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BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity

McGrath of Harlow 10 Jun 04 - 07:57 PM
GUEST,Navigating Homeward 10 Jun 04 - 08:48 PM
Rapparee 10 Jun 04 - 09:01 PM
Kim C 10 Jun 04 - 09:12 PM
Teresa 10 Jun 04 - 09:23 PM
Amos 10 Jun 04 - 09:24 PM
dianavan 11 Jun 04 - 01:22 AM
Wolfgang 11 Jun 04 - 07:42 AM
Rapparee 11 Jun 04 - 08:44 AM
Amos 11 Jun 04 - 08:56 AM
Pied Piper 11 Jun 04 - 09:40 AM
John MacKenzie 11 Jun 04 - 09:47 AM
Amos 11 Jun 04 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Navigating Homeward 11 Jun 04 - 12:17 PM
Amos 11 Jun 04 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,Donald Trump 11 Jun 04 - 02:19 PM
Amos 11 Jun 04 - 02:49 PM
John MacKenzie 11 Jun 04 - 02:53 PM
GUEST, Donald Trump 11 Jun 04 - 03:23 PM
Rapparee 11 Jun 04 - 03:45 PM
GUEST, Donald Trump 11 Jun 04 - 03:56 PM
John MacKenzie 11 Jun 04 - 04:06 PM
GUEST, Donald Trump 11 Jun 04 - 04:22 PM
Rapparee 11 Jun 04 - 04:22 PM
Amos 11 Jun 04 - 04:32 PM
GUEST 11 Jun 04 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,Casual Observer 11 Jun 04 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,Ta-da! 11 Jun 04 - 04:47 PM
Amos 11 Jun 04 - 04:58 PM
Rapparee 11 Jun 04 - 05:23 PM
Amos 11 Jun 04 - 05:31 PM
GUEST 11 Jun 04 - 06:07 PM
Peace 11 Jun 04 - 07:08 PM
Amos 11 Jun 04 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,Uh-huh. 11 Jun 04 - 07:17 PM
Amos 11 Jun 04 - 07:34 PM
dianavan 11 Jun 04 - 07:52 PM
Little Hawk 11 Jun 04 - 08:52 PM
Rapparee 12 Jun 04 - 09:39 AM
Little Hawk 12 Jun 04 - 11:08 AM
Amos 12 Jun 04 - 11:45 AM
dianavan 12 Jun 04 - 12:57 PM
Amos 12 Jun 04 - 01:04 PM
Little Hawk 12 Jun 04 - 01:17 PM
John MacKenzie 12 Jun 04 - 01:45 PM
Amos 12 Jun 04 - 01:48 PM
Little Hawk 12 Jun 04 - 02:15 PM
Amos 12 Jun 04 - 02:31 PM
Little Hawk 12 Jun 04 - 04:24 PM
GUEST,William Shatner 12 Jun 04 - 04:29 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 07:57 PM

There's an infinite number of ways human beings can be stupid, and societies go to hell. Paying attention to one set of ways doesn't actually imply that there aren't others as bad.

And why is this particular malaise of ours "Western" - I'd have thought "Northern" is actually a more accurate label. North European, North American, North Asian.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Navigating Homeward
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 08:48 PM

Giok...to answer your question (and I'm not sure if you were being serious or satirical in asking it):

"Whose arses are the cleanest, whose posterior health is better?"

Answer: Those whose arses are the cleanest are those who WASH the area with soap and water after defecation. That includes most Muslims, Hindus, Sihks and those other "foreign" people that you seem (I think) to be disparaging for their "hands on" approach to anal cleanliness. They also wash the involved hand quite thoroughly afterward...with soap and water. This method can be used in addition to toilet paper or entirely without toilet paper, and it works very well and results in a far cleaner "arse" and an equally clean hand as what the westerner enjoys using only toilet paper...but I guess if you're too afraid of your very own arse and your very own dung to touch it with your very own hand, then you've really got a problem with employing such methods, right? A bit squeamish? (grin) You know what I say to those with such a problem? Tough shit! Your ideas of real bodily cleanliness are a bit out of touch with reality.

As for posterior health (and leg and abdominal health) those who squat are definitely healthier than those who merely sit. Squatting assists considerably in accomplishing the objective and helps engage the whole muscular system effectively in elimination. Observe animals. They squat. Nature is a great teacher.


