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BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity

Amos 09 Jun 04 - 12:28 PM
Amos 09 Jun 04 - 12:34 PM
GUEST 09 Jun 04 - 12:42 PM
Metchosin 09 Jun 04 - 12:50 PM
Once Famous 09 Jun 04 - 12:51 PM
GUEST 09 Jun 04 - 12:55 PM
Amos 09 Jun 04 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,MMario 09 Jun 04 - 01:03 PM
Rapparee 09 Jun 04 - 01:07 PM
Amos 09 Jun 04 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,MMario 09 Jun 04 - 01:43 PM
Amos 09 Jun 04 - 01:48 PM
Stilly River Sage 09 Jun 04 - 02:06 PM
GUEST 09 Jun 04 - 02:28 PM
DougR 09 Jun 04 - 02:47 PM
jacqui.c 09 Jun 04 - 02:50 PM
Wolfgang 09 Jun 04 - 02:51 PM
GUEST,Mcjoven 09 Jun 04 - 03:02 PM
Rapparee 09 Jun 04 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,peedeecee 09 Jun 04 - 04:20 PM
Amos 09 Jun 04 - 04:24 PM
Amos 09 Jun 04 - 04:33 PM
Rapparee 09 Jun 04 - 04:41 PM
Amos 09 Jun 04 - 04:44 PM
GUEST 09 Jun 04 - 04:45 PM
Shanghaiceltic 09 Jun 04 - 07:29 PM
Amos 09 Jun 04 - 08:33 PM
Bobert 09 Jun 04 - 09:05 PM
Teresa 09 Jun 04 - 09:30 PM
GUEST 09 Jun 04 - 11:23 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 10 Jun 04 - 12:23 AM
Bev and Jerry 10 Jun 04 - 01:35 AM
Ellenpoly 10 Jun 04 - 04:14 AM
beardedbruce 10 Jun 04 - 04:22 AM
Pied Piper 10 Jun 04 - 06:32 AM
John MacKenzie 10 Jun 04 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,Nurse Ratched 10 Jun 04 - 09:17 AM
Amos 10 Jun 04 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,John O'Lennaine 10 Jun 04 - 10:22 AM
Amos 10 Jun 04 - 10:25 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 10 Jun 04 - 10:42 AM
Amos 10 Jun 04 - 10:45 AM
Rapparee 10 Jun 04 - 11:41 AM
John MacKenzie 10 Jun 04 - 01:12 PM
Amos 10 Jun 04 - 01:21 PM
GUEST,Larry K 10 Jun 04 - 01:29 PM
John MacKenzie 10 Jun 04 - 02:28 PM
Amos 10 Jun 04 - 02:28 PM
Rapparee 10 Jun 04 - 04:12 PM
Amos 10 Jun 04 - 04:22 PM
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Subject: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 12:28 PM

Everyone knows that while we in the West have re-engineered the face of the world successfully, we have really fallen short in terms of exportable, useable wisdom. Let's face it -- real brains about the human condition and how to address it are nopt our forte outside of the material systems like plumbing, heating, civil engineering, and such.

I think at the bottom there are probably just a handful of core causes -- ideas which have prevented us from reaching a comparable success as human beings to that which we have acheived as matter-mongers and engineers.

I do not know what these core ideas responsible for our Western blind spots are, really. I have found one which I think points the way, and am open to suggestions of others. Here's my first roadsign:

"I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known."
- Walt Disney (1901-1966)


Regards,

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 12:34 PM

Also germane:

"If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?" "
- Will Rogers (1879-1935)

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 12:42 PM

While I would particulary love to blame the mouse - I think your examples are results rather then causes.

Personally I blame the Roman Empire - they settled vast areas of Europe with retired soldiers. And most likely populated other large areas with the illegitimate offspring of garrisons and passing troops.

Seriously though - I suspect the Catholic church - which for hundreds of years seemed to have a policy of "Let Us do the thinking for you"


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Metchosin
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 12:50 PM

The thing is Amos, as a reply to old Will Rogers, our stupidity will probably get us out of it too. Just think of the extreme unholy mess we humans could make of things if we were really better at it than we are. IMO, our salvation is our ineptitude.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Once Famous
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 12:51 PM

Too much junk food.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 12:55 PM

The bible.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 12:57 PM

LOL!!

