Expert Nudity

Posted on January 19, 2016. Filed under: Religion, Science | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Your phrases for today:

  • lowest common denominator = that to which everything can be reduced
  • naked and clueless = that to which everyone can be reduced

It’s not my fault / It’s just bad luck / Everybody has an off day / Maybe next time / It’s just not my day  / Oh, well!  There’s always tomorrow / It’s only a game. 

More than once in our lives each of us feels that everything has conspired to prevent our achieving even a few basic goals.  If you think you’ve heard more of “Close, but no cigar” than your fair share, you are not alone.  Most of us feel the same at least part of the time.

We enter into life at a big disadvantage, having not even a shirt on our backs or knowledge of anything beyond a few basic urges.  Short version:  all are born naked and clueless, and it’s gonna be quite a while before we even figure out r-e-s-t–r-o-o-m.  This assessment includes all of those revered experts who manage to exude an air of  obnoxious omniscience when revealing their “findings.”  Just for fun, imagine the expounding expert naked in front of everyone while trying to figure out the mechanic’s of commode flushing.

In the process of becoming an adult, I learned too much.  In spite of all the self-help manuals and seminars and transcendent gurus revealing how to live long, live happy, and live in wealth, I now suspect that LIFE starts out each living entity with nothing but a single piece of advice…   DON’T DIE.      Whether good, bad, ugly, efficient, tall, short, filthy rich, dirt poor, animal, vegetable or mineral, there is only one rating point under this system called EXISTENCE…   how long did the thing live?

Personally, I was hoping for a little data to work with.

To that end, I have depended heavily on others to fill in the abysmal depths of my ignorance:  parents, whose primary concern was feeding me and my sibs and keeping us safe and healthy; teachers, preachers, priesters, other spirit guiders, Norman Vincent Peale, Mr. Rogers, Abu Bin Adhem (may his tribe increase), Republicans, Democrats, and 18-year old motivational speakers who — from their vast stores of life-experiences — teach the secrets of becoming millionaires in only 1 year or less (a little longer if you are a slow learner)  They all showed and offered their versions of the world to me.  I may be a little slow, but, I finally realized life’s lowest common denominator has  universal application:

  • at birth, EACH and EVERY one of those “experts” was no different from me.
  • One and all, they were born naked and clueless into a dog-eat-dog world where only the lucky and strong win the right to claim another day in the struggle to exist.
  • To survive, each of them adopted a schtick (motivational types might say “career choice”) that brought them the means to survive.

In other words, all of my information providers (with the exceptions of parents, family and friends) were doing a paying job impelled by their own personal agendas.  I have simply been a means to THEIR ends.

Confronted daily with the expert assessments of my social worth, my moral worth, my economic worth, my political worth, I have finally found my happy place:

  • whenever any expert (politician, cosmologist, religionists, journalist, et cetera ad infinitum) condescendingly tries to re-program me, I mentally strip them naked in public view, tape that nice fitting disposable diaper around their loins, convert their babblings to goo-goo, ma-ma, da-da, no no, waaaaaah waaaaaaah, waaaaaaaaaaa…

and suddenly, all is right with my world.

Accepting expert crap without question just hasn’t done it for me, so, I am forced into Plan B which, generally, follows my daddy’s admonition when I was a kid:  believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see.  I now question just about everything from just about everyone.

I have received no navigational instructions in this endeavor, but, then, neither did the so-called experts in everything.  In spite of their airs of omniscience, there is no instruction manual for this EXISTENCE thing…   every living entity has to figure it out for itself.  In the River of Existence, it’s sink or swim, do or die, and hope that that shadowy thing floating toward you is something more substantial to hang onto than a raft of hippo dung…   or the equivalent in expert-speak.

