You Don’t What You Don’t Know

There are some people in this world who are just not opened to the possibility that they don’t know everything about everything. It’s interesting to note that mentality was one of the primary causes of “Early Middle Ages”, otherwise known a the “Dark Ages” between the years 500-1000. Basically, the church, which pretty much ruled the world after the fall of the Roman Empire, declared that everything God intends us to know has already been learned. This basically halted all scientific exploration as well as philosophical studies for a five hundred year period. Yeah, the church was that powerful!

Getting back to today’s “I already know everything” people, global warming can’t be true because they don’t believe it. In other words, if something is too complicated then it’s fake. They too often look for that single “silver bullet” that will cure everything. Everything that can’t be solved with gut feeling or a silver bullet just isn’t solvable to them.

Even if they are not formally educated on the subject they consider themselves to be “street smart” and that is all that matters to them. Many of this category likely make up the MAGA base.

In reality, the more knowledgeable you are the more you realize how much you don’t know. That brings to mind something I learned in my only philosophy course in college. The graphic below illustrates the concept.

The Extent of Knowledge

Just think of the box as the extent of knowledge available to you. The top left corner is what you know. The little box inside that box are the things you think you know but aren’t true. Then comes the bigger box of what you know you don’t know. And finally, there is what you don’t even know that you don’t know. Don’t think of the above as being to scale. In reality, the “what you don’t know you don’t know” will fill a football stadium!

Since I found so many neat illustrations I will leave this post with a few of them.

Getting back to the guy who thinks he is an expert on everything (you know who I am talking about), we must realize that he actually doesn’t know much of anything at all and a big majority of what he thinks he knows is wrong. But, the sad part of all of this is that those MAGA followers are even worse than he is, as they unquestionably believe him!

The Ultimate Freedom

This sounds like a pretty grandiose title, I hope the post lives up to it. 🙂 I’m going to clue you in on what I found the ultimate freedom to be. It took me almost seven decades to find it. At first, it seemed more like a prison than freedom but I have found that misconceived view to be the case in more circumstances than I care to remember.

The ultimate freedom was cloaked in darkness when I first came upon it. It just didn’t look like freedom at first glance. Ok, the wait is over I will now tell you what the ultimate freedom is. Ultimate freedom is when you no longer have to do something just to create money.

Now I guess I have to explain my personal circumstances in order to support my dark pre-story.

I left the corporate world at fifty-five. After I got my thirty years in and was eligible for a full pension, my corporate division was sold to a Chinese company. We were told that nothing would change, but of course, within six months massive layoffs started. Within a year 95% were gone, including me.

All my life I had lived pretty frugally so I had enough resources along with the fixed pension and future social security payments to be able to live without any additional income. But, as is often the case, I refused to understand what that freedom could give me. It would be several years later before I fully realized what was in front of me.

When I finally went into the full retirement mode six years after leaving the corporate world, the idea of having total control of my time absolutely scared me. The main reason for that is that I didn’t do the work required to really appreciate what I had. Instead, I languished around as pretty much a couch potato for a couple of years feeling sorry for myself and the self-imposed boredom that followed.

Finally, I got it through my head to actually use this ultimate freedom. I finally started doing some things that I had only dreamed about up to then. One was to be a frequent volunteer at a local soup kitchen. Another was to start a blog about my view of the world. I had always enjoyed writing and now I could do whatever I wanted with that skill. Other things would eventually fall in place, but it was not until a few months ago that I decided to try and take my ultimate freedom to a whole other level.

I actually spent the time thinking and dreaming of what I could now do that wasn’t really possible before. That brought up a lot of hidden, or maybe unrealized goals that need to be further pursued. Finally, when 2019 dawned I decided to bring up yet another blog, this one dedicated to creativity. I am now about forty-seven days into this year-long project of becoming a more creative person. If this sort of thing appeals to you, I would like to invite you to come along on my journey. I think we can both learn if we do this together. Click on the CrackingCreativity logo in the right column here to join the fun.

How about you, what is your definition of Ultimate Freedom?

About Fear

I love the banner for today’s post. Yeah, the more you know the less you fear and the more you realize that fear gets you nowhere, except for the case when you might be standing in the middle of a road and watching a Mack truck heading down on you. (ha).

It seems that “fear” has become our national pastime. Everywhere you look people are trying to convince you that bad guys are invading our country when the facts say otherwise. The current Oval Office occupant would have you believe that bad guys are charging across our borders with the intent of raping all our young girls. But, if you study the facts you will know that not to be the case. In fact, illegal border crossings are drastically lower than even ten years ago, and the vast majority of them are women with children trying to escape the carnage of their country of birth. The more you know, the less you fear.

All you have to do to be convinced that we are a country full of fear is to look at a typical day’s TV shows. It seems that NCIS-LA, for example, kills at least a dozen terrorist every week. That show, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. Go to Netflix and count all the movies about terrorism and bad guys! I guess fear of terrorists is a pretty profitable staple for the movie and TV media and that fact alone could make someone paranoid. But, study how many foreign terrorists have invaded since 9/11 and you will find that the local variety of terrorists far far outnumber the ones who invade our country.

Two of my ten pillars are about learning the truth and questioning everything. Don’t just take for granted what you see in front of you or especially what some habitually lying person who doesn’t deserve an ounce of your trust tells you to believe. If you believe the facts instead of liars you will see there is less to fear than you fear.

Fear is kinda like hate, it can consume you if you let it. Shed that unnecessary fear and see more joyful things that will replace it. Turn off that TV once in a while and enjoy the other 99.9% of life around you.

