On Being Strange

The human mind is fascinating. Did you know that? I thought I should mention it, just in case.

The capacity of the human mind leads in various directions. Many have wondered what psychiatric conditions say not just about those who are ‘afflicted’ but for human nature in general.

Take schizophrenia, which is always a popular topic, as it is fairly common. Schizophrenia includes several types of experience that get me thinking.

There is the oceanic feeling that is typical, something they share with many mystics, meditation practitioners and anyone who has imbibed psychedelics. It is a loss of boundaries or rather a fluidity between self and other.

This is part of a generally fluid way of experiencing reality. Schizophrenics often think others can hear their thoughts and that they can hear the thoughts of others. It also goes along with hearing voices, especially command hallucinations. Instead of thinking ‘I will do such and such,’ they hear ‘You will do such and such’.

This is where we touch upon the theories of Julian Jaynes and Iain McGilchrist. If we take the ancients at their word, we have to conclude that command hallucinations were considered a normal experience. Even today normal people hear command hallucinations when under extreme duress and stress. What if we all possess immense potential in how we can experience reality and identity? What might this mean for societies, in the ancient world and maybe in the future?

A different aspect is how schizophrenics view the world. People, objects, and concepts aren’t perceived as being individual. Rather, they are experienced as inseparable members of ever larger subclasses. This emphasizes a sense of larger wholeness beyond individuality.

Related to this, Iain McGilchrist explains this in terms of hemisphere functioning (p. 51):

“At the same time it is the right hemisphere that has the capacity to distinguish specific examples within a category, rather than categories alone: it stores details to distinguish specific instances. 148 The right hemisphere presents individual, unique instances of things and individual, familiar, objects, where the left hemisphere re-presents categories of things, and generic, non-specific objects. 149 In keeping with this, the right hemisphere uses unique referents, where the left hemisphere uses non-unique referents. 150 It is with the right hemisphere that we distinguish individuals of all kinds, places as well as faces. 151 In fact it is precisely its capacity for holistic processing that enables the right hemisphere to recognise individuals. 152 Individuals are, after all, Gestalt wholes: that face, that voice, that gait, that sheer ‘quiddity’ of the person or thing, defying analysis into parts.”

This isn’t just about schizophrenics. This difference between hemispheres exists in everyone, even if it doesn’t normally show so starkly as in psychiatric conditions.

In terms of bicameral societies, this makes me think that it isn’t an issue of there being no boundaries. It simply would be different and larger boundaries. Society itself, instead of the individual, would define self and reality. Individuality wouldn’t be the locus of experience and so individual perspective wouldn’t necessarily be understood as such, much less privileged as the basis of all else. This is shown in the odd examples throughout ancient literature where body parts are spoken of as if they had their own minds, their own thoughts and emotions.

This brings to mind a book I’ve been reading. It’s Evolution and Empathy by Milton E. Brener. He doesn’t reference either Jaynes or McGilchrist, but his thinking is in line with theirs. Brener discusses how the ancients apparently didn’t see spatial relationship between things as we moderns do. Closer and further objects lacked perspective, both being shown the same size. And multiple sides to a person or object would be shown simultaneously (e.g., all wheels of a wagon shown equally or different body parts shown from different angles).

Why did the ancients portray their world in such strange ways? And why do some people even today experience the world in strange ways that seem to match aspects of what the ancients portrayed? Maybe we are all a bit stranger than we realize.

* * *

Here are a few previous posts of mine:

Radical Human Mind: From Animism to Bicameralism and Beyond
Making Gods, Making Individuals
Synesthesia, and Psychedelics, and Civilization! Oh My!
Developmental Differences: Preliminary Thoughts

Also, if this kind of thing fascinates you as it fascinates me, you might want to check out another blog:

Gary Williams’s Minds and Brains

51 thoughts on “On Being Strange

  1. it’s always looked like the main thing with mental illness to me, schizophrenia particularly, I think, that the sufferers lack normal boundaries, that they’re wide open and interactive, just like you say. How much of the trouble it is that that very openness leaves them open to injury and how much it is simply that their mode of operation upsets the normals might be a question . . .

    • The issue is what are the social norms. A bicameral society might consider some schizophrenic experiences as normal or within the range of normality. Such a society would have established social boundaries that would contain the more unbounded mind. It would be the responsibility of society, not the individual, to contain experience of self and world. In a bicameral society, the person with strong individual boundaries would seem insane and dangerous.