Even so, as the waters of EXISTENCE unerringly flow past, we find that just about everything in it can be defined as varying degrees of dung.  That sort of lends validity to that old saw “up shit creek without a paddle.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Naked and Clueless

Posted on January 18, 2016. Filed under: Journalism, Religion, Science | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

What follows are my opinions.  Since they are free (except for the all-inclusive price of admission), let’s call this an exercise in free speech.

None of this stuff is sanctioned by the AMA, ADA, AKC, ROTC, DOD, BSA, GSA, NRA, NSA, WB A, WWE nor any other organization relying on a bowl of alphabet soup to describe its purpose.

Source material for this lamentation is directly attributable to decades of indoctrination by”experts” who describe how things in this existence really work and how far off the mark my life has been.   In spite of that derived sense of personal inadequacy resulting in an intense need for psychological self-flagellation, I finally figured out they use an expert mixture of no more than 1 part actual observation and no less than 4 parts personal bias (more if the subject is convoluted) all of which is tinged by their self-interests and the need to mark intellectual turf.  It’s that self-serving stuff that has finally inflamed my gullibility node.

Here are just a few flakes from the snow-job “experts” have given me:

  • Cosomoligists.  “We can’t explain why our math is so far off, so we will call it Dark Stuff that no one can see, feel, or prove; fabricate more universes that no one can see, feel, or prove; install a power pack to pull our truckload of WAGs and call it Dark Energy which no one can see, feel, or prove; and add more dimensions to our universe that no one can see, feel, or prove.  With luck, we can cash those government and private grants (a.k.a., pay checks) before anyone can see, feel, or prove what we are up to, thereby showing that we are totally larcenous…   ignorant!” Honest, I meant “totally ignorant.”

 

  • Medical Researcher.  “We can’t explain it so we will say it was a gene what done it, and develop new drugs to correct things…   at least until the litigation attorneys get into the act.  With any luck, we can bank those government and private grants (a.k.a., pay checks) before anyone proves us totally ignorant.
  • General Practitioner.  “I don’t know what you got, but, just for giggles, let’s call it a virus.  Take this stuff I am writing on this prescription pad.  If it don’t work in a couple of days, come back in and we’ll try something else.  Of course, there will be another office visit fee, and, if complications result from this random mix of drugs before we run out of guesses, we’ll send you to a specialist.  He will use bigger words than “virus” and add a surcharge for the larger vocabulary use.
  • The Religionist.  “Vote in the next election the way I have told you.  If you contribute enough, I will see about your reservation in Heaven and send you a prayer mat (or something such) personally autographed by God.  And, for Pete’s sake, would you quit squirming while I feel up your thigh?”
  • Journalists/Media.  Those organizations controlled by government parrot whatever party-line they have been fed.  Those controlled by special interests tell you whatever they think you want to hear.  Those operating under the “freedom of the press” provision of free governments do very little objective reporting…   yellow press, paparazzi-ism, on-line “reporting” with salacious lead-ins to trick you into clicking on ads, surreptitious insertion of secret programs into your computer’s operating systems for scamming purposes…  Yeah, I’m pretty sure the world we perceive is the product of power-moguls and the money grubbers.

This culture of expert opinion has taken on the mantle of Accepted Authority and aspires to the status once held by Religionists in the days of Galileo — that of supreme Authority; hey, when THOSE boys told you to go to hell, they were poker-faced serious.

EVERY expert-for-a-fee-or-fame who ever lived started life just like everyone else:  naked, clueless, and in bad need of schmucks (i.e., gulliable marks) to feed its chosen schtick…   uh, career choice…   for their personal survival.

We, the general public (a.k.a., the Great Unwashed) wear virtual t-shirts that read:

“SCHMUCKS ARE US”

This schmuck is kicking up a fuss ‘cawz the damn t-shirt is the wrong size…   and it chaffs.  Obviously, it was not hawked under the banner of Duluth Trading…   who will be totally surprised by this unrequested mention.

