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BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity

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Subject: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 12:28 PM

Everyone knows that while we in the West have re-engineered the face of the world successfully, we have really fallen short in terms of exportable, useable wisdom. Let's face it -- real brains about the human condition and how to address it are nopt our forte outside of the material systems like plumbing, heating, civil engineering, and such.

I think at the bottom there are probably just a handful of core causes -- ideas which have prevented us from reaching a comparable success as human beings to that which we have acheived as matter-mongers and engineers.

I do not know what these core ideas responsible for our Western blind spots are, really. I have found one which I think points the way, and am open to suggestions of others. Here's my first roadsign:

"I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known."
- Walt Disney (1901-1966)


Regards,

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 12:34 PM

Also germane:

"If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?" "
- Will Rogers (1879-1935)

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 12:42 PM

While I would particulary love to blame the mouse - I think your examples are results rather then causes.

Personally I blame the Roman Empire - they settled vast areas of Europe with retired soldiers. And most likely populated other large areas with the illegitimate offspring of garrisons and passing troops.

Seriously though - I suspect the Catholic church - which for hundreds of years seemed to have a policy of "Let Us do the thinking for you"


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Metchosin
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 12:50 PM

The thing is Amos, as a reply to old Will Rogers, our stupidity will probably get us out of it too. Just think of the extreme unholy mess we humans could make of things if we were really better at it than we are. IMO, our salvation is our ineptitude.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Once Famous
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 12:51 PM

Too much junk food.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 12:55 PM

The bible.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 12:57 PM

LOL!!

If we were better at it than we are, we might bring about better order, not denser messes!! :>)

Interesting that in both the case of the Mouse and the Church, human ingenuity has been invested in creating reasons not to think.
That's why I included the Disney quote -- I was pointing to the meme, not at the man. A good totem with which to fend off rather than face is worth more (to Walt, anyway) than the love of a good owman. I find this sad, slightly sick and somewhat indicative of a core human foible.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 01:03 PM

well - I'm pretty sure Walt never met a woman who made him as much money as Mickey did. And from what I have heard about Walt - the bottom line financally was pretty much what was important to him in the long run (with a few exceptions regarding personal power and belittling others- he really wasn't all that pleasant a man)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 01:07 PM

Good ol' Wally Wood explained back in '67 why Walt said what he did.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 01:37 PM

I'd like to re-pose the basic question for this thread: ideas which have prevented us from reaching a comparable success as human beings to our success as manufacturers and builders of physical systems. We can invent toilet bowels and self-monitoring climate control systems. Why can't we invent a way to reliably alleviate depression, resolve homelessness, or pull people out of neurosis? Why do our educational systems tend to promote neurosis instead of alleviate it? Why do we put up with bashers, censors, Grundies, authoritarian jackbooters, bookburners, rednecks and with the promulgation of hate?

What do we need to know to turn this tendency around? Or are we just stuck with it in a miasma of hopeless mediocre lizard-brained quicksand?

Why does the human race and our part of it in particular still produce witless bastards like Bin Laden, Hussein, Rove, Rumsfeld, Bush and Ashcroft?

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 01:43 PM

it has always seemed to me that western culture revolves around profit where Eastern cuulture revolves around spirit


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 01:48 PM

Even the Gurus of yoga acknowledge that the two can be compatible. Well, some of them do, anyway. Profit is not a bad motive as a metric of survival, as long as it is not used as the sole index of success.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 02:06 PM

It's the excess profit that alarms the prophets. And blinds many (but not all) of the holders of all of that loot.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 02:28 PM

We believe the word you all are searching for is "greed". The free enterprise system would work fine without it. When a certain segment of the population just wants more - more power, more money, more stuff or just plain more - problems develop.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: DougR
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 02:47 PM

I don't buy your argument that folks in the West are so lacking in humanitarianism, so greedy that all we worship is the bottom line, so altruistic that all we can think of doing productively is inventing gadgets that make life more comfortable. Maybe in your world people are like that Amos, but not in mine.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: jacqui.c
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 02:50 PM

And that goes for East and West.

Human beings are extremely fallible most of the time and the majority of us have a great deal of self interest built in to the hardwiring - that makes for survival. Technical advances have outstripped any advances that might be taking place in the human spirit - it's like letting kids loose in a toy shop.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Wolfgang
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 02:51 PM

I just think what kind of reception a thread titled
'The Basic Causes of Eastern Stupidity'
would have got in Mudcat.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Mcjoven
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 03:02 PM

Plato, Aristotel, Jesus, and a plethora of other wonderful thinkers who's ideas have been only half understood, twisted, or otherwise hijacked, by people wanting to push the teeming masses around for the last few thousand years. Those are probably a good deal of the prime cause.

As for the east. The culture no more spirtiual then the western culture is. Its just the people in the east understand their own form of spiritually better then they do others whereas we westerners tend to understand others forms of spirituality better then our own. We ask absolutist questions about our spiritual traditions and then instead of seriously seeking a real absolutist answer (a concept most of us have little understanding of, there it is absolutist and non-contirdictory to say: "We defintly have no idea" and "It defintly could go either way as this point"), we assume an answer then ask more questions, get frustrated, and either abandon spirituallity completely or turn to prepackaged salvation, do-it-yourself enlightenment or cafateria spirtuality. We act like nobody has thought about this stuff before. Like every one living in europe before the rennisance had an IQ of ten.

"Why do we put up with bashers, censors, Grundies, authoritarian jackbooters, bookburners, rednecks and with the promulgation of hate?"

Because we are those people! They are our fathers and mothers. Our brothers and sisters. Our little old great aunts who send us over sized green sweaters every chistmas! They are us! ALL OF US! We put up with them becuase if we did not we could not put up with ourselves.

Do you honestly think that the west has no wisdom? We have all the wisdom we could ask for! It's simply that most people around here don't read it, don't hear it, and above all don't understand it when they do.

People are people, everywhere and everywhen. It the most discouraging and encouraging thing I can say.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 03:10 PM

Greed, especially for power, seems to have been the bane of human history and NOT just in the West.

As the sign on my office door says, "All Power Corrupts. Absolute Power Is Kind Of Neat." For me, it's tongue in cheek.

I think that we in the West view the East as some sort of super-spiritual haven, and it isn't. It is different in its thinking and its approach to spirituality, but a comparison of the teachings of Western spiritual leaders and philosophers with those of the East will demonstrate more points of similarity that differences in the basic underpinnings.

It's the people who distort the values to serve their own ends that are the problem. Islam, for instance, teaches that your prisoners are to be treated as you would want to be treated if you were a prisoner -- but Saddam Hussein and Khomenyi certainly ignored that. The problem with studying History is that you can quickly become soured on the human race.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,peedeecee
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 04:20 PM

This is not a rant -- it is a genuine opinion.

I think part of the problem (worldwide, not just in the West) stems from the fact that all power has resided in men. I believe fervently that had men and women worked in tandem, with the values of each held equal, that society would have evolved differently than it has.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 04:24 PM

DougR:

don't buy your argument that folks in the West are so lacking in humanitarianism, so greedy that all we worship is the bottom line, so altruistic that all we can think of doing productively is inventing gadgets that make life more comfortable.

Not my argument at all.

We have a robust engineering timeline with lots of successes. We manage any material problem pretty routinely now.

But we grope in the dark when it comes to understanding and managing problems involving our own spiritual natures; we communicate rather poorly and tend to do really stupid things socially, the invasion of Iraq being one example. Why don't we know how to deal with social problems to a fraction of the extent we know how to engineer matter?
Why do we speak more persuasively to steel and stone than we do to our own species?

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 04:33 PM

Wolfgang:

I really liked your observation. IF Arab nations had risen tobecome the dominant force on the planet, as they had a perfectly realistic chance of doing some time back, would the world be any less doctrinaire, stupid, and neurotic than it is?

I dunno.


McJoven:

If I understand you rightly, you feel that it is inherent human foible to be exactly as corrupt and spotty blind as we are?

But you really have put your finger on something when you say "Them's us"!.

It is not that I think others have not posed these questions. I just think they need to be repeated and I haven't heard a workable answer yet.




A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 04:41 PM

Doggone, Pogo said it best some few years back:

"We have met the enemy, and he is us."

(That "he" is not gender-specific.)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 04:44 PM

Well, fine, but there must be an operational answer of some sort -- one that opens the door to redress? "Change?" HMM.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 04:45 PM

peedeecee: Maggie Thatcher, Golda Maier; Mrs. Ghandi ... warmongers all. Our batting average is a bit on the poor side.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 07:29 PM

Believing we are superior to other cultures? Refusal to accept other ideas?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 08:33 PM

The major single one might be the belief that "them over there" are separated from "us over here" and that "out there" is really separable from "in here".

Might be something we could address, any way.

I have been told there is a passage in the Bhagavad Gita, which translates as "He he holds with the difference between within and without is destined to travel forever from sorrow to sorrow."

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Bobert
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 09:05 PM

"Imagination is more important than knowledge..." (Einstien)

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Teresa
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 09:30 PM

It is easier to be lazy and complacent than to question and wonder at life. Kids teach us to wonder, but since we're adults, we quash that sense in favor of materialism and incuriousness. (is that a word)? :)
Teresa


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 11:23 PM

Interesting discussion. Even though I often share Amos’ disappointment with western cultures, we both know quite well that the difference is really just cultural. Eastern cultures tend to view the individual as an inseperable part of a larger unit—culture, society, species, life, existance. Western cultures on the other hand, tend to view inviduals as separate, unrelated beings who must struggle with each other and their environment to earn or take their “natural” place.

We all know how ephemeral and slippery are concepts like truth, reality, fact, fiction, dream and illusion. We just filter these elusive notions through our own cultural bias.

Our global notion of east and west is just another example of our cultural limitations. The great thinker, teacher and design engineer, R. Bukminster Fuller, designed a new projection (map) of the earth he called the Dymaxion Projection. He projected the spherical surface of the planet onto an icosahedron (20-sided regular solid) to keep distortion to an absolute minimum, then unfolded the icosahedron to demonstrate that the earth's peoples really live on a fairly consolidated land mass (island) surrounded by ocean. The reason we think of east and west is only because of the way early map makers chose to project the earth's surface.

Okay, all together now, everyone sing The Universe Song.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 12:23 AM

Greed hits pretty close to the mark, but greed is only one manifestation of the larger problem of egoism. Greed is egoism expressed in materialistic terms. Powermongering, warmongering, xenophobia, "rugged individualism", "manifest destiny" and rabid religious fundamentalism are some of egoism's other manifestations. Western society has no tradition of ego transcendence - of getting our selves out of the way and acting as if we were truly part of a greater whole instead of the center of all creation. Our western religions may be based upon the teachings of men who understood ego transcendence, but those teachings have been recast in egoistic terms by the teachers' "followers". The idea that "my beliefs are right while your beliefs are evil" is one of the most ego-filled concepts I can imagine. ("God will protect me from flying bullets" is the other.)

Walt Disney's statement, "I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known," is egoism on multiple levels. First, Mickey Mouse made Disney tons of money. Mickey Mouse was also 100% Disney's creation and, thus, an alter-ego of himself. And, of course, Mickey Mouse allowed Disney to create an empire where he was all-powerful. Nobody's ever going to write a book called "The Tao of Mickey Mouse" because the Mouse is all about ego. There's no manifestation of the Tao in him.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 01:35 AM

All of us human folks use one or another language to express ourselves. We divide up the perceived world into things (nouns) actions (verbs) relationships (prepositions), etc. and give each of these a name, that is, a word in our language. This is very handy for talking to one another.