If we were better at it than we are, we might bring about better order, not denser messes!! :>)

Interesting that in both the case of the Mouse and the Church, human ingenuity has been invested in creating reasons not to think.
That's why I included the Disney quote -- I was pointing to the meme, not at the man. A good totem with which to fend off rather than face is worth more (to Walt, anyway) than the love of a good owman. I find this sad, slightly sick and somewhat indicative of a core human foible.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 01:03 PM

well - I'm pretty sure Walt never met a woman who made him as much money as Mickey did. And from what I have heard about Walt - the bottom line financally was pretty much what was important to him in the long run (with a few exceptions regarding personal power and belittling others- he really wasn't all that pleasant a man)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 01:07 PM

Good ol' Wally Wood explained back in '67 why Walt said what he did.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 01:37 PM

I'd like to re-pose the basic question for this thread: ideas which have prevented us from reaching a comparable success as human beings to our success as manufacturers and builders of physical systems. We can invent toilet bowels and self-monitoring climate control systems. Why can't we invent a way to reliably alleviate depression, resolve homelessness, or pull people out of neurosis? Why do our educational systems tend to promote neurosis instead of alleviate it? Why do we put up with bashers, censors, Grundies, authoritarian jackbooters, bookburners, rednecks and with the promulgation of hate?

What do we need to know to turn this tendency around? Or are we just stuck with it in a miasma of hopeless mediocre lizard-brained quicksand?

Why does the human race and our part of it in particular still produce witless bastards like Bin Laden, Hussein, Rove, Rumsfeld, Bush and Ashcroft?

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 01:43 PM

it has always seemed to me that western culture revolves around profit where Eastern cuulture revolves around spirit


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 01:48 PM

Even the Gurus of yoga acknowledge that the two can be compatible. Well, some of them do, anyway. Profit is not a bad motive as a metric of survival, as long as it is not used as the sole index of success.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 02:06 PM

It's the excess profit that alarms the prophets. And blinds many (but not all) of the holders of all of that loot.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 02:28 PM

We believe the word you all are searching for is "greed". The free enterprise system would work fine without it. When a certain segment of the population just wants more - more power, more money, more stuff or just plain more - problems develop.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: DougR
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 02:47 PM

I don't buy your argument that folks in the West are so lacking in humanitarianism, so greedy that all we worship is the bottom line, so altruistic that all we can think of doing productively is inventing gadgets that make life more comfortable. Maybe in your world people are like that Amos, but not in mine.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: jacqui.c
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 02:50 PM

And that goes for East and West.

Human beings are extremely fallible most of the time and the majority of us have a great deal of self interest built in to the hardwiring - that makes for survival. Technical advances have outstripped any advances that might be taking place in the human spirit - it's like letting kids loose in a toy shop.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Wolfgang
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 02:51 PM

I just think what kind of reception a thread titled
'The Basic Causes of Eastern Stupidity'
would have got in Mudcat.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Mcjoven
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 03:02 PM

Plato, Aristotel, Jesus, and a plethora of other wonderful thinkers who's ideas have been only half understood, twisted, or otherwise hijacked, by people wanting to push the teeming masses around for the last few thousand years. Those are probably a good deal of the prime cause.

As for the east. The culture no more spirtiual then the western culture is. Its just the people in the east understand their own form of spiritually better then they do others whereas we westerners tend to understand others forms of spirituality better then our own. We ask absolutist questions about our spiritual traditions and then instead of seriously seeking a real absolutist answer (a concept most of us have little understanding of, there it is absolutist and non-contirdictory to say: "We defintly have no idea" and "It defintly could go either way as this point"), we assume an answer then ask more questions, get frustrated, and either abandon spirituallity completely or turn to prepackaged salvation, do-it-yourself enlightenment or cafateria spirtuality. We act like nobody has thought about this stuff before. Like every one living in europe before the rennisance had an IQ of ten.

"Why do we put up with bashers, censors, Grundies, authoritarian jackbooters, bookburners, rednecks and with the promulgation of hate?"

Because we are those people! They are our fathers and mothers. Our brothers and sisters. Our little old great aunts who send us over sized green sweaters every chistmas! They are us! ALL OF US! We put up with them becuase if we did not we could not put up with ourselves.

Do you honestly think that the west has no wisdom? We have all the wisdom we could ask for! It's simply that most people around here don't read it, don't hear it, and above all don't understand it when they do.

People are people, everywhere and everywhen. It the most discouraging and encouraging thing I can say.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 03:10 PM

Greed, especially for power, seems to have been the bane of human history and NOT just in the West.

As the sign on my office door says, "All Power Corrupts. Absolute Power Is Kind Of Neat." For me, it's tongue in cheek.

I think that we in the West view the East as some sort of super-spiritual haven, and it isn't. It is different in its thinking and its approach to spirituality, but a comparison of the teachings of Western spiritual leaders and philosophers with those of the East will demonstrate more points of similarity that differences in the basic underpinnings.