Some causes of western stupidity?

the Judeo-Christian religious heritage

the notion that mankind is separate from and superior to Nature

the notion that life is basically just about making money

the notion that "life is hard and then you die"

the notion that life is only about material rewards

the heritage of ruthless and aggressive power-seeking and hierarchy established by the Roman Empire and the Christian churches

the barrage of commercial marketing that deludes people and distracts them from actual life

the transformation of once informative news into manipulative entertainment and propaganda

the dividing and conquering of the public by political parties and other special interests for the purposes of gaining and consolidating power in the hands of a few

the idea of original sin and the guilt that it engenders

the lack of respect for humanity, Nature, and life in general

the idea that there is no God and no spiritual reason for anything

(You notice that there are mutually exclusive and quite contradictory motivations and philosophies involved together in misleading and corrupting world civilization at this time? Cynical materialists and fanatical religious fundamentalists are equally adept at destroying Nature and encouraging ignorance...despite the fact that they appear to be irrevocably opposed to one another!)

Destructiveness is happy to wear contradictory masks, and may believe itself even to be a saviour while it is doing so.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 09:01 PM

And doesn't most, if not all, of those reasons come down in the end to greed? Greed for power, greed for material things beyond what is actual need? In short, "want" rather than "need"?

Greed turns people materially inward so that they satisfy only themselves, and this will ultimately consume them. There have been, and are, the wealthy who do Good with their wealth. Unfortunately, they seem to be few and far between.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Kim C
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 09:12 PM

The more I read of Eastern philosophy, the more I believe that Westerners are unmindful and impatient. I think sitcoms have a lot to do with this.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Teresa
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 09:23 PM

GUEST,Navigating Homeward:

Hear hear ... what you said!
Teresa


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 09:24 PM

NavHome:

Oh, an excellent list, indeed. In all of these there is some kind of imbalance in the distribution of attention to the different spheres of life -- the individual, family, town, state, species and so on. Usually a lot of #1 at the expense of balance and well being in the others. It may well be born in greed, but it requires as well a certain careful blindness, an unwillingness to view what one is actually doing. Without deliberate ignoral as a mechanism, if one were required rto see plainly what the ramifications of each step he takes are, we would see a more conscientious and less aggressive series of interactions.

The usual excuse is that the center feels threated, and this "it's me or them" attitude -- with the necessary dividing line being drawn -- is often used as justification for taking the "Other" down, or out. Curious how ready we are to withdraw and subdivide ourselves from our societies and species.

I think this "divide, separate and differentiate" impulse is interesting and one of the essential pieces of human stupidness.

McGrath: my reason for using the term "Western stupidity" is because the West is so successful at so many other areas of endeavour that it is obvious our gaffes and blunders are not due to pure dull-wittedness. It may be more common to the Norhtern than the Western hemisphere, as you say, but the expression is in common circulation.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: dianavan
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 01:22 AM

This is certainly a big topic and requires more than a little bit of thinking. I agree with all of what NavHome said and agree that it might all come down to greed or the difference between what is needed and what is wanted. I also think that it has alot to do with the strong emphasis on individualism and competition.

A few years ago I decided to teach co-operative learning. I was amazed at the results. Although everyone had a specific role, nobody was the leader and everyone had to contribute. Too hard to explain the methods but what I discovered was that everyone was a winner when competition was eliminated. Everyone learned from each other in what can best be described as an emotionally safe environment.

I still use these methods but have returned to a more conservative method of instruction because of parental concerns. They were afraid that their 7 year olds would not be able to compete in the larger world!

I think thats because our world's resources seem to be finite, fear and competition motivate most people to abandon their natural affinity to share. Ignorance leads to fear and fear leads to pain.

The other thing I noticed is that today, most people are racing toward the future at such a frantic pace, they do not take the time to reflect on their own behaviour.

The notion of original sin is also devastating. Why would anyone try to be righteous when they have been told that they were born as sinners? ...or that its natural to sin but that you just have to confess so that you can go out and sin again and confess...

Effective problem solving is another part of the elementary education here in B.C. It requires logic and reason.

So - we're in big trouble, folks and not just here in the West.

