Philosophy BS

realism vs. populism

Realism stems from the interaction between empirical cognition and rational interpretation. Observational patterns reinforce or adjust this ideology which results from the rational cognition of objective beings itself, supplemented with logic backed by axioms with the principle of Occam’s razor. Realism tends to downplay the emotional response to the disparity between the objective realm and his own somatic expectation. Because of its disheartening nature (as the disparity often triggers a drastic impulse for human emotion, positive or negative), there is a natural emotional tendency to reject realism among all people to various degrees regardless of the biological diversity within the population. Since cognitive bias is a natural biological trait of all human beings, and the development and acceptance of logic speculation needs a relatively high level of intelligence, realism could only be absorbed by a small fraction of smart people who happen to tune their cognitive bias in favor of emotionally detached empirical observations and philosophical interpretation. I could only speculate that only those with potentials could undergo the transcendence to become a true realist under the enlightenment of intellectual influence and empirical observation.

Though proud of my Chinese heritage, I have to say realism has only been taken serious in the West. Classical Chinese intellectuals had the astute observation of empirical patterns but did not develop mature metaphysics, or speculative philosophy like that of Ancient Greece. Realism in Europe, which survived from the infiltration of Christianity and thrived after the renaissance, ought be regarded as the most eminent determinant beyond the absolute dynamism that leads to the rise of enlightenment, the development of scientific method, and ultimately the modern science and technology advancement.

On the other side, populism is based on fantasy, fairy tales, dreams with mostly good intentions which are usually supported and supplemented by excessive guilt and desire. Populism craves for a deliberate advocate of resonance, unity, and solidarity in spite of realistic intellectual, physical, and gender and even cultural differences for the sake of self-salvation. Its origin dates back to the dawn of human civilization, and it has dominated the human civilization ever since. As far as I concern, only the ancient Chinese and ancient Greeks were able to come up with an alternative (the former comes to an only halfway package). Still, even up to this day, the composition of human ethics remain a big puzzle among all realist speculators. Kant was trying hard. A friend of mine said Schopenhauer reached the furthest. I concurred and didn’t want to discuss further. As far as I understand the core of populism, either ethnocentrism or benevolent ethics, should not be regarded more than an interaction between the somatic stimuli to empirical observations and philosophical speculations that follow. Unlike realism, populism usually serves for deliberate and clear objectives. Some are more somatic and less speculative than others. Religion is a good example of populism with much more efforts in philosophical speculation, whereas nationalism or racism may spend less time in contemplation. This is the same case with modern liberalism, a more or less interchangeable term for leftism. This dominant ideology of the contemporary era is no different than any other forms of populism (religion, fascism, communism etc.). Its ostensible wishful thinking axioms, good-and-evil indoctrination, and an absolute intolerance of other ideologies, are the common traits for all populist thoughts. Probably because of its sharply tangible and overwhelmingly clear ideologies, their impacts on people’s behavior are way more profound than that of realism. One should never overlook the power of populism. It may not propel the advancement of factual well-being of mankind, but it definitely has the ability to turn white to black, water to wine, man to woman, or vice versa. The ultimate “Right or Wrong” question thus becomes the sole decree on which the final judgement is based.

Take an example on the different response to a pure empirical observation:

“Blacks are in low socio-economical status than whites”.

A liberal would reply immediately with anger: “That’s not right, it’s purely racism and discrimination.”

A white supremacist would reply immediately with contempt : “What do you think about those inferior dumb breed?”

A realist would not hastily come to a judgement but rather raise questions to be dug into later: “why is it happening and what are the reasons? And how should we react?”

Let alone the realist response, this example shows how hollow it is to define a “Right or Wrong”. The second response would be deemed as a hate speech for immediate political persecution in 2012′s Birmingham and the first response would be regarded as an absolute delirium to be reviled against in 1712′s London. The dominant populist ideology changes, sometimes changes to a completely opposite sense. All populist ideology only serve to a certain condition with an expiration date. But the trick is there’s always another one to fulfill  the role left by the previous one. In the first half of 20th century Germans were the most avid nationalistic followers in the world; half a century later it became the one of the most leftist countries in Europe, if not the most.