It's the people who distort the values to serve their own ends that are the problem. Islam, for instance, teaches that your prisoners are to be treated as you would want to be treated if you were a prisoner -- but Saddam Hussein and Khomenyi certainly ignored that. The problem with studying History is that you can quickly become soured on the human race.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,peedeecee
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 04:20 PM

This is not a rant -- it is a genuine opinion.

I think part of the problem (worldwide, not just in the West) stems from the fact that all power has resided in men. I believe fervently that had men and women worked in tandem, with the values of each held equal, that society would have evolved differently than it has.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 04:24 PM

DougR:

don't buy your argument that folks in the West are so lacking in humanitarianism, so greedy that all we worship is the bottom line, so altruistic that all we can think of doing productively is inventing gadgets that make life more comfortable.

Not my argument at all.

We have a robust engineering timeline with lots of successes. We manage any material problem pretty routinely now.

But we grope in the dark when it comes to understanding and managing problems involving our own spiritual natures; we communicate rather poorly and tend to do really stupid things socially, the invasion of Iraq being one example. Why don't we know how to deal with social problems to a fraction of the extent we know how to engineer matter?
Why do we speak more persuasively to steel and stone than we do to our own species?

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 04:33 PM

Wolfgang:

I really liked your observation. IF Arab nations had risen tobecome the dominant force on the planet, as they had a perfectly realistic chance of doing some time back, would the world be any less doctrinaire, stupid, and neurotic than it is?

I dunno.


McJoven:

If I understand you rightly, you feel that it is inherent human foible to be exactly as corrupt and spotty blind as we are?

But you really have put your finger on something when you say "Them's us"!.

It is not that I think others have not posed these questions. I just think they need to be repeated and I haven't heard a workable answer yet.




A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 04:41 PM

Doggone, Pogo said it best some few years back:

"We have met the enemy, and he is us."

(That "he" is not gender-specific.)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 04:44 PM

Well, fine, but there must be an operational answer of some sort -- one that opens the door to redress? "Change?" HMM.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 04:45 PM

peedeecee: Maggie Thatcher, Golda Maier; Mrs. Ghandi ... warmongers all. Our batting average is a bit on the poor side.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 07:29 PM

Believing we are superior to other cultures? Refusal to accept other ideas?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 08:33 PM

The major single one might be the belief that "them over there" are separated from "us over here" and that "out there" is really separable from "in here".

Might be something we could address, any way.

I have been told there is a passage in the Bhagavad Gita, which translates as "He he holds with the difference between within and without is destined to travel forever from sorrow to sorrow."

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Bobert
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 09:05 PM

"Imagination is more important than knowledge..." (Einstien)

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Teresa
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 09:30 PM

It is easier to be lazy and complacent than to question and wonder at life. Kids teach us to wonder, but since we're adults, we quash that sense in favor of materialism and incuriousness. (is that a word)? :)
Teresa


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 11:23 PM

Interesting discussion. Even though I often share Amos’ disappointment with western cultures, we both know quite well that the difference is really just cultural. Eastern cultures tend to view the individual as an inseperable part of a larger unit—culture, society, species, life, existance. Western cultures on the other hand, tend to view inviduals as separate, unrelated beings who must struggle with each other and their environment to earn or take their “natural” place.

We all know how ephemeral and slippery are concepts like truth, reality, fact, fiction, dream and illusion. We just filter these elusive notions through our own cultural bias.

Our global notion of east and west is just another example of our cultural limitations. The great thinker, teacher and design engineer, R. Bukminster Fuller, designed a new projection (map) of the earth he called the Dymaxion Projection. He projected the spherical surface of the planet onto an icosahedron (20-sided regular solid) to keep distortion to an absolute minimum, then unfolded the icosahedron to demonstrate that the earth's peoples really live on a fairly consolidated land mass (island) surrounded by ocean. The reason we think of east and west is only because of the way early map makers chose to project the earth's surface.

Okay, all together now, everyone sing The Universe Song.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 12:23 AM

Greed hits pretty close to the mark, but greed is only one manifestation of the larger problem of egoism. Greed is egoism expressed in materialistic terms. Powermongering, warmongering, xenophobia, "rugged individualism", "manifest destiny" and rabid religious fundamentalism are some of egoism's other manifestations. Western society has no tradition of ego transcendence - of getting our selves out of the way and acting as if we were truly part of a greater whole instead of the center of all creation. Our western religions may be based upon the teachings of men who understood ego transcendence, but those teachings have been recast in egoistic terms by the teachers' "followers". The idea that "my beliefs are right while your beliefs are evil" is one of the most ego-filled concepts I can imagine. ("God will protect me from flying bullets" is the other.)

