Sunday, July 31, 2016

The inverted U

The value individuals add to society appears to be in the shape of an inverted U. On the high end - philosophers, scientists and technologists, who seem to know everything, appear to add very little of practical value. Recently, a scientist remarked, "when we found the gravity waves, the whole world stopped," unaware of the fact that most of the world did not know or care. On the low end, ignorance is as dangerous as cyanide, as ably demonstrated by contemporary politicians. In this scheme, the highest value to society appears to come from those in the middle - not too ignorant and not too arrogant. On both ends, there is a common factor - a brain that is idle, because of either stupor or conceit.

To maximize the value that individuals contribute to society, it appears that they have to be lifted from the abyss of ignorance or shown a practical path down from the mountains. The perception of knowledge is as dangerous as a lack of awareness of ignorance - for both result in a loss of value to society by a lack of contribution. The former, locked behind ivy walls, lament at a world of ignorance and the latter, aided and abetted by their leaders, scorn at knowledge. In the middle, humans of blood and flesh, are caught in a time warp they simply could not escape. Apathetic and lethargic, the middle withdraw from media events and elections and watch from the sidelines. This is a movie with a sad ending - dominated either by the ignorant or the arrogant, with little to differentiate between them.

Neither abundance nor lack of knowledge add societal value. Those who are aware of their limitations, do.