Wed 24 Jun, 2020 02:15 am
During the course of my life I have encountered innumerable people with various woes. Woes from trivial to intractable. People from loved ones to hated demons. Whenever I see any such situation I have the fundamental problem of "what shall I do about this?"
The answer is usually "nothing." I'm just one man, I'm not responsible for their woes, this is their learning opportunity, etc. But there's something deficient with that answer generally. The "nothing" answer becomes worse as I find bigger problems with people that I care about, so I feel an urge to do something. But do what?
IMHO, the fundamental root of all of these problems boils down to a lack of education. I'm not talking about the fake BS (bullshti), MS (More of the Same), PhD (Piled higher and Deeper) variety. I'm talking about the basic ability (or lack thereof) to understand the world they live in and make rational decisions.
The vast majority of people have minds that are filled with nonsense. They have no ability to think critically or understand or make any sort of rational argument. They have innumerable sacrosanct beliefs that coalesce into a prison of constraints for them, but without critical thinking, they cannot evaluate, modify, or discard these beliefs. They think they live in cartoon world and when they act accordingly, the results in the real world are not impressive. They can't observe their results and make any connection between their actions and said results. As stated earlier, "do nothing" about this is usually the best choice. But when I see this in people I care about, it's simply a very unpleasant experience.
So I'm trying to concoct a curriculum of study to help people out of this mess. When they come to me begging for help, there's no need to turn my back on them, I can help. "Here... learn this" I can say, as I hand them The Book. "Study this and then you'll have a foundation for managing this problem." If they are unwilling to even try learn about the care and feeding of their woes, then I can step aside and let Darwin do his work with a clear conscience.
So, that said... here's my proposed curriculum:
1. Critical thinking. How do we know what is true or false? How can we approach this problem? This topic gives us the foundation to decide what to do about anything.
2. Axioms and Proofs. There are certain things in life that we must simply assume to be true. These are axioms. We also must adopt a set of rules of inference. If A, then B. That sort of thing. Given our chosen axioms and our chosen rules of inference, we can try to make rational arguments to "prove" the things we say. Philosophers and logicians can tell you about plenty of variety in this. All very interesting, but meanwhile we have our lives to live and we must necessarily make our choices and run with them.
3. Cultural differences. Culture is not just about music, recipes, and funny little hats that those other people have. Those are very superficial differences. The real differences come from the axioms and rules of inference that other people have. When you meet people of other cultures, you will quickly find that they believe things that you consider nonsense and their rules of inference are equally crazy. In your humble opinion. They of course view your beliefs the same way. So when you encounter people of other cultures you'll need to find a way to deal with them, even when you think their beliefs are stupid, crazy, evil, whatever.
4. Introductory Morality. How shall we comport ourselves? Some behaviors make other people want to help us and other behaviors make the frenzied mob want to kill us. Where does morality come from? Is it just arbitrary? Can we just make up whatever rules we want? Do we need a religion to invent it for us? Do we need a government to write the rules? Can we use our own judgment and personal authority to decide how to behave? This topic gives us a foundation to decide how to behave around other people.
5. Micro-Economics 101. If I have something that you want and you have something I want, perhaps we can arrange a trade. If we do that then both of us are automatically better off. What is "supply and demand" ? If we can find more opportunities to trade, we can systematically improve our lives. Is it a good idea to scam the other party? What else can we say and learn about this idea? This topic gives us the basic understanding that we can do things for other people and they will help us, via trading.
6. Employment 101. Ordinary employment is a bad deal for everybody involved. Dealing with other people in today's world has generally become a toxic experience and you would be a complete fool to hire somebody in today's employment law framework. Meanwhile, as an employee, your natural incentive is to do as little as possible to avoid being fired, all the while plundering as much as you can from your employer. Although these actions may appear to offer short-term benefits, they are corrosive to our personalities and generally drag us down as people.
7. What is money? Any five year old knows he can steal money from his mother's purse and go buy candy. Most people never learn anything more about this topic. Yet this is a _huge_ subject that is, IMHO, the root of most trouble in society. Do you think you have enough money now? Can you believe that some people have, in their own judgment, _too much_ money? That the management of this loot becomes more trouble than it's worth? Where does it come from? Can we use it wisely without getting burned? What kind of scams can other people perpetrate with this stuff? Can their scams be so subtle that you can't notice? That is, maybe you have a problem with money because of these scams, but you miss-attribute the cause to something other than the scam?