Unlike populism, the ultimate goal doesn’t lay underneath a moralistic judgement or salvation on the issue of “Right or Wrong”. Instead, the eternal pursuit of a sounder interpretation of the empirical beings in philosophy or the incentive to contribute to a more practical and utilitarian application to our factual well beings in science serves as the core drives. Such ouroboros ideology could never satiate the pursuers, thus enabling a perpetual motion in the name of truth and applicability that propelled us into the modern civilization.

Unfortunately realism could never be popular, but populism could never solve any practical issues. As a realist, I wholeheartedly long for a second booming of realism for another technological and scientific leap. But also as a realist, I do not really see this happening any soon.

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.

The thoughts about human evolution

Darwin evolution tells us organisms evolve because of natural selection as to better adapt the living environment. That explains why giraffe has long neck, lion has sharp teeth, and white peppered moth turned black under soot pollution in the industrial England. However, the evolution of our intelligence does not really comply with the Darwin evolution theory. Contrary to the evolution principle, the evolution of humans (since the early hominid species) has always been driven to dissociate ourselves from the nature. The emergence and development of our intelligence allows us to walk out of the forest and create an artificial environment that would fit our own nature. Looking backwards into the development of human civilization, the use of tools for hunting, the invention of animal husbandry, agriculture, the emergence of the urbanized settlement, the structure of polity, industrial revolution, electronics etc, are the indisputable footsteps we left along this human evolution path. Following this logic, I dare to hypothesize that the ultimate objective of human civilization would be one abstract sentence: to dissociate ourselves from the given nature.

Thinking a step further, this seems also to be observed in the modern social mentality as well. I have always said that leftism, an appendix of modern surplus productivity, stem from the very idea that humans ought to be and act god-alike. Thou shalt love others just as much as yourself. Despite the myth about the origin of leftism (with several disputing theories), it is unanimously agreed that leftism tends to associate more with the intelligentsia with extremely high intelligence. While leftism itself has lots of incurable defects and I am sure there are noticed by the smart leftists, its core supporters (really smart people) appear to be rather stubborn in believing there are no other alternatives that would keep up with the advancement of our civilization.

What accounts for the advancement of the civilization anyway? Science and technology? As if the answer is that simple as all science and technology are neutral to our social beings… In my opinion, egalitarianism, that’s what the left intellectuals are really aiming for. Leftists think our achievement in science and technology has reached a milestone where the pursuit of a pure egalitarian artificial world starts possible. You see there are lots of facts that need numerous tests to confirm their existence in our realm. But it wouldn’t make any sense to look for even a slight degree of egalitarianism in this sensory world. In fact the pursuit of egalitarianism, a specious claptrap, has been destined to fail since the very beginning when this idea was nurtured 200 years ago, for it just simply goes against literally every empirical axioms we witness in the nature. Ignore the natural diversity, bell curves, and individual variations to guide our actions, and the only result is failure, for we don’t have the science and technology yet to make all individuals, all races, all species the same. This is THE perfect example of mankind’s desire to dissociate ourselves from the given universe.

Burrowing into deeper analysis and specific illustrations, egalitarian perspectives regarding the environment and the nature is best interpreted as gaiaism. For instance, terms such as preservation, conservation, and mitigation etc. have deluged the mass media in recent years. The hegemonic tone has never ebbed since the day they were created in the show business. But why do we want to preserve the nature? Why do we want to mitigate the climate change? Why do we want to protect the endangered species? Of course, there are so many conspicuous explanations that emphasize on the importance of “co-existence” , “ sustainability”, “rights to live” etc. Modern gaiaism has long jumped out of the spectrum of mere environmental problem control. In most western countries people’s livelihood are no longer susceptible under the compromising environmental conditions. Modern gaiaism is all about “value” and “lifestyle”. Beyond all those eloquent apologies, the true interpretation of this recent environmental fad is rather embedded in our own brains: the desire to dissociate from the nature. “We are transcended creatures with our artificial realms and thus we shall do everything we could to leave the old place the way it was, undisturbed and absolutely harmonious.” Therefore some advocates to stop slaughtering animals, some advocates stop pumping the fossil fuels, and some advocates even stop the modern technology for it disrupts the rhythm of the earth…

Western elites came up with the ideas and ensure that most people are well drilled to feel the same way. This luxurious emotion would be magnified manifold before a kid even learns to see the real cruelty of the world. That you think you care about African starving babies is nothing more than a sheer result of repetitious drills from the hypnosis organ. Nevertheless, this all may have worked perfectly fine, if our science and technology drive didn’t stagnate for the past half century. I have no problem with leaving in a real Brave New World where people just fool ourselves to death. At least that’d be a system that works. But once again our reality could not be offset by our intelligence yet, and worst of all, we are still insolently blind to the dire consequences that are about to ravage our incoherent civilization.