I think its time to concentrate on respect for others, co-operation, and effective problem solving with a big heap of compromise. It probably gets down to practicing this in our own lives first and insisting that our children be educated accordingly.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Wolfgang
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 07:42 AM

We once had a strong movement in Germany propagating spirituality instead of personal greed, connectedness with something greater than the single person instead of egoism, finding the way back to our roots instead of modern soulless intellecutality, loving earth and manual labour more than artificial products and thinking. The words were different of course, for instance 'Mother Earth' was 'blood and soil'.

The words with positive connotations in this thread have been abused as least as often as the words with at the first glance negative connotations.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 08:44 AM

Yes, indeed, Wolfgang. Yes indeed. That movement sold hate to its followers.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 08:56 AM

One might think, if individual consciousness were un-fogged and awareness were a practice instead of an accident, that sit-coms might never have been developed. Charming conceit! :>)

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Pied Piper
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 09:40 AM

Hold on a bit folks, Human economic/social systems have never been "perfect" whatever that means, but the modern agricultural systems have population increase, intensification of production, and ecological collapse built in to them. Farming grows people that must move on to plunder new areas of the biosphere or face starvation.
This is a relatively modern (10,000 years or so) process that has reached its inevitable conclusion.
Modern Human beings have existed for around 150,000 years, over 90% of the time not living as agriculturalists.
Of cause hunting and gathering eco/social systems, are not "perfect", but they are generally (though not always) much more egalitarian, and require al lot less labour to get enough (and better quality) food to live, from a home range they exploit sustainabley.

Humans cannot easily return to this way of life (certainly not with the present population) but we can regain some of the insight of modern hunter-gatherers and try to live the only way possible, in harmony with the natural world of which we are a part.
The larger the population the more difficult sustainability is to achieve, so the most pressing need is the reduction of the population.
The favoured Human method in both H/G and AG economies is female infanticide, fortunately we now have effective and cheap conception and can reduce the population less brutally.
The Ecological crunch is coming in the next 100 years, if not sooner, so action must be taken now, and agriculture re-thought along sustainable lines.

Here endeth the first lesson

Amen


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 09:47 AM

NavHome I was by no means disparaging the 'hands on' peoples of this world. I myself adhere to the soap and water + tissue brigade, and much prefer the hole in the ground to the dirty seat. One thing I did discover early on about the squat system is to either roll up your trousers, or tuck them in your socks before lowering trousers. ;~)
Seriously though I still think it is our failure to walk a mile in the other persons shoes, that makes us stupid. That and the assumption that we are right, and they are wrong. There is more than one valid value system in this world.
Giok


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

... fortunately we now have effective and cheap conception and can reduce the population less brutally.

As far as I know, cheap and effectiver conception has always been with us and is part of the problem. At least, it was when I was eighteen!! :>))

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Navigating Homeward
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 12:17 PM

I guess he meant "contraception", Amos. (grin)

Good stuff, Giok. I actually wasn't quite sure what you were driving at in your orginal post. Yes, I think prejudice is usually due simply to ignorance. If one gets the chance to become familiar with a different lifestyle and see where the people are coming from, one usually gets to like them and the prejudices vanish. When people are ignorant of something they tend to make all sorts of bizarre and mistaken assumptions about the "other" and they also tend to fear that other on some level. Irresponsible political regimes use that fear to motivate people to go to war against those they perceive as different from themselves. If they actually knew those people better they would probably not be nearly so willing to go out and kill them. They might even grow to love them.

Pied Piper - Well said.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 02:10 PM

The recurring theme hinges around creating a division -- an artificial one, apparently -- between the zone we conceive of as ourselves, and that we conceive of us Another. By insisting on this separation we can then define anything outside the boundary as Wrong, and we can justify being ignorant of it because it isn't Us.

Why we do this? Harder question. Lizard brain domination impulses? Terror of being wrong? Old trauma misinforming new moments? Borrowed insanity from others? All of these to some degree, I guess. Maybe the real core element is summed up as fear. Without fear, greed tends to settle down. Without fear, one negages with confidence and is willing to sahre differing viewpoints and take on new beliefs or explore them without shaking in one's boots because they might be different.

How to overcome fear? Educational exploration, enhancement of self-esteem, and gradually removing any actual causes for fear (murderous impulses and those who promote them.)

