Sunday, February 25, 2007

Civilization Now

"Two things are infinite: The universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe." ~ Albert Einstein

Well some groups of people are smarter. Different environments challenge people in different ways. Perhaps harsh environments may require greater intelligence to survive. Once the dumber members are out, there should be a higher intelligence for the group.

Animals don’t really get any smarter though. Perhaps they lack the brain. Killer whales have brains seven times human size. So we have to conclude that bigger brains alone are not enough.

Back then, people lived in small groups in the nearby jungle, scratching larvae out of tree trunks, rather than living in air-conditioned buildings in KL and earning a living by selling bonds to fund managers.

Those days before time, things made sense in a different way. A man could see his enemies, and he knew what would happen if he didn’t fight them. He would stand and fight to the death if defend his tribe, his family, and his little clan.

When the scale and sophistication of human civilization increased, man found himself in a situation for which his brain was not prepared. He no longer had the precise, specific, and direct information he needed.

Today, the average man can barely tell the difference between a fact and a campaign. And so the new knowledge leads him into error. Modern politics turns a voter into a dumb.

Politics and modernization make monkeys of us all. We’re not equipped to deal with them. Things are getting too complicated. Too complicated that we stop thinking. Too complicated that we tend to rely on abstractions. Abstractions are complicated art made easy. Abtractions are made by the elite in the forms of slogans.

In the end, we are bound to make mess of things. Worse, we don’t even realize ourselves what kind of mess we are creating. In many ways, we are defenseless.