Akbar’s Provocations #1 – Dumb and Dumber

99 percent of human beings are intellectually shallow, dumb. Most people are creatures of habit, dependant upon a system that promises to satisfy their basic desires and because they are attached to these promises they are very resistant to the critical thinking required to accept radical changes in the system or the ideologies that are innate to the larger system.

Thus, the philosopher who is convinced of the necessity of change, must perform a very creative trick whereby he/she constructs an adequate means to ameliorate the injustices while providing a vision of the future that promises greater satisfactions of base desires.

All revolutions can be seen operating out of this 2 level approach to human progress. The angry or frustrated revolutionary is one who has refused to accept that part of human nature that is capable of living without rational consciousness, and makes a condemnation of those who merely encourage us to accept human nature. It takes courage to love human beings without expecting them to rise to some utopian notion of enlightenment, or creating a causality around the ignorance to forgive that which might be innate.

The failures of a society are the failures of that 1 percent to organize the potential energy found in the 99 percent who are capable of great obedience, as long as they are adequately inspired to change. This failure often comes about by the worst form of ignorance, which is the obstinate refusal to accept this dichotomy.

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6 Comments

  1. globatron
    November 22, 2009

    Where is Globatron in this percentage?

    Are we the 99 percent or the 1 percent?

    Of course I’d like to believe we are part of the 1 percent.

    Also I’m wondering what lead you to this statement? I’m wondering what the inspiration came from.

    I would hope that the 99 percent has more responsibility than what you are supposing but it would seem they assume none from what I perceive.

    Reply
  2. Akbar Lightning
    November 23, 2009

    i wanted to find a way to address the ‘common’ in life, those people who live on the surface of the information we call culture, as opposed to those attempting to disrobe existence in order to face it directly, those who seek a deeper connection to history, art, thought and presence, and in so doing secure some creative efficacy over the direction of human progress.

    it seems that we speak of ‘the people’ and we give them more credit than they are due. it is taboo, it seems to me, to state that perhaps most people are attached to structures, when in fact it seems to be the case. it seems that very few people purposely seek anarchy in their life, the kind of creative freedom that resists institutionalization.

    if said structures are part of the ‘problem’ so to speak than a massive attachment to said structures is a massive attachment to a problem, like remaining on a sinking ship out of fear of swimming in the sea.

    i wanted to be provocative, but also, so what if most people are dumb…it’s no big deal, not everybody has to be smart. that’s part of the problem with our society, we don’t want to call anybody dumb, therefore everybody feels that their opinion is valid, when in fact, many of those opinions are based on unchecked emotions and are wildly off-base. if we were able to re-articulate the fact that intelligence exists on a real spectrum, and that the few at the top of the scale ought to have some say about the direction of complex decisions, and that the others ought to obey expertise, we might have something more conducive to meaning. in other words, if you know you are dumb, you would have the honor of obedience to guide you and if you did not like that you could work to grow intellectually. but in our society, nobody wants to point out people’s lack of historical or philosophical depth, and so we have major news organizations giving time to idiots like Sarah Palin. Her presence is an indicator of a massive problem with human stop-gaps against idiocy.

    anyways, it is my humble opinion that the work done here on globatron is philosophically sound, most of it anyway…

    akbar

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  3. Logocentric
    November 23, 2009

    it’s an interesting approach, akbar–but one that, in my opinion, deserves a debate.

    i am particularly interested in the following excerpt from your comment, so let’s start there:

    “if we were able to re-articulate the fact that intelligence exists on a real spectrum, and that the few at the top of the scale ought to have some say about the direction of complex decisions, and that the others ought to obey expertise, we might have something more conducive to meaning. in other words, if you know you are dumb, you would have the honor of obedience to guide you and if you did not like that you could work to grow intellectually.”

    what form might such re-articulation take that is substantively different from the one we have now? in what ways are the conditions you seem to advocate not currently in place? i refer here specifically to the obedience to expertise. also, i’m interested in the ways in which a person “is” (or “is not”) “dumb.” you seem to prefer this as a primary category of identity–something that a person might be obliged to acknowledge in the way one acknowledges their blood type, for example. except, of course, you seem to hold out the possibility that people are educable and not simply “dumb” or “not dumb”; in other words, you appear to imply that this identity is malleable and not a permanent condition. if this is the case, is it possible that one’s condition of dumbness or not-dumbness fluctuates over the course of a life, or perhaps a month or week? and, finally, to whom is this important? again, you appear to objectify a condition of cognition or consciousness, which seems to me to indicate more a concern with acceptable modes of expression than with a condition of intelligence. maybe i’m taking your use of the term “dumb” too literally, i.e., as speech. yet you refer in the post to “rational consciousness.” are we to take the term “rational” as a reference to efficacy of expression? ‘of course,’ you may say. but what room do you leave for the act of self-monitoring? that is, for the suppression of speech by the speaker–even at the expense of intelligibility and seemingly at the expense of appearing rational–for the simple reason that speaking the full truth as one understands it would result in persecution? included in this notion of persecution is the act of objectivating people–particularly, assigning an abstract identity without an attempt to personally engage the one behind the identity. so, where is the agency and the self awareness of the masses? do you have any empathy for the dumb?