But, most people in the West believe, consciously or unconsciously, that the real world is actually divided up like that but it's not. Many people in the East know that all of these things are connected and, even though we have separate words for things, they are not actually separate things.

For example, a chair is just a piece of furniture but what would it be if there were no people to sit in it?

Here's a more practical case. Bill Clinton was impeached because he lied under oath. Why did he lie under oath? Because his persecutors forced him into a corner where he either had to lie under oath or confess about Monica. Neither of these choices was very palatable. So, Clinton is a bad guy in Western thought. In Eastern thought, his persecutors are also part of the problem. Without their actions, he's not forced into the dilemma. It's not them versus us. It's all us.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Ellenpoly
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 04:14 AM

It's our species. We were a mistake. We were given a brain that was too big, and no instructions on how to use it correctly...mainly because we can't follow instructions made by other faulty design models of our same species.

If we were written as an experiment on a Cosmic Blackboard, we would have been erased...Instead, the creator left us here and moved on to other planets, perhaps.

So here we be, with our big brains, and too much testosterone which keeps us living, procreating, and fighting each other, often to the death for...well, for reasons our faulty brains devise.


East or West in the end will make no difference. Women will never have enough time to clean up mostly men's messes, and the amount of people to even take the time to try to figure out if we can re-wire our brains will never be more than those who are perfectly content to operate with mixed circuits.

Is there a way out of this mess? Nope. Our faulty brains will eventually figure out enough ways to self-destruct, and we most certainly will.


..xx..e


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: beardedbruce
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 04:22 AM

Inspired by Whether


                Who gives a damn
                about
                Any of us?

                Not God - This place is but a
                        Petri dish,
                                and we -
                                        contamination.
                        Someday, we might
                        be noticed, long
                        enough for a reaction -
                                        sterilization.

                If we escape this culture,
                Drastic Measures
                would be taken:

                        Perhaps a
                        program of         
                                           innoculation.

                Sickness such as ours must be contained,
                        or the general health
                        might be impaired

                From one microbe to another
                        let me say,
                        then,
                        What does it matter?

                Have you no faith in penicillin?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Pied Piper
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 06:32 AM

Do we really think that the institutional racism of the cast system sanctioned by Hinduism, and the Tyrannies of China supported By Daoism are some how more just and reasonably way for Humanity to live.
Western and Eastern stupidity are both down to the fall into Agricultural economics, which imply constant expansion. Once there is no room to expand geographically or economically you get into deep trouble.
This process has been happening on a small scale for millennia, and now it has reached the whole planetary ecosystem.
The Idea that if we all started meditating regularly this problem would go away is dangerously naive.
We have to DO something about it, not sit around listening to the sound of one hand clapping.

Matter and proud of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 09:13 AM

Our intolerence of other peoples way of life. e.g. Our assumption the because we have a democratic system [allegedly] that it is the only way to govern. What we describe as barbaric is mundane, and an everyday occurence in some parts of the world. Why if we find their practices obnoxious do we try to change them? What makes us right and them wrong? It's the same with the people we lock up in psychiatric hospitals, could they be normal, and we mad? It's only because there are more of us than there is of them!
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Nurse Ratched
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 09:17 AM

You got a point there, Giok.

nurse r.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 10:22 AM

I think not, Giok. Some things are entirely opinion. In such affairs there is no way of proof and the index of strength is the quantity of agreement. The guy who musters the least agreement is the one who ends up in the asylum.

But in many other areas there are facts and measurable consequences. Hygeine is a simple example of a cultural practice that we often try to change. What makes "us right" is that the incidence of disease goes down afterwrads.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,John O'Lennaine
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 10:22 AM

I agree with everything Pied Piper said.

Agriculture. Bad move. It turned us into the creatures Ellenpoly described earlier. We no longer belong here. Everything else fits in but humans don't fit in any more. We used to, but we changed.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 10:25 AM

Wow, John, Preetty sweeping condemnation!

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 10:42 AM

Most Westerners don't eat enough fish.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 10:45 AM

I suspect that the key lies in knowing our own natures. It is easy to get so wrapped up in material problems and solutions that you get convinced you are ntohing but a meat hunk making noises. But that way lies the most pathetic existentialist quandary, and it leaves out the far more important side of the equation. The side of individual nature from which knowing, aesthetics, creativity and a sense of right action and ethics come, is too often shut out. Various subcultures develop various ideas to distort it. And too little time gets taken to learn what it is and how it works.

I betcher, anyway...

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 11:41 AM

As I was checking the threads, I ran across the one "Witches At The Bridge" (it's Up Above) and the title, naturally, made me think of the witches in Macbeth. The mental processing made me again think of the bad rep witches had, and then that they represented the temptation that lead to Macbeth's downfall -- the key to his hubris, if you will.

And that led me to realize that we all carry such "witches" within us.

We have the seeds of our own destruction with us, and it's up to us not to let them bloom.


(See? 'Most everything leads back to Ol' Bill.)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 01:12 PM

Hygiene is a moot point Amos, some Arabs eat with one hand and wipe their arse with the other, some Sub Continental Indians use a Lotil [?], while we use toilet paper. The French among others squat, while the majority of westerners use a WC pedestal. Whose arses are the cleanest, whose posterior health is better?
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 01:21 PM

I wasn't talking about arse-wiping, Giok!! :>) I meant that the germ theory of disease is pretty counter-intuitive and contrary to some cultures, and educating people into it takes a lot of repetition, but it does reduce the mortality rate.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Larry K
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 01:29 PM

The basic causes of western stupidity are that we have the freedom to be stupid and say as many stupid things as we want to without fear that our government will inprison or kill us.    That right to be stupid has never made its way to the rest of the world which is primarily ruled by kings, dictators, and military thugs.

Would the world be better off if the Middle East had control as one person mentioned above.   Not if your a woman, Jew, Catholic, Hindu, Protesant, Athiest, or free thinker.

Western Civilization has also given us the greatest lifesyle, creature comforts, medicine, health systems, and opportunities known to man.   Where else could Willian Hung become a superstar?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 02:28 PM

Well then we keep more people alive on an already overcrowded, over polluted, under resourced planet. There is only one possible end game.
I can see the day when they will be able to insert a gene in an embryo which will predetermine the time of their death. This gene will be expensive. Do you think the poor will live longer then?
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 02:28 PM

A good argument, Larry. The freedom to be stupid is one of those freedoms that is not made explicit, because no-one would dare own up to wanting to preserve it. But it comes as a corrollary, anyway.

My quandary is not new. A generation before mine, W.H. Auden posed similar puzzles. One excerpt:

..."Except for the war till the day he retired
He worked in the factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.


The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to poetry were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health Card shows he was once in a hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Installment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A gramophone, a radio, a car, and a frigidaire.


Our researchers into public opinion are content
That he held the popular opinions for the time of year.
When there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenists say was the right number for a parent of his generation,
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he Happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we certainly should have heard."


W.H. Auden


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 04:12 PM

Aren't we discussing utopias here?

But no utopia -- not the Shakers, not Robert Owen, not Marx, not the Oneida Colony, none -- has had long-term success. No matter how idealistic the founder(s) are, each utopia seems to crash against the rock of "want."

Human needs can be taken supplied. Human wants, on the other hand, can be a sort of illness of the soul. "I want...a better plow, a new wife, an afterlife, to run this operation, lots of material goods" are endemic to every culture. Buddhism deals with "want" by eliminating the desire to "want", but this doesn't seem to touch the root of the problem and it isn't a long-term solution.

And so, each utopia eventually devolves into dystopia....


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 04:22 PM

so, each utopia eventually devolves into dystopia....

A tough and interesting point. What is it about this half-beast, half-angel crittur that every time he turns to make things better and gets two steps forward, he bites his own ass and slides a step back?

Aside from not knowing one's true nature, there is also the factor of being held out of the present moment, by educational duress, trauma, overwhelm by peers, biochemical abuse, guilt, shame or whatEVer. This guarantees you will not be computing about hte present circumstances, but rather adding in a buncha bits of data that may have nothing to do with the present circumstances -- almost the definition of irrationality.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 07:57 PM

There's an infinite number of ways human beings can be stupid, and societies go to hell. Paying attention to one set of ways doesn't actually imply that there aren't others as bad.

And why is this particular malaise of ours "Western" - I'd have thought "Northern" is actually a more accurate label. North European, North American, North Asian.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Navigating Homeward
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 08:48 PM

Giok...to answer your question (and I'm not sure if you were being serious or satirical in asking it):

"Whose arses are the cleanest, whose posterior health is better?"

Answer: Those whose arses are the cleanest are those who WASH the area with soap and water after defecation. That includes most Muslims, Hindus, Sihks and those other "foreign" people that you seem (I think) to be disparaging for their "hands on" approach to anal cleanliness. They also wash the involved hand quite thoroughly afterward...with soap and water. This method can be used in addition to toilet paper or entirely without toilet paper, and it works very well and results in a far cleaner "arse" and an equally clean hand as what the westerner enjoys using only toilet paper...but I guess if you're too afraid of your very own arse and your very own dung to touch it with your very own hand, then you've really got a problem with employing such methods, right? A bit squeamish? (grin) You know what I say to those with such a problem? Tough shit! Your ideas of real bodily cleanliness are a bit out of touch with reality.

As for posterior health (and leg and abdominal health) those who squat are definitely healthier than those who merely sit. Squatting assists considerably in accomplishing the objective and helps engage the whole muscular system effectively in elimination. Observe animals. They squat. Nature is a great teacher.


Some causes of western stupidity?

the Judeo-Christian religious heritage

the notion that mankind is separate from and superior to Nature

the notion that life is basically just about making money

the notion that "life is hard and then you die"

the notion that life is only about material rewards

the heritage of ruthless and aggressive power-seeking and hierarchy established by the Roman Empire and the Christian churches

the barrage of commercial marketing that deludes people and distracts them from actual life

the transformation of once informative news into manipulative entertainment and propaganda

the dividing and conquering of the public by political parties and other special interests for the purposes of gaining and consolidating power in the hands of a few

the idea of original sin and the guilt that it engenders

the lack of respect for humanity, Nature, and life in general

the idea that there is no God and no spiritual reason for anything

(You notice that there are mutually exclusive and quite contradictory motivations and philosophies involved together in misleading and corrupting world civilization at this time? Cynical materialists and fanatical religious fundamentalists are equally adept at destroying Nature and encouraging ignorance...despite the fact that they appear to be irrevocably opposed to one another!)

Destructiveness is happy to wear contradictory masks, and may believe itself even to be a saviour while it is doing so.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 09:01 PM

And doesn't most, if not all, of those reasons come down in the end to greed? Greed for power, greed for material things beyond what is actual need? In short, "want" rather than "need"?

