Month: January 2012

Hiatus

Gosh these days, since 2012 I have been either too busy to write or too depressed to start thinking about serious writing. It’s been a pretty big change in my life this year in a way that I am not really expected. To the better or worse I am still trying hard to adjust to those new changes and struggling to get the best out of it. I have too many to read, too many to do, and too many to think at the moment. Hence, I have decided put a hiatus on blogging until something inspiring comes into my mind again with the right spirit. Hopefully soon I’d return to serious blogging about things that I care.

The Slitty Eye

The eyesight of the rodent

The old Chinese idiom “鼠目寸光” (The eyesight of the rodent) likens those who fail to apprehend the overall picture or the inferred allusion over the immediate appearance of an object to the rat whose eyesight never goes beyond what is within one inch range of its eyes. It is a very strong word we use to disdain those who are blatantly superficial and only respond to immediate causes and direct effects. In another way of saying, we use it (at least I use it a lot) to express the despise against the intelligently incapable dumb breed.

Unfortunately, rats are the majority.

Emotionally I hate to admit and would seek every possible way to refute it. But rationally I know this is the truth: most people are stupid followers with the eyesight of a rodent.

Evidences are everywhere in the society. If to think beyond the immediate cause and direct effect of an object were the dogma of our everyday life in the society, then there’s no need for Machiavelli to expound the ancient wisdom of social maneuvering; it would be a waste of time for Hazlitt to explicitly debunk the fallacies of many popular economic mantra; our politicians would focus on governance instead of popularity; and of course we would no longer vote and cheer for those who have a better face and make better jokes on the television.

It is intriguing to see how mankind took the wrong path for self-destructive leftism after achieving so much in our history. I have always blamed two things for the plague of leftism: the god-like superior feeling of the liberal intellectuals and the hypnosis from the overwhelming entertaining business that suppress people’s rationality and logic over emotional and psychological resonance.

Putting aside the discussion about the god-like superior feeling of the liberal intellectuals, I have always assumed that the reason why leftist ideas got popular among the public is because people are clouded by the boondoggling show business for their own judgement. Now I would make the correction: most people are born that way and do not have the character to think independently and rationally. The rabble got empowered by the annoying leftists  (the bourgeoisie, the enlightened Jews, the radical protestants, whichever theory fits you the best) and favor the very idea that sparked their delirium. Traditions, religions, and etiquette, which are created to ensure the alphas to steer the societal dynamic, are ravaged and torn into a thousand pieces.

People are given the delusion from the leftists that they are just as smart as those who came up with this idea in the first place. Therefore everyone should be the same and it’s the sacred human right to spread equality, love, and democracy among everyone. Sadly, the ugliest truth that lies beyond this sheer claptrap, that most people can’t think for themselves and must be guided by the few who could, is buried forever deep underneath the ground.

As a result, the whole human civilization is advancing towards a direction based on a few lucky hunch. But of course there are always people who have both the ability to think beyond surface and the intellectual curiosity, who well acknowledges the absurdity of contemporary social realm. Some of them turn into agonized and morose reactionaries; some become opportunists that take advantages of this imbalance to maximize their own desire.

The question is, since there is no way to enlighten most people intellectually, how are we going to devise an idea that could appeal to the rabble that everything leftists promised is simply unrealistic? A new cult? A new movie? A good-looking sophist on the Television?

Uighur pickpocket gang

This is, another untold story, of the modern China (I have previously addressed the other untold story: the Wenzhou people).

Any normal Chinese who lives in any of the major cities in China would tell you that such thing is an open secret, an inconvenient truth for the Chinese.