The more you know, the less you fear.

Little Steps Are Not Enough…

What will it take to get even a small degree of bipartisanship back in our federal government? That seems to be the question of the decade for those of us living in the US and actually much of the world as well.  My friends at Eudaimonia & Co speak constantly about the dark side of capitalism and we all need that at least a small dose of that to keep us focused on the bright side of life. Here are some of their words in a recent post about that:

There are three great trends which shape American decline — and the central challenge of American renewal is somehow reversing them, not just mitigating them slightly. The first is stagnant incomes. The second is falling life expectancy. The third is that Americans are broke

As people grow poorer, they turn on their neighbours and peers and friends — the rise of extremism. The rise of such fresh poverty in the midst of plenty points to a deeply dysfunctional set of institutions. Living at the edge of ruin, perpetually, brings with it a set of social malaises, with which Americans are all too familiar — and the world reels at — from the rage and disconnection that fuel constant mass shootings to the depression and trauma and loneliness that pervades society, especially amongst the young. Poverty — which is what most Americans live in now, at least the relative kind — costs us more than we suppose: relationships, meaning, belonging, purpose, grief, the deeper consequences of a lack of deserved and fair chances, opportunities, and right.

Running desperately back to yesterday is not the same as moving towards tomorrow.

I give you this quote, not because I agree with all of it, but that it makes me think about the possible causes of our malaise.  We shouldn’t try to fix something until we have looked at it from all possible angles.  As the quote ends we can’t keep trying to resurrect yesterday thinking that will solve all our problems.  I think a significant part of the answer is to get that fact through to those who blindly follow anyone who tells them that he is going to make America great again. His simple answers are what it takes to solve some pretty complicated problems.

There seems to be no shortage of possible causes for why we are where we are in this country.  Maybe that is because there are so many problems that need to be addressed.  But, I gotta come back to my primary reason and that is lazy minds. For whatever reason, people just don’t want to do the homework needed to keep a free society functioning. They seek simple solutions to complicated problems. Why are so many lazy in that regard? Maybe that is at the core of where we are right now?

American Myths – American Exceptionalism

For this Question Everything Friday I want to bring you another dangerous myth that is ingrained into our country. That is that we are so exceptional that you can’t be compared to any other country.  Here is my quote for the day about that.

We can’t compare America to any other country! Especially not strange, dangerous countries like Scandinavia or France! We can’t? Why not? How else do you suppose that nations make progress — if not by learning from one another? Americans have been told that other places are “homogeneous”, so America can’t be compared to them — but “homogeneity” is not the reason they are successful societies. There are many more “homogeneous” societies which are failures than successes, just look at Asia and Africa — so homogeneity can’t be why some societies succeed, self-evidently. This myth is exceptionalism, only in a negative form — no comparison is possible. But it is a comparative analysis which teaches us the most when it comes to political economy. Have you ever wondered why you don’t know (probably) how exactly the French retirement system works? How the British healthcare system works? How the Swiss government works? Americans still haven’t learned this stuff because no one teaches it to them — and no one teaches it to them because the myth of exceptionalism says there’s no reason to learn it. 
via Eight Myths Americans Need to Unlearn About America

The way I personally learn almost everything is to see how others are doing it better them me and to try at one level or another to emulate them. If you have been around for a while you have probably noticed that the general format and look of RJsCorner seems to frequently change. I do that because I am constantly looking for ways to make the site more pleasant to visit and to give you my view of the world in more concise stories. If I didn’t have something to compare this site to improvements would be far less frequent.

In that same vein, we as a country need to constantly look at others who do things better than we do. Our reluctance to do that greatly hampers us from creating better and better processes. It has allowed other countries to leapfrog around us when it comes to healthcare, retirement systems and such. It was almost an epiphany to understand we are never taught to look outside our country for ways to do things better.  That is a lesson we MUST learn…

Drinking the Kool-aid, Etal…

Tomorrow is perhaps the most important election of my lifetime.  It will determine if an extreme narcissist, habitual liar, con man continues to have free reign to do whatever he wants. Yeah, the tax cuts that the Republican party passed are having a temporary effect and the destruction of the regulations needed to prevent another meltdown have added a couple of bucks to the paycheck, but given our extreme deficits and underfunded infrastructure improvement that will end soon.

What befuddles me about our current times are those who have eagerly gulped down this guy’s kool-aid. Can’t they look beyond the end of their nose to see what is coming down the road?  Why are some people so naively gullible to his constant lies?  Most of his “base” live in rural areas and from personal experiences that is where educational opportunities are the most lacking.  Did they miss out on what the purpose of government is and how it is funded in a democracy? Is it the lack of basic information that impedes their understanding? I kinda suspect it is just intellectual laziness.

2018-11-01_09-49-33.pngI could go on and on about the possibilities but that is not a condition that can be quickly resolved nor is this the purpose of this post. Tomorrow is election day and unless those of us who can counter this group turn out they could give the current Oval Office occupant an unfettered final two years in office to accomplish his hateful and divisive agenda. We know that these Kool-aid folks are a minority but if the rest of us don’t do our job and vote tomorrow they could again have the say on what we will become as a nation.

There is estimated to be 100 million eligible voters who will not cast a ballot tomorrow!! How can a democracy survive without an informed and engaged populace? I voted early a couple of weeks ago, so I have done my part. It’s time for you to do yours. Your present or future children and grandchildren will thank you for that. Morality still matters… even if he says it doesn’t.