Greed turns people materially inward so that they satisfy only themselves, and this will ultimately consume them. There have been, and are, the wealthy who do Good with their wealth. Unfortunately, they seem to be few and far between.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Kim C
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 09:12 PM

The more I read of Eastern philosophy, the more I believe that Westerners are unmindful and impatient. I think sitcoms have a lot to do with this.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Teresa
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 09:23 PM

GUEST,Navigating Homeward:

Hear hear ... what you said!
Teresa


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 09:24 PM

NavHome:

Oh, an excellent list, indeed. In all of these there is some kind of imbalance in the distribution of attention to the different spheres of life -- the individual, family, town, state, species and so on. Usually a lot of #1 at the expense of balance and well being in the others. It may well be born in greed, but it requires as well a certain careful blindness, an unwillingness to view what one is actually doing. Without deliberate ignoral as a mechanism, if one were required rto see plainly what the ramifications of each step he takes are, we would see a more conscientious and less aggressive series of interactions.

The usual excuse is that the center feels threated, and this "it's me or them" attitude -- with the necessary dividing line being drawn -- is often used as justification for taking the "Other" down, or out. Curious how ready we are to withdraw and subdivide ourselves from our societies and species.

I think this "divide, separate and differentiate" impulse is interesting and one of the essential pieces of human stupidness.

McGrath: my reason for using the term "Western stupidity" is because the West is so successful at so many other areas of endeavour that it is obvious our gaffes and blunders are not due to pure dull-wittedness. It may be more common to the Norhtern than the Western hemisphere, as you say, but the expression is in common circulation.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: dianavan
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 01:22 AM

This is certainly a big topic and requires more than a little bit of thinking. I agree with all of what NavHome said and agree that it might all come down to greed or the difference between what is needed and what is wanted. I also think that it has alot to do with the strong emphasis on individualism and competition.

A few years ago I decided to teach co-operative learning. I was amazed at the results. Although everyone had a specific role, nobody was the leader and everyone had to contribute. Too hard to explain the methods but what I discovered was that everyone was a winner when competition was eliminated. Everyone learned from each other in what can best be described as an emotionally safe environment.

I still use these methods but have returned to a more conservative method of instruction because of parental concerns. They were afraid that their 7 year olds would not be able to compete in the larger world!

I think thats because our world's resources seem to be finite, fear and competition motivate most people to abandon their natural affinity to share. Ignorance leads to fear and fear leads to pain.

The other thing I noticed is that today, most people are racing toward the future at such a frantic pace, they do not take the time to reflect on their own behaviour.

The notion of original sin is also devastating. Why would anyone try to be righteous when they have been told that they were born as sinners? ...or that its natural to sin but that you just have to confess so that you can go out and sin again and confess...

Effective problem solving is another part of the elementary education here in B.C. It requires logic and reason.

So - we're in big trouble, folks and not just here in the West.

I think its time to concentrate on respect for others, co-operation, and effective problem solving with a big heap of compromise. It probably gets down to practicing this in our own lives first and insisting that our children be educated accordingly.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Wolfgang
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 07:42 AM

We once had a strong movement in Germany propagating spirituality instead of personal greed, connectedness with something greater than the single person instead of egoism, finding the way back to our roots instead of modern soulless intellecutality, loving earth and manual labour more than artificial products and thinking. The words were different of course, for instance 'Mother Earth' was 'blood and soil'.

The words with positive connotations in this thread have been abused as least as often as the words with at the first glance negative connotations.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 08:44 AM

Yes, indeed, Wolfgang. Yes indeed. That movement sold hate to its followers.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 08:56 AM

One might think, if individual consciousness were un-fogged and awareness were a practice instead of an accident, that sit-coms might never have been developed. Charming conceit! :>)

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Pied Piper
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 09:40 AM

Hold on a bit folks, Human economic/social systems have never been "perfect" whatever that means, but the modern agricultural systems have population increase, intensification of production, and ecological collapse built in to them. Farming grows people that must move on to plunder new areas of the biosphere or face starvation.
This is a relatively modern (10,000 years or so) process that has reached its inevitable conclusion.
Modern Human beings have existed for around 150,000 years, over 90% of the time not living as agriculturalists.
Of cause hunting and gathering eco/social systems, are not "perfect", but they are generally (though not always) much more egalitarian, and require al lot less labour to get enough (and better quality) food to live, from a home range they exploit sustainabley.

Humans cannot easily return to this way of life (certainly not with the present population) but we can regain some of the insight of modern hunter-gatherers and try to live the only way possible, in harmony with the natural world of which we are a part.
The larger the population the more difficult sustainability is to achieve, so the most pressing need is the reduction of the population.
The favoured Human method in both H/G and AG economies is female infanticide, fortunately we now have effective and cheap conception and can reduce the population less brutally.
The Ecological crunch is coming in the next 100 years, if not sooner, so action must be taken now, and agriculture re-thought along sustainable lines.

Here endeth the first lesson

Amen


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 09:47 AM

NavHome I was by no means disparaging the 'hands on' peoples of this world. I myself adhere to the soap and water + tissue brigade, and much prefer the hole in the ground to the dirty seat. One thing I did discover early on about the squat system is to either roll up your trousers, or tuck them in your socks before lowering trousers. ;~)
Seriously though I still think it is our failure to walk a mile in the other persons shoes, that makes us stupid. That and the assumption that we are right, and they are wrong. There is more than one valid value system in this world.
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 10:11 AM

... fortunately we now have effective and cheap conception and can reduce the population less brutally.

As far as I know, cheap and effectiver conception has always been with us and is part of the problem. At least, it was when I was eighteen!! :>))

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Navigating Homeward
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 12:17 PM

I guess he meant "contraception", Amos. (grin)

Good stuff, Giok. I actually wasn't quite sure what you were driving at in your orginal post. Yes, I think prejudice is usually due simply to ignorance. If one gets the chance to become familiar with a different lifestyle and see where the people are coming from, one usually gets to like them and the prejudices vanish. When people are ignorant of something they tend to make all sorts of bizarre and mistaken assumptions about the "other" and they also tend to fear that other on some level. Irresponsible political regimes use that fear to motivate people to go to war against those they perceive as different from themselves. If they actually knew those people better they would probably not be nearly so willing to go out and kill them. They might even grow to love them.

Pied Piper - Well said.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 02:10 PM

The recurring theme hinges around creating a division -- an artificial one, apparently -- between the zone we conceive of as ourselves, and that we conceive of us Another. By insisting on this separation we can then define anything outside the boundary as Wrong, and we can justify being ignorant of it because it isn't Us.

Why we do this? Harder question. Lizard brain domination impulses? Terror of being wrong? Old trauma misinforming new moments? Borrowed insanity from others? All of these to some degree, I guess. Maybe the real core element is summed up as fear. Without fear, greed tends to settle down. Without fear, one negages with confidence and is willing to sahre differing viewpoints and take on new beliefs or explore them without shaking in one's boots because they might be different.

How to overcome fear? Educational exploration, enhancement of self-esteem, and gradually removing any actual causes for fear (murderous impulses and those who promote them.)

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Donald Trump
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 02:19 PM

Amos, if you ever stepped into a boardroom with those sentiments I'd eat you alive. I am not fearful -- aquisition (greed) is man's aspiration.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 02:49 PM

Donald:

You're fearful enough to hide under an assumed name, evidently. And your fear was well-established long before you found your way into a boardroom, I imagine. Your vision of man's nature is revelatory, though. But it is a projection.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 02:53 PM

Donald, I've seen the woman you married,that was some aquisition! So as far as taste is concerned, we know you haven't got any!
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST, Donald Trump
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 03:23 PM

Yes, Amos you're right again. That must be, what, over a million times. Still... I'm rich, you're not. Giok, bring out your wife and let's trash her.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 03:45 PM

Donald, I've seen your yacht and find it to be a perfect reflection of your taste. I don't own a boat; I find it more economical to rent one when I want to go about on the water. That way I don't have to pay the costs of taxes, upkeep, crew, and so on. And THAT sentiment is quite acceptable in the boardroom.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST, Donald Trump
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 03:56 PM

Not in my boardroom. You're fired!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:06 PM

As far as my ex-wife is concerned [know what I mean?] I'm afraid someone beaten you to it. Then again I suppose that's what Ivana whispered in your ear on your honeymoon.
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST, Donald Trump
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:22 PM

If you want to know what she whispered, you sicko, send a check for $1000 and I'll let you know. Is still have some of her panties ... I bet you'd like to get those. How much you offering?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:22 PM

Donny boy, if you fire someone who is saving money you don't deserve to have any.

YOU'RE fired.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:32 PM

And, BTW, thanks for your constructive influence on what was an interesting discussion. Perhaps you should have listened to her regarding social skills.

This brings up an interesting point about delusion as a contributing factor. I am not talking about hopeful vision or seeing what might be. I am talking about the kind of delusion that manifests when the individual finds the existing construction around him too painful to face up to. You could call it the Mitty syndrome, I guess. Anyway, maybe that's one of the Mickey Mouse factors behind what we are calling, loosely, Western stupidity. The thrashing and posturing and arrogance which comes from subscribing to delusory movies about one's own existence (as with the imaginary Donald up thread).

Freud once said that he was growing accustomed to the idea that every conversation involved four people. But he was talking about four real people, two participants representing their two parents each. When you add this other factor of delusion in, every conversation runs the risk of involving scores of unreal characters and scripts, making it really tricky to maintain a conversation on a common reality!

Just a thought. :>)


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:34 PM

Fool. I write off all those expenses--including the price of the yatch--and taxpayers (you) pay them. I was right to fire you.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Casual Observer
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:45 PM

I don't believe Westerners necessarily have a corner on the stupidity market. Stupidity and ignorance are inherent in human nature anywhere you go.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Ta-da!
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:47 PM

And we have a winner!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:58 PM

CO, that's an easy answer. But they have been plenty smart, as mentioned above, at solving certain kinds of problems. Just not other kinds. Maybe the problem is they ar enever taught to pose problems other than material...

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 05:23 PM

Mayhap we either don't ask the right questions or we are incapable of listening to the answers when we do? Or both?

But I don't think that this is endemic to Western culture alone. The history of China and Japan are replete with examples; heck, their contemporary cultures are!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 05:31 PM

we are incapable of listening to the answers

The possibility really intrigues me that we become so habituated to the body that we mostly listen only to force-level, body-frequency solutions, like how to plough or plumb or bury or roof. Maybe the minute we look for social inventions and have to start using other frequencies -- the ones on which, say, justice, aesthetics, or virtue become perceivable -- the body kicks up such a fuss that we mostly fold and retreat back to hamburgerville.

Maybe that's why the Constitutional Convention was such a miracle -- a bunch of guys able and willing to focus on such an intricate web of decisions and dependencies and get it right!! As social engineering goes, that document is on a par with the Great Pyramids or the New York subway system.

Whatcha think?

A
A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 06:07 PM

American-centric ideology. No wonder no one likes you. Your 'perfect document' is the cause of misery for millions.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Peace
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 07:08 PM

I disagree with GUEST. The American Constitution is one of the greater documents in human history. It is a statement of intent, and as such is more than worthy of serious contemplation.

Stupidity is not the domain of any race or gender, political group or religious group. Much of what constitutes stupidity is the action we take in the name of expedience. And sometimes, we are too shortsighted to envision where things will lead.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 07:11 PM

Oh, horse-fruit, sailor. To quote the esteemed Rapaire:

From: Rapaire
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 06:18 PM

Ah, Guest, if folks don't like us, why do people emigrate here? And why do you hang around?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Uh-huh.
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 07:17 PM

Well, it's nice that one of the terminally stupid stopped in to give us his view.