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Donald Trump
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 02:19 PM

Amos, if you ever stepped into a boardroom with those sentiments I'd eat you alive. I am not fearful -- aquisition (greed) is man's aspiration.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 02:49 PM

Donald:

You're fearful enough to hide under an assumed name, evidently. And your fear was well-established long before you found your way into a boardroom, I imagine. Your vision of man's nature is revelatory, though. But it is a projection.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 02:53 PM

Donald, I've seen the woman you married,that was some aquisition! So as far as taste is concerned, we know you haven't got any!
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST, Donald Trump
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 03:23 PM

Yes, Amos you're right again. That must be, what, over a million times. Still... I'm rich, you're not. Giok, bring out your wife and let's trash her.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 03:45 PM

Donald, I've seen your yacht and find it to be a perfect reflection of your taste. I don't own a boat; I find it more economical to rent one when I want to go about on the water. That way I don't have to pay the costs of taxes, upkeep, crew, and so on. And THAT sentiment is quite acceptable in the boardroom.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST, Donald Trump
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 03:56 PM

Not in my boardroom. You're fired!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:06 PM

As far as my ex-wife is concerned [know what I mean?] I'm afraid someone beaten you to it. Then again I suppose that's what Ivana whispered in your ear on your honeymoon.
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST, Donald Trump
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:22 PM

If you want to know what she whispered, you sicko, send a check for $1000 and I'll let you know. Is still have some of her panties ... I bet you'd like to get those. How much you offering?


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:22 PM

Donny boy, if you fire someone who is saving money you don't deserve to have any.

YOU'RE fired.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:32 PM

And, BTW, thanks for your constructive influence on what was an interesting discussion. Perhaps you should have listened to her regarding social skills.

This brings up an interesting point about delusion as a contributing factor. I am not talking about hopeful vision or seeing what might be. I am talking about the kind of delusion that manifests when the individual finds the existing construction around him too painful to face up to. You could call it the Mitty syndrome, I guess. Anyway, maybe that's one of the Mickey Mouse factors behind what we are calling, loosely, Western stupidity. The thrashing and posturing and arrogance which comes from subscribing to delusory movies about one's own existence (as with the imaginary Donald up thread).

Freud once said that he was growing accustomed to the idea that every conversation involved four people. But he was talking about four real people, two participants representing their two parents each. When you add this other factor of delusion in, every conversation runs the risk of involving scores of unreal characters and scripts, making it really tricky to maintain a conversation on a common reality!

Just a thought. :>)


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:34 PM

Fool. I write off all those expenses--including the price of the yatch--and taxpayers (you) pay them. I was right to fire you.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Casual Observer
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:45 PM

I don't believe Westerners necessarily have a corner on the stupidity market. Stupidity and ignorance are inherent in human nature anywhere you go.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Ta-da!
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:47 PM

And we have a winner!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:58 PM

CO, that's an easy answer. But they have been plenty smart, as mentioned above, at solving certain kinds of problems. Just not other kinds. Maybe the problem is they ar enever taught to pose problems other than material...

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 05:23 PM

Mayhap we either don't ask the right questions or we are incapable of listening to the answers when we do? Or both?

But I don't think that this is endemic to Western culture alone. The history of China and Japan are replete with examples; heck, their contemporary cultures are!


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 05:31 PM

we are incapable of listening to the answers

The possibility really intrigues me that we become so habituated to the body that we mostly listen only to force-level, body-frequency solutions, like how to plough or plumb or bury or roof. Maybe the minute we look for social inventions and have to start using other frequencies -- the ones on which, say, justice, aesthetics, or virtue become perceivable -- the body kicks up such a fuss that we mostly fold and retreat back to hamburgerville.

Maybe that's why the Constitutional Convention was such a miracle -- a bunch of guys able and willing to focus on such an intricate web of decisions and dependencies and get it right!! As social engineering goes, that document is on a par with the Great Pyramids or the New York subway system.

Whatcha think?

A
A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 06:07 PM

American-centric ideology. No wonder no one likes you. Your 'perfect document' is the cause of misery for millions.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Peace
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 07:08 PM

I disagree with GUEST. The American Constitution is one of the greater documents in human history. It is a statement of intent, and as such is more than worthy of serious contemplation.

Stupidity is not the domain of any race or gender, political group or religious group. Much of what constitutes stupidity is the action we take in the name of expedience. And sometimes, we are too shortsighted to envision where things will lead.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 07:11 PM

Oh, horse-fruit, sailor. To quote the esteemed Rapaire:

From: Rapaire
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 06:18 PM

Ah, Guest, if folks don't like us, why do people emigrate here? And why do you hang around?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,Uh-huh.
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 07:17 PM

Well, it's nice that one of the terminally stupid stopped in to give us his view.

