Saturday, 18 October 2014

What is really important?

One of the elements of information collection is filtering, and knowing what in the news and life really matters and what can be passed over or is just one group's preference over another. I learnt this as a gradual process until the formula became clear. Much is fact based, so if for example a nuclear reactor melts down the results are generally incurable and untreatable, and using no more than logic the question then arises is the risk of a guaranteed disaster if it goes wrong worth the risk?

If you start with some really clear examples you can then take them to other issues which aren't as clear but can be fathomed out in the same way. A good way to start is to listen to the news and see which stories jump out at you and then why they did. I find most people tend to treat all stories equally besides a few hobby horses which are important to them. Few seem to notice just one that stands out as representing something vital, a major change or problem which changes the way things are. In fact that makes it a lot easier, as my default position is most news is space filling gossip, rather than reduce the length of the news when nothing much has happened they always fill the time with something, even when the quality is virtually zero. Like the local papers with a certain number of pages which have to be filled each week, and resort to the resident who spent a year counting the dropped crisp packets in his street, the same sort of irrelevant trivia actually dominates the news. Tiny changes and events, opinion pieces, and possibly worst of all random surveys, how many women think of past lovers when climaxing with their husbands or does your dog understand Welsh. You know the sort of thing. But to me most news is of a similar level even when they're talking about riots abroad or the endless reports of heinous crimes which have happened at least as long as when Cain killed Abel.

So in a way my radar was set up by pinging into action when something stood out as not being ordinary or meaningless and as well as the news applied this to political and philosophical questions, until a complete picture was created to show the important areas and ideally convey this to as many people as possible so they would also know the difference. Risking radiation poisoning when we have many safer methods of power generation is one example, nuclear weapons its elder brother who will come and beat you up if you mess with it. If you think about the concept of deliberately poisoning the environment with centuries or more of radiation, as it spreads in the air and water, to win a war is true inhuman madness of the worst sort, the same mindset that created chemical and biological weapons. Why would anyone actually want to do that to anyone?

Black and white issues are another biggie. Female genital mutilation, not removing the useless and inconvenient foreskin of the man but simply slicing whichever parts they feel like and sewing up the rest so it's never going to work again. There are no reasons for such pure savagery yet millions of people do it around the world quite legally or unenforced if not, otherwise it wouldn't have carried on for so long. When the British colonised India they killed widows on the husband's funeral pyre and we managed to stop that, for the same reasons, and unfortunately humans do have blind spots where they act like savages even when in relatively modern societies, like the current ISIS beheadings, and must be stopped at all costs by those who know it is wrong. Moral relativism, excusing serious crimes 'because everyone there does it' does not work, and is actually aiding and abetting the transgressors. It is rather different allowing a Sikh to wear a turban instead of a crash helmet or campaigning to allow Rastafarians to smoke dope legally and allowing Africans to mutilate their babies.

I hope with more and more examples a larger formula emerges. Right and wrong, good and bad, important and everyday, all need discretion and discrimination to learn and once learned will be set for life, and able to then go and teach others. Another example is the exposure of fraud or crime, where if someone in power has openly committed an act which comes within this area it must then surely represent their entire operation. So when I learned 60-70% of people are net savers, so low interest rates are against the majority so clearly supporting their banker friends and relations, and that governments learn at over 50% income tax the total amount collected falls, as people go abroad, work less and cheat their returns, and if like France they still do it you know they are doing something purely to punish their perceived enemies. And it means they aren't looking after you or me but other people who are in the minority.

Once you master sorting out the important from the trivial or irrelevant you can then start to put it all together in a big picture. One theme is utilitarianism, if a rule helps a few at the expense of many, like low interest rates or high taxes, it must be wrong. If people are hurt it is wrong, something you'd think was obvious but tell it to the doctors slicing bits off little girls all around the world, breaking every natural and professional rule in the universe. They don't know or care what is right or wrong so it's up for those who do to stop them. Each new item can be put through the same process- is it an opinion or choice, like how many foreigners would you like living in your area, something with no correct answer, or how many people would you like in your area, which has a correct answer as like rats, people will start suffering when too crowded together. So the nature of your neighbours can't be used as an absolute as it's an individual preference, but no one should be forced to live in high density, with people arriving too fast for the services to catch up. Foreigners not speaking your language is a problem, especially when they are working for people who do or in school, so is clearly an issue the Israelis for one will not allow, making everyone learn Hebrew before given residence. There are endless issues that can be put through the system, for practice just take as many as you can find and run them yourselves, and will start to find the process becoming easier and easier. Is it important and is it wrong. Those are the two major questions and we all have the capacity to answer.

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