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Dumbing Down. Part 2



A while ago I wrote a post in which I talked about the dumbing down of the world mind. It is a long one, I’m afraid, (and this one will probably end up being even longer). However since this is sort of a sequel to that one, you may want to read that one first.

But if not, here is a brief recap: In it I talked about how the Humanities were eliminated in a deliberate, planned manner from education at all levels, pretty much from childhood all the way to university education over the past fifty years or so. It may have been a strategy that originated in the USA, however it spread very quickly, within just a few years to many many countries, particularly NATO member states. The pivot of the strategy was that a quantitative approach was brought into high regard (not only in education but throughout society) and that qualitative inquiry was all but discarded. At best relegated to be electives sprinkled inside what ended up becoming education based overwhelmingly upon numbers crunching. Not abstractions such as pure mathematics, or pure geometry, or pure natural sciences either – just numbers which are utilized to serve one end or another.

This strategy was the result of a fear of the youth and anti-war and civil rights movements that had gained global traction during the 1960s. These were seen to be a grave threat to the capitalist social structures of the Western World. And the underlying cause for this large scale civil unrest was deemed to reside in the wide reach of the liberal arts both at school and university levels, as well as the influence of academia within broader society. I based this on the Powell Memorandum, which is a document that I think one really should get an understanding of. To what extent it has shaped our current day. One of the stated agendas of the Powell Memorandum was the dismantling of academia, particularly as it related to the Humanities and some of the Social Sciences. Another one was the dumbing down of the general public through mass media, publications, radio and so forth.

What I will add to that previous post, which was really all about education, now is Edward Bernays and his book ‘Propaganda‘ which was written in 1928; and the opening paragraphs of which read as follows:

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. […] It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

A demolishing of the Humanities at all levels of education on the one hand. Starting from childhood  – how many kids raised after the 1970’s were read Grim’s Fairy Tales? Anderson? Aesop’s Fables? How many grannies and granddads were ‘allowed’ to tell their grandchildren old tales handed down through generations? Or were they forbidden to do so by hordes of childhood psychologists since all these old tales evoked nothing but fear and superstition, it was proclaimed?

And then bare faced propaganda on the other. Because Bernays’s methodologies were extremely influential, and continue to be so to this day. And not only in advertising…

……………………

So, with this intro out of the way let me get to the gist of this post. Since the first post on March 20, I keep circling back to the question “why”. Why are we going through something the world has never experienced before? A deliberate, intentional shutting down of the world’s economy. Something that may result in a horrifying crisis, next to which the Great Depression of 1929 could pale in comparison, as the good outcome. And possibly a total global economic collapse as the worst outcome. I do not deny that there is some sort of an infectious disease doing the rounds. But shutting down entire economies? Deliberately? Has that ever been done before in all of history? A city state, a fiefdom pulling up its drawbridges and hiding behind walls during the plague – that, of course. But was production, commerce, employment, sheer livelihood, ever ordered to be shut down within those walls via universal lock-downs? Or the cholera epidemics of the 19th century. Yes, they did quarantine streets and certain neighborhoods during those. But entire countries? Continents even? No. This one now is a first ever.

Why has this happened? Could any pandemic, no matter how severe, ever justify risking a potential economic catastrophe that would kill orders of magnitude more people than whatever the outcome turns out to be here? And not just old people (as appears to be the case with this current disease), but young healthy people at that. Agriculture? Has anyone ever in history deliberately risked the crop? For anything?

Why was this first-time ever decision taken? And why has practically every government gone along with this? And, even more astonishing – has any world population in history ever willingly allowed itself to be placed under “lock-down” – which is after all a jail house term? Not only willingly allowed but actively participated, applauded, indeed edged on its very own arrest? Demanded it? No matter for what reason, no matter what the perceived or real danger might be – has any group of people ever willingly given up their most basic, most fundamental, most inherent human rights? Of their own accord?

What the hell happened here?

I may finally have found an explanation that makes sense to me. At least for now. It is not some grand heinous plan, something totally strange and secret and hidden.