As far as I concern our human evolution has entered a dead end. The only way out would be a regrouping after the collapse of what has been built up for the past 50 or even 100 years and consciously refrain us from turning the divine thirst of mankind into a dead cult of leftism. For all I know, that window of opportunity is accumulating its momentum as we speak.

Emotionalism > Rationalism

In my previous post about the information wasteland, I have made it clear that signalling is the most important character that attracts people’s attention. The medium of current information technology, which is the fragmented information overload itself, craves for drama and people who create drama. No gimmick, no fame. I for one have always followed this rule in my 6 years membership of the Toastmasters International, a public club that aims to improve participants’ public speaking and presentation skills. During my time with the Toastmasters International, one thing I would always do is to speak in a dramatic tone with wide range of body language and eye contacts. Over the time I have found out that no matter how irrelevant and non-sense my speech was about, people would always pay attention to me and recognize my performance even months after. They most likely couldn’t recall what I was talking about, but always remember some catchphrases I blurred and those laughs I brought to them with my sense of humor (dramatic performance). So in the end of the day, I easily got famous and favored by the crowd. Whenever I stand in front of the stage, people would pay extra attention to me with the expression to get ready for some nice entertainment once more.

Those gimmicks, as far as I can see, are not some novel invention of mine. It existed since the mankind learned how to communicate with each other even way before the maturity of our linguistic skills. It is natural that people dig the emotional signals and resonates with them. I am not saying it is a bad thing. We are driven to a decision by our emotions subconsciously, and that is a fact. Nonetheless, we have another intrinsic character that could help us for the decision-making independent of emotions: the ability to reason. Rationality is a discernible trait especially among high intelligent people, who are the real driving force for technological breakthrough and the societal governance. The widespread of printing press in the medieval era injected a strong boost for the growth of rational thinking among the populace all through Europe, with the help of books, a perfect medium detached with all forms of emotion in favor of emotionless logic thinking. That was truly an era of enlightenment. Both life science and social science experienced a rapid leap forward: universal education, modern democracy, industrial revolution, modern economics etc. Rational thinking for the first time supplanted emotions as the cornerstone of our decision-making principles.

When Neil Postman was talking about such things in his enlightening book “Amusing ourselves to death”, he overlooked one critical point, a point that could well explain the “proliferation of the show business via new information technology”. That is: we naturally prefer visual representation, emotional signalling over detached rational thinking and objective contextualization. Plenty of theories why we behave in this way (I have written an article to explain our visual representation), which I won’t probe further here. The point is the blossom of printing press era was the only meteor-alike exception in the long path of our human civilization history. It is not natural for most people to stick to some static objective paragraphs as our ultimate guidance. Once the technology advanced to a stage where we could develop a better information medium, we would just simply dash to that one almost instantaneously. Over 500 years of printing press dominance and its glory were easily overwritten by the introduction of mass media in less than 100 years.

