Peter Klausler is a Computer Scientist, Mathematician by background, who draws attention to what he calls “The American Cargo Cult” — a series of false, crazy, but near-universal, assumptions tacitly underlying public debate and what’s said and unsaid by the media, and how. He’s produced a thought-provoking hit list of worldly evils, summary below, which we may want to protest if we don’t want our brains to turn to Jell-o:
- Ignorance is innocence
Complicated explanations are suspect
Certainty is strength, doubt is weakness
— admitting alternatives undermines one’s own position
— Changing one’s mind means one was wasting one’s time formerly
Anybody’s opinion matters as much as anybody else’s
Follow the herd — contemplative lemmings get trampled
- Causality is selectable
All interconnection is apparent, or you’d need complicated explanations, which you don’t. Ever.
The End supports the explanation of the Means
You can succeed by copying successful people: mimic their rituals and you will succeed, and if it all goes wrong it’s the idol’s fault not yours
- It’s not your Fault
If it’s good for you, it’s good.
Good intentions suffice — you can always apologise
There is no long term
Consequences are things that happen to others — only you can hold yourself truly accountable Whoever starts the blame game you can still win it. There are evil people and institutions out there, and surely one of them has to be more responsible than you could ever be.
You are not the problem — an ugly image means a bad mirror
- Death is unnatural
You’re special — and have a right not to have bad things happen to you
Pain is wrong
Tragedy is a synonym for calamity. Bad things are never consequences of anything I did or didn’t do.
There is such a thing as justice, but... You, however, unlike anyone else, will always be forgiven