Donald, you are not rich. You are living in the most abject poverty. Your fear is so deeply buried from your own conscious recognition that you would need an offshore drilling rig to unearth it. Your state is most pitiable and it will come to an end when you die, and all your expensive stuff will be left behind.

Donald, you have failed completely to impress anyone...except those who are as fearful as you, and they hate and envy you. No one with real self-love would want to work for you. The game you play is pointless. You will never fill your emptiness. You are a mouth that never stops sucking life out of the world and burying it in an empty, meaningless void of ego.

Life will swallow you, Donald, and you will then be gone. Sooner than you think. Life will go on joyfully and not miss you very much at all.

Now, run out and make a few more unneeded millions, and tell yourself you're "winning" the game. Believe that lie. Avoid the ugly truth by keeping busy. Keep on running. Life is on your heels, Donald, and it will catch you and dispose of you just like it does with an old piece of dry grass.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 07:34 PM

It is fascinating how half of the comments on this thread are so off-the-wall and fictitious. Whassup wit dat? Anyway, I am grateful to all of you for at least taking a shot at discussing the question. I know stupidity is not limited to the West. The contrast is that Western ingenuity and initiative has done so many successful thigs that it seems contradictory, or at least anomalous, that it generates at the same time the kind of arrogant, overweening thickheadedness that started, for example, the Missionary Movement and the Temperance Union; not to mention the present political mess. Hard to believe it is the same species, and even harder to believe it is the same culture, broadly speaking.

Frequent mention has been made here of the impact of arrogance and the belief in "superiority" over others. This of course was the great justification for the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, and combined with the most lop-sided and one-eyed sort of deism, the Crusades, the invasion of the Phillippines, I suppose many other instances of cultural arrogance. To assert you are right and others are wrong means of course that you have to divide yourself away from them, energetically denying any commonality. Of all the mechanisms used by humans to act out aberration on the world stage I think this obsessive separatism is the most responsible for human misery and stupidness. My opinion.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: dianavan
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 07:52 PM

The American Constitution is brilliant. I may not like the present, American administration or, for that matter, the mindless Americans who voted for Bush but... I still love the constitution. Now if we can get Bush to stop trying to change it.

Another thing that is undermining the U.S. is their idea of co-operation. They seem to think that co-operation means everyone has to co-operate with them. They don't seem to understand that co-operation is a two way street.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 08:52 PM

"They seem to think that co-operation means everyone has to co-operate with them."

Yep, that's exactly what they think. :-) It's what all aggressive empires think.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 09:39 AM

I had a history prof who said that the causes of war can be traced to nationalism, socialism, and racism (he was a Democrat-converted-to Republican). He was also a priest. I asked him about religion. He replied that religious fanaticism was a form of nationalism. He further explicated his beliefs by saying that his "Big Three" could all be traced to much of humanity's overwhelming need to believe that "I'm better than you."

Our discussion (which was over beers) then moved into a discussion of Buber's I-Thou relationship between peoples and nations.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 11:08 AM

You could equally well suggest that the causes of war can be traced to nationalism, mercantilism, and racism. :-)

Or how about just plain prejudice, greed, fear, and zenophobia?

These people who regard socialism as some sort of satanic bogeyman amuse me...and seriously worry me. Their own capitalist societies could not possibly function without a great deal of socialism already in place, but they don't seem to realize that. Can't see the forest for the trees, I guess...

They are, like Don Quixote, attacking windmills, and thinking they are giants.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 11:45 AM

LH:

I submit that they are right for the wrong reasons...that is, what they complain about as socialism is not per se the problem, but they are complaining about something that is in fact insidious and corrupting -- namely, enforced group mentality. Socialism is an economic reflection of enforced group thinking, and it seems to improve some things in some ways but when allowed to run rampant it suffocates the incentive for individual excellence. That is not to say that it does not exist in some aspects of capitalist societies. For one thing, I think there are some aspects of society that can only be managed centrally if they are to be managed well.

But I would add to the list very, very carefully if I were a governor. Socialist structures (and federalist institutions) create the apparency that the individual is communicating with an overwhelming generalization -- the People.   This is a very depressing perspective, and destructive to the spirit of the individual.

A.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: dianavan
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 12:57 PM

Amos - I agree that socialism can, if allowed to run rampant, suffocate the incentive for the individual but I also believe that when it comes to health, education and welfare, it insures stability and equal opportunity. Which aspects of society do you think should be governed by socialist ideals?

I also think that socialism might work well given the opportunity, just like democracy might work well if given the opportunity. Lets face it, corruption and greed always seem to invade when the ideal becomes political reality. I wish someone would come up with a workable balance. I also wish that when politicians lie, cheat and steal they would face harsh courts of law and not merely lose their jobs.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 01:04 PM

Education? Why should that be socialized? Why not at least limit it to the individual district, as is now done. I think it would be an interesting experiment to see what would happen if it were totally privatized. It looks like fair game for socialization because there is a common vocabulary that all students must learn. In addition to this, though, there is a very insidious commonality of thought which percolates through a socialized education system, which can be manipulated much to the detriment of the scholars.

THe idea of learning being managed by the lowest common denominator is pretty awful, if you ask me. And that tends to happen in socialized systems where there is little or no incentive for excellence.

I think we are better off somehow organizing around individual excellence. To some degree private charities do this. I don't have any quick and easy answers,. but I would sure be careful about organizing principles.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 01:17 PM

Enforced group mentality is about as common under capitalism as it is under socialism...but it's much more subtle under capitalism. It is achieved mainly by marketing, advertising, and mass media. People go out and buy what they are told to buy by the mass marketers. They do what they are told to do. They vote for whom they are told to vote for. He who controls the media effectively controls the actions and thoughts of most of the people most of the time.

I call that enforced group mentality...achieved through clever and incessant marketing. Remember Vance Packard's "The Hidden Persuaders"?

Big Capitalist Brother is in charge most of the time, Amos...over most of the people.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 01:45 PM

Socialism is the ideal form of government, read Moore's Utopia. What the US government in particular, and other western governments in general have a phobia about is what they wrongly call communism. Communism is an idealised way of life, and came nearest fruition in modern times in the Kibbutz system in Israel. What MacArthy [Sp] and successive governments have been fighting is Stalinism, and Marxism, neither of which has much to do with "Communism" per se.
The old saw about 'Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely' is more apposite in the context of "Western stupidity"
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 01:48 PM

IT has been my experience that strong-minded individualists do not listen very much to those who would like to tell them what to think. I for one would be far more in favor of a political system that stressed individual thought, individual choice, and individual excellence.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 02:15 PM

Right on, Giok. Good summation.

Yeah, Amos, but most people are conformists by nature. And even "rugged individualism" can be mass marketed! :-) Remember Virginia Slims cigarettes..."you've come a long way, baby"? They were marketing rugged modern female individualism and supposed feminist liberation while addicting women to tobacco.

I must be one of the world's great nonconformists, I suppose, because I almost always bucked the popular trends.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 02:31 PM

I never smoked 'em, LH, and neither did those I thought of as strong minded individualist women. IF they did, it was scarcely because of that stupid slogan! :>)

So marketing is clever and insidious. Marketing is not the same as the political system.

I don't think marketing per se is a cause of stupidity although it may exaggerate it by taking advantage of it and focusing on it.

As for socialism being an ideal system of gummint, wal, I'll pass.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 04:24 PM

I think marketing, aggressive and all-pervasive marketing, is THE number 1 cause of waste and stupidity in North America, Amos...and it's busy extending its insane grasp over the rest of the World by every means possible.

As for socialism, it's merely a necessary part of any functioning modern society, not a panacea. I think the healthiest societies are probably about a 50/50 mix of socialism and private enterprise, in fact. To have all of one or all of the other is a very bad idea. The middle way is best (as we know if we study the Tao).

There is no ideal form of government, but there is an ideal manner of practicing government...that is, with openness, honesty, and a genuine will and intention to serve all the people in the best way possible. Again, that is touched on in Taoism in the tales of the Yellow Emperor who saw himself as a servant unto the nation and presided over a very harmonious, peaceful, and prosperous period in the history of ancient China.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,William Shatner
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 04:29 PM

100 glorious posts! Ha! Beam me up, Mr Scott.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 04:56 PM

Being moderate does not mean being indecisive or mediocre.

I consider myself a moderate in most things. I'm so much of the Middle Way that Lao Tzu learned from me. But that doesn't prevent me from being decisive OR from being intelligent (at least, I've been told I'm intelligent). Courage doesn't require fanaticism, it just require that you stand up, decide what needs to be done, and do it.

One of the greatest brakes on human endeavor is indeciviness. Phil Ochs (ah-ha! it's now a music thread!) wrote

"Riding down the highway my back is gettin' stiff
Thirteen cars are piled up, they're hangin' on a cliff
Maybe we should pull 'em back, with our towin' chair,
But we gotta move and we might get sued and it looks like it's going to rain...."

Not deciding is a decision. Usually it's the wrong one. I have no idea how often I've decried the "gutless wonders" who, by not deciding or acting, have allowed wrong to go unchallenged.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 05:09 PM

Bravely put, pal.

Shatner, you are not welcome on this thread. You are part of the problem.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 12:23 AM

Quick sidenote: Rapaire, I don't know Phil Ochs' song but I do believe that the line must be "Maybe we should pull 'em back with our towin' chain."

(Just in case someone visualizes for an instant, as I did , a plastic lawn chair at the back of his car...)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: dianavan
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 12:24 AM

Amos - There are problems with promoting competition in public schools.

#1 - It promotes cheating, lying, bullying

#2 - Children living in poverty are unable to compete on an equal playing field with those from 'privileged' backgrounds

#3 - Parents are more likely to exert undue pressure on their children when the educational environment stresses competition

#4 - It teaches that competition is good in all aspects of life

#5 - It does not promote positive team work

In a system that teaches co-operative learning there are many benefits

#1 - Lying, cheating and bullying are pointless - no reward

#2 - All children are given the opportunity to learn. They learn best from each other anyway.

#3 - Parents have no need to exert undue pressure

#4 - Co-operation does not lead to exploitation of others

#5 - Employers are more interested in positive team members than they are in students that excel. "A" students often have poor social skills.

Many of the public schools in Canada promote co-operative learning but it hasn't hurt the academic standards at all. In fact, Canadian education has an excellent international reputation. I have never known a teacher or a school to cater "to the lowest common denominator." I have known them to be all inclusive.

The incentive for excellence in co-operative learning is always doing your personal best or even competing against yourself to do better than you did last time. The reward is contributing your ideas, considering the ideas of others and achieving concensus. This is what is needed in the world today. A system that promotes individual excellence also promotes getting there at the expense of others. The reward is, of course, material gain. Therein lies the basis of Western stupidity.

Isn't friendship, healthy family relationships, good neighbors and a sense of balance and well being more valuable?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: beardedbruce
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 12:27 AM

"Not deciding is a decision. Usually it's the wrong one. I have no idea how often I've decried the "gutless wonders" who, by not deciding or acting, have allowed wrong to go unchallenged. "


I could not have said it better.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: freda underhill
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 05:12 AM

we have a stupid belief that we are individuals with minds of our own. However we have a deep need to conform, which is exploited by our political leaders.