8. Micro-Economics 201. We know about trading generally. We have a foundation of morality that says "thou shalt deal honestly with customers" that is practical and effective. We know something about money. Now we need to understand that money today is more valuable than money in the future. We need to understand that income = revenue - expenses and that assets = equity + liabilities. We also need to understand why we might care about this and how we can put this information to practical use. If we understand these things then we can make rational decisions about spending money in order to start, manage, and expand a business. If we conclude that ordinary employment is a sucker deal then our only alternative is to operate some sort of business. So we need to know how to do this.
Consider how much of this is completely unknown to most people. Learning these things will provide a vast improvement for them. However, we're not done yet. Now that the problem of "what shall I eat today?" and "where shall I sleep tonight?" have been brought under control, we might want to start thinking about the future. What assumptions can we make about the future? We _must_ make assumptions, so what shall they be?
9. Who rules Bartertown? Let's make some observations about society, apply some inductive logic, and try to understand what the rules actually are in society, who makes the rules, and what are their goals. For example, how likely is it that _We the People_ are actually in charge? This is an idea that can be subjected to scrutiny. If we’re not actually in control, who are the real rulers? Are the Rulers benevolent, indifferent, or malicious to the interests of the ordinary people? Is there anything we can do to find out? We must make assumptions about these ideas, but determining the truth is not easy. How can we approach this problem?
10. The Poverty Industry. There are many people who wring their hands and gnash their teeth in false sympathy for every type of downtrodden there is. They live in their nice homes and drive their nice cars and caution their children to avoid people like us. They pretend to be diligently and heroically working towards the solution to some problem, such as homelessness, but their worse nightmare would be the actual achievement of their stated goals. If that were to happen, what excuse would remain for their jobs? So the next time you deal with any bureaucratic system, think about their true incentives and consider how likely it is that they will actually provide real help to you.
11. Central Banking. What is this? Why do we care? Might this be the reason war is ubiquitous and even possible? Might this be the reason the 0.01% get ever richer while everybody else is constantly sinking? Is it actually possible for you to live a good life when central banks exist? This is a very esoteric subject that very few people care about or know anything about. But our lives are harmed by these things, IMHO. How can we understand their effects and possibly mitigate the harm?
11. The Intentional Destruction of Social Cohesion. Look around at what's happening in the world generally. Look at the endless destruction in the Middle East and North Africa. Look at the vilification of China, Russia, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, North Korea, etc. Look at the disintegration of American society. Every type of relation between people has become a minefield. Your neighbors will snitch on you if they have a chance. Your wife will divorce-rape you at the drop of a hat. Your only value to your children is measured in the quantity of stuff you are willing and able to give them. Your employees will sue you for any frivolous reason they can imagine. Any female acquaintance presents a high risk of over-blown or outright false charges of harassment or rape.
Regardless of the merits of any particular event, surely you can see a larger pattern of destruction that vastly exceeds the harm of the particular excuses we hear about in the media. How are these things happening? Do you think all of this is purely spontaneous? Might there be any evil geniuses behind the scenes? How does this affect you? Are you able to build solid and bullet-proof relations with other people to help you survive?
12. Breakaway civilization. Imagine being one of the approximately 2200 billionaires on this planet. What do they have in common with us? How do they view our presence on _their_ planet? What are their plans generally? What are their plans for us? There's a concept of "breakaway civilization" whereby some very rich and powerful people are simply going to secede from the rest of humanity. They'll take what they want and leave the world of Zardoz for us. How plausible is this? How can we determine the truth or falsehood of this idea? How would this plan affect our ability to live our lives? How does this affect our future planning?
13. Robotics, AI, and Transhumanism. 2200 billionaires don't need 7 billion useless eaters to clean their toilets. All those eaters eat quite a lot and they're potentially dangerous. The billionaires might think it's best to just to get rid of the eaters. Robots already exist in every link of the supply chain from mining to final delivery. It's not hard to imagine pushing this just a little further in order to eliminate the need for most of the eaters.
Imagine your new farm is very nice, but it's overrun with a vast herd of rabbits. You'll enjoy some rabbit meat and make a few rabbit fur hats, but what will you do with the rest of these pests?
What possible reason do these people have for not exterminating us? Is it the goodness of their hearts? We have no value to them and only present some minuscule risk. There is no reason for them to permit us to live. Is something staying their hand? If so, what is it?
14. The Ordinary Man's Breakaway Civilization. Two can play this game. Why are the rabbits the thralls of the Rulers? Why do the rabbits sit docily in their cages and wait for the inevitable harvest? I know that the Rulers are powerful, but they are not Gods. Might it be possible for the rabbits to escape from their cages, and take and hold some slice of this Earth for their own use?
Good luck doing all that and teaching to the test.