Walt Disney's statement, "I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I have ever known," is egoism on multiple levels. First, Mickey Mouse made Disney tons of money. Mickey Mouse was also 100% Disney's creation and, thus, an alter-ego of himself. And, of course, Mickey Mouse allowed Disney to create an empire where he was all-powerful. Nobody's ever going to write a book called "The Tao of Mickey Mouse" because the Mouse is all about ego. There's no manifestation of the Tao in him.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 01:35 AM

All of us human folks use one or another language to express ourselves. We divide up the perceived world into things (nouns) actions (verbs) relationships (prepositions), etc. and give each of these a name, that is, a word in our language. This is very handy for talking to one another.

But, most people in the West believe, consciously or unconsciously, that the real world is actually divided up like that but it's not. Many people in the East know that all of these things are connected and, even though we have separate words for things, they are not actually separate things.

For example, a chair is just a piece of furniture but what would it be if there were no people to sit in it?

Here's a more practical case. Bill Clinton was impeached because he lied under oath. Why did he lie under oath? Because his persecutors forced him into a corner where he either had to lie under oath or confess about Monica. Neither of these choices was very palatable. So, Clinton is a bad guy in Western thought. In Eastern thought, his persecutors are also part of the problem. Without their actions, he's not forced into the dilemma. It's not them versus us. It's all us.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Ellenpoly
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 04:14 AM

It's our species. We were a mistake. We were given a brain that was too big, and no instructions on how to use it correctly...mainly because we can't follow instructions made by other faulty design models of our same species.

If we were written as an experiment on a Cosmic Blackboard, we would have been erased...Instead, the creator left us here and moved on to other planets, perhaps.

So here we be, with our big brains, and too much testosterone which keeps us living, procreating, and fighting each other, often to the death for...well, for reasons our faulty brains devise.


East or West in the end will make no difference. Women will never have enough time to clean up mostly men's messes, and the amount of people to even take the time to try to figure out if we can re-wire our brains will never be more than those who are perfectly content to operate with mixed circuits.

Is there a way out of this mess? Nope. Our faulty brains will eventually figure out enough ways to self-destruct, and we most certainly will.


..xx..e


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: beardedbruce
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 04:22 AM

Inspired by Whether


                Who gives a damn
                about
                Any of us?

                Not God - This place is but a
                        Petri dish,
                                and we -
                                        contamination.
                        Someday, we might
                        be noticed, long
                        enough for a reaction -
                                        sterilization.

                If we escape this culture,
                Drastic Measures
                would be taken:

                        Perhaps a
                        program of         
                                           innoculation.

                Sickness such as ours must be contained,
                        or the general health
                        might be impaired

                From one microbe to another
                        let me say,
                        then,
                        What does it matter?

                Have you no faith in penicillin?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Pied Piper
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 06:32 AM

Do we really think that the institutional racism of the cast system sanctioned by Hinduism, and the Tyrannies of China supported By Daoism are some how more just and reasonably way for Humanity to live.
Western and Eastern stupidity are both down to the fall into Agricultural economics, which imply constant expansion. Once there is no room to expand geographically or economically you get into deep trouble.
This process has been happening on a small scale for millennia, and now it has reached the whole planetary ecosystem.
The Idea that if we all started meditating regularly this problem would go away is dangerously naive.
We have to DO something about it, not sit around listening to the sound of one hand clapping.

Matter and proud of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 09:13 AM

Our intolerence of other peoples way of life. e.g. Our assumption the because we have a democratic system [allegedly] that it is the only way to govern. What we describe as barbaric is mundane, and an everyday occurence in some parts of the world. Why if we find their practices obnoxious do we try to change them? What makes us right and them wrong? It's the same with the people we lock up in psychiatric hospitals, could they be normal, and we mad? It's only because there are more of us than there is of them!
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Nurse Ratched
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 09:17 AM

You got a point there, Giok.

nurse r.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 10:22 AM

I think not, Giok. Some things are entirely opinion. In such affairs there is no way of proof and the index of strength is the quantity of agreement. The guy who musters the least agreement is the one who ends up in the asylum.

But in many other areas there are facts and measurable consequences. Hygeine is a simple example of a cultural practice that we often try to change. What makes "us right" is that the incidence of disease goes down afterwrads.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,John O'Lennaine
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 10:22 AM

I agree with everything Pied Piper said.