 

 

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Shovels and Manure: Part 1

Posted on November 23, 2015. Filed under: Psychology, Self-awareness | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Man the tool-maker!  Many would say that is what sets humans apart from all other life on Earth.  Others would pick out their favorite traits and build passionate arguments around them, but, I am sort of hung up on the shapes and uses of one particular tool — shovels.  These two ensuing articles express my misgivings toward their uses in cultural development.

“Sir!  Reporting as instructed, Sir!”  I would have saluted, except for 2 things:  I had not yet received any training in that militaristic ritual and, anyway, my hand was otherwise occupied.  I had shoved it into my mouth and was sucking on it vigorously because it just felt good…   well, maybe also because that and kicking my heels up every now and then were the only activities in my exercise regimen.  But, at least I had shown up at the water slide as instructed, albeit with a feeling of apprehension.  I had become aware that things were starting to close in on me, and I was not accustomed to this sort of treatment.  And, I think I may have been standing on my head at some point.

Then, it really started to get serious.  My arms were being pinned close to my body and something was pushing the top of my head.  Then my eyes hurt from such brightness I had not known existed.  It was getting cold and I got a tight feeling in my chest, but, a loud slap to my butt made my lungs fill with air for the very first time.  The tightness in my chest was relieved as long as I kept inhaling and exhaling, so I thought I would keep on doing this for at least a little while until things settled down.

In retrospect, that was when everything started going downhill, right there when I took that first breath, and, as it has turned out, I was right on the money by kicking up such a big fuss right away.

Thus begins my personal lamentation on the state of this thing called EXISTENCE.  It started out okay, there within that warm, safe cocoon, bathed in the serenity of ignorance about that which awaited without.  But that confining journey down the water slide, disorientation by bright lights, being grabbed by ruffians who slapped me around as their way of saying, “Hi!  Welcome to Earth!”…   was all of that really necessary?  And, how about a little warning of that stuff ahead of time, or a quick-start pamphlet with instructions to a least find the bathroom?  Is that too much to expect?

It was a good thing my parents were there to rescue me.  They filled me in on a lot of stuff, but, the world around me kept getting smaller…   like that dinner table.  I was used to running under it standing up but, then came the day when I didn’t fit under there…   it only took a couple of head bashings for that bit of information to sink in.  Yeah, my world was getting smaller, alright, and getting more complicated as well.

To become well-rounded in this EXISTENCE thing, I was told I would need experts who would show me the tools that would let me become a contributing member of society.  Thus when I could barely tie my shoe laces, I got dropped off — ALONE — at public school.  And the resident experts opened up my brain case and started shoveling in all the raw data I would need to become a compliant citizen.  Okay…   at first maybe it was just teaspoons they used, but, let’s face it, those things are just mini shovels.

Not evident to me at the time, what with my brain being a low-density zone in terms of knowledge, my basic tool kit for survival had been tampered with by all those “expert” mentors.  In addition to stuff like “3+4=7” and “See Spot run,” they shoveled in a lot of their personal biases on such non-tool items as evolution (pro and con), religion (pro and con), government and political ideology (pro and con) and lots of other pros and cons unrelated to math and reading.  To the degree that I favored the teacher, I accepted these offerings as fact and a basis for modeling my understanding of my own existence.  But, sometime around the age of 30 years, I had an epiphany…

SHOVELS COME IN A VARIETY OF SHAPES AND SIZES…

…each designed for a particular task, not the least of which is the efficient movement of manure.

Old things that I had been told did not mesh with the new things I was painfully learning.  In fact, under the heat from the spotlight of an emerging introspection, all that stuff was beginning to develop a decidedly unpleasant odor…   unpleasant, and reminiscent of a stock yard.  And this was happening just when I thought I had this EXISTENCE thing all figured out.  Well, at least I thought my “expert” mentors had it all figured out, and, I was a lucky beneficiary of all that above-my-head figuring.

________________

Continued in next article Shovels and Manure:  Part 2.

