensible to treat those who get it and let it run its course – like we let influenza do year after year?

Consider that we are looking at 100,000 illnesses and about 5000 deaths worldwide from COVID-19, while the Influenza viruses are responsible for 34 million illnesses and 20,000 deaths this season alone, and that is a number repeated every year. In addition, natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and volcanoes kill many people yearly. Not to mention deliberate murder of people by means of violence and war with no regard for life whatsoever, and traffic accidents.

So why the mass hysteria over COVID-19?

As the article from which I got those numbers – referenced below and the numbers are conformed in similar articles by universities and the world health organization – the unknown factor is what frightens people. People scare from what they don’t know, so they attack.

Is the virus dangerous? Yes, it can kill people.

Is it worth risking the world economy, world peace and freedom for?

That is the question we need to consider today.  All of us have to and that is what I want to discuss in this post.

Whether it is medically justified to warrant such drastic responses from governments is something that cannot really be determined until afterwards. Governments have to make the call now, so they have to act to the best of their knowledge. It will depend on who governments allow to influence their decisions. In some cases, they will look at medical experts, in some cases, they will fall for pressure or threats from other countries and in some cases, they will consider the chances of winning their next election.

I have said it countless times before, democratic countries are not very well equipped to deal with emergencies. Those who are supposed to be their leaders did not get to that position, because they can lead and have the personality for insight into the far-reaching consequences of decisions made today, but because they were very good at following, at repeating what people wanted to hear, which is why they were elected. – Not all of them, by the way; there are some who do have the insght.

So, the medical urgency aside, the question is: Do governments have the right to close their borders, restrict individuals in their movement and possibly – although this is scientifically, medically, financially and logistically not feasible – vaccinate the whole population.

I will answer this question in light of the meaning of “rights” in a philosophical sense, but we need to remember that, depending on the message you were raised with and your inborn personality, you might feel differently about this. Schools tend to teach kids that rights come from authority and your personality influences what kind of authority you naturally accept.

Ethically speaking: the answer is simple: NO. The right to be free, to live and to move came from nature and not from other people. Those who claim the right to decide over other people’s life, regardless of what authority they claim, are unethical, because they claim more rights for themselves than for others. Ethical values are about what is good and bad from the perspective of our personal motives. That people are made to believe that ethical is a group value and that personal is selfish, is because those who teach people this, want to keep them in line. From a psychological perspective, and we are all psychological beings, people cannot be all alike and therefore it is impossible to hold the same values. Seeing this difference is inborn, to impose one set of values is discrimination.

The virus, by the way, has the right to live; its right, just like that of ours, comes from nature. That we wish to eradicate it, is also a natural inclination, since it helps us survive, so that is also a right we all have.

Legally speaking, the answer is also simple: Governments make laws to enforce their will on people, so the moment they make a law, they make it legal and so they act legally. However, legal has nothing to do with rights, but with power. Those who claim to rule other people, do so because they have power and that power tends to come dressed in uniforms. Being tools to the governments, this power is used for fear induction and enforcing the legal rules, and in principle, it makes absolutely no difference whether that government is democratically chosen or a self-imposed tyrant.

Note that I say “in principle”, because practically (in the way people are treated), it may make a difference.

Morally speaking, the answer is a little less clear. Moral values are more about right and wrong actions, and those actions are judged within the group we live in, because they often affect the people in our group. Moral values are used to assign blame and praise, which are, in turn, measures to coerce people to do what we want.

Moral values are, therefore, the values of the group. In principle, only those who belong to the group or subscribe to those moral values, can act immorally; those who do not accept the group morals, can only act amorally. This difference is important especially where it concerns different cultures or era, where group beliefs are different. In the past, for example, being homosexual was considered immoral by the vast majority of people in the western world, but today many people no longer see it as such. Yet, in some cultures (or smaller groups, such as religious groups), homosexuality is still considered immoral. Likewise, in Ancient Greece, it was considered moral for men to be together, and a man who did not partake, might have been frowned upon, treated as immoral.

So, group values change and, therefore, people need to subscribe to those values to be able to act immorally – they subscribe within themselves and not publicly – which does not stop those who accept the values from believing they have the right to call others immoral. Such peer pressure based on moral values is morality, which can be very damaging and dangerous.

However, that does not mean that every person who is born into a certain culture or group, shares those values. That many people get their ethical values from internalizing their group’s moral values, does not mean they can force others to accept those values, even if those others live in the same group. Nobody can totally escape the groupmind, but nevertheless, the group values do not have to be the same for all people.

One example with regard moral values in light of the virus, is that of assigning moral blame to journalists, who, in pursuit of a good story, create more panic and danger than necessary. This may have been true about journalists in the past, but today, we are all part of this media – the moment you put out a tweet, a blog post, a Facebook post, you are ‘the media’ –  so we need to all consider and take responsibility for the consequences of our words and messages.