We can express our individuality in many acceptable ways, through fashion, music, books we read or TV shows we choose to watch. but when opinions challenge views that are strongly held by government, political and media spokespersons use derision, misinformation and humour to ensure that those contrary views remain unpopular and are not taken up by masses of people.

This sort of peer pressure happens in small groups of people and in large groups.

It can be isolating to choose beliefs over acceptance.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 06:49 AM

Fashion is certainly a statement Freda, but whether it is a statement of individuality, or evidence of victimhood is a moot point. If I see any more stupid people in trousers which end half way down their calves I shall scream. THEY LOOK STUPID. I always want to ask if their cat's died, and is that why they're wearing their trousers at half mast.
Western stupidity/insensitivity shows up everywhere, there was an ad for Sloggis [I think] showing four girls from behind wearing thongs [no not on their feet]high heels, and not a lot more So where did they put one of their posters showing four bare bums? Why opposite a mosque, that's where!!
DOH!
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: freda underhill
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 07:09 AM

You're right, Giok. Those girls wouldnt wear those clothes if they were not "in" fashion right now. The choice to freeze ones kidneys probably feels like an expression of individuality to those young girls, but the clothes they are wearing are manufactured en masse.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 07:17 AM

A quote from UK radio, apropos of kids and their individuality or lack thereof.
"All old people are different, and that's why they're interesting.
All young people are the same, and that's why they're boring."
Certainly made me sit up and take notice.
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: freda underhill
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 07:25 AM

Last week I went to a forum on freedom of the press (in Sydney, Oz). Some of the journalists present described how when they tried to write articles about the effects of detention of refugees, they were told by their editors that the topic was too gloomy, people don't want to read about that (they like reading restaurant reviews). Those who persist are told they are too subjective, or that they are acting as advocates for the refugees.

The same adjectives (too subjective, acting as advocates), were applied to decision makers within our bureaucracy when the government wanted cases rejected. Now that there is an election coming up, and their refugee policies are a bit on the nose with the electorate, those comments are no longer being made, and the bureaucracy is again approving.

its so easy to control people's views, when you can control the media and the bureaucracy.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 07:30 AM

Where is the ghastly Pauline in all this election fever?
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: freda underhill
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 07:41 AM

She was jailed for electoral fraud, bonded with her fellow prisoners, and is now a critic of the judicial system, but no longer a politician. you can read about her here..

http://www.abc.net.au/goldcoast/stories/s1087067.htm


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: kendall
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 07:50 AM

If human beings are so intelligent, why do so many build their homes in flood plains, places where hurricans hit, earthquake zones etc.? You will never see a woodchuck dig his hole anywhere near a floodplain. What does that tell us?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 08:09 AM

Dianavan:

Couldn't agree more regarding competition in public schools. I believe I stressed individual excellence. Not the same thing at all.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: freda underhill
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 08:36 AM

One of the many ways that we are stupid .. is
On what basis do we make our assumptions? How do we acquire our knowledge? How do we test our theories? And how do we use our knowledge in society? We have a situation where the people who are running our countries are businessmen, and put business interests first. Shouldn't we have a blend of people, representing a range of needs, eg doctors, scientists, environmentalists, businessmen and MUSICIANs etc. Our politicians come from too narrow a field. No wonder the world's stuffed up.

And those in different fields don't listen to each other. Here's an article about the different views or historians and archaeologists, as they try and understand the history of Africa.
http://www.h-net.msu.edu/~africa/africaforum/Vansina.html


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 08:40 AM

>Freda's Blue Clicky.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 08:52 AM

Our country is largely run by lawyers, as most of our MPs are or were lawyers.
The majority of our sports bodies are run by people who like football so other sports get very little coverage.

Whatever happened to "all men are created equal"

Stupidity like charity begins at home.

Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 08:57 AM

Those ideals, John, vanished long ago...swept away by a wave of commercialism and excess. The present motto of America is: "Give me convenience or give me death!" Thomas Jefferson warned that this might happen, and he would be horrified at what his country has become.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 09:40 AM

When any animal is offered an easy life, the animal will take it.

Humanity -- East and West -- for the most part -- has it easier than their parents or grandparents.

I sit at a computer and can communicate world-wide. I can do at least basic research on most topics without leaving my chair. I can order pizza and other foods and they'll be delivered, as will clothing, furniture, and many, many other things.

At universities there is a growing tendency to do research based upon the discoveries and theories of earlier researchers, without verifying the accuracy of the original observations. Why get your feet muddy, get mosquito bitten, and be uncomfortable when so-and-so did the observations ten years ago?

You can see where such "science" ends up.

The de-emphasis on critical thinking -- my college has dropped the logic requirement, even for those in computer science, for instance -- is just one indicator of intellectual sloth. The college also no longer requires a second language for graduation. I won't even speak about the high school except to say that Advanced Placement courses now teach what was standard fare for me.

These problems have nothing to do with individualism or cooperation or socialism. They DO have a lot to do with a culture that equates mental laziness with some (to me) undefined social good.

("When is the library going to on-line? I mean, all of it, so I don't have to come here for the book?"

"Are you willing to pay for that?"

"Well, no....")


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 09:45 AM

From the DT, and just as relevant now as when it was written:

SMALL CIRCLE OF FRIENDS
(Phil Ochs)

Oh look outside the window, there's a woman being grabbed
They drag her to the bushes and now she's being stabbed
Maybe we should call the cops and try to stop the pain
But Monopoly is so much fun, I'd hate to blow the game
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends

Riding down the highway, yes, my back is getting stiff
Thirteen cars are piled up, they're hanging on a cliff
Maybe we should pull them back with our towing chain
But we gotta move and we might get sued and it looks like it's gonna rain
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends

Sweating in the ghetto with the colored and the poor
The rats did join the babies who are sleeping on the floor
Now wouldn't it be a riot if they really blew their tops
But they got too much already and besides we've got the cops
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends

Oh there's a dirty paper using sex to make her sales
The Supreme Court was so upset, they sent him off to jail
Maybe we should help the fiend and and take away his fine
But we're busy reading Playboy and the Sunday New York Times
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends

Smoking Marihuana is more fun than drinking beer
But a friend of ours got busted and they gave him thirty years
Maybe we should raise our voices, ask somebody why
But demonstrations are a drag, besides we're much too high
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends

Oh look outside the window, there's a woman being grabbed
They drag her to the bushes and now she's being stabbed
Maybe we should call the cops and try to stop the pain
But Monopoly is so much fun, I'd hate to blow the game
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends

-------------------------------------------------------------
copyright Barricade Music
recorded by Phil Ochs on "Tape From California" (1968)
"This song, in its attack on hip passivity and indifference, displays
one of Ochs' finest qualities: the willingness to challenge hypocrisy
within his own audience" - Anthony DeCurtis


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: freda underhill
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 09:48 AM

I agree - analytical skills, critical thinking skills, debating, should all be taught in schools everywhere.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 10:08 AM

Along with brotherhood and forgiveness.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: dianavan
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 11:36 AM

My daughter made a funny remark about the hippy generation and their so-called non-conformity. She asked me why, if hippies were such strong individualists, the only pants they ever wore were Levis? I guess nobody is immune to peer pressure.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 11:53 AM

cartoon from many years ago:

Two kids in brightly colored, tie-dyed clothes with beads and buttons and assorted symbols meet a friend who asks, "What's going on?" "We're fighting the Rising Tide of Conformity!" "Well, what's with the clothes, then?" "This is our uniform."


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: CarolC
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 11:59 AM

Hey! Levis were just the best quality jeans that were made back then. One of my high school teachers had a pair that lasted ten years in very good shape. If that wasn't a product that embodied the whole "live gently on the earth" philosophy that at least me and my hippy friends lived by, I don't know what does. To hell with fasion, give me a good, durable, and comfortable pair of jeans any day.

;-)

The main basic cause of Western Stupidity, in my opinion, is hubris.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 12:01 PM

We seemt o be gravitating to the idea that Sloth is a major vector in Western Stupidity, yes? A lot to be said for it. Logical reasoning, critical analysis, seeing the difference between reality and assertions, all take energy. Of course, there's nop inherent reason we should be anymore slothful than anyone else, except perhaps that we are more hypnotized than those in other nations. I think that tends to make people slothful.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Peace
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 12:12 PM

Some causes of stupidity?

Pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony and sloth (the three-toed kind).


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 12:29 PM

Yeah, those three-toed sloths -- they stare ya down and make ya feel all thick in the head...


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Peace
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 12:31 PM

Amos, it's like how fast they move, aye? Like, what's the hurry, huh?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 12:36 PM

Yeah. No hurry. All die in the end anyway. Why bother? Take it easy. Anything on the tube?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Blind DRunk in Blind River
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 02:03 PM

Now yer, like, talkin' sense! Who's got smokes? Man, I could use a beer too, like right now, eh? What time is the wrestlin on?

Stupidity? It's, like, heredical, eh? You get it from your parents. That's my therorry and I';nm sticking to it.

- BDiBR


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Peace
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 02:21 PM

Like, if I could watch sitcoms and reality TV, I could get better at thinkin', ya know? All we got here is forest and mountains (the Rockies), and like they really spoil the view.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Blind DRunk in Blind River
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 04:04 PM

Yeah, eh? Man, I feel sorry for you, Bruce, havin' ta look at them mountains all the time. I mean it's, like, okay for when your on a trip or somethin',..but every flippin' day!!! Day after day! I would get sick of it, eh? We don't have no mountains in Blind River and I think that is a good thing cos it would make the driving harder eh? All them ups and downs. It wold be hell on the transmition and the cars would all break down sooner.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 04:17 PM

I think we have demonstrated that we are all capable of acting out Western Stupidity without a moment's hesitation -- as though we are all tapped in to the main supply of it and know exactly what it would dictate at any moment. Interesting.

But that is not the question!

Regards,

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 04:31 PM

Let's not forget that the basic causes of Western stupidity are the same basic causes of Eastern stupidity. And I ain't talkin' about cowboy boots and wing-tips here.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Peace
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 04:41 PM

In some ways, we have become quite complacent with how smart we are. The average 10 year old knows more science than most adults 200 years ago. Trips that used to take months can now be done in days or hours. We are IT. But, we don't have all that much longer to be IT. That is seriously scary. I mean a no-shit kinda scary. And we aren't doing much to change things.

Let's look at a very simple assumption that is out in our world. We can all get richer. Bullshit. If ya have a finite amount of money (however one defines that), then it stands to reason if one person gets richer, other people have to get poorer. But we still buy in to the dream. And the dream is a lie.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 05:12 PM

We don't recognize that ALL resources are finite.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about.

There are perhaps ten companies that sell library automation software. The libraries which can afford to automate have done so. The creation of new libraries is very uncommon, so the companies are feeding on each other's customers (it's called "migration" in the trade). Some offer a newly designed product -- not an upgrade, but a new product -- and when some of their customers move from the old to the new they call it "migration." No new customers are coming in, the companies aren't adapting the software for different uses (inventory control, for instance). With a finite number of libraries being courted by a finite number of vendors, you can figure the outcome without a lot of mental effort.

