Friday, August 30, 2013


The other day, I picked up a small item from a store. It was worth $20.04. I went to pay at the register and the guy rang it up for $204.00. I asked him to check. He did and said that is what the register said. No, I asked him, not the register, but the price on the item. He looked at it and then sheepishly he apologized and called the manager. The manager had to undo the sale and redo the right one. And it dawned upon me, how low we have sunk and are still sinking.

I won’t say, as other’s who are politically correct might, Oh he “just” made a mistake. Well that he did, but a colossal one at that. His education!

Forget the niceties, this is serious. We are finding excuses for illiteracy in all the wrong places. We have jargon-ed the education system with dumb-ed down, politically correct nonsense. Today we seem to be searching for the “soul of love” and spend countless hours on a semester that teach us “how to learn.” I mean what in the world is going on?  Does anyone know anything except “pop culture” nowadays? Does Winston Churchill or George Washington, Thomas Jefferson ring a bell? Or is it all about Ben Afflac being Batman? 

The immediacy of such a powered dive into the depths of ignorance is hard to conceive and yet the intellectuals who use “metrics” and “goals” can’t really understand their own metrics well enough to see the depths they have sunk to. Oh, they are tenured professors who have tied themselves to the coattails of others and reached the pinnacle of their careers through elevating nonsense. I wonder how many of these professors would pass the examination that the 8th graders took back in 1895? See here... 

I mean to be unkind, for kindness in elevating stupidity and ignorance makes a mockery of the very essence that made us as a people and as a society great. Alas, that gig is up with the current bunch of “wise men and women.”

How many would opine, when their political nerve is uncharged and dormant, that the U.S. Debt is one of the greatest challenges facing the US today? Not many, I bet. But consider this and I will point your attention to Japan, once the second largest economy in the world garnering 18% of the entire world assets is now the third largest economy with less than 10% command and rapidly declining. And it all happened to them in the wake of the “Lost Decade” when the debt was built up and the population aged from a large workforce to a smaller one and now the disenchanted youth cannot find a job, because there are few of those to go around. Sound familiar? It should! There are indeed evolved lifestyles of the consumers through these past  “decades of plentiful” and will take time to deleverage. But in the meantime, the time-bomb keeps ticking.  By the way at 6% interest to service the Debt, it costs the U.S. $1 Trillion a year or 6.25% of GDP... “And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain.”

Forget Geography. Most people know only the streets they roam, whether in a car or by road. Asking them about the capital of a state or much less the national GDP is likely to invoke a wrinkle and a “You’re kidding, right!”

“The most unkindest cut of all” is in medicine, where there is another orphaned scenario in science through the arbitrariness of numbers. Seems to me that when the data-warehousing started and analytics became the vogue, everyone decided that epidemiology and public health is the way to solve the healthcare problem. Some even say, restrict food availability. Okay, then what? Unfortunately we cannot vaccinate our way to perfect health. All the medical intelligentsia, it seems, are enamored by the sights and sounds of the graphic/tables displays created from this data in the prestigious medical journals that fill their pages with (here it comes) junk (there I said it), massaged by the politics of correctness, the artifice of probability, the love of all things Bayesian and the lack of understanding of any of them. Amazing, how far we have come! Just amazing!

But through it all, a spark still exists and there are a few very young, who think for themselves. These few are being challenged in their quest to succeed by the warlords of mediocrity. Upon us lies the great and turbulent dark cloud of discontent that does not seem to want an outlier intellectual. Everyone of these sabre-rattlers believe, that all should be equal, “Really?” Upon the shoulders of these few wise and hardworking youth lies the future for all as yet unborn. 
We must allow them to prosper. 
We must allow them to live out their dreams. 
We simply must!

My impression, like others, has always been that diversity is good, not just the color of the skin but the content of the brain. That content is what makes the world better. It is not only in the “Art” in Art, or the “Science” in Science, but the philosophy, the humanities, the unbound and unvarnished subjects that deal with life and its many complexities, it is in those truths that life is meant to be lived and encouraged to the fullest potential. Life is not meant to be patted on the back with “that’s good, real good,” when it is real bad. Not excused to "prevent" the fragile break of a psyche. For an untested and always protected life, against the rigors of living, will forever look for protection against the rain and become defenseless once the storms hit. It is in the constant challenge, which strengthens the resolve that makes us better. Contrary to the Borg, “Failure is the right option!” Failure defines the success of the future. A fragile defenseless being is just that, a constant failure. (Now don’t get your hide up, napkins in a bunch and climb the pulpit as the “great supporter of the defenseless” for you would be committing the same sin of subjugating these formative minds into defenselessness). Nassim Taleb gives a wonderful account of how to become Antifragile, in his book "Antifragile". Essentially field the small losses yourself and by doing so that will make you strong. 

Interestingly I read a notice posted by the seashore, “Please do not feed the birds, it prevents them from foraging on their own and will hurt the species.” Go figure that one out! If it is good for the Geese, then it must be good also for the humans too. No?

The intellectual  recession, it seems, has a firm grasp on the youth today. When no child is being left behind to suffer the indignities of failure and all “well-meaning” educators have  learnt that herding the masses into a sea of mediocrity where everyone is just a bobbing head of similar size will earn them kudos from the powerful an mighty, critical thinking, reason and understanding are being damned.

Rant over!

But please do give a Damn!!!

"I must be cruel only to be kind. Thus bad begins and worse remains behind."  ~Shakespeare

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