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Myth: Vendor Overcharges to Government (Part 1)

Posted on March 23, 2013. Filed under: Journalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

5th in the series The Manipulators

Your words for the day:

  • The Great Unwashed = another euphemism for the general public; you know, the masses of political philosophy
  • schtick = that act each of us adopts to get through this brief, but trying, thing called life
  • yellow journalism = lurid, outlandish, and inflammatory “reporting”
  • tabloid tactics = see “yellow journalism”

Who hasn’t heard it?  A high-profile vendor OVERCHARGES some government agency.  A contractor (another word for vendor) submits UNAUTHORIZED CHARGES to the Defense Department.  Big business uses federal BAIL OUT MONEY to give millions IN BONUSES to its top executives.

Who hasn’t agreed with the Media that “this is some bad stuff” costing the taxpayers some serious money?  Such information releases are directed at us, The Great Unwashed, by journalists who adopt the persona of experts-in-all-matters-deemed-beneficial to “public awareness.”  The Press ( with the big P) has only the best interest of the public in mind as it strokes those proven hot buttons of public perception and pockets huge gate receipts as we, the public sheep, ante up for our tickets to their carnival sideshow.

I, like everyone else in this Society of The Great Unwashed, can be as gullible as anyone.  Do you purchase every rag sheet, tabloid, gaudy magazine, and newspaper that your gaze falls upon?  Or, do you simply note and absorb the blaring headline that, in a few words, engraves an impression into your consciousness?  You realize that analysis of the story line may actually say something different from that headline, but few of us have the will to read and analyze every bit of “news” that inundates us daily.  We are content to remember the “knee-jerk” stimulus and to secretly enjoy the “kick” we derived from it.

The good news is that, although gullible, we of the Great Unwashed are not overly stupid (even though, at any given moment, there are enough of us acting stupidly enough to imply an endemic class trait).  That means that all of us, from time to time, get to peek behind the stage curtain and get a glimpse of The Great and Powerful Oz,* and, by golly, realize that ol’ Oz is really just another one of us –The Great Unwashed — wearing the robes of deception…   ah, journalism…   I mean the robes of journalism.

Our “trusted” news sources are nothing more than fellow gullibles who got a paying job just like the rest of us.  Unlike the rest of us, they also got elevated to a higher plane of credibility, adopting the schtick of expert-in-everything (i.e., journalist).  As such, they drag with them the perception-skewing baggage of media-stressed common-knowledge they acquired when rubbing elbows with all of us lesser beings.  They just fatten up their own biases and make a buck out of it.  And, they call it “news.”

As the title of this article implies, my current axe to grind is the media staple of “big business’s gouging of government agencies for taxpayer money.”  I call it a media-perpetuated myth because of several reasons:

  • It takes two to tango
  • You get what you pay for
  • The paper trail
  • Caveat emptor

To perpetuate this myth and stir the media-purchasing public to…   well…   purchase…   media offerings, those realities are ignored by The Big Pee.  Instead, they go for a morality play wherein they decide who will be the villain and who will be the victim, while presenting themselves as the champion of what is right and good.  Basically, it is just yellow journalism and tabloid tactics to turn a buck…   and win some award, maybe.  But, mostly, it is just to make a buck.

Ignorance on the part of both the public and the writers is what gives this story line its perennial appeal.  The expert-in-everything journalist presents his story from the view of someone in the know, and the public (that be us) — freely confessing its ignorance on the matter — sits at the foot of the master, eagerly tossing coins into his tin cup.

_____________________

* The Big P

_____________________

Next up:  The Myth (Part 2)  The Office Depot gets skewered

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Arrogance: A Very Human Trait

Posted on February 10, 2013. Filed under: Journalism, language, Religion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Your words for the day:

  • arrogance = knowledge of one’s superior status
  • expert = a recognized or self-proclaimed know-it-all in a given field (but you may need to ask, “Which field?”
  • god = a being transcendent beyond humanity (a.k.a., expert)
  • AJ = Average Joe;  Average Jane

Just in case you didn’t notice, I sorta dabbled with those definitions.  Please, do not send hate mail to Wikipedia.