The Uighur are heartless enough to abduct their own kids of 5~10 years old, unanimously ethnically Uighur from the Southern Tarim Basin, smuggle them to the rest of China in the number of hundred and thousand, and force them to become the little pickpockets on the street. I remember 10 years ago while I was still in China the Uighur pickpocket gangs were already widely spread and deeply rooted all over big cities in China, stretching from the hard-core cold-winter Harbin to the subtropical-never-snow Guangzhou. The little kids are usually mistreated, physically abused by the adults so that they could timidly obey to the adults, who usually stay in the shadow to remote control their theft on the street. It’s  an open secret because nobody would want to be bothered with such sensitive issues. People usually chose to ignore them as they are clearly minority on the street, not to mention the pickpockets are usually little kids. Police would never want to make a big deal out of it either. The news media has never (in my memory, never) mentioned the existence of such problems in my city, Changsha, at that time, even though they were everywhere and everyone knew about them. To them, minority crime is always a hot issue that no one would like to touch. At the same time, it has been an incontrovertibly inconvenient truth in China for years. As far as I know, the polices did try to get the kids on the street. But since they were minorities and underage children, they would be soon freed. And the adults are usually off the hook because it’s difficult to get them with solid evidence. Every time the police put the kids on the train to Xinjiang those adults would simply bring them back to other provinces again. It goes on and on, never ending…

I have written an article about my personal experience with the Uighur pickpocket gang many years ago. As much as I am not a big fan of the rabbit-style fertility and religious fanaticism of the Muslim Uighur, I very much sympathize with the misfortune of those children. Today I heard a piece of very inspiring news: 1,332 Xinjiang children rescued from criminals. It seems that Chinese government is gaining confident in bringing the issue out of water to all and publicly admitting its existence and addressing it determinedly subsequently. I remember there was rumor back then that the highly organized Uighur pickpocket gang was somehow related to the Uighur separatists. The profit from such petty crimes must be very lucrative. Oh well, there is every reason to stop them from doing so. Enough said. Just one last suggestion. Instead of giving those kids back to the ignorant Uighur parents who have excessive kids to be abducted and little money to feed them, it’s better to put them for adoption. That’d be a good start to sinicize the Turks.

Entertainment to mediocrity

Finally I could have a break from the hectic schedule at the beginning of 2012.

This afternoon I was on the train back home from work. I usually read with my Kindle the whole time on the train. But today I was a bit exhausted of focusing on every word in the line of Schopenhauer all the time since sometimes it could be quite distracting on the train with the noise from other people and the train itself. So I stopped reading and started to lose myself in the universe of musing. As I unconsciously gazed around, I quickly discovered something way more interesting and started to observe people’s behavior in the train. It was a one-hour-trip, and guess what most of people were doing nowadays in the train?

8 out of 10 people (of all ages) were busy bowing down to the extreme and staring at their tiny little phones as if that 3~4 inch screen of magic gadget has inexplicable magnetic field to drag their eyes closer, closer, and closer…

In fact, I recall when I was having lunch today with my colleagues they were exactly doing the same thing, leaving me alone eating my sandwich “ordinarily and in a fully committed manner”.

Whatever they stared at, it is absolutely irrelevant, forgettable, and worthless.

I am not here lamenting about the increasing distance among people nowadays and ranting on the abuse of virtual device for it. That’s just cliche. What I really thought sad was the fact that people nowadays were wholeheartedly swamped by the wasteful and absolutely unnecessary entertaining information all their spare time (esp the younger generation).

It’s simply amazing to see how fast the entertaining business self-magnifies in our civilization in the past few decades:

20 years ago the presence of TV, which was already considered the then greatest threat to the intellectual enlightenment of the society, only “compelled” people with enormous retarded pictorial information when they were at home. I suppose most people could still have their own time while away from home. 10 years ago there was the massive proliferation of internet, which overtook TV as the major source of entertainment in a blitz manner. The amount of wasteful and irrelevant tabloid gossips simply jumped more than tenfold of that from the TV. I guess humans must have sickly obsession for the garbage information intake. Since the era of internet more and more people have spent more and more time in front of their computers, even at work (everyday works with computers nowadays and everyone checks random stuff that you would forget one second after at work on the internet for nothing other than meaningless entertainment/time-killing?).

Nowadays, as the zeitgeist represents: the plague of smart phones all over the world (even in places like Africa). The ultimate objective of the entertaining business has finally achieved (next step is… the dream?). People are finally overwhelmed with unnecessary overloading information with their entertaining gadgets ALL THE TIME.  (The screen, however, does get smaller and smaller…)

Of course I believe everyone’s excuse for having a smart phone (excluding those hipsters!) is to use it as a productivity boost for our everyday life. I, myself, have a smart phone as well for this purpose. But how many really makes their life more productive with such device? And how many hours have you killed straight with your smart phone at the same time?