Donald, you are not rich. You are living in the most abject poverty. Your fear is so deeply buried from your own conscious recognition that you would need an offshore drilling rig to unearth it. Your state is most pitiable and it will come to an end when you die, and all your expensive stuff will be left behind.

Donald, you have failed completely to impress anyone...except those who are as fearful as you, and they hate and envy you. No one with real self-love would want to work for you. The game you play is pointless. You will never fill your emptiness. You are a mouth that never stops sucking life out of the world and burying it in an empty, meaningless void of ego.

Life will swallow you, Donald, and you will then be gone. Sooner than you think. Life will go on joyfully and not miss you very much at all.

Now, run out and make a few more unneeded millions, and tell yourself you're "winning" the game. Believe that lie. Avoid the ugly truth by keeping busy. Keep on running. Life is on your heels, Donald, and it will catch you and dispose of you just like it does with an old piece of dry grass.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 07:34 PM

It is fascinating how half of the comments on this thread are so off-the-wall and fictitious. Whassup wit dat? Anyway, I am grateful to all of you for at least taking a shot at discussing the question. I know stupidity is not limited to the West. The contrast is that Western ingenuity and initiative has done so many successful thigs that it seems contradictory, or at least anomalous, that it generates at the same time the kind of arrogant, overweening thickheadedness that started, for example, the Missionary Movement and the Temperance Union; not to mention the present political mess. Hard to believe it is the same species, and even harder to believe it is the same culture, broadly speaking.

Frequent mention has been made here of the impact of arrogance and the belief in "superiority" over others. This of course was the great justification for the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, and combined with the most lop-sided and one-eyed sort of deism, the Crusades, the invasion of the Phillippines, I suppose many other instances of cultural arrogance. To assert you are right and others are wrong means of course that you have to divide yourself away from them, energetically denying any commonality. Of all the mechanisms used by humans to act out aberration on the world stage I think this obsessive separatism is the most responsible for human misery and stupidness. My opinion.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: dianavan
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 07:52 PM

The American Constitution is brilliant. I may not like the present, American administration or, for that matter, the mindless Americans who voted for Bush but... I still love the constitution. Now if we can get Bush to stop trying to change it.

Another thing that is undermining the U.S. is their idea of co-operation. They seem to think that co-operation means everyone has to co-operate with them. They don't seem to understand that co-operation is a two way street.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 08:52 PM

"They seem to think that co-operation means everyone has to co-operate with them."

Yep, that's exactly what they think. :-) It's what all aggressive empires think.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 09:39 AM

I had a history prof who said that the causes of war can be traced to nationalism, socialism, and racism (he was a Democrat-converted-to Republican). He was also a priest. I asked him about religion. He replied that religious fanaticism was a form of nationalism. He further explicated his beliefs by saying that his "Big Three" could all be traced to much of humanity's overwhelming need to believe that "I'm better than you."

Our discussion (which was over beers) then moved into a discussion of Buber's I-Thou relationship between peoples and nations.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 11:08 AM

You could equally well suggest that the causes of war can be traced to nationalism, mercantilism, and racism. :-)

Or how about just plain prejudice, greed, fear, and zenophobia?

These people who regard socialism as some sort of satanic bogeyman amuse me...and seriously worry me. Their own capitalist societies could not possibly function without a great deal of socialism already in place, but they don't seem to realize that. Can't see the forest for the trees, I guess...

They are, like Don Quixote, attacking windmills, and thinking they are giants.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 11:45 AM

LH:

I submit that they are right for the wrong reasons...that is, what they complain about as socialism is not per se the problem, but they are complaining about something that is in fact insidious and corrupting -- namely, enforced group mentality. Socialism is an economic reflection of enforced group thinking, and it seems to improve some things in some ways but when allowed to run rampant it suffocates the incentive for individual excellence. That is not to say that it does not exist in some aspects of capitalist societies. For one thing, I think there are some aspects of society that can only be managed centrally if they are to be managed well.

But I would add to the list very, very carefully if I were a governor. Socialist structures (and federalist institutions) create the apparency that the individual is communicating with an overwhelming generalization -- the People.   This is a very depressing perspective, and destructive to the spirit of the individual.