As far as I can see, it is a combination of the 2 things that I wrote at the top: The destruction of the Humanities and mass propaganda, both of which have been in effect for long enough to bring a worldwide generation to the age where they are now actually “governing”. (People born in 1970 are now 50 years old). But – and this is the really scary part – this is a generation that is completely unequipped to govern, to formulate policy, to administer, to run organizations, to conduct scientific inquiry; pretty much unequipped to do anything that falls outside of whatever narrow field of expertise that they are specialized in. They do not have the necessary educational background to be able to do that.

They did not study the Humanities in the way that the generations before them did. 

Until 50 years ago everyone, regardless of what their walks in life would be when they grew up studied the Humanities. History, literature, philosophy, art, religion, ethics, sociology, civics – every high school kid went through that curriculum regardless of whether they wanted to become ballerinas or engineers. Not any more. Today, the study of the Humanities is confined to an ever decreasing minority who really do want to become scholars in these fields, and who would not be allowed into the decision making elite even if they craved for it, which they don’t anyway. The rest? Well, they are educated to become number crunchers.

Humanities are what puts every new upcoming generation in touch with the collective wisdom of Humanity. That is why they are so fundamentally important. How can you possibly make correct decisions, formulate useful policies, set up good plans and strategies that will affect not only you but huge populations, unless you know what the Humanities teach you? Starting from childhood fairy tales, all the way to history and literature and philosophy and ethics and art… and and and… in school. How can your numbers numbed brain learn to even think? Your STEM classes have taught you “what to think”. But not “how to think”. Teaching people “how to think” rather than “what to think” is the purview of the Humanities. And that has been denied to you.

But now you are a technocrat high up in some bureaucracy, some administration, a bank, a corporation, a government, an international organization, an institute. Sitting on committees, a member of board rooms, attending brain storming sessions, reading and writing memos, a team leader, contributing to decision making processes, an adviser, an expert. And yet you are completely unequipped for the job. You simply have not received that education – not at home, not during kindergarten, not in high school and not at that amazingly tough to get into university (Yale, Harvard, Sorbonne, Oxford, Heidelberg – it really doesn’t matter) where you got your double major between business administration and computer science, or economics and bio engineering. You do not have the toolbox, the capacity, the knowledge to make the right call.

I have no doubt that most of the people who are in these influential positions are caring individuals in their personal lives. I am sure most of them love their families, would kill to protect their off-spring, have pets that they adore. That is not what I am talking about. The problem here is not individual goodness or a lack of it, it is a matter of being able to put the immediate, the now, into a broader context that transcends the personal and the present moment. Context needs Memory. Not just personal memory. It needs an ability to look back into the past in such a way that from that scrutiny is derived wisdom. Which means that as soon as you step outside of your own intimate personal domain and become a public figure who carries responsibilities with regards to the lives of others you need to have a very thorough understanding of the human condition throughout the ages. The collective wisdom. And that is of course the core essence of the Humanities. Which you have not been given the opportunity to study. Not your fault – but there it is.

All you have are numbers. Not the abstraction of mathematics – just numbers. Out of which you construct “models” – which then, in the absence of all shared human wisdom handed down over thousands and thousands of years, in the absence of “context”, more often than not, fall flat on their faces. Over and over again they do that. And yet you cannot learn. Because “learning” – that is also a part of the Humanities. We read about the past and that is how we learn. Learning the sum total past experience of humanity makes us connect the dots. And without that ability of connecting the dots all the way from the caves of Lascaux to today, how can a “model” be expected to work? It is you that is putting in the data that spews out the result at the other end, after all. And your data is only numbers devoid of a broader context. Devoid of Experience and Memory – both deliberately written with a big “E” and a big “M”. Not your personal experiences or memories. But Experience and Memory. Historic Context. You need social conscience, a moral sense. Not personal conscience but something much broader, something universal. An understanding of the human experience as a sum total that runs throughout the ages. And again, that comes from the Humanities. It comes from Literature. From a study of the Classics. Dickens and Dostoevsky will teach you conscience and how the human condition is something that transcends the here and now. Numbers are amoral, they cannot teach you that. The Humanities can. Which is why you (and your world-wide peers), not having studied them from childhood onward, has now created this huge big mess, which is only the latest and gravest in a very long string of messes over the past decades – each bigger than the ones before it because what has also been lost in this mayhem is accountability. No one ever pays. Everyone knows that they they themselves will screw up sooner or later, so everyone has everyone else’s back. Not only individuals either. Whole institutions have each other’s backs. And of course, there is also an awful lot of material gain for all parties when you have a climate in which it is effectively impossible to make a mistake that you would get penalized for. The whole system becomes criminal in the absence of accountability.

