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Evidence and Its Degradation II


Evidence and Its Degradation II

By Dennis Loo (7/4/19)

This is part II of a series that begins with

The first and most important point, contrary to what we are often told and inclined to believe, is that we are not mainly products of our individual choices (although we do make decisions and we tend to think of our choices as decisive) but of the system we are in at that particular moment or moments, and the system-logic guiding that system.

It does matter what choices we make and sometimes they can make a big difference in our lives, but these choices are overall secondary to other factors. That I am reasoning here dialectically, and not in a black and white, either/or, way, confuses some who are used to only black and white logic being used, and not through a nuanced, weighting process, and may misread me as a result, but stay with me and see where this goes.

Most of us slide seamlessly from one system (e.g., the family) to the next (e.g., the workplace) and do so skillfully and often, to the point that we are largely unaware on what a feat that really is! The applicable and largely unwritten rules that apply and govern different systems we rarely let become conscious and thus, we are inclined to overlook them as insignificant, whereas they play a vital role. It is if per our major ideology, we strenuously deny a major facet of what we do, because the ruling ideology - narrow, circumscribed, and inapplicable as it is - cannot survive otherwise. Yet in our actions, despite this ruling ideology, we daily and hourly, minute-by-minute, tend to enact rules we know very well: you know better than to contradict those in charge openly, else you will suffer the consequences, and off-spring only take charge when their forebears are very infirm, everyone knows that to “get along, you must go along [with the group],” and those who don’t and make clear that they care for no one but themselves, find themselves alone, isolated from the rest, a curiosity, if that. True implementers of Ayn Rand who are consistent in their attitudes of contempt for any and all groups (including Randian and rightwing groups), would also find themselves isolated, alone and miserable, hardly celebrated as exceptional, but derided for their exclusively go-it-alone approach.

For we are mainly social beings. And this is not necessarily a bad thing, under any and all circumstances. It is not something that we must firstly become; this is something we already are, something most of us already do, except that we largely are unaware of doing it consciously!

It didn’t take a genius to recognize what Obama really was, all you had to is not be taken in by appearances, all you had to do is resist what the group was saying. But, as it turns out, even with so many years after his second term over, resisting the group turns out to be hard, and was hard, indeed!

We are able to predict, on the hand, based on repeated experiments, in different settings and across all ethnicities and different cultures, that about 80% of any given population, will go along with whatever the group and authority are doing and about 20% will be governed by what they think is right, regardless of where the group is.

It turns out that this result is roughly verified by functional MRIs’ data: people who go along with the group, even when they know that the group is wrong, do not see any alarms going off in their heads, whereas those who are bucking the group, even when they know for sure that the group is wrong, and they are by contrast right, experience distress in their brains!

To Be Continued

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Elaine Brower 2

Elaine Brower of World Can't Wait speaking at the NYC Stop the War on Iran rally 2/4/12