A decline of reason

I think future historians may yet look at this decade as utterly connected yet hopelessly divided – this is but a charitable description that I would offer for this current age.

Recent events concerning campus policing of speech and political expression, the police arresting people like Matthew Doyle for speaking “offensive” thoughts rather than committing any actual violations of other people’s right to life and liberty, and the media response to the transformation of Microsoft’s “chatbot” Tay from friendly artificial teenage girl to Nazi sexbot, among other phenomenon, have me pretty damned convinced that the Western world is going in a worrisome direction – one that will depart from the flame of intelligence.

With Tay specifically, I have to wonder who thought it was a good idea in the first place. But when I see the Guardian implying that the Tay fiasco justifies censorship, claiming that the internet is full of “the kind of material all genocides feed off” and “awash with anger, stereotypes and prejudice” and denouncing the right to offend as “a culture that sees offensive speech as a source of  amusement”, it just makes me think that certain people spend their miserable lives trawling the ugliest side of the Internet with no regard for the rest of the net. Also, I have to repeat myself, who thought Tay was a good idea anyway? Who thought that a “chatbot” learning AI on Twitter – freaking Twitter! – would be a good idea? The Internet may be full of nasty people, but the problem is not the Internet being uncensored but rather the fact that people are just awful anyway. With Doyle’s arrest, I see nothing more and nothing less than another chapter in the rise of mob mentality, the kind that we saw in the wake of one dentist killing a lion named Cecil. Only now I see that British law enforcement are not simply facilitating mob mentality – in this case at least, they’re actively sustaining themselves with it! I can see the death of justice arriving in a world that endorses mob mentality as justice, because justice is perverted, raped, and sacrificed because the people have deemed mere offensive speech a criminal act. Democracy in action, right?

It’s a disheartening phenomenon that Man tends to march towards group mentality, and now, in a world connected by computers and information, Man is more enamored in said group mentality than ever before –  and also, more enveloped in the foulest poisons of herd mentality. The human race in its current state is the largest herd in the entire animal kingdom, and those who try to exist as individuals or simply contradict that hard may lead difficult lives as the herd punishes them for their dissent but not for committing any actual crimes or violations of the right to life and liberty. In my opinion, this is all fueled by misinformation, ignorance, and a majority decision to not think for oneself, and I believe it can be fueled by much consumption of misinformation that isn’t processed by reason or an individual relationship with the information presented before them.

Be under no illusion: if I am right about this new direction, then this new direction is entirely at the behest of Man itself, rather than the work of shadowy forces seeking to undermine our species. We’re all too familiar with the notion of shady government conspiracies working to dumb down the mind in order to keep it under control. But in my eyes, this is what the people seem to asking for. They now choose weakness, rather than the individual pursuit of strength and balance, and decide that the world must protect their fragile being – having to grow strong on their own would probably kill them! Enlightenment would probably kill them! Man can be weak and ignorant enough as it is, but what we as a species are going through is frankly sickening. We can blame the media, the government, and the world all we like, but in truth the way we are going is Man’s fault. We have the freedom to choose our way, to move towards freedom, but we choose ignorance and the perpetuation of our own weakness instead. And why? Because we aren’t conscious of what freedom means. We aren’t conscientious enough to hold ourselves accountable and responsible, and that’s not good: because it’s only in a world where we are conscientious, accountable, and responsible that liberty can survive. I don’t just mean the government, I mean the people. In a world where we expect the world to protect our own weakness, we lose that conscientiousness, accountability, and responsibility, and with it we will inexorably lose our freedom.

All because Man too often does stupid things, and then when we do them we blow them out of proportion. All because we are somehow convinced that we cannot function as adults with being coddled by a “good shepherd” or by guardians of all that is good. All because we are weak in the face of aggression from those who we clearly have the power to ignore and cry to the world instead of cultivating the strength to keep it together or rise above it, let alone fight back. And in this age we will not succeed in achieving a safe, friendly world. All we will do is either create a sanitized world where there is no liberty, or simply bring malignant and destructive habits upon our world – and we know for a fact that this is not the whole of what Man is capable of doing.

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4 responses to “A decline of reason

  1. I think in terms of all lot that we are presented with, we have to do exactly that thing of ignoring it and carrying on, and speaking out, not as on a soap box to a crowd (which encourages identification as a “crowd”) but as individuals giving our individual point of view, just like anyone, but clearly, and if possible with amused disregard for the absurdities of what we are told we should say, think and feel. In a sense we have all to become satirists, at least in spirit. You are quite right that people bring it upon themselves, either by mimicking the slogans, fears and morality they are fed, or being cowed by it. But laughter is powerful, and powerfully individual. Which isn’t to say we shouldn’t be serious – the erosion of due process in law for specific “moral” crimes, the increase of moral censorship, and the clear creep towards “thought crime” and “giving of offense crime”, “feels crime” (pushed by the likes of SJWs and the “regressive” authoritarian left with its identity politics and its irrational thinking in demographics of entitlement and guilt) are all serious issues. So there needs to be a lot of clear thinking and expressing by individuals. People need to remember that they are individuals, and humour is good at reminding people what that feels like

      • For sure the consequences aren’t funny, but the absurdity and stupidity deserves ridicule. In part this kind of mentality depends upon being treated seriously (though when it involves the police taking action, it really is difficult to laugh, and that is genuinely worrying in the immediate sense). Someone playing the serious rebel can oftne be dismissed as a hysterical bad guy. It becomes relatively easily assimilated, and people write it off as some nutter raving again. Ridicule of what is clearly ridiculous (if people weren’t cowed into accepting it) is more individual, more of a communicable gut response, and people understand that better, while it can be combined with actual observation. People respect individual reaction, as it is direct and honest. Anything that looks like a political analysis, people just switch off. As you said, this stuff comes from people themselves, not from some dark conspiracy, but once they see enough other people not granting it the seriousness it expects, the consensual authority of the idea starts to falter. You can see it happening already with SJWs and their campaigns – people are questioning them, the SJWs are not winning all of their calls for “protection” from criticism, people are realizing that they can laugh at them, ignore them, ingore the ridiculous charges thrown back at them, say what they want, and most ordinary people in the real world will still actually agree with them rather than the SJWs, because nobody really wants to stick around an ideologue. People do get hit, hauled up by the police, but it isn’t always working for the SJWs, and most people recoil at the spectacle. It does need clear expression also, clarity of thought, and matter of fact statement, but whether it can be found funny, or just tragic, it doesn’t deserve the kind of seriousness that it expects. I might laugh bitterly at times, but I am going to laugh 😉

  2. In your relatively recent UK history, how many petty crimes had the sentence of hanging? Torture?

    There has been progress. It is just a slow process. It’s not the sheep that make changes to anything. They could not care any less. So, fuck them. To be free, claim freedom, just like we have done. If they don’t have the balls to do that, then let them rot as slaves. It’s their choice.

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