Thanks to television, personal computer, internet, google, youtube, we have quickly reverted back to the most primitive stage of philosophy: emotionalism. Beg to differ? Turn on your television and see one image that isn’t intended to hypnotize you with emotional resonance: news coverage, advertising, TV opera etc. Even the most sacred and serious domain of human civilization, politics and religion, are no longer sacred and serious. “Democracy” is merely a fig leaf for the popularity contest based on emotional barometer – polls (Some are “bad” because they are “bad”, others “good” because they are “good”). Everyone is all of sudden a specialized theologist that see religion either as a superstitious gimmick or the supernatural power (Even the Islamic theology is a joke nowadays thanks to the rise of Jihad martyrs). Thanks to the dominance of some smart minority in this show business, minority in all social domains are now portrayed as simply the victims of the majority, regardless of what happens. Hence, minorities are always right and should be protected and worshiped as the blessed ones (we are not). This perfectly fits our emotional demand. Whenever a man defies a massive order. The first reaction from the public is always sympathy, followed by consequential supports. It doesn’t matter what and why the man was doing it. The theory part, the pseudo-rational thinking part, is largely marginalized and simplified with a few lines of a so-called expert on the TV or a pissed-off protester showing off his V-for-victory sign. We’d amplify the emotion and strongly abide the hunch, thanks to the information era. There are countless examples here, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, JFK, Che Guevara, Greenpeace, Arab Spring etc. … This is also the case of Ai Weiwei, an edgy post-modern artist in our home country that deems “politically active and heretic”. When people flock to pity him with great compassion against the old-evil CCP, few could calm their over-heated brain and contemplate: “what on earth is this fella doing for?” To me he tries to act like a hero but without any solid ideas or concrete dogmas. His “arts” are vulgar and explicit, and his “politic views” are immature and ambiguous.

Back to where I started in this article, the wisdom of intelligence has been downplayed in favor of emotional heroism today. All abstract thoughts are pushed back in the bottom of the library, a place that people barely visit. All leftism, rightism, communism, and even environmentalism, are merely a form of simple pictorial representation of different emotions nowadays, at least in the mainstream. True intelligentsia, the last remaining fraction of the printing press era (leftovers), are all labelled “reactionary” and squeezed in the margin of the society where nobody really cares. As long as the modern mass media sticks to the concept of the show business, there will never be a sober day for all of us. It’s not that we got retarded (we probably are thanks to the infusion of dumb people in the social welfare era), it is just we got hypnotized in this Brave New World – the prophesy of Huxley.

Information wasteland

Neil Postman once concluded in his marvelous book “Amusing Ourselves to Death“, that in the current world the media serves no purposes other than entertaining ourselves with information that is irrelevant, impotent, and incoherent to one’s actual life. He calls this age the age of show business, where rationality and logic are no longer the cornerstone of the public value. The rise of signaling and human psychology parallels with the abuse of human emotion in this information era. In another way of saying, people are losing interest in the detached, impersonal, and objective rationalism and embracing whatever that amuses and touches their heart the most rather their souls.

I couldn’t agree more. I have written a post sometime ago on why people prefer visual information over reading texts these days. The conclusion back then was that we are designed to process faster and bigger amount of information through a picture than a few lines of words. Overwhelmed by excessive information garbage, of course it is natural to select the easiest and the most straightforward way for the information intake. But seriously, why on earth do we need to know so much information garbage anyway? Current news reporting updates information faster than the speed of sound. There is literally little value to any sort of information that we are forced to receive nowadays that could be worth the attention longer than a week. And just asking yourself by knowing that life is the closest to hell in Congo or there was an earthquake hit Turkey, is there anything that would affect your daily life action?

Mostly not. The only purpose/value of such information to you is only: personal entertainment. You could use it to boost your smugness in a social event, impressing your date. That’s it. Probably in a month the only thing you’d remember is the country name of Turkey or Congo. Such news information at least have a sense of decency as it reports some “serious issues” around. Let me remind you that the most watched news on daily basis would always be the gossips of celebrity’s private lives and probably some stupid sneezing panda in the zoo. My friend spandrell recently opened a blog (popularity yet to be boosted), and he told me the hits reached an unbelievable height after he wrote a post about that Secular Liberal Feminist Vegetarian Individualist Egyptian pussy Aliaa Magda Elmahdy with a link to her naked pictures. The blog was immediately immersed with waves of horny web surfers that came from the google search (you’ve got to turn to 20X page to find his link on such “hot topic”). That tells you how depraved our information system is these days.

People lost the sense of abstract thinking and grow unprecedentedly impetuous towards intellectual curiosity. If you can’t read, back in the days, you are a stupid illiterate doomed to be trapped in peasantry; nowadays if you can’t read, you have “reading difficulties”, “short attention span”, but no worries, you are still fine – because you are not alone.

Using your hunch, your heart to feel the world looks way more appealing under the age of show business today. This may explain some of the reasons why we end up with such a lousy leftism as the predominant doctrine of our modern society. It’s way easier to use a photo of weeping starving African baby and a smiling Libyan rebel with AK-47 (or a picture of a 20-year-old Egyptian pussy) to convince people that there exists a utopia of freedom, democracy and equality.

