We’ve lost the moral plot. Imagine quickly the following question. You buy a bat and ball for £1.10 to play cricket on the beach with your family. The bat cost a pound more than the ball. How much did you pay for each?
This question is one of many I use in demonstrating stereotyping. The real answer is very simple and not the point – which is most of us get it wrong in a quick flash. Huge amounts of our ‘reasoning’ take place in this space.
There’s a long path from these little tricks to understanding human interaction is broadly ‘unconscious’ and to understanding we all have rather nasty stuff lurking in it. Further, this ‘unconscious’ has positive and wider generalising powers, allows decisions on context and over wider memory than our conscious thinking and can be harnessed in it.
Why are we taking so little of this on board in general society? The standard backstage chat in academe is it’s because we have to teach such thick bastards, but this is a weary context. I’m no fan of ejukation as this broadly schools manners and pretence. I suspect the answer is we shy away from facts and copy manners as surely as we raise our little pinkies drinking tea, not knowing syphilitic symptoms (stiff finger joints) were rife amongst the aristocracy that started this. Think on one hundred and five plus five.
One needs more ‘dangerous’ territory than this. Think of what you might hear in the downbeat pub on Muslims as dirty, marrying first cousins. It’s actually dangerous to say this because of the zealots (who are doing 100 + 10) who hear you say ‘Muslims are dirty and marry first cousins’. In Britain, Muslims are actually more likely to marry non-Muslims than Christians non-Christians (fact).
It’s also fact that we are all ‘racist’ (‘in groupist’) in our ‘quick’ reactions. Test after test demonstrates this. Diversity ejukation does not start from this, moving to how we should understand and control; which would also lead to what we expect from all sides and multiple-sided tolerance. Instead we have taught political correctness – because what we teach is manners.
Science would ask where these manners have led us. We generally reject this fundamental challenge to authority. It’s bad manners. Philip Roth has written some quite complex literature around this, without science in it. A guy who has done his bit on tolerance is strung up on false speech crimes over the use of the work ‘spook’.
My own view, not argued here, is that the ancien regime is stronger than ever, a grotesque animal hiding behind rhetoric, just as the Athenian Democracy was. Imagine, by the way, a class so up itself it had trouble accepting one hundred and five minus five. I’ve had more than one.
Britain has more bedrooms per capita than ever before and a housing shortage (fact). You are more likely not to know this than what the capital of Peru is (fact). The rich are getting much richer (fact) and the rest ain’t (fact). I’ll just suggest the reasons have very little to do with a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. It’s wrong that there are people on benefits sitting in high priced rents. It pisses me off. But then I think about where the money ends up and who is really benefiting and why we can’t have sensible housing policies.
I can also cost what my own ‘needs’ are in terms of housing, services, clothes, entertainment and ‘beer’. I know what I actually pay out. Most of my work goes up the wall (no, I don’t drink much these days). I’d be better of with peer to peer ‘money’ like Bitcoin, direct ordering and purchase from manufacturers and … I am forever paying ‘middle men’, whether retailers or public servants.
There is some politics of this in Sweden. I fancy, much in the same way as the bat didn’t cost a quid, that the sum we need concerns a society in which one has to pay to escape from the worst, in order to know why everything has become so expensive just as we are more ‘efficient’ in everything.
I suspect, as a scientist, this is to do with a collective unconscious of our animal state. Over the years, I have seen little from management other than its silencing of free adult debate and ejukation to governmentality that is broadly not good at problem identification and wastes our time in set puzzle-solving. Most people don’t listen or read much – they already know the key communication is unconscious. Technology may yet shock us from this silent grave, or bury us in it. I guess most people feel more free in the unconscious because they think ejukation can’t get to them there. Think again folks.
Bitcoin will be stopped, though it seems to work and I admire the notion of a means of exchange that runs open source without bwankers. Imagine (have you forgotten money isn’t ‘real’) being able to directly address housing and even scum issues in building a community through its own work, rather than having to grind away through intermediaries of the vile (bwankers, politicians, social workers, senior cops ..) and not have to let them skim like a bunch of functionaries in Guinea-Bissau (you might get a legal business going there in about three years and for about three times its national debt in facilitation payments). It may seem strange to ‘re-invent the money wheel‘, but why not? The current one could do the same through jubilee on debt that is just networked in money making money rather than helping make anything we want.
Science is everywhere around us, but not in our world-views – no one dares teach this and I don’t mean Darkins making yet more money writing the same old books. I’d do it myself, but with so many people trying to work out the cost of the bat and ball, I have to market my skills elsewhere.
Science may now be at a tipping point, beyond which we will know we can not only have revolution, but not end up with the same old lash in different hands as the beggars take over the tanks. We may be able to pull down the vested interests of the money system and replace it in terms of the functions we want without some grim dictatorship of the proletarian cudgel.
This runs against many of the dichotomies in our unconscious – that revolution is pointless as leadership is even worse in the hands of zealots – that dreams of big change are lunacy – that stripped of necessity motivations humans are idle – that we hate and need the rich – etc. We have Frankenstein lurking, not notions of readjusting our cities into ‘villages’ and life without the stresses on us now.
Easier for me to retire to Portugal, of course. I doubt I can live long enough for the big wars to come and the water to run out. Good beer in Sagres. Morality even screws my retirement plans! Few scientists vote Republican. My mates just choose the lesser evil. The moral plot? You have to admit to the unconscious and to have it in play in decisions and free speech. That way, political correctness fades to an affectation of the unaware and is seen as hostile to truth and tolerance. Popper, if anyone is following at such a level, got this wrong, but foretold of a time when what was known would change what we could think. We now know a great deal about human behaviour, organisation and money that could help us out of the pit. I know so much more about Dante since playing the video game! Science is only a sign of a misplaced youth. I’d have made more money learning snooker…
Across the world, people always ask ‘what the real score is’. Ethnomethodologists have problems with the idea of a real score, but it’s what everyone asks. If we just believed accounts we could have no trials and phlogiston would be as real as oxygen. People expect others not to mean what they say, but as creating an impression. What we aren’t good at, is remembering just what else they are doing in impression management than content. On of my teaching tricks in this is to make myself as non-credible as possible while telling the truth. The silent manipulations are so readily available that psychopaths use them and we are not ejukated to understand the manipulations, otherwise we might see how manipulative our teachers are. There is quite wonderful German literature on this – Mephisto being the classic. Strangely, it lacks humour, though so does most good stuff until you learn what can be funny. Anyone for my class on Kiekegaard: shaggy-dog par excellence? There were touches of this in ‘The Killing’, when the detective saved by a cigarette lighter from the bullet died anyway! The actress playing the main role said she intentionally didn’t use sex like most in similar roles – this, of course, was what made her so entirely lovely, sexy and the rest. Hamlet and MacBeth in 20 hours of detective fiction, with actors so real I forgot they were acting. Most are happier with Barbie and Ken being moved across a backdrop of action. Watch the very end of Mephisto – that wink to ‘you the audience’ secretly letting you into the secret that he has had the audience cold (again). Then watch that video of the psychopath mother of Baby P doing the same to a senior social worker. Science sort of operates in these areas, trying to lay the inside bare. We still have a society that encourages magic in its place.