But what about a virus that threatens people’s health and where individual beliefs about the rights to contain it by means of legal decrees, may threaten the safety of other people? For example, if I don’t believe in quarantine and would ignore such values, I could endanger the health of others. Likewise, if I despise the idea of authority, I may simply not want to do as I am told.

That is when a government or leader needs to make a decision that may be immoral, amoral and unethical, but may simply be necessary. If all people hold different beliefs, certain rules may have to be made against the beliefs of some of the people.

However, a good leader or government, acknowledges that it only has legal power and no ethical or moral rights to enforce any action. Those who use the word “right” – or “justice”, which is an ethical concept – in conjunction with legal measures or enforcement, are those who endanger our survival and freedom. And, of course, those who wear the uniforms that imply that message, do so in words and in action.

This is the danger of the COVID-19 virus.

The danger today does not come from the virus itself, but from those who use it as a claim to enforce their power. By closing down borders and restricting people’s movement, they are plunging the world into economic recession. From countless accounts in history, we know that economic recession is used to start wars and more oppression. Neither war nor oppression have any ethical or moral justification.

Luckily, there are some politicians who do have leadership skills and can see the big picture and I am lucky enough to live in a country with a prime minister who has those talents. She uses “power”, not “right” when talking about the security measures. That is an attitude I can respect.

As I said, in this case, a leader might not have a choice in their actions, but they always have a choice in their justification and only a good leader acknowledges that they are imposing on people’s rights – the rights that came from nature.

Reference:  https://www.livescience.com/new-coronavirus-compare-with-flu.html

Prejudice Based on Credentials and Wikipedia

There is a lot of talk about Wikipedia at the moment. It used to be the go-to encyclopaedia for everybody, but it seems to have been usurped by academics, who put in complaints about other people’s articles not being academic enough.

One issue that makes it increasingly difficult to use is that some articles can no longer be considered encyclopaedic, but more like works for a peer review journal, going into so much depth that anybody who did not already know everything about a topic, cannot follow it anymore. Even the basics are often missing.

Then there is the continuous request for citations, which are interspersed in the text (both rows of numbers to cited works and the words that indicate where one is needed), which often makes a text unreadable.

Lastly, it seems to have become the place where disgruntled academics try to influence the layman, not with convincing information, but with ad hominin attacks and sweeping generalizations.

Now, of course, Wikipedia is not a normal encyclopaedia, which tend to list the references to the people they used in the front of the book, and then they can print clear text all the way. And I do agree that it is only fair to cite people who come up with a new idea and not simply assume it is public knowledge.

Citations are peer support. That makes them something positive. Academics, especially, pride themselves on “peer reviews”, because they assume this means that people with knowledge in their field have considered their theory.

I agree with that. Not only do citations allow the reader to find more information by people who understand the topic, but they give those other writers their due respect.

However, specialist feedback should not be the only feedback of a theory or idea.

Getting citations is easy, I have said this before. It took me on average one to two hours to get all the support I needed for any essay I was writing, by walking into the university library, picking some books, reading the blurb to see what side of the argument they were on (there are usually only two) and then flipping through the index for the pages needed to find something that sounded profound. – I will add that I took a lot more care when writing my book.

And within a field, there are countless journals with articles to pick from. However, it is a whole lot easier for academics than for people from outside to come up with those citations, especially from journals, which often cost either in credentials or money to access.

That there are usually only two or three active arguments is because even within academia, it is impossible for everybody to agree, yet these arguments tend to pivot on details rather than being completely alternative theories. If something is not in the academic debate, it is either such an assumption that you do not find it mentioned at all, or it comes from people without the credentials and is dismissed out of hand.

My last point is to the way some articles are written. Every field will at one or another time go through a period of paradigm shift, which means that an entire edifice of assumptions, on which the current knowledge is built, comes tumbling down as a result of new evidence. These are upsetting times for the academics who hold the traditional view – even if they accept that “science always improves on itself” – and often comes with a lot of nastiness and heated discussions. New ideas, as we all know, take a long time to get accepted in a community, especially in a competitive climate like academia. Often, people’s status and income are considered more valuable than getting to a new understanding of the topic.

In the past, if new ideas came from outside of academia, the scholars used to band together. But today the social media and the possibility of sharing visual evidence by means of You Tube, allows these alternative views to spread much faster than the academics can keep control over, because the layman is no longer at the mercy of what is officially shared with them but allowed to think for themselves. We see this happening mainly in archaeology and psychology today.

This bottom-up spread of new ideas is not new – Christianity was a bottom-up phenomenon – but today such ideas have a lot more chance to spread. Some academics are happy enough with that and join the debates or put up their own channel or blog and argue their side of the belief in a fair way.