Well you can’t really think beyond the picture about what and why on earth this happens, can you?

More people pretend and play-act. Few still think. Everyone suffocates in this information landfill and amuses ourselves to death. BNW coming!

Do you always need a picture to draw your attention for the reading?

Sophomoric perplexity

Many people are desperately looking for jobs in such economic downturn, including some acquaintances of mine. I have heard a lot of stories recently. Those fine young men, living in constant fear, anxiety, and depression, are struggling for months without a decent job. It is disheartening for me to see those great potentials to be lost in this transition, for I firmly believe they absolutely deserve way more than this.

Meanwhile, I am also aware that the destination they fiercely long for is unfortunately the starting point of banality, at least to most of people. I for one have well witnessed the mediocre nature of most desktop work myself. The state of inundating wholly into something grammatical or mechanical tranquilizes our intellectual curiosity. Sooner or later whatever “extra” ordinary ideas that pop out of your mind would be brutally pinched off one by one and you will be gradually sliding into the confined hourglass as a weightless granule of sand.

Of course, most people beg to differ about the definition of “job”. I have observed smart people rejoiced on their success in stepping into this middle class trap in rapture. Their fear of being the outcast from the expected social structure easily overruns their intelligent audacity. As much as they are dubious about the new journey they are about to take, a sense of grave relief submerges their minds, for social recognition and social security are guaranteed on board.

We humans have to live under the boundary of various definitions. If looking for a job brings recognition and security to us, we would feel like going after that as an inevitable part of the life. It is as if  a man in a lonely raft finally gaze afar the land from the horizon. However, only a handful would think ahead about the discovery of the land and the land after the land. Everyone wants to discover a continent rather than a deceiving island. It is rather the irrational nature of us, the courage, the willingness for risk, that could ignite those with a flair for the magnum explosion to go on with further expedition.

But the question is, if not A, then what is B? Perfect abstraction scales down to everyday life and then becomes the origin of this sophomoric perplexity that confounds the few pitiful mortal souls. Invalidating the definition of your social being means the choice of a drastic unknown destiny. The world is too wondrous to be comprehended by its humble organic creations, yet our drive to discover every little detail of the significance of everything is simply inexplicable with rationality. I do feel sorry for those who is suffocating in the purgatory of joblessness; and I also do share the joy with those who were immersed in the excitement for finding a contracted employment. Maybe it’s a folly not to stay in the social ouroboros after all; but I want out, emotionally.

A country needs to appeal to its elites at least

Throughout the history it was always that 1% of the population who made profound changes in our civilization. The people in power may change from time to time, but the importance of the elite class to a country stays the same. But if a country could not even hold its elites, what kind of future does the country have?

Imagine the sad life beyond this glamorous picture of China

I am talking specifically to my country, China, a renowned economic miracle of the 21st century. While every money-drilling businessman is dashing into China for the gold rush, every desperate Chinese intelligentsia would do everything he/she could to get out of the country. You are probably not aware of the latter one, but definitely heard of the former phenomenon. Especially in such an economic downturn in the West, people even see China as the ultimate savior for the misery Europeans have got themselves into. To a normal Chinese, especially for guys who have extensive experience and understanding of both China and the west like myself, China is a sad place. Emotionally, when the place makes people sad, you just want to leave it behind.

Why is China a sad place? A reactionary like myself would first argue about the complete loss of Chinese Classic culture in modern Chinese society. I for one despise all the peasantry and impetuosity that have immersed this country and would never be fine to live as one of them. Normal folks who worry about seven days a week, four weeks a month, would be sad about how little money they could earn from their double hard-working everyday life and how insecure their society makes them feel still in return. The milk powder scandal, the railway scandal, the hospital scandal, the construction scandal… Too many to believe what and to who they could trust. So parents tell their kids, “son, study hard and go abroad, once you could settle down in a good place, never come back!“.