A.


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

Amos - I agree that socialism can, if allowed to run rampant, suffocate the incentive for the individual but I also believe that when it comes to health, education and welfare, it insures stability and equal opportunity. Which aspects of society do you think should be governed by socialist ideals?

I also think that socialism might work well given the opportunity, just like democracy might work well if given the opportunity. Lets face it, corruption and greed always seem to invade when the ideal becomes political reality. I wish someone would come up with a workable balance. I also wish that when politicians lie, cheat and steal they would face harsh courts of law and not merely lose their jobs.


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

Education? Why should that be socialized? Why not at least limit it to the individual district, as is now done. I think it would be an interesting experiment to see what would happen if it were totally privatized. It looks like fair game for socialization because there is a common vocabulary that all students must learn. In addition to this, though, there is a very insidious commonality of thought which percolates through a socialized education system, which can be manipulated much to the detriment of the scholars.

THe idea of learning being managed by the lowest common denominator is pretty awful, if you ask me. And that tends to happen in socialized systems where there is little or no incentive for excellence.

I think we are better off somehow organizing around individual excellence. To some degree private charities do this. I don't have any quick and easy answers,. but I would sure be careful about organizing principles.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 01:17 PM

Enforced group mentality is about as common under capitalism as it is under socialism...but it's much more subtle under capitalism. It is achieved mainly by marketing, advertising, and mass media. People go out and buy what they are told to buy by the mass marketers. They do what they are told to do. They vote for whom they are told to vote for. He who controls the media effectively controls the actions and thoughts of most of the people most of the time.

I call that enforced group mentality...achieved through clever and incessant marketing. Remember Vance Packard's "The Hidden Persuaders"?

Big Capitalist Brother is in charge most of the time, Amos...over most of the people.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 01:45 PM

Socialism is the ideal form of government, read Moore's Utopia. What the US government in particular, and other western governments in general have a phobia about is what they wrongly call communism. Communism is an idealised way of life, and came nearest fruition in modern times in the Kibbutz system in Israel. What MacArthy [Sp] and successive governments have been fighting is Stalinism, and Marxism, neither of which has much to do with "Communism" per se.
The old saw about 'Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely' is more apposite in the context of "Western stupidity"
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 01:48 PM

IT has been my experience that strong-minded individualists do not listen very much to those who would like to tell them what to think. I for one would be far more in favor of a political system that stressed individual thought, individual choice, and individual excellence.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 02:15 PM

Right on, Giok. Good summation.

Yeah, Amos, but most people are conformists by nature. And even "rugged individualism" can be mass marketed! :-) Remember Virginia Slims cigarettes..."you've come a long way, baby"? They were marketing rugged modern female individualism and supposed feminist liberation while addicting women to tobacco.

I must be one of the world's great nonconformists, I suppose, because I almost always bucked the popular trends.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 02:31 PM

I never smoked 'em, LH, and neither did those I thought of as strong minded individualist women. IF they did, it was scarcely because of that stupid slogan! :>)

So marketing is clever and insidious. Marketing is not the same as the political system.

I don't think marketing per se is a cause of stupidity although it may exaggerate it by taking advantage of it and focusing on it.

As for socialism being an ideal system of gummint, wal, I'll pass.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 04:24 PM

I think marketing, aggressive and all-pervasive marketing, is THE number 1 cause of waste and stupidity in North America, Amos...and it's busy extending its insane grasp over the rest of the World by every means possible.

As for socialism, it's merely a necessary part of any functioning modern society, not a panacea. I think the healthiest societies are probably about a 50/50 mix of socialism and private enterprise, in fact. To have all of one or all of the other is a very bad idea. The middle way is best (as we know if we study the Tao).

There is no ideal form of government, but there is an ideal manner of practicing government...that is, with openness, honesty, and a genuine will and intention to serve all the people in the best way possible. Again, that is touched on in Taoism in the tales of the Yellow Emperor who saw himself as a servant unto the nation and presided over a very harmonious, peaceful, and prosperous period in the history of ancient China.


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Subject: RE: BS: The Basic Causes of Western Stupidity
From: GUEST,William Shatner
Date: 12 Jun 04 - 04:29 PM

100 glorious posts! Ha! Beam me up, Mr Scott.


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