We all laugh when we read studies saying that most people rate themselves as above average in some category. Intelligence, thoughtfulness, honesty, and driving.

Driving home this morning I realized something. Most people *are*  good drivers. Maybe not super-courteous, or following speed limits, but they do stay in their lanes, they don’t cut out in front of you (except the twerp who did that to me last fall, drat her), and they stop at stop signs.

Think about it. We rely on people following the basic rules. When someone turns left in front of you and you have the right of way, why are you angry? Because that’s abnormal. Not just that it’s illegal, but that you expect them to follow the rules.

We assume that people will drive respectfully. Sure, we look both ways even when the light is green — we know we can’t trust everyone to be alert or rational. But we can assume they will be.

It doesn’t require any particular religion, or any religion at all. It has nothing to do with race, or age, or gender. Most people don’t steal. Most people don’t lie — excluding social lies, or course. Most people are kind most of the time.

We notice the exceptions.

We need to remind ourselves just why we notice bad behavior.

We notice it because most people are good drivers, of cars and in life.

And I thank you all.

Advertisements

I’ve been speculating on denialism as one attribute that is distinctly human. Learn to deny mortality so you can live. From that, you learn that denying anything you dislike or don’t want to admit will allow you to live as if that weren’t reality.

We live in unreality most of the time, I think. Remembering the past, anticipating the future, denying what we don’t like, emphasizing what we do. Not much mental space left for reality to fill.

This video / takes these speculations back a step. What is language? Why did we develop this tool? What benefits did it offer, and what harm can it cause?

I was intrigued by the chart at 12:16 showing the geographic spread of Homo sapiens after language arose. Looks like social learning added to linguistic exchange really did enable us to spread out and survive in myriad environments.

At 15:13 he shows a map of Facebook connections. Not a world map, just electronic friends. And those connections recreate the geographic map.

I agree that having one language for international communication is beneficial, perhaps essential for further development. But which one? Will we rationally choose the language that offers the most flexibility, adaptability, as well as ease of learning and of writing? Or will wars or economic conquest make the determination?

History shows… well, yes, but in my unreality, I keep hoping that reasonable thinking will come to the fore.

Gotta love it.

Wish people could figure out belief has nothing to do with it. Facts, people. They are not beliefs.

Incredible power.  How can one conceive the force behind an explosion that produces these clouds?

Overwhelming beauty. How can one describe the magnificence of these clouds?

The evening and night images of the cloud show it no longer softly billowing ash, but a fiery column.

Nature: so tame, so friendly. When Nature reveals its other side, we remember how vulnerable we truly are; whether during the short-term, like this volcano or earthquakes and tsunamis; or during long-term world-altering events such as climate shift.

When Nature speaks, we can only listen and struggle to survive.

http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2011/06/chiles-puyehue-volcano-erupts/100081/ 

And now for the final three comics in Non Sequitur’s week long exploration of Argumentative Reasoning  (first three here)  or: why we have so many problems understanding facts.

Wouldn’t it be brilliant if politicians and media were required to state facts clearly, without spin? And cite their sources, and list consequences of the advocated actions? Of course, it would be so boring to most people that no one would pay any attention.

http://www.arcamax.com/newspics/20/2022/202221.gif

http://www.arcamax.com/newspics/20/2022/202222.gif

http://www.arcamax.com/newspics/20/2022/202223.gif

Argumentative reasoning is a hot topic just now.

Essentially it is the idea that we make our decisions based on immediate, unconscious emotional reaction; then, equally unconsciously, we select arguments or proofs that support our emotional bias.

As far as I can tell, this idea explains all of the global warming controversy in this country. If people actually looked at the facts… well, let’s not get optimistic.

Cherry-picking evidence is the great boon of the internet. Instead of being alone in your head, you can click away until you find myriads of like-emotioned people to support any ol’ whacky premise you can devise.  And plenty of political groups who are pretending to agree with your views so they get your votes.

What would happen if people actually analyzed the track records of the people they vote for? But then, I keep wondering why any woman would support fundamentalists, of any religion. Do they really think their whole purpose of living is to be a slave? Domestic servitude, domestic prostitution,and a brood-mare to boot. What sane person would *choose* that life for themselves and their daughters? And yet, women follow fundamentalism and its political arms, such as the tea party.

I cannot see a good argumentative reasoning for that. Which, of course, exposes my confirmation bias. But I will keep trying. I want to understand how people come to the conclusions they do, and what would convince someone their life is *systematically*  without any value.

If the tea party got into control, how long do you think women would be allowed to hold public office, let alone have the vote?

Humor can sometimes open a crack in a closed mind. With that faint, wistful, wishful hope, here’s three comics from Non Sequitur:

http://www.arcamax.com/newspics/20/2022/202234.gif

http://www.arcamax.com/newspics/20/2022/202235.gif

http://www.arcamax.com/newspics/20/2022/202220.gif

Poignant Art

May 14, 2011

She was in / Eurovision /. I was amazed. But this  – the music, the emotions of the audience:  what powerful feelings this art encapsulates. Perhaps its ephemeral, constantly changing nature reminds us how ephemeral and changing our lives are, for good or ill.

/ Kseniya Simonova – Sand Animation /

%d bloggers like this: