Around 21:30 mins in, Prof Krauss gives a superb lecture on why God is absurd, why the Bible and all religious texts are nonsense and why as humans we need to bury such dishonest belief systems. No doubt many believers will dig their heels in because, in their own minds, it is simply inconceivable that they could be wrong. If the prophet said so, it must be so. But we all can be wrong and that’s an indisputable and incontestable fact and the very reason why the scientific method (open questioning, honesty, reliance on evidence, peer review etc) is not just superior to ALL religious dogmas but it’s the only rational sensible path to truth and to knowledge. Some believers are probably open to re-evaluating what they believe and from my experience the one probable thing holding them back is fear: (i) of discovering that what they have believed all their lives is myth and (ii) of the reaction of family, friends and community. That’s understandable but it is by living in truth that we find freedom and our inner power.
All great deceivers proceed in a way that is worth noting, for to this they owe their power. In the actual act of deceit, among all the preparations, the awe-inspiring features of their voice, expression, gestures, amid scenery contrived for effect, the belief in themselves comes over them: this is the one who then speaks so wondrously and so authoritatively to the surrounding people.
The founders of religions differ from those great deceivers in that they do not emerge from this state of self-delusion: or they have only on very rare occasions those clearer moments when doubt overpowers them; but they generally comfort themselves by imputing these clearer moments to the evil antagonist. Self-deception must be present for these individuals, as well as those, to bring to about their great effects. For human beings believe in the truth of what is quite manifestly strongly believed. – from Frederich Nietzsche’s Human, All Too Human I (40, 52)
“The notion that truths external to the mind may be known by intuition or consciousness, independently of observation and experience, is, I am persuaded, in these times, the great intellectual support of false doctrines and bad institutions. By the aid of this theory, every inveterate belief and every intense feeling, of which the origin is not remembered, is enabled to dispense with the obligation of justifying itself by reason, and is erected into its own all-sufficient voucher and justification. There never was such an instrument devised for consecrating all deep seated prejudices.”
Autobiography, John Stuart Mill
Bullshit has never been my strongest suit and that has been a spectacular failing. I can only surmise from the actions of some people I have met on my journey through time that there is an LSD kind of trip that comes with knowingly stringing people along pretending to expert views on things one can not possibly be assured of.
If I don’t know something pretty well it’s pretty clear soon enough that I don’t. I hedge, I “er” and I “hmm”. To my frustration, I’ve found that this does not work very well in the traditional corporate environment. Actually it doesn’t work at all! People, it seems, demand rock solid assurance and the type of conviction that only comes from hallucinogenic and spiritual omniscience.
So when I have found myself listening to an economist or an analyst it’s obvious as mud that they are good, not at forecasting or guesstimating the future, but at telling stories. They are usually so convincing that the content in their message becomes irrelevant. Listeners are easily impressed by presentation skills (ah, that’s why oratory was such a core part of Ancient Greek and Roman curriculum) and I have often heard colleagues say things like “I liked him. He presented very well.” Not what he presented but how.
As I reflect on my working life I see that it’s colleagues who suck up, fit in, palm off other people’s ideas as theirs, fold into the consensus and who speak volubly of views in a cock “sure 100%” manner who do way better than the practical logical guy who won’t factually state an opinion except it can be backed up by a QED.
Walter Isaacson relates in his bio of Steve Jobs a piece of advice given to young Steve by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell: “Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume that you are.” Now without that sleeve of wisdom being imbibed and executed to perfection I may not have been typing this blog today on a MacBook Pro or any computer at all. The wonders of faking it never ceases to amaze and I sure do have a lot to learn about the peculiar earth-born genus called homo.
Fiction is telling the truth
of an alternate universe
An alternate universe is where the stuff
you wished had happened to you
happened to a fictional you
Isn’t that just like daydreaming?
QED Daydreams are portals to alternate universes
Duh! But those are black holes surely
OK. A daydream is a black hole to revisionist reality
… futility, erm … eternity
Isn’t that imagination?
It’s said that honesty is the best policy. Perhaps for one’s conscience but certainly not for living amiably with other people. People can’t deal with truth. Try telling someone who’s ugly the truth or telling your boss your true feelings. Try telling your spouse she doesn’t look good in that dress. Look around you: politicians, religious leaders, celebrities, bankers, business leaders, the media, PR, your HR department etc. A veritable swarm of fibbers. It’s not truth people want but certainty. People want to be told things with conviction and assurance; lies will do just fine as long as it makes them (people) feel better about themselves and their future. Truth spoken with prevarication and reservation is always despised.
Murdoch, the great conjurer. Nothing he says can be taken for reality and nothing he forgets can be ignored. He forgets what everyone else wishes to remember and remembers what no one recalls. Therein lies the secret of our successful captain of industry. Lie pathologically often enough, and sure as full moon follows its half, your own Crucible of Truth is forged, at once astonishing and terrifying in its resplendence. Who could have thought that this former Labour supporter would celebrate a life suborning feckless political leaders, to exploit the self-same workers, vacuous though they are, that he once worked to serve. Yet there he is, all eighty one years, without integrity or dignity claiming ignorance and protesting his innocence. I have no doubt that he will go to his grave with the priest’s cross signed over his grinning face; absolved of all sin. After all, God always forgives provided one repents just before He casts your sinning ass into hell. But on this earth, history won’t be so forgiving to Mr Murdoch. Infamy survives all psychopaths.