I am not exaggerating here at all. Young people like myself grew up in a sentiment that excelling in school in order to go abroad is the only future for us. The modern Chinese society is too disheartening for a concerning individual to stay. So the next thing you know Western top institutions, top law firms, top IT companies, top banks, are full of those people who actually wanted to leave China for good. This is what we call the new wave of Chinese immigration in the past two decades. Since 1979, there are in total almost 2 million Chinese kids going abroad for higher education in the West. And guess what? Merely 600,000 returned afterwards. The emigration of those one and half million top of the top intellectuals are an incurable loss to China. This is what we call “the Brain Drain”.

So like those annoying clannish peasants who dare to illegally immigrate to the West to open a lousy Chinese restaurant or a convenient store, the intellectuals want out as well. But the mega escape doesn’t stop there. In a recent study, the rich, along with the ones in power in China, want out, too. That’d be a bit too much to lose. Like it or not, those are the guys who are actually enjoying the economic miracle in China. They are the new power of the country and by all means they should stay at the place where they have unlimited access to resources and power. But they want out as well.

That really puzzles me. I get that modern China sucks for ordinary Chinese, sucks for intellectuals. But I never thought those business magnates and high official profiles would think their life suck too in China. In a merchantist culture specially for the taste of corporate scam, political bribery, and most of all, those rich oligarch poker faces, modern China could not even appeal to those money-drilling merchants and officials in power? That is fundamentally ironic.

I also get that those people might feel insecure of their new status and wealth in China, where back-stabbing is common as blurring “Wish you getting rich” on the Chinese New Year and lying is normal as eating rice. So the same kind of people who topped those games are hoping to dodge away from those rules themselves.

It doesn’t matter if China promise more money to those smart ones who went abroad or force some rich guys from taking away the gold. The elites lost their faith in the country. The most urgent assignment for the current Chinese regime is to set up a better image to be appealing to its own people. And that could require something more than sending 20 astronauts at the same time. A country needs to be appealing to its elite at least, otherwise there will be no hope.

Plan all the way to the end

A nice paragraph in the <48 Degrees of Power> by Robert Greene:

According to the cosmology of ancient Greeks, the gods were thought to have complete vision into the future. They saw everything to come, right down to the intricate details. Men, on the other hand, were seen as victims of fate, trapped in the moment and their emotion, unable to see beyond immediate dangers. He who thinks further ahead and patiently brings their plans to fruition seems to have a godlike power.

Most people believe that they are in fact aware of the future, which they are planning and thinking ahead. They are usually deluded: what they are really doing is succumbing to their desires, to what they want the future to be. Their plans are vague, based on their imaginations rather than their reality. They may believe they are thinking all the way to the end, but they are really only focusing on the happy ending, and deluding themselves by the strength of their desire.

This explains a lot of things in the reality. For all I know I am exactly one of those “most people” who precisely fall into his description of the victim of fate. You, together with me, should start to be awakened to react more thoughtfully in our own life.

Stereotype in retrospect

Stereotype, most of them, are able to stand the test of time. The basic contention here is: the validation of stereotype is like the accuracy of the stereotype itself, 8 out of 10 times in your personal experience those stereotypes could be cast upon the people who could associate with them.

However, stereotype nowadays is usually perceived as a negative term, a term that usually associated with ignorance, prejudice, and bigotry. It is definitely not something that counts politically correct, but most of times, statistically correct. There is an axiom underlined from this argument: everything is bell-curved from biology. If you wouldn’t agree with that, there’s no need to read what I wrote afterwards, since you would most likely turn emotionally to a dead end of reasoning.

For those who share a slice of sense of respect for the mother nature, stereotype, as far as I concern, not only validates in most cases but more importantly helps us to cope with unfamiliar individuals in the beginning. People are intimidated by things we don’t know. The first thing we do when we meet a complete stranger is to figure out at least some of his/her behavior, background, or manners, to match with some well-established stereotype identities, e.g. a well-mannered businessman, a beer-loving German, or a scarfed conservative Muslim woman. As soon as we link the stranger with certain type of stereotypes (a person could fit into different stereotypes at the same time), we would 1. react to the unfamiliar individual based on the image of stereotypes we keep in mind and 2. seek to evaluate more subtle patterns of his/her behavior, background, and manners to the stereotypes created earlier.