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  4. globatron
    November 23, 2009

    As Plato puts it: “Until philosophers rule as kings or those who are now called kings and leading men genuinely and adequately philosophise, that is, until political power and philosophy entirely coincide, while the many natures who at present pursue either one exclusively are forcibly prevented from doing so, cities will have no rest from evils,… nor, I think, will the human race.” (Republic 473c-d)

    This is an interesting concept Akbar. I agree with you on many accounts. I have had this conversation with a coworker. Maybe an IQ test could be used to monitor this. If you don’t score over 100 then you have no reason to protest or to run for political position because you don’t posses the intelligence to understand the issues at hand.

    It might be a great place for many to be. Accepting their intelligence or lack there of and it might be a freeing state of mind. Ignorance is bliss. I would also like to point out that most of the liberal voting states IQ test scores are 10-15 points higher.

    This would be hugely unpopular as you well know as intellect has become demonized. People like Billy Bob and Sarah Joe running their government, example: Bush and Palin. They like to think uneducated plain talking folk can rise to the level of Governor or President even. What they don’t seem to understand is that intellect is what this country is missing the most now. That other countries are kicking our asses with education.

    They cling to their values and social issues (pro-life) to inform them of where this country should be. That we have gone astray from God’s path. That only a righteous Christian can right the wrongs of this country. Who cares if they can think or not. Separation of church and state my ass.

    I also agree that much of what we do on Globatron is philosophically sound but I would be bias. I’m glad you think so too. I do worry that maybe soon there will be a pill for people like us to take the fight out of us and make us comply.

    New commercial: “Do you think you can really change the world. Do you feel your voice really counts. Do you feel that every action you take can inspire others to take make positive change in their lives. If so and you would like to be healed of your infliction take Democratodope. The new pill to take the power of democracy out of you. Side effects could lead to a happy life filled with drinking beer, eating wings at sports bars and watching countless hours of sports on the weekends and going to church with a hang-over and not a care in the world.”

    Or something like that. I see a new post coming. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Reply
  5. Akbar Lightning
    November 23, 2009

    well logocentric, you are back in full force!

    firstly, what i am trying to construct here at globatron is a wall in between two worlds of philosophy. one – the practical world of basic ethics, a world of justice and equity that is at an insane level of lack in our present world and two – the intellectual/analytical world that, in some way, has taken over, and allowed for complicated justifications out of which the practical ethical world has suffered.

    an example of this would be a corporation avoiding responsibility for major accidents by claiming that what they did was ‘legal.’

    by dumb, or stupid, i am referring to the notion that there are people who see education as a means, and there are people who see education as an end in itself. i believe the means far outnumber the ends. and so the ends have to accept his and be willing to guide the means by the application of conscious ends.

    but let me give an example. you have people out there who feel justified in judging people by using the bible as their source, and using this source they occupy a political niche that votes for very real legislation on very complicated ethical issues, and because of the democratic zeal, the encouragement to let your voice be heard, these people cry very loud using the bible as their logical structure. now here’s the punch – i am willing to bet a sizable amount of money that 99 percent of these people scored incredibly low on reading comprehension skills when they were in school. in other words, these people have tested poorly on the skills needed to interpret text and yet they feel confident in their interpretation of a book that is perhaps the most complicated text in the world, and in so doing make the lives of many people very difficult. this is dumb, dumb, dumb, stupid, idiotic, retarded, fucked up and mal-adaptive.

    and what i am saying is that it has become taboo to point this out.

    furthermore, i am not asking us to become the type of people that make people feel bad, rather i am asking for a separation of dialogue, so that a real discussion of what to do with this dumb world, accepting the ignorance that is very real, as described above, instead of seeing all these people as somehow able to be transformed.

    when speaking about fellow intellectuals, of course, there is a need for deeper relative philosophical analysis on the nature of knowledge, etc. but when speaking about the world, i think a great majority of people are followers, they resist such analysis, and there is nothing wrong with that, but what we have done, what the powers have done is insist they feel legitimate in their emotional reactions to complicated issues, this allows for the perversion of fear into political oppression.

    akbar

    Reply
  6. Akbar Lightning
    November 23, 2009

    while stumbling i found this page, relevant yo!

    http://www.phys.ufl.edu/~det/phy2060/heavyboots.html

    Reply

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