Agriculture. Bad move. It turned us into the creatures Ellenpoly described earlier. We no longer belong here. Everything else fits in but humans don't fit in any more. We used to, but we changed.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 10:25 AM

Wow, John, Preetty sweeping condemnation!

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 10:42 AM

Most Westerners don't eat enough fish.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 10:45 AM

I suspect that the key lies in knowing our own natures. It is easy to get so wrapped up in material problems and solutions that you get convinced you are ntohing but a meat hunk making noises. But that way lies the most pathetic existentialist quandary, and it leaves out the far more important side of the equation. The side of individual nature from which knowing, aesthetics, creativity and a sense of right action and ethics come, is too often shut out. Various subcultures develop various ideas to distort it. And too little time gets taken to learn what it is and how it works.

I betcher, anyway...

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 11:41 AM

As I was checking the threads, I ran across the one "Witches At The Bridge" (it's Up Above) and the title, naturally, made me think of the witches in Macbeth. The mental processing made me again think of the bad rep witches had, and then that they represented the temptation that lead to Macbeth's downfall -- the key to his hubris, if you will.

And that led me to realize that we all carry such "witches" within us.

We have the seeds of our own destruction with us, and it's up to us not to let them bloom.


(See? 'Most everything leads back to Ol' Bill.)


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 01:12 PM

Hygiene is a moot point Amos, some Arabs eat with one hand and wipe their arse with the other, some Sub Continental Indians use a Lotil [?], while we use toilet paper. The French among others squat, while the majority of westerners use a WC pedestal. Whose arses are the cleanest, whose posterior health is better?
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 01:21 PM

I wasn't talking about arse-wiping, Giok!! :>) I meant that the germ theory of disease is pretty counter-intuitive and contrary to some cultures, and educating people into it takes a lot of repetition, but it does reduce the mortality rate.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Larry K
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 01:29 PM

The basic causes of western stupidity are that we have the freedom to be stupid and say as many stupid things as we want to without fear that our government will inprison or kill us.    That right to be stupid has never made its way to the rest of the world which is primarily ruled by kings, dictators, and military thugs.

Would the world be better off if the Middle East had control as one person mentioned above.   Not if your a woman, Jew, Catholic, Hindu, Protesant, Athiest, or free thinker.

Western Civilization has also given us the greatest lifesyle, creature comforts, medicine, health systems, and opportunities known to man.   Where else could Willian Hung become a superstar?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 02:28 PM

Well then we keep more people alive on an already overcrowded, over polluted, under resourced planet. There is only one possible end game.
I can see the day when they will be able to insert a gene in an embryo which will predetermine the time of their death. This gene will be expensive. Do you think the poor will live longer then?
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 02:28 PM

A good argument, Larry. The freedom to be stupid is one of those freedoms that is not made explicit, because no-one would dare own up to wanting to preserve it. But it comes as a corrollary, anyway.

My quandary is not new. A generation before mine, W.H. Auden posed similar puzzles. One excerpt:

..."Except for the war till the day he retired
He worked in the factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.


The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to poetry were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health Card shows he was once in a hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Installment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A gramophone, a radio, a car, and a frigidaire.


Our researchers into public opinion are content
That he held the popular opinions for the time of year.
When there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenists say was the right number for a parent of his generation,
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he Happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we certainly should have heard."


W.H. Auden


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 04:12 PM

Aren't we discussing utopias here?

But no utopia -- not the Shakers, not Robert Owen, not Marx, not the Oneida Colony, none -- has had long-term success. No matter how idealistic the founder(s) are, each utopia seems to crash against the rock of "want."

Human needs can be taken supplied. Human wants, on the other hand, can be a sort of illness of the soul. "I want...a better plow, a new wife, an afterlife, to run this operation, lots of material goods" are endemic to every culture. Buddhism deals with "want" by eliminating the desire to "want", but this doesn't seem to touch the root of the problem and it isn't a long-term solution.

And so, each utopia eventually devolves into dystopia....


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 04:22 PM

so, each utopia eventually devolves into dystopia....

A tough and interesting point. What is it about this half-beast, half-angel crittur that every time he turns to make things better and gets two steps forward, he bites his own ass and slides a step back?

Aside from not knowing one's true nature, there is also the factor of being held out of the present moment, by educational duress, trauma, overwhelm by peers, biochemical abuse, guilt, shame or whatEVer. This guarantees you will not be computing about hte present circumstances, but rather adding in a buncha bits of data that may have nothing to do with the present circumstances -- almost the definition of irrationality.

A


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