        • There is an interesting related aspect. In the post-bicameral societies, development of individuality allowed new forms of thought, specifically an internalized mental space. This allowed not only independent thought but also persuasive language. It was the birth of rhetoric, and it was initially feared.

          Rhetoric stole the power of the gods, and those trained in rhetoric had god-like powers. They could understand how people thought and so they knew how to manipulate them. As many people (still with traces of bicameralism) hadn’t yet developed intellectual defenses against rhetoric, this power could be used to a greater extent than is possible in our society. The population was defenseless against the new intellectual demagogues, conmen, and ruling elite.

          The ancient philosopher was a respected and feared figure. These great men helped wipe away any remaining traces of bicameralism. But the transformation must have been violent at times, as the old bicameralism erupted to challenge the new authority. This probably played out in full-out wars where the last remaining bicameral societies tried to survive. Bicameralism didn’t end easily. All the way into the late Axial Age, you can still hear echoes of it, including in the New Testament.

          Then bicameralism finally died and I guess we got libertarianism instead. But rather than ancient philosophical schools we got right-wing think tanks. Something went wrong.

          • must correlate to Gilgamesh and Hairy Man stories generally, I bet, even if it was a case of it being co-opted. Not sure that meant anything, but I guess many myths apply, Prometheus, Tower of babel – Man what a hidden, central theme! I’ve always sort of known that the function of speech was to introduce spin. If we’re both looking out at the same world, you should be suspicious of me trying to tell you anything about it. This is fun stuff, I’ll be coming back to re-read this like a mantra. What fun.

          • Here is some discussion of bicameralism and Gilgamesh:


            Here is what they did with bicameral children in the ancient Kingdom of Judah, according to the prophet Zechariah (6th century BCE):

            “And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.”

            Killing off the last remnants of the bicameral mind was a bloody activity, but it had to be done for the good of society. The spokesmen for the new God of the book demanded it. Only official prophets and priests were allowed to speak on God’s behalf, so said the official prophets and priests.

  2. I’m reminded of crazy ol’ Philip K. Dick. He was always connecting psychiatric conditions to the larger society. He once wrote, “The schizophrenic is a leap ahead that failed.”

    PKD even wrote about Jayne’s bicameral theory in a few places. It came up in a letter he wrote to his editor, although he gets a few things wrong about the theory:


    He also discussed it in his Exegesis (the section isn’t available online). Going into his own theological and psychological speculations, he lets his full crazy show there, which is always fun. He sees the silencing of the bicameral voices of the gods as The Fall, and he hopes for their return or rather for our ability to hear them again, hidden away as they are now like Zebra/Valis. He was hoping humanity would evolve further to a new unitive/integral mind (or, as he called it, Ditheon).

    PKD had some fascinating thoughts about the brain hemispheres. It comes up in one of his novels, A Scanner Darkly. The protagonists brain is slowly being damaged by drugs and his normal identity is breaking down. In another novel, Clans of the Alphane Moon, he creates a strange society based on psychiatric conditions, where one of the communities is of schizophrenics.

    Scanner was written a little bit before he read Jayne’s work, although it was the same year. He was reading about brain research at the time and much of that ended up in the novel. Clans was written at a much earlier period of his writing career, but it is still an amusing read in considering what mental conditions mean on a collective level.

    • out of replies up there . . . re killing off the last of the bicamerals – Man, we traded in the natural mutation of bicameral thought (I really should look that word up) and hobbled real selection for a canned version? Your ongoing depiction of our real, historical Fall from Nature is a little painful! Have we hopefully reached rock bottom yet?

      • It is painful. But there is a side of me that is optimistic. Seeing how different ancient societies were, it gives me a sense of the immense potential in human nature. The way our modern society operates is far from inevitable. It’s simply particular conditions that have created it, and those conditions can and will change. But it is true that change will likely hit us hard.

    • yeah, as much as I know there’s so much great stuff, I think I don’t have any more hours in this life to spend on scifi, great as it is. Interesting, though. Of course the Fall. I wrote my previous comment before I read your latest, the Fall is there, of course. I think the feeling behind the Fall is real, so I suspect the Fall itself is too, somehow.

      • In case you’re interested, much of PKD’s fiction has been made into movies, many of them quite well known (e.g., Blade Runner). There is even an Amazon series out right no based on one of his novels. Man in the High Castle. Some of the adaptations are pretty good and worth checking out, even if you don’t have time to ever get around to the writings they are based on.