Same thing for everything else. Petroleum stocks will run out --and there are a LOT of things we make from petroleum, some of them far more necessary than gasoline and plastic bags. Water is already a valuable commodity, a "fightin' reason", in some parts of the world.

I see people here, in a drought-stricken high desert region, watering their lawns during the day! Yes! When most of the water will evaporate! And they use those sprinklers that throw the water into the air, instead of keeping it sensibly low. (I think that this will change this summer, because I think mandatory water rules are coming.)

Robert Heinlein wrote that Malthus was right, that starvation is always right around the corner. He was right -- and not just about food.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Frankham
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 06:53 PM

Fear. That's the most potent form of destructive behavior.

Beneath the bravado of the present day chest-beaters in Washington,
or Baghdad, or anywhere else, these guys are scared to death.

That's why the reactionary forces have dominated the discussion.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 06:57 PM

Frank:

An honor to hear from you, sir! :>)

Curious how this fear gets underneath the skin, and spreads inside like some parasitic worm on the body politic.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 07:48 PM

Absolutely right, Frankham. Fear is the core problem from which all the other problems arise, and the Fear is based upon a deep misunderstanding of the nature and purposes of Life itself.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: kendall
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 08:03 PM

"I never watch Sesame Street; I know most of that stuff." (George Carlin)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 08:05 PM

Winner take all.
Judgemental projection from the wannabees, and the "also rans".
Indolence.
Lies.
Organized crime.
Poorly thought out "adjustments" to Democracy.
The Capitalization of the individual freedoms guarenteed us in the Constitution.

Stupidity causes stupidity everywhere!
ttr


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Redhorse at work
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 08:41 AM

The belief that our narrow personal view based on our own limited experience is somehow a universal truth that others should be compelled - by force of arms if necessary - to accept.
We don't get much more stupid than that


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: freda underhill
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 08:51 AM

Being good haters, being unable to reconcile after bad feeling or misunderstandings.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 09:08 AM

Excellent observations!!

Does anyone have remedies to recommend?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 09:54 AM

Yes. Learn to meditate (from someone who already does so) and do so each morning and each evening. During your meditation, calm your mind and find your inner source of Love. It's there...but you can't hear it if you don't ever stop to listen.

Recognize that other people are as valuable...and no more valuable...than you.

If you already have an established prejudice about a religion, or another person, or something you perceive as different...investigate that something thoroughly. Find out more about it. Read books that both favour it and oppose it, so that you get some familiarity with different viewpoints. You will probably find your prejudice lessening in the light of greater knowledge about the subject.

Don't listen to the world news first thing in the morning. Meditate instead, and have a peaceful start to your day.

Spend time in the quiet of nature.

Learn patience. Read books. Watch less TV. Do less computer time. (Ha!)

Eat moderately and avoid addictions. Don't be dead serious all the time, but play sometimes.

Get your information from many sources, not one! (such as: the Bible, Fox News, NBC, the White House, etc...)

Question the conventional and investigate the unusual with an open mind.

Study many religions, not one. Study many philosophies, not one. Learn from many teachers. Be observant.

Do not waste your valuable energy in hatred, vengeance, and other such unproductive feelings.

Realize that it really doesn't matter who wins the hockey game. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 10:24 AM

And if you want to learn something useful about Cuba...go there and find out firsthand. :-) You will find to your amazement that it is not the vicious dictatorship that you imagined it to be.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 10:34 AM

Other things you can do: Go to bed by 10 pm, get up early in the morning, exercise every day, walk, get fresh air and sunshine. It helps.

The less television you watch, the more intelligent you will probably find yourself becoming day by day! I am not kidding.

And if you have a tendency to spend ALL your time "playing", be serious part of the time too. :-) Too much of any one thing becomes a problem.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 10:35 AM

Food, clothing, and shelter. In a wealthy and civilized country like ours, these should be inalienable rights. Period. The psychic and 'survival based' pressures placed on the poor are the harbingers of stupidity. So to, is the denial held close by the 'winners'... protected and maintained by this same fear of destitution... detrimental to intelligence.

Paradigm shift.

Peace! ttr


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Peace
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 09:09 PM

TtR: If I might add, food clothing and shelter should be inalienable rights all over this planet.

Peace.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 09:20 PM

Well said, Bruce.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 10:39 PM

Why?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 10:57 PM

Well, it has been posited that having the basic needs supplied would free the attention to worry about higher things.

Of course it may be that having someone else do it for you just makes you into a dependent-minded servomechanism, not a freer or better person.

When I was in my 20's I found myself out of a job and forced to live on the charity of friends for a short while. I got a job and an apartment of my own within a week or three. There was never any question what would happen, one way or another. It was a shitty job but it gave me a place to stand on while I tried to build something better.

Anyway we have wandered a bit from the thread topic, unless someone wants to provide a bridge back...

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 11:39 PM

I agree absolutely with Bruce and with Thomas the Rhymer on this one. And along with those inalienable rights (to food, clothing, shelter, education, and good medical care) comes an inalienable responsibility...to contribute usefully to that society in whatever way you are well suited to and to do your part in sustaining it. In this way you return something for the good things that you are receiving.

That is exactly how a good ashram or cooperative community works, and I've stayed at a couple. I believe it's pretty much how a kibbutz works too, if I'm not mistaken.

The Three Musketeers had a motto for it: "all for one and one for all" That is true equality. That is true justice. That is real democracy. That is an intelligent and responsible society...rather than a corrupt, decadent struggle for conspicous consumption, fame, and luxury over the bodies of the disadvantaged and less ruthless...which is what our mainstream society is.

Decadent societies encourage and foster stupidity in the general public, because an enlightened public would not support decadence and they would not predictably fall into line and buy product from the guys at the top.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 12:14 AM

----Well, it has been posited that having the basic needs supplied would free the attention to worry about higher things.---

So, that's what I posited, is it? Think again, Amos...

---Of course it may be that having someone else do it for you just makes you into a dependent-minded servomechanism, not a freer or better person.---

Of course... it may not. Survival based fears, when promulgated throughout scociety on the grand scale that we currently call "one paycheck away from homelessness". are no longer an issue relating to individual choice.
ttr


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 12:20 AM

TTR:

I wasn't referring to you. It has been hypothesized by Maslow that peopel respond to a hierarchy of need and that when the basic survival items are handled they address higher orders of problem.

But I think there is a risk -- which you can see in the children of the rich -- that having no challenge which calls on your own efforts to bring about your own survival can be bad for your mental well-being.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 01:00 AM

Well then, maybe you ought to refer to me more often... ;^)

It makes no sense to me. My understanding of the thread title is that "Western Stupidity" is a systemic problem... So... why do you refer to critical postulators that discuss and promote (perhaps) antiquated ideals of individual freedom? Seems you're wagging the dog here, Amos...
ttr


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 03:50 AM

Thanks, Little Hawk, the first and second paragraphs of your post of 14th June (11:39 PM), gave me the best laugh I've had this week. Particularly liked the "inalienable responsibility" concept - hilarious.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 04:54 AM

Unless all countries in the world bring in some form of birth control things will get worse. The more people there are the less there is to go round, with the inevitable shortages, famines, and wars. The real stupidity is the failure to recognise this undenyable fact. As acts of compassion and humanity we help people have clean water to drink, we innoculate them against diseases which for years have killed their kith and kin. What happens then is more people survive, more resources are needed, more wars are fought over water, or oil, and more people are killed. Makes you wonder if it was worth saving them in the first place.
Stupidity is not just a western disease, we just seem to be better at being stupid than others.
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 05:38 AM

John 'Giok' MacKenzie 15 Jun 04 - 04:54 AM,

Some good points there, a few of them had crossed my mind before in relation to the Iraquois "Guardian of Seven Generations" thing brought up earlier in the thread.

The points you raise would be reviewed and the hammer would come down firmly on the side of doing nothing, i.e. mirror nature, if you get injured, or sick - you die.

Burgeoning male population - review the situation - have a war, go raiding, either your people won and took over that lump of territory, or they died in the attempt. No real interest in the result, as either way, the problem was solved (an alternative solution taken up by Chiefs of African tribes on the west coast of Africa, that was often taken up was to sell the excess population into slavery).

Aye, magnificent times, and communities, to live in. Now hands up all those who are willing, and honest enough, to admit that they are just a little bit pleased that we're as stupid as we are.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 10:24 AM

I am missing something in both Teribus' and TTR's postings.

Teribus -- is it your intention to imply that tribal war- and raiding was a smarter way of life? Your post is a little dense somehow.

TTR...I don't understand your point aboutr wagging the dog? I was speaking about your assertion that basic physical needs should be filled as a universal human right. What about that was wagging what dog??

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Teribus
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 11:30 AM

My apologies Amos,

My post has to be read in conjunction with two others, the one, in this thread by John 'Goik' MacKenzie, in which he identifies the problem of over-population, and another in the thread "BS: Does it make sense to you that...." where the following was mentioned:

"The Great Law of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy contained this advice: 'In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decision on the next seven generations.' We are stewards; we are caretakers. That standard will keep us great."

I think it was CarolC in that particular thread who said that this principle was extended to include the impact on every living creature for the next seven generations.

When you put the two together, my point was that if you did consider the impact of your every action over the course of seven generations, the overwhelming instinct would be to keep things a near as possible to what they are - sort of acts as a disincentive to progress.

Not advocating it as a way of life, in any way, shape, or form. But then again I do not subscribe to the belief that "we" in the "West" are stupid, at least not any more stupid than people living in any other part of the planet. More masters of our own destiny maybe, not being shackled by either religion, tribalism, or totalitarianism.

Once again my apologies for jumping between threads, it was not my intent to confuse the issue.

T.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 11:39 AM

That clarifies it, thanks. I concur that we are masters of our destiny to a greater degree than many others, who ar emore constrained by tribalism or by religion, or by totalitarianism. These are the very reasons for which I protest against the trend toward tribal, religious and totalitarian polemic from the Cheney camp.

We may be no stupider--even smarter-- than some others, materially. But why are we not smarter at managing human connections? Individual spiritual well-being? Defusing stress and neurosis? Healing psychotic impulses in the individual?

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 11:52 AM

Well, teribus, I gather you have never lived in a genuinely cooperative community with a membership who cared about each other and were mutually responsible, eh? :-) Too bad. I think the experience would radically alter your view of the matter.

You cannot get away with shirking responsibility or behaving anti-socially in such a cooperative community, teribus, but you can always leave if you like. Regular society is too big and extended to provide such options...as there is apparently no place to leave to. I say, apparently. Appearances may be very deceiving in this case. As a matter of fact, there are places to leave to, but the average person is too unaware to the possibilities to even suspect that there are, so he/she is trapped in the greater society by default, as it were...

In my opinion, you're a guy who lives under cultural barbarianism but is entirely used to it, takes it for granted, and is unaware that there are any real alternatives to it. Therefore what I talk about strikes you as entirely airy-fairy, impossible, and mythological. It isn't. I've experienced it firsthand and I KNOW of what I am speaking.

It's the same thing that is experienced in any truly healthy and mature family with elders who have enough wisdom to create such a family life...mutual caring for all members, mutual assistance, mutual responsibility.

It is more important to be something, teribus, than to just know about it intellectually and be able to talk about it cleverly.