So, this is the “zeitgeist”. Is it a wonder that the world is in the state that it is then?

And then comes something like this. Let me tell what I think happened this time around, now:

Numbers crunchers the world over found this to be a great moment to become self-important. To put their skills to use. Possibly some of them even had good intentions. A genuine desire to help. But, in the absence of wisdom they were of course incapable of asking the primal question – am I even capable of helping? What is my track record? The fact that they had previously been wrong during things such as the foot and mouth disease fiasco for example, that their completely erroneous “model” had cost thousands of farmers all over England their livelihoods – things like that, they forgot about in their zeal. Hubris. In a world that lacks memory, insight, and hindsight and conscience – all those things that come from the Humanities – how could they possibly remember, and even if they did remember themselves who else was to go back that far and recall that? Hubris. The elected ones, the politicians – the supposed real decision makers, to whom they were going to present their report to and scare the hell out of were just as ill equipped with memory, vision and foresight as they were. And just as self-assured. And – very importantly, everyone knew that no matter how big the screw up, no one would ever pay. Be held accountable. Forget criminal charges! What criminal charges? Hubris.

But what about the people? Would they not eventually hold these miscreants accountable? This is where Edward Bernays and his Propaganda methodologies come in. Having been primed for decades by mass propaganda that is founded in Freud’s psychoanalytic techniques (Bernays was his nephew) the public (which really should’ve know better after all those horrifying WMD that Saddam had had only a decade and a half ago) bought the whole thing and will in all likelihood meekly accept all the excuses and explanations after the whole disaster has been exposed. That is what has happened in the aftermath of all the previous disasters, after all.

The power of mass media. The endless news cycle. “Breaking news”. The pundits. The “experts”. To which lately has been added social media through which individuals are now busily mass propagandizing one another. You simply give it a little tweak to kick-start whatever agenda needs to be disseminated, and millions are ready to join in. Amazing. Totally amazing.

And here we are.

This is what I think has happened. A tale of pitiful, pathetic ignoramuses into whose hands the ministry of the world has fallen. Who have fumbled their way around administrative disaster after administrative disaster for decades now. And billions of people who are so blinded by propaganda that they cannot see the ploy. And whom one can’t even blame. Neither the “governors” nor the “governed”. Not their fault that they got the mis-education that they did. As I have already said, many of them, maybe even the majority of them are likely to be thoroughly well meaning individuals at their core.

Which is not to say that some of the “governors”, quite a few probably, are not criminals. They are more than criminals, some of them. They are psychopathic criminals. There is an awful lot of money involved, after all. A lot of people profit hugely from all this mismanagement. There will be people (already there are – just look at those relief bills that the US congress is passing and who that money is going to) who will make out like bandits. Of course.

And then of course there are far worse things than just plain old venality. “Evil” should pretty much be one’s default starting point as soon as one approaches any sort of power structure, any authority: I started this post by talking about the Powell Memorandum and Edward Bernays. Could there be anything more heinous than a long term plan that was put into effect decades ago in order to dumb down entire world populations to the extent that they would beg for their own imprisonments? Which is what they are doing right now, across all sorts of social media, even as I am writing this. Could anything be more dark, more evil? The document is there for everyone to see. The book is there for everyone to read. Not even a secret.

And these are not even the worst atrocities that have been perpetrated upon us over the past hundred years or more. Which are still nothing when compared to all those that are planned to be perpetrated through ever more pervasive and intrusive technologies – some already here, even more abhorrent ones in the pipeline. All those “smart” cities in the making. The social credit scores. So, yes. Of course. I know.

