Tag Archives: ideals

On the lowest common dominator:

One bad egg spoils the batch, ruining it for everyone ect… The idea I’m harping on today is the least common dominator, that smallest bit that still fits and how it’s bad when the actions of everyone else are based on that small group. ( I know that’s not the mathematical correct use… forgiveness please.)  Ex: Notice those yellow concrete pylons around businesses, infrastructure ect? Those did not exist when wagons and the 1st automobiles rolled out,  it was not until some lowest common dominators plowed their vehicles into important stuff that they sprung up, (and with the recent rash of people plowing vehicles into people we will likely be seeing more). They are a visceral daily reminder that (intentional or not) people drive into stuff. I’m not of the opinion they are bad, just a sign that people in general are poor at planning and how when faced with large problems tend to focus instead on small ones.

Like people crashing into stuff, there are accidents/ tragedies happing today that have yet to get their practical solution, and far more troubling are the accidents/ tragedies that may be coming down the pipes. Moreover the short sighted solutions used to prevent tomorrows tragedies will (if history is any guide) be horrific to present day sensibilities. Do you like others to have access to all your thoughts? It’s coming. Do you want literally all the technology you use to be remotely shut down by someone else? We’re ½ way there already.  Personally I don’t take much issue with either, (I personally think there is much to gain by having all thoughts recorded, logged and searchable) but my point is this: When we let the least common denominator dictate our actions it prompts short sighted, knee jerk solutions that are bad.

Leaving the Sci-fi behind and getting back to my first example the pylons, there are many ways to prevent people from driving into important stuff: stop producing cars, have all cars equipped with a 5 MPH governor, require 2-3 years of training before issuing licenses, and so on, those are all bad ideas. Restricting freedom in favor of safety is not a new idea, and the trade-off is always painted by those in power as a good one. The catch is it never is, not once. Solutions that are dictated by the LCD have in the past, and as far as I can tell always will only address a facet of larger problems. That’s the rub, people running their cars into stuff is a problem for stuff owners, so they put up pylons, but now we have issues with people running their cars into people, do we put up pylons everywhere people gather? (Possibly)… but there are 2 larger problems at play the 1st I see is humans propensity for accidents, the 2nd some people’s desire to do harm. There may be a solution where it is worth trading freedom to solve one of those 2 big guys, but not the multitude of little problems that spring from them individually.

When we let a small group dictate the actions of the entire population (regardless if it’s a dictator/oligarchy, person with a gun, people with bombs ect.) it leads to bad policy and suffering. It matters not what the small group is (Lawmakers, terrorist, zealots ect…) the narrow focus that always comes with small groups inevitably leads to short sighted solutions.  So ware the LCD, they are never specific problems that need solution (though that’s exactly how they feel) they are merely early warning signs of larger problems we need to focus on together.

So next time you see one of those pylons, take a second and think: Are they a solution to people crashing into stuff, or a sign that humanity takes the quick and easy solution far too often.

On Individualism vs. Collectivism

Right out of the gate, this is a BIG issue and I will not do it justice in one post. That being said here is my take:  As humans we are inherently individuals, it is part of what we are. That being the case, we are also fairly helpless/useless all by ourselves. Think of all you know, all you can do. Now how much of that did you discover completely on your own, without help from anyone? Almost everyone will answer that question with a resounding not to much, and no one can answer it with all society has to offer (math, politics, philosophy, science, art ect…) So we are dependent on one another, at least to start.

Now somewhere down the line some of us forget this fact, or are un-grateful for the all the information preserved from the lives of millions of people that came before. I am not, if given 5 lifetimes I would never mach to work of Newton, or any other grate thinker for that matter.  As an individual I recognize that I am quite limited in my ability, and while I might be able to do some things better than others, there is NOTHING I can do that an entire civilization could not.  This is true for all of us regardless if we agree or not. So we are all members of society, not that we are given much of a choice in the matter, but that is simply not possible.

This leads to slightly different than center view on property and event ownership, if I come up with a fancy new song and try to sell it the profits will go to me and whoever was involved financially, but if look at who really had the largest parts in making that song it would be who ever taught me about music, and the person who taught him, if the song had lyrics my parents are entitled for their cut for teaching me language. This is all a bit hyperbolic and silly, but the point still stands. There is no windows with out preservation of the Greek tradition, no space program without Newton, no anything without society.  So I say we should share, I understand that individuals make contributions, but there is no contribution that is close to the value of the whole, and moreover it is only by using all the good things in society that we do anything at all!

So here in the states we have it wrong, it is not idyllic to be a lone anything. Our go it alone mentality might do wonders for our ego, but it is a foolish idea to think that an individual working alone can do anything of value.  We build on what others have done. We have no issues sharing ideas and information, but for some reason when physical things are produced as a direct extension of those shared ideas we get VERY possessive.  So to recap- for the first decade of your life you were (most likely if you can understand me) given the collective intellectual wealth of the entire species! All that you do, think, produce is because of this, so maybe tone down the “mine!” mentality, were all in this together.