You seem to believe that life is necessarily brutal and competitive at a certain basic survival level. I don't. I aim higher than that. What do you believe in, teribus, other than mere physical and egoic survival? Are you anything other than a highly articulate animal with a big vocabulary? Do you aspire to be anything other than that?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: DougR
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 01:37 PM

Amos, are you SURE you are not a pseudo-liberal? Your post: June 14, 2004 -10:57 P.M., it appears to me that you may be a conservative and just not be aware of it! A true liberal, in a similar predicament, would surely have expected that the government (read President)find you a job, provide you a place to stay, and food to eat! I'm beginning to wonder. :>)

No further comment on the title of the thread because, like Teribus, I don't think the West is stupid as I stated in an earlier thread. I might agree, however, that the West is certainly inhabitited by an awful lot of people who love to talk about it as though it were.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 03:02 PM

I prefer to think of myself as an independent thinker where possible, Doug. Anyway, I like your point about the distinction. I would be careful of confusing liberalism with socialism. The best liberalism brings out the best production and self-reliance in people. The West is not inherently stupid, but the history of gaffes, blunders, chaotic slaughters and random oppressions is pretty hard to defend. The history of accomplishments and positive acts is easy to defend, iof course.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 08:58 PM

Well, the West is both stupid...and brilliantly creative and capable. Just depends on what aspect one chooses to focus on, that's all. You could say the same of India or China, I suppose, although they are very different from the West.

I heard that Chinese currency is at present grossly undervalued...which is causing them to take over the consumer goods market and gobble up the World's raw materials while doing so. Watch for a big shakeup when that particular bubble bursts, as it must eventually.

The Japanese suffered such a shakeup some time ago, and it hurt them very badly. That's when the business started to shift to Korea, China, and the rest of the Asian rim. What worries me about those countries is they're going right ahead and making all the same ecological mistakes we already made...and then some. What will happen when a hundred million Chinese start driving gasoline engined cars? Not good.

I keep hoping the aliens will come down and take over first. (joking!)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: dianavan
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 12:20 AM

Of course we cannot deny other countries the opportunity to pollute. We set the standard and they want it too. Thats why the West is so stupid. We have the opportunity to serve as role models but what are we doing? We are showing them that to modernize, the environment must suffer. Its a heavy price.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 03:54 AM

Ever try to tell your kids not to do something, because you did the same when you were young, and it didn't work out?
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Frankham
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 11:17 AM

I want to thank you Amos for the thread. Yes, the West can be construed to be monumentally stupid when it comes to foreign policy.
Iraq being a case in point.

But the thread has to be general of course.

Little Hawk, I agree with your prescriptions for a better society.

One basic problem is ideological entrenchment. This would be a bull-headed notion that one-size-fits-all when it comes to dimplistic solutions to problems. The West has always been low-context. There has been a penchant to easy answers.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 12:35 PM

You know, it is very hard to say, but it is possible that a significant per cent of the apparent stupidity is induced by media.

Not all of it, of course. Just for example, what if we had thought through the issue of relating to American Indians and establishing alliances from the beginning, that we then treated honorably? History would have been incredibly different, and arguably better, although it is impossible to assess how much the long tradition of warring tribes would have affected things. IF the Spanish had been less fixated on gold and the aggrandizement of the Catholic Church, what a civilization they could have built from Santa Barbara clear South to Chile!

Anyway, that's all in th epast, but it does indicate some areas of stupidity about human groups and organizations.

Frank, thanks again for your thoughtful contributions.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 01:08 PM

"...and some thought even moving out of the trees was a bad move."-- Douglas Adams on "modern" humanity


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 01:13 PM

Terribus, I think you will find the impetous behind the gathering of slaves by tribal leaders in West Africa was not to thin out overpopulated areas but purely financial, it was the same all over Africa. Try reading "slave trade" by Hugh Thomas for a complete picture, its quite enlightning.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 03:38 PM

We've imported stupidity from every country in the world and certainly put it to use. The sad thing is that the countries that have supplied us, kept a plenty on hand. This one resource the world seems to have in ample supply.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 10:00 PM

The impetus behind most destructive policies is purely financial. :-)

For instance, people do not deal drugs because they want to share and share alike, and give everyone a nice high. :-) They don't do it because they think drugs are a great thing for people or society. They do it to make a whole lot of money fast, in a way that seems easier and more agreeable to them than normal work. They are opportunistic. The drug laws assist them tremendously in that endeavour...except when they get caught. Most of them don't.

That's why people invade countries too. They're after control of land and resources, which allows them financial supremacy, which gives them control over just about everything material in this World that you can name.

But not control over my mind or soul...or yours either, unless you allow it.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 11:56 PM

That's a compelling idea!! Let's import stupidity from others!!!!

How does that work, actually?!! Don't we have to set up a complete failure of responsibility in our own minds before we can import someone else's stupidity?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jun 04 - 02:10 PM

I guess what could be done in that direction would be this: allow immigration into the USA by the dregs of international society, namely: the idle rich, corrupt crime bosses and their helpers, criminals and malcontents, etc.

This has actually been done at times, specially with regard to Cuban expatriates (although I would certainly not want to tar all Cuban exiles with that brush!). Ever seen the movie "Scarface"? A very significant criminal element departed Cuba in the 60's and settled in Florida. Florida now has an extraordinary crime rate, while Cuba has a very low one. I was there. I saw how safe and friendly the streets are at night in Cardenas. I was also in Trinidad...which is not socialist. If you're smart you do NOT go out after dark much in Trinidad. It has a tremendous violent crime rate. It also has a lot more cops on the street than in Cuba...and the cops are notoriously corrupt and untrustworthy themselves. People avoid them.

Odd, isn't it? :-) Looks like providing people with a relatively good social safety net is a good idea. Poverty, gross material inequality, and social desperation are the wellsprings of crime in the streets...whether in Florida or in Trinidad.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Firegod
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 04:25 PM

It's not just "Western stupidity" it is human stupidity!

The sum of the intelligence of the human race is finite. Divide finite intelligence by increasing population and the result is decreased intelligence per population member. This explains part of it. The remainder is easily explained by the principles of entropy -the natural tendency of all physical systems to tend towards disorder. The longer time goes on the more disorder results. (The first is somewhat facetious - the second a proven principle of physics)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 04:42 PM

Importing stupidity is no more far fetched than buying permits to pollute the atmosphere of the world we all share, which is what is proposed as part of the Kyoto Agreement, which the US refuses to sign. How stupid is that?
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 05:02 PM

To the contrary, Firegod -- if you posit an increasing population, you are simultaneously positing an increase in the ability of the species to view, compare viewpoints, explore new data and analyze it. This means directly increasing the "sum"--if there is such a thing--of human intelligence.

Giok: IIRC, the agreement is to limit the pollution to a fixed amount, with the shares being a way to balance who produces what portion of it, in declining steps over time. It is not a scheme to promote pollution but to reduce it!

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 05:11 PM

What it will mean Amos is that those with the most money to buy the most permits, will produce the most pollution. Who do you think will be able to afford the most permits? It will give countries with no assets at present something to sell, and they will sell those permits, and in so doing gain money in the short term, and stifle their own development in the long term.
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Peace
Date: 19 Jun 04 - 04:44 PM

Fighting structure fires carries with it certain risks. Older buildings have a greater structural integrity than do modern buildings. So, we study building construction (amongst other things).

The new 'let's build it fast and cheap' philosophy to do with many buildings has substantially increased the risk we face when we enter those types of buildings. The 'joists' holding up floors can burn--a single burnt-through joist can cause the whole floor to collapse. Older buildings can have a few burnt through and still provide a floor that doesn't collapse. (And keep in mind that one man's floor can be another man's ceiling. So, what's this about? Funny you should ask.

What happens anywhere in our world today will impact what is happening elsewhere in our world today. In older times, the impact of change in one place would travel more slowly than it does today. I guess what I'm saying is that there are no longer any 'little' pollutions. We are reaching the point of no return from which the human race may not be able to recover in its lifetime.

How many joists you think we got left, and isn't our world and aren't our children worth fighting for?

Bruce M


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Teribus
Date: 21 Jun 04 - 07:17 AM

Little Hawk - 15 Jun 04 - 11:52 AM

You gather wrong.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Peace
Date: 21 Jun 04 - 07:38 PM

To answer the question posed by the statement-title of this thread, I think it is alcohol. If you ever saw Blazing Saddles, almost all the stupidity was caused by alcohol or beans. Beans just make ya gassy, so it must have been the booze. That's what I think, anyway.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jun 04 - 08:14 PM

Brucie, you might even be a genius!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Peace
Date: 21 Jun 04 - 08:29 PM

Why, thank you, Amos. As you can see, I like to contribute to serious philosophical discussions. However, my natural modesty prohibits me from agreeing with you. I wish to be known as a simple, common, ordinary, average, every-day, garden-variety saviour of North America's destiny. (That is paraphrased from something Pat Paulsen (sp?) said in the late '60s.) BG.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: CarolC
Date: 21 Jun 04 - 08:38 PM

"The Great Law of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy contained this advice: 'In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decision on the next seven generations.' We are stewards; we are caretakers. That standard will keep us great."

I think it was CarolC in that particular thread who said that this principle was extended to include the impact on every living creature for the next seven generations.

When you put the two together, my point was that if you did consider the impact of your every action over the course of seven generations, the overwhelming instinct would be to keep things a near as possible to what they are - sort of acts as a disincentive to progress.


I don't agree with this interpretation of my words or of the Seven Generations philosophy at all. In the first place, the operative word is "impact". This doesn't mean that one should never do anything that might cause any harm to any living creature, ever. But it does mean that since all of nature is a very complicated and interconnected web, it isn't possible for us to do things that disrupt that web without causing some kind of disruption of our own way of life.

So in order to be able to keep this planet, which is a closed system, viable for supporting human life, we need to consider whether or not our actions support that system, or undermine that system, in the long run (seven generations).

And that is where my suggestion that hubris is a big part of "western stupidity" comes in. To think that we can do anything we want to a system as complicated and interconnected as this one is, without suffering any consequences in the long run, is, in my opinion, the height of hubris. Damn the icebergs, full speed ahead!!! ( ...says the Captain of the Titanic)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Jun 04 - 11:42 PM

I've known women like you too, Teribus...

"Remember what you said to me on the 15th of June, 2003 at 6:31 pm, you stupid jerk?" :-)

"Um...well...um...no, I..." (then they really get mad)

Well, I'd look it up and then argue with you some more tonight, but it's late. How about we just say you're right and save us both some energy? Heh! It's supposed to be patriotic to save energy these days, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Teribus
Date: 22 Jun 04 - 02:48 AM

All you had to do was click on your own post in this thread - which I would have thought was not too difficult a task - but no matter.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: CarolC
Date: 22 Jun 04 - 10:41 AM

Basically, LH, what Teribus is saying to you is that he has lived in a commune.

;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Teribus
Date: 22 Jun 04 - 12:21 PM

Not a commune CarolC, but I did live in a genuinely co-operative community with a membership who cared about each other and were mutually responsible, where it was impossible to get away with shirking responsibility or behaving anti-socially. I lived in a number of such co-operative communities, in various guises, for over 15 years.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Jun 04 - 12:27 PM

Yes, I see. It was too late last night, and I was in a somewhat sarcastic and rascally mood.