        As for the Fall, I do think it represents something real for humanity. It seems to point to both a change that happened in human development and a time of society-shattering environmental catastrophes.

        • there’s a blurb on the back of “Ishmael” (Daniel Quinn, I think) that I agree with: something like “I now look at my life as in two parts, before I read Ishmael and after” – of course you know it.

          • I read that book years ago. I have a close friend who loves that book. It was life-changing for him. It is a popular book. I should check it out again. It’s been a long time since I read it.

  3. I think that American society is surprising conformist in this regard.

    It doesn’t seem to tolerate people that are “strange”. Generally the more progressive urban areas are more open to new people and ideas, but even then, I think this is one area that could be improved upon.

    • I’d be curious about how other societies deal neurodiversity.

      I wonder if anyone has written a cross-cultural history of this topic, from the earliest civilizations to the present. I’ve seen many interesting books about ancient societies, especially a ton of books about the ancient Greeks. But I don’t think I’ve ever come across a book about the ancient world that discussed sanity and insanity, in terms of social norms and public attitudes.

      As for contemporary societies, it would be nice to know what some of the more advanced social democracies do about the mentally ill and the psychologically atypical/abnormal. I’m sure someone must have done a comparison of countries.

    • My guess is that the Scandinavian social democratic societies and Finland probably treat the mentally ill better than all other nations.

      Or perhaps one of the other European countries, particularly those with outstanding healthcare systems.

      • That is a distinct possibility. But I could see other possibilities.

        Strong social democracies often are homogeneous societies. The Northern European countries have long histories of ethno-nationalism, xenophobia, and racism. Their sense of a strong group mentality is what makes them cultures of trust, but it also might not lead to acceptance of those who are different.

        I know some of the northern European countries have very high suicide rates. Of course, much of that has to do with less amounts of sunlight. But that wouldn’t explain why Finland has such a higher rate than Scandinavian countries, Germany, Canada, and even the United States. Also, look at Denmark, with similar problems as Finland, such as high rates of alcoholism and anti-depressant consumption.

        It also wouldn’t explain countries in sunnier climes with even higher rates (e.g., India). Heck, why is a healthy and prosperous population in a culture of trust like Japan one of the most suicidal countries in the world? Related to all of this, why is there often an inverse correlation between suicide rates and homicide rates? The US has higher homicide rates, but many of the populations that are the most homicidal is the least suicidal (only poor white Americans are both homicidal and suicidal).

        The odd part is that Finland rates as one of the ‘happiest’ countries.


        “There’s one thing that happiness studies seem to leave out, however. Some of the happiest countries in the world – Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and the United States, for instance – also have the highest suicide rates in the world.

        “Cold weather and darkness are often blamed for high rates of depression in Finland, but in the US, sunny Hawaii, which ranks second nationally in life satisfaction, has the fifth highest suicide rate. Conversely, New York, which is equal parts sun and rain, ranks 45th in life satisfaction (out of 50 states), but has the lowest suicide rate nationally.

        “These were the findings of the research paper Dark Contrasts: The Paradox of High Rates of Suicide in Happy Places, published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization this April. Its authors, who hailed from the UK and the US, believe that these stark extremes exist together because people often judge their well-being in comparative terms. The researchers say that a depressed person may become even more depressed when surrounded by especially happy people.

        “While researching The Geography of Bliss, Weiner said he encountered a Swiss writer who explained it best: “If you’re living in a happy place and you’re not happy, you think, ‘What the hell’s wrong with me?’ And, in a way, you feel there’s more pressure on you or that you’re an outcast.””


        “Unemployment is just around the EU average of 9.1% (at 9.6%); in 2008 we registered a high rate of female unemployment (6.5%). A remote country, we are not yet fully used to seeing people of different origin and ethnicity among us: our multi-cultural and multi-ethnic history is really short. There is a lot of prejudice and even racism towards immigrants. It’s hard even for foreigners to find jobs; the highest number of foreign citizens as of December 2009 were Russians, followed closely by Estonians, Swedes and Thais. Immigrants with degrees in nursing, medicine, engineering or education often end up working as cleaners or remain unemployed.