We, humanity in all its past incarnations, created language.  I noted somewhere in these articles  that information sharing (the venerable IT Dept) was the greatest of human* inventions.  Knowing how to make fire and passing that knowledge to others was a far greater achievement than just luckily starting a single friendly fire and using it as a one-time marshmallow toaster.  A spoken language was key to that achievement.

Each human is a mirror of humanity’s achievements.  In today’s societies, certain individuals rise above the general population in specific areas:  mathematicians, musicians, political leaders, legalists, investigators, athletes, teachers, medical practitioners, psychologists, astronomers, cosmologists, physicists…   this list could go on and on and still leave out some area of specialization.

Maybe “starter kit” is more apt than “mirror.”  All of these specialists rise from the general population by simply growing into a specialty according to their personal interests or by imposition of circumstance.  In order for that specialist to be recognized as superior in performance, the general population must also have the capacity to grasp that individual’s achievement, and — if so inclined — emulate that overachiever.  Ergo, there is healer, teacher, mathematician, priest, a beggar, a leader, a competitor ad infinitum in each and every one of us.  Because of that innate human capacity, superior achievements of other individuals are recognized and, often, revered.

There are social hazards associated with the ability — or simply the good fortune — to excel, exemplified by proverbs such as “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” ** and terms such as smug, self-aggrandizing, egotistical, god complex, condescending, arrogant…   another list that could go on and on.  This is a two-edged sword.

On the one hand, there is the risk of alienating the general populace, that group providing back-light for your stage performances, and of provoking jealously from other overachievers who want to crowd you out of the limelight.  And, yet, a third group that feeds like buzzards on celebrity status, picking at perceived hot spots to enhance its own standing as self-appointed judge…   and, blabber-mouth.  (Hmmmmm!  Now that is very annoying.  Pardon me while I slip out and preen my feathers.)

On the other hand, the euphoric appeal of such elevated states is what drives individuals to exceed their previous bests, often enhancing humanity’s understanding of self and nature.  Those human traits that cause achievers to turn a deaf ear to criticism and their backs to their humble roots may chaff uncomfortably on some individuals (the jealous and the left behind) while simultaneously advancing the human condition.  If there is one thing we know about Nature, it is that individual comfort takes a back seat to the survival of the group.  Yet, paradoxically, it is that quest for personal comfort that propels the group forward.

KISS.**  Cutting through the rhetoric, societies consist of two parts:  experts and laymen.  (Okay!  A third group, also:  critics.  But, they walk the fence between the other two and could land in either camp.)  Many ignore that the two groups are but two manifestations of a single fluid in flux.  The tendency is to view the ambient social status quo as a firmament defining immutable human interaction, so that the extant hierarchy is the once and future way of things.  In Galileo’s time, the experts to be revered were the ruling religionists;  in the time of the Industrial Revolution, innovators were the revered;  in our time, it is the scientists who rule the expert roost.  Each time the fluid stirs, society is panged by fear of change, loss of roots, confusion, and loss of direction.  The individual, truth be known, prefers the comfort of known truths to that of new, untried truths (the devil we know versus the one we don’t…   blah, blah…)

Experts.  Holier than thou.  Smarter than you.  Superior to you.  Entitled to more than you.  Totally disdainful of AJ and AJ.

Aye.  There’s the rub.

_______________________

*human.  Actually, this should be hominin.  Humans inherited, then refined all of the achievements made by near-humans.  Had to throw that in for the Science Department.

**The Bible (KJV) Proverbs 16:18

***KISS.  Has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day.  Keep It Short and Simple.

_______________________

Next up:  Manipulators, puppet masters, trick knees

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