But this case now, this shut down of the world economy – I do not think that any consideration of inherent evil, or of magnificent hidden schemes applies here, now, in this current destruction:

In what is now unfolding there is a potential for an ultimate destruction that even the highest of the high vultures cannot profit from. They, the ones at the top – the %1, the globalists, the NWO types, whatever you want to call them – are the ones who will lose the most because they have the most to lose. Far more than we plebs here at the bottom could even contemplate. Both materially and otherwise. They are eminently capable of doing unspeakably abominable things. Of that I have no doubt. But sawing of the tree branch that they are sitting on themselves? Especially when that branch is the highest one on the tree? Ergo, they have the furthest to fall? Nope.

So I come back to the other one: Hubris, conceit, and ignorance that disabled the numbers crunchers and the decision makers that they reported to from seeing the economic disaster that they were leading billions of people into through propaganda (that in this particular iteration revolves around “trust scientists”) by shutting down the world’s economy in order to prevent a viral disease. In other words a sad pathetic paltry wretched tale of abject human inadequacy. Nothing dramatic. Nothing grand. Just a pitiful whimper…

…………………….

And one final thing: Speaking of wisdom – Professor Knut Wittkowski. For me this is what wisdom looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGC5sGdz4kg  But he is old you see. He got his life education long before that big shift in the 1970s…

…………………….

9 days later: Hmmm: https://off-guardian.org/2020/04/15/brave-new-normal/ My dumbed down world perfectly suits the overarching system described here perfectly. They need dumbing down in order to be able to pull this off. But then again… Would a collapsed world economy not be just the thing that they would fear the most? Aren’t they the ones who would fall the hardest from the uppermost branch of the tree?

…………………….

15 days later – April 29th: Yes, this here makes sense. And why wouldn’t it? It doesn’t refute any of what I wrote above, does it? It would take immense stupidity, ignorance, and delusional, megalomaniac levels of hubris to even contemplate something like this as a fantasy. Much less form “a government body dedicated to examining how artificial intelligence can “address the national security and defense needs of the United States” discussed in detail the “structural” changes that the American economy and society must undergo in order to ensure a technological advantage over China.” 

Yes. I can see this. How this could be so.

“Throughout the presentation, the NSCAI promotes the overhaul of the U.S. economy and way of life as necessary for allowing the U.S. to ensure it holds a considerable technological advantage over China, as losing this advantage is currently deemed a major “national security” issue by the U.S. national security apparatus.  The presentation also argues that, in order to “leapfrog” competitors in emerging markets, what is needed is not “individual brilliance” but instead specific “structural conditions that exist within certain markets.” It cites several case studies where China is considered to be “leapfrogging” the U.S. due to major differences in these “structural factors.” Thus, the insinuation of the document (though not directly stated) is that the U.S. must alter the “structural factors” that are currently responsible for its lagging behind China in the “adoption” phase of AI-driven technologies. Chief among the troublesome “structural factors” highlighted in this presentation are so-called “legacy systems” that are common in the U.S. but much less so in China. The NSCAI document states that examples of “legacy systems” include a financial system that still utilizes cash and card payments, individual car ownership and even receiving medical attention from a human doctor. It states that, while these “legacy systems” in the US are “good enough,” too many “good enough” systems “hinder the adoption of new things,” specifically AI-driven systems.”

And here is a part of the conclusion:

“It is indeed striking how the coronavirus crisis has seemingly fulfilled the NSCAI’s entire wishlist and removed many of the obstacles to the mass adoption of AI technologies in the United States. Like major crises of the past, the national security state appears to be using the chaos and fear to promote and implement initiatives that would be normally rejected by Americans and, if history is any indicator, these new changes will remain long after the coronavirus crisis fades from the news cycle.” 

And as for the rest of the world? Collateral damage of our magnificent strategy, they would have probably thought in their drunken speciousness. Not having of course considered at all as to who would really be the biggest loser here?

He who sits on the highest branch has the furthest to fall…

But recognizing that takes wisdom of course. A few childhood fables might have helped. Alas…

#Learning #Society

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