In many times stereotypes do apply in general and help people cope with unknown situations. I’d say it’s a valuable experience accumulated over generations. Based on my cosmopolitan experience, I always happen to validate a lot of stereotypes on the people I met in different parts of the world. Everywhere I go, the stereotype image could always find itself a majority status in the people associated with that certain characteristics. Things that are even a bit edgy, like the incoherence with Islamic community and secular society, the behavior and intelligence difference between different ethnic groups, are proven to be valid one by one not only in a holistic statistical sense, but from my personal experience as well.

At the same time, as I mentioned, exception and irregularity do exist too, though in a much lower frequency. Like in the Bell Curve, there are always statistical outliers that would not fit into the stereotypes. Those individual cases, statistically speaking, is still accepted as the stereotype only aims to cover the majority of the group of people it particularly associates with. People with exceptions could not really change the stereotypes or invalidate them most of the time.

I use myself as an example here. People who know me personally and from this blog probably sense that I am very heretic as a Chinese. I mostly indulge myself in the Western atmosphere and could only find a sense of belonging to the Classic China. I am social, outgoing, athletic, and most importantly, appearing to be the biggest Chinese reactionary among all the Chinese I know (quoted from my friend: A Chinese dissent who doesn’t go with Western mainstream either). Though I was raised in China with heavy Classic Chinese influence, people always mistakenly thought I was raised in the West. I don’t really fit into the Chinese stereotype (math nerd or lab guy, whatever your stereotype is) that is prevalent around the globe. Yet everywhere I go, I always have to make double efforts to appeal to others to dissociate myself from their Chinese stereotypes on me (since most Chinese stereotypes ain’t pretty, and neither do most of fellow countrymen anyway). Am I upset every time I was easily labelled as “Chinese”? Of course, many times. For quite a while I held a sharp aversion against other stereotyped Chinese in and out of China, for their presence help consolidating those unwanted stereotypes everywhere (Chinese are everywhere nowadays). People always come with the pre-assumption of the nerdy or coy Chinese dude they met previously or saw on TV to meet me the first time. In the old time I was determined to whitewash those negative Chinese stereotypes from my own example. After a while it turned out people just associate me with a unique category, whereas their perception towards the Chinese remains. After all, those perceptions towards Chinese are most likely to true in most of cases and are repeatedly drilled frequently nowadays. Over the time I just began to accept the fact of being a statistical outlier who has to make double efforts on everything everywhere I go.

What does this say? It says a unique experience of a person who fails to fulfill generalized expectations. But what does it do to the generalization in the first place? Not much. Unless China has 1.3 million people instead of 1.3 billion people, I might put up with delusion that every Chinese is as cool as me. But that’s not the case. Though I sometimes consider myself a victim of stereotypes, I have to say they are most of the time still valid. To me, to others, nothing is fair and some has to try harder than the others. At least I am glad I could have the luck to be aware of all these in an early stage of my life. In the end of the day, to devise a personalized plan to achieve whatever we want is the most sensible thing in everyone’s life.

A real wise guy would recognize the stereotype while be open-minded about the statistical outliers that he/she may encounter in real life.Let’s say you meet a black guy for a job interview. Though you know the odds of meeting a smart black fella is way slimmer than meeting a random white guy, you still construct your own assessment based on the personal evaluation of that particular individual being. Maybe you could have the luck to meet a very smart black guy (I claim that I have met two that are not really interested in dancing and aggression all the time but science and technology instead). Of course when the person fits most of the criteria of the stereotype you should immediately pull out from your sympathetic and guilty emotion to review him/her with the help of stereotype description. This is not discrimination but merely recognizing the difference among people.

Egalitarianism doesn’t really work in reality, noble concept though. The great Chinese philosopher Confucius once said “Education should be tailor-made in order to fit different individuals (因材施教)”, the denial that says all humans are the same and should be treated equally could pose fundamental social and political adverse consequences if it were assimilated in the societal governing guideline. That’s where most of social problems in the modern civilization stems from – leftism.

Then what about coarse discrimination? They are stereotypes too. I call that the prole comprehension of natural differences. Discrimination happens when the stereotypes combine with strong emotional attachment and evolves into a sort of absolute slogan that is universal to all regardless of individual variance. Together with discrimination, misconception always tends to exist among stereotypes, too. Nothing is perfect. But a smart person knows how to adjust the his/her stereotype image based on updating data.

The validation of stereotype is like the accuracy of the stereotype itself, not all are valid, but the majority of them are.