I just don't see, teribus, what you found so funny about what I said on, let's see...hang on...

my post of 14th June (11:39 PM)

"I agree absolutely with Bruce and with Thomas the Rhymer on this one. And along with those inalienable rights (to food, clothing, shelter, education, and good medical care) comes an inalienable responsibility...to contribute usefully to that society in whatever way you are well suited to and to do your part in sustaining it. In this way you return something for the good things that you are receiving.

That is exactly how a good ashram or cooperative community works, and I've stayed at a couple. I believe it's pretty much how a kibbutz works too, if I'm not mistaken."

My choice of words (inalienable) may have been a little offbeat, but what I was saying was simply this: In any healthy family or community there are 2 sets of balancing considerations.

1. The community protects you on a certain basic level. I consider that level to include legal rights and protections, a coherent moral code of behaviour, having enough food, shelter, and basic necessities, having medical care when you need it, receiving an education when you're young that allows you to participate effectively.

2. You do your bit by contributing something useful back to the community, in whatever way your own talents and abilities make possible.

That's normal give and take. I have found it to be set up most equitably in some spiritually-centred communities I've visited, because the general attitude of moral responsibility was a lot keener there than in the mainstream society.

Where do you have a problem with that? Or do you?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: CarolC
Date: 22 Jun 04 - 01:27 PM

Were the communities to which you refer a part of the UK military by any chance, Teribus?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Aug 05 - 11:39 PM

I think this is the core of the issue: the culture(s) of the West have tried to marry freedom while estranging truth.

FREEDOM

Truth produces freedom because truth is freedom.

                      Science of Mind

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Aug 05 - 11:28 AM

They have confused "freedom" with total lack of responsibility, compassion, empathy or accountability.

Adam Smith thought that if everyone did what was "good for him", everything would get better in society. Wrong! It works this way: If everyone does what is good for him AND everyone else...THEN everything gets better.

Immature people can only see what is good for them alone and they do not see (or care about) what is good for others. By that oversight they end up screwing things up, first for others, ultimately for themselves.

Al Capone was a classic example of that. He died of syphilis, alone and despised, in a prison cell. That was the end result of a lifetime of "looking out for number one" with total disregard toward anyone else.

The corporate ethic is based on the same essential premise as the one Al Capone was working from...and with rather similar results. Waste, suffering, greed, lying, manipulation, fraud, violence, destruction, hatred, despair. That is where total egocentricity takes a person or a system.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Donuel
Date: 12 Aug 05 - 12:34 PM

In America if there is social justice and equal economic opportunity the society will prosper.

The effort to undo the New Deal and opt for a police state complete with privately run prisons is stupid to say the least.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 12 Aug 05 - 12:52 PM

The missing link, LH, is that in truth one's survival is benefited to the degree we all survive better. Being hammered into a "me versus the world" attitude is not truthful. It may be popular, though; it short-sightedly places one at odds with his/her environment, which is mostly made up of humans.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Aug 05 - 01:04 PM

Freedom to do what?
Freedom from what?
Freedom from responsibilities is different from freedom to be irresponsible.
Freedom from responsibility for yourself does not negate your responsibility for the consequence of your actions on others!
Etc.
G..


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Aug 05 - 01:13 PM

You are so right, Amos.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Blind DRunk in Blind River
Date: 12 Aug 05 - 02:27 PM

2 - flippin' hundrde!!! 200! Awwright! I rate. I am the best. Bow down and worship me, eh?

- BDibR (Shane)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: jpk
Date: 12 Aug 05 - 05:11 PM

a lot of dictatorial despots might disagree with you all,they have or they or living a very comfortable life.
the only questions being will they get the just rewards in another life.and can they sleep at night,the sleep part is easy to answer,yes,they had no ethics,morails,or honesty to start with.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Aug 05 - 09:55 PM

"a very comfortable life"

Uh-huh. And is that equivalent to being happy? Secure? Loving? Loved? Inspired? Self-aware? Fulfilled?

Nope. It isn't. It is equivalent to the life of a dog in a large and comfy pen who is happy because he's getting lots to eat every day and he has a nice bed to lie on, while other dogs starve.

The dog simply doesn't know any better. We humans don't have that excuse. We know better. Or we ought to...

The dictator you have described must be a very insecure and lonely person...a miserable person at some deeper level...or he would never have sought the position OF BEING a dictator over other people in the first place. Such seeking for power is what people do when they perceive themselves as weak, vulnerable, and thoroughly lacking in love. They live in fear. They opt for far lesser goals than living by love, and that is their tragedy. Their lives are a loud and empty bell ringing in a meaningless void.

I don't care how well they sleep at night. A totally unaware person can sleep through just about anything, because he was never awake in the first place.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 01 Oct 05 - 11:43 PM

The Laws of Human Stupidity have been isolated and are covered on this page:

http://www.mentalsoup.com/mentalsoup/basic.htm


.

They do much to clarify the question.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 02 Oct 05 - 11:29 PM

A quote from Lt. Worf on a Star Trek episode:

"Less talk. More synthehol."

I love it !!!

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Seiri Omaar
Date: 02 Oct 05 - 11:48 PM

So basically, we can narrow the causes of western stupidity down to narrow-mindedness, short-sightedness, arrogance and greed? Or did I forget one there?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 03 Oct 05 - 12:01 AM

Seems to me those are categories of stupidity, not causes.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Seiri Omaar
Date: 03 Oct 05 - 09:49 AM

Not really much difference. Those aspects in our esteemed race cause what we can define as "stupid behaviour", coupled along with the evolution of our particular society. Obsession with material goods and individuality (which I am not saying is a bad thing, don't get me wrong here) to the exclusion of other people can make us look bad in the eyes of the rest of the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,rarelamb
Date: 03 Oct 05 - 12:39 PM

Well, I had to bite. I just finished reading this post and I have a pretty basic question. In what way is western civilization stupid?

I ask this because there seem to be some rather faulty thinking being espoused by the 'spiritualist', socialists and communitarians on this thread.

Let start off with what money is. In modern times, we use a fiat monetary system. Where as at one point it was backed by precious metals it currently can not be 'redeemed' for anything. So then what is money? Money is a unit of measure. It represents an interchangeable unit. It represents time, values and worth. When you are talking about money you are talking about what people value or rather their values.

How much is an hour of your time worth? How much would you pay for xyz? what is the value of life? All of these things can be measured by money. You can derive this value from either the exchange traded value or by measuring indifference curves but regardless, what a society spends on is what it values.

I am not surprised by the modern day malthusians that seem to populate these discussions. I will put forward that we will never run out of 'space' nor will we ever run out of oil. And it is a fallacy that somehow the native americans (western hemisphere) were a group of animal loving communitarians. They fought wars just like they did in the west. And they 'managed' their environment with regular fires to maintain their lifestyles.


Like so much else, from each according to his ability to each according to his need is fundamentally flawed. Who determines and how is this to be determined? What is the fair 'price'?

Come and join me in the dark side of libertarians. The only thing you have to lose are your chains. =)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Seiri Omaar
Date: 03 Oct 05 - 03:44 PM

... and somehow I fail to see the point of that post and how it relates to the topic at hand.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,rarelamb
Date: 03 Oct 05 - 03:53 PM

I posted that I do not understand what is stupid about western civ. The post is labelled "The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity". It's hard to determine the cause if we do not have a common agreement on what is understood to be 'stupid'.

I also, commented on a few points on posts made that have fundamental misunderstandings of economics.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Oct 05 - 09:05 PM

to promote understanding

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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Oct 05 - 09:15 PM

more

yet again


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Oct 05 - 09:29 PM

it's SO hard to explain to some


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Peace
Date: 03 Oct 05 - 09:38 PM

"fundamental misunderstandings of economics"

1) Money has value
2) Money doesn't have value

That about sums it up for me.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 03 Oct 05 - 10:33 PM

Rarelamb:

I think you might do well to go to the beginning of the thread and see the questions on which it was based.

Even Libertarians do not understand human nature well enough to remedy depression, hostility, and the bizarre patterns of power flowing to idiots who then abuse it.

If you really think all is well with Western civilization, you might want to clear up the word "civilization". I am reminded of Gandhi's remark about Western civilization -- "I think it would be a very good idea!".

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Seiri Omaar
Date: 04 Oct 05 - 08:03 AM

Otherwise, we just bring out the mallet.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 12 Nov 05 - 09:12 PM

A recent commentary deserves inclusion here:

"Greetings from Idiot America

by Charles Pierce
Nov 01 '05
Esquire Magazine, by way of index.cgi?board=theo&action=print&thread=1130126466>

...

The rise of Idiot America is essentially a war on expertise. It's not
so much antimodernism or the distrust of intellectual elites that
Richard Hofstadter deftly teased out of the national DNA forty years
ago. Both of those things are part of it. However, the rise of Idiot
America today represents—for profit mainly, but also, and more
cynically, for political advantage and in the pursuit of power—the
breakdown of a consensus that the pursuit of knowledge is a good. It
also represents the ascendancy of the notion that the people whom we
should trust the least are the people who best know what they're
talking about. In the new media age, everybody is a historian, or a
preacher, or a scientist, or a sage. And if everyone is an expert,
then nobody is, and the worst thing you can be in a society where
everybody is an expert is, well, an actual expert.

In the place of expertise, we have elevated the Gut, and the Gut is a
moron, as anyone who has ever tossed a golf club, punched a wall, or
kicked an errant lawn mower knows. We occasionally dress up the Gut
by calling it "common sense." The president's former advisor on
medical ethics regularly refers to the "yuck factor." The Gut is
common. It is democratic. It is the roiling repository of dark and
ancient fears. Worst of all, the Gut is faith-based.

It's a dishonest phrase for a dishonest time, "faith-based," a cheap
huckster's phony term of art. It sounds like an additive, an
artificial flavoring to make crude biases taste of bread and wine.
It's a word for people without the courage to say they are religious,
and it is beloved not only by politicians too cowardly to debate
something as substantial as faith but also by Idiot America, which is
too lazy to do it.

After all, faith is about the heart and soul and about transcendence.
Anything calling itself faith-based is admitting that it is secular
and profane. In the way that it relies on the Gut to determine its
science, its politics, and even the way it sends its people to war,
Idiot America is not a country of faith; it's a faith-based country,
fashioning itself in the world, which is not the place where faith is
best fashioned.

...

How does it work? This is how it works. On August 21, a newspaper
account of the "intelligent design" movement contained this
remarkable sentence: "They have mounted a politically savvy challenge
to evolution as the bedrock of modern biology, propelling a fringe
academic movement onto the front pages and putting Darwin's defenders
firmly on the defensive."

A "politically savvy challenge to evolution" is as self-evidently
ridiculous as an agriculturally savvy challenge to euclidean geometry
would be. It makes as much sense as conducting a Gallup poll on
gravity or running someone for president on the Alchemy Party ticket.
It doesn't matter what percentage of people believe they ought to be
able to flap their arms and fly, none of them can. It doesn't matter
how many votes your candidate got, he's not going to turn lead into
gold. The sentence is so arrantly foolish that the only real news in
it is where it appeared.

On the front page.

Of The New York Times."




Yeah...media-whirl makes idiots of us all, no matter which end of the counter we sit at.


A


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