I really have to give credits to the development of the entertaining business. It abuses our vulnerable psychological flaws to the fullest. The entertaining technology, as I categorize it (TV, video game, internet, smartphone etc.), most of the time just serve the purpose to trap us with higher and higher level of addiction to the business itself without realizing it. This entangles us mortals forever in the wonderland of mediocrity. With dull, repetitious, and mechanic office work that most people spend most of their day time, we are already being retarded in our intelligent potentials. And this is not enough. With the ultimate entertaining technologies we are even stripped off the very last remaining moment of being ourselves. When could we ever have the time to rejoice the enrichment of solitude, reading, or even contemplation? Alas, but what we have been stripped off from this hypnosis are exactly what has prompted the advancement of our civilization all along.

People already lost the prudence for rational reasoning, logic. It is already getting increasingly difficult to educate the public of something that is a little bit beyond the immediate appearance of the objects. Social Media, Art, Music, Literature, Religion, and especially Politics, are appealing for those who knows the tricks of charlatans: psychology and signaling. Quoted from Schopenhauer, who still claimed at that time humans would respond to motives rather than causes (inorganic) and stimuli (plant and animal), the difference being humans use reasoning to use “will” to respond beyond the immediate intuitive response to the physical cognition (emotions being a high level of stimuli in such taxonomy). I dare to paraphrase this assertion to be more applicable for the brave new world: people are repressed with their reasoning capabilities submerging in the ocean of information solely for the purpose of entertainment. Hence human “will” merely degrades itself into a superficial reflection of immediate intuitive (like the interface nowadays: intuitive) and emotional response of the surface of the consequence, for we barely have the precious time and virtue for intellectual cognition now.

In this endless ouroboros, we do not grow wiser nor our civilization advances much further other than in the entertaining business. Immediately it reminds me of Neil Postman and his famous claim: “Amusing Ourselves to Death“…

Most people just never get it.

The significance of self-consciousness

Without self-consciousness, the price of our life would not be much different from that of plants and animals. With self-consciousness, we merely cognize the existence of our inner being through the representation of our unchangeable characters and empirical grounds. One could obtain the learning experience empirically. But that could only broaden the empirical grounds on which our characters reacts so as to reflect into one’s willing. To me, the significance of self-consciousness therefore becomes a specious and ambiguous proposition that does not make any sense empirically. However, simply realizing this does not deter me from baffling into this trap all the time.

Empirically, everything makes perfect sense in the short run. I want to do A because I would like to achieve B. The reason I need to get B is because I like C … But people eventually follow the same path, and no one could avoid that, no matter if you are a 50 IQ Bushman in Kalahari desert or a super genius Ashkenazi Jew with an IQ of 190. The Bushman won’t think much metaphysically and the Ashkenazi Jew is not free of the manipulation of lust, hate, jealousy and compassion. The major difference being the variance in terms of the development of their civilization. If our mission is to expand and thrive our civilization, sustain it through generations, contribute greatly to the world so as to benefit others and make your name known for generations, I would rest my case here. This is usually the ultimate hypnosis for smart people in an advanced civilization. Complicated traditions, religions step in to reinforce this vision and prevent us from wandering off all the time. But the chaos of the post-rational stage convinces me that that ancient tradition of ours, is merely some good old indoctrination which no longer works nowadays. Then, what is the meaning of my self-consciousness? How could there be any missions of mine if it was set by some grounds? Schopenhauer might be right after all. We come to suffer, for we would always build our objectives based on some grounds. Once the significance of one’s being depends on the necessary grounds, you would always suffer when you haven’t achieved it. When you achieve it you must respond to other grounds, otherwise you would get trapped in boredom. This cycle continues until your self-consciousness diminishes according to the biological determinants…

Sometimes I think mankind should never develop metaphysics at all. Perhaps to live in a set-up realm without knowing its setup would satiate humans better. But unfortunately we are given the privilege to realize what it is.

Some random dabbling thoughts, in memory of my beloved grandmother and uncle.