But some are not happy with that and resort to attacks on the people who hold some respect in that public community, and more often than not, they have already thrown every alternative view onto one heap, blaming the writer for being wrong, because somebody else is saying things that are disputed in a completely different field.

And those are the obvious fallacies anybody can see. There are two more problems with insisting on citations that may be less obvious:

  1. A circular argument.

If academics quote each other, even if in different fields, you get things like, A is right, because B has proven C. Then, when you look up B’s work, he claims to be right, because C said so and this is supported by A, and C’s work says something similar – usually, this spans across many more people, so that, at first sight, it is not obvious, especially when quotes are made across disciplines.

As explained before, we now have English professors making claims on psychology based on quotes by neuroscientists, while herself being quoted by politicians, doctors and the media – “scientists believe” so it must be right – without anybody realizing that neither English nor neuroscience are psychology.

This is a result of the education system giving credentials only to those who agree with its current beliefs. This system then produces the teachers, the politicians and the judges, who maintain the contents of that education system and their grades. And, as I said before, in that respect, it makes no difference whether that education is controlled by the church, by the aristocracy or by celebrities and those who win popular votes (Homology: 335).

Thus, citations can, whether paraphrased by journalists, or literal by other academics, become circular arguments that have as their only objective to boost the status of the writer and control the information the public gets – you have to believe in God and show that by supporting the church or else risk being ousted.

  1. An Infinite Regress.

This is an argument that is based on premises that are based on premises that are based on premises that are based on a truism or axiom – something assumed true, because it has been in the group belief for so long, nobody questions it anymore.

David Hume said that we expect the sun to come up every day. We say, “I will do this tomorrow”, assuming tomorrow exists. This was in relation to deductive versus inductive arguments, but the idea is the same. Deductive arguments take the form of two or more premises (truisms) from which the new belief or ‘truth’ is deduced and assumed knowledge.

Of course, some truisms are, indeed, ‘true’: 1 and 1 make 2. There is little to debate about that… unless you deal with reproduction, in which 1 and 1 make 3, so that, even there it depends on your perspective.

But in science and philosophy, every argument is based on premises that are “believed to be true”. Of course, truth itself is in debate, and not considered the same by all people, because we each experience truth differently depending on our psychological make-up. This then, expresses in those endless arguments, because people cannot step out of their own experience, so they are forever doomed to consider the experiences of others wrong. We can never prove any of it, because none of us can step out of our own heads. The more naturally objectivist, reductionist and materialist a person is, the more they will believe that, if they can see it, it must be the only reality and everybody else must be wrong, and some do not hesitate to say so.

I have also previously explained that I do not blame these people, because our beliefs are existential; they experience reality that way. If they would acknowledge that their experience is not true, they lose their reason for existing. Nobody gives up their existential belief.

At any rate, academics using citations, use arguments made by others and eventually every such argument must be based on a truism in one or another field, because deduction is NOT possible without induction (without hypothesis or belief).

Most academics, being immersed in an institution that forces specialization, do not notice these regresses, exactly because they are focused on the details of the works of their peers and assume that other disciplines are right, because they are academics. This belief then, is ingrained in children by the education system.

However, this applies to the alternative thinkers as well. It is good to look beyond the accepted traditional views and bring in evidence to the contrary – but you cannot then blindly accept information from another discipline that backs up your new view, because somebody with a credential tells you so.

We need to understand the groupmind. We need to accept that we are, all of us, immersed in the current beliefs and that it takes a major psychological leap to step away from those, to create a paradigm shift. Nobody does that alone. The groupmind changes slowly and that is a good thing. If we could all be convinced by the first clever sounding argument that came along, we’d live in perpetual chaos. But the groupmind speaks through people, even those who seem independent or alternative.

So if Wikipedia wants to survive, it will have to change its criteria for acceptance. We live in a new world; a world of information being exchanged for free in most cases. Wikipedia itself is one of the best examples of that. Countless You Tubers and bloggers share everything they know and all their research for free. In many cases such research is way more profound what is being done in academia, mostly because independents collect information across disciplines.

The future will see academia also being free and, hopefully, less competitive.

Credentials should not be the standard; a well written article should be, and sure you can favour citations, but only if you allow citations from any writer, not just academics, and format them differently. The number of citations in any small article currently far exceeds those in big fat books.

Articles that begin by slandering others because they are not part of the academic community or resemble somebody you do not like should not be allowed, because they are off topic. On the other hand, Wikipedia could change its policy to request that, instead of a million citations per article, the main originators of an idea are mentioned in the text and still link to books at the bottom, but leave out the endless references to articles by other academics, who have their idea from somebody else again and so on.

We must remember that the goal is to get to an understanding of the topic, and we must do that TOGETHER.

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.