Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Core Challenge

So, what do think mankind's core challenge is?

Umm... happiness?

No, I said, "challenge."

OK then, unhappiness.

No that's, hmmm..., no that's not what I'm talking about.

What are you talking about?

Distraction.

Distraction?

Yeah, distraction.You know, it's like the games were to Rome. Pacify the mob, keep them entertained, get them baying for blood; just make sure it's the blood of someone other than you. Keep them distracted.

So, how's that apply today?

Nowadays it's all done electronically with television, radio and the Internet. You've got your news commentators and talk-radio personalities. You've got sitcoms and soaps. And shit, talk about the Roman games, you've got the NFL and the WWF.

Uhh huh...

It's like Atlas Shrugged or the Fountainhead. Toohey himself couldn't have invented something as insidious as Blue Man Group or Carrot Top.

Speaking of insidious,
what about Facebook and Twitter?

Don't get me started. They're the most insidious of all; you get the mob to distract itself, all the while collecting intel on every one of them in a way that makes the CIA look like a bunch rank amateurs.

But isn't distraction really just a side-effect?
I'm not sure of what, but it seems that
some people don't get distracted.

Hmm... OK, I can go with that. The root cause is stupidity.

Stupidity?

Yeah, as in "a marked absence of intellectual acuity and common sense", stupidity.

So, is that genetic or something? Is it in the water?
How do people get so stupid that they're easily distracted?

Well, that's the frustration of it. It has nothing to do with the environment or genetics. It's simply that people never learn to think. They go to school for twenty years and memorize facts and how-to's, but they never learn to think from scratch. It never even occurs to most people that intellect is just like a buff body. Some people are born with it and most have to develop it.

Develop intellect? I thought IQ was something
that you were born with and that
there wasn't much you could do about it.

And who decided that?

Ummm... psychologists, I guess.

Exactly. Look, anyone can learn to think and anyone can become good at it. You just have to learn how, and then practice.

Anyone can develop intellectual
acuity and common sense?

Anyone!

So the root problem is that we don't think,
or at least, we're not good at it.

Yes. It's like we're a bunch of trust fund kids who've inherited these amazing intellectual physiologies and we have no appreciation of what we've been given.

Uhh, huh.

I swear, the lower primates look at us and think, "Shit, if I'd been born with a brain like that, I'd be..."

You think they're really thinking that?

Look, it's like being given a Stradivarius and using it to prop open the window.

And so we get distracted?

Sure. Think about it. The ones who aren't distracted are the ones who've let the window fall shut and have started playing. Once they start, they discover so many avenues to explore, that they could never be distracted.

Why not?

Because they're never bored.

So, you mean, they're happy?

Sure...

So, if they were unhappy, then
they might look for distractions?

Yeah...

So the core challenge is happiness?

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