        “Then there’s the homelessness and crime (in 2009 the murder rate was 2.1 deaths per 100, 000 people, the joint highest in western Europe with Portugal and Scotland according to The Daily Telegraph). There’s a lot of domestic violence, especially towards women (40% in 2008, as reported in The Guardian). It might be related to alcoholism, which was the number one cause for death in 2006 and which costs society a lot of money. Add public mental health care to that – suicide rates are alarmingly high; in 2008 they were one of the fifth highest in the EU… I wouldn’t say that Finland is number one in the world when it comes to well-being!”

  4. The other thing to note is that Americans are proudly individualistic. In theory that should encourage dissent and being strange.

    In reality, the US does not seem to have a huge tolerance for being “different”.

    This seems like a contradiction. It is kind of like how the political conservatives insisting that America is a land of opportunity, yet doing very poorly on most measures on social mobility.

    • I’m not sure where the individualistic myth started. I can’t imagine it was ever true. Northern European countries aren’t highly individualistic and most Americans have Northern European ancestry. Even the early dissidents who came to the American colonies were largely religious dissidents who were simply looking for a different variety of social conformity.

      People from other countries have noted that Americans seem obsessed with belonging to groups. I’d say we are a community-oriented society, for the very reason that we don’t have communities that have been established for centuries as in Europe. Issues of collectivity are the shadow to every American problem and this is obvious even in the way debates get framed, even when outwardly we praise individuality.

    • If you use the cultural dimensions measures, the US is a very individualistic and a strongly masculine society. That is probably why this came about.

      The other of course is the endless “bootstrap tough guy American” talk that the political right and various conservatives say.

      • We do culturally, ideologically, and politically obsess about individuality. But the framing of our public debates and our actual behavior betrays our real worldview, which isn’t individualistic.

        Americans love to blame others for supposedly being inferior and for being failures because of non-individual reasons: family, neighborhood, community, culture, ethnicity, race, etc. Americans blame nearly all problems on social and collective factors, but it is true that individuals get credit for anything that happens to go right, including being born into wealth and power.

        That is a bit of a generalization, though. Whites are allowed to be individuals, just no one else is. When a white person does something bad, such as a violent or criminal act, it doesn’t indicate a failing of the entire white race. When a non-white does the exact same thing, it is collective failure of every person who has the same ancestry or appearance as that person.

        So, there is a bit of a doublethink about how Americans apply individuality and collectivity.

      • About the bootstrap worldview, white Americans in particular like to think that they do everything on their own. Some books have studied the history of welfare and shown that isn’t the case. Over the past century, white Americans have received most of the government welfare, funding, loans, services, and opportunities. Minorities were intentionally excluded. Even now, whites receive more welfare than blacks, both in terms of total and per capita. White Americans are and always have been the biggest welfare queens.

    • I did come across some articles like that. That is why I focused on some of the other Northern European countries. It obviously isn’t just about where a country is located. Other countries with high suicide rates are close to Sweden and so there is some other factors involved besides geography and hours of sunlight.

  5. Also if you are interested in rich nations with high suicide rates, look up Japan and South Korea.

    Amongst the Western nations, Belgium has a high suicide rate, due to doctor assisted suicide.

    • I did notice those two countries when I was checking out the data.

      I understand Japan because it is a shame-based society. That causes people to turn aggression inwards and so harm themselves. American CEOs and politicans who fail or are caught doing wrong are rarely punished and often rewarded, but their Japanese equivalents would kill themselves in shame. American plutocrats know no shame.

      I’m not familiar with South Korean culture or much of anything else. If it is similar to some East Asian countries, there likely is a lot of social pressure from family, peers, teachers, and society in general. It might also be a shame-based society.

      I suspect that the Nordic countries have a bit of that shame-based culture as well. Small countries with homogeneous populations and cultures of trust often have a lot of pressure toward conformity. I was reading a book about Norway, and I got the sense that it would be very hard to be different in that society. It sounded like the social expectation to not to complain and talk about certain things was very strong.

  6. There is the Law of Jante in the Scandinavian nations, and although it comes from a satire, it does have a very powerful impact on society. Their society is very “introverted” so yes, there is the tendency to keep quiet, but in practice, people do often speak on some issues.

    That said, other indications are that the Scandinavians are a relatively individualistic (not as strongly as the US), but more so than the rest of the world nation.

    There are key differences with the Anglo world though.

    The Scandinavian nations are very feminine nations

    Sweden is the most feminine nation in the world.

    I would also note that the Anglo nations are very “achievement oriented” masculine nations.

    They have very low power distance too (some of the lowest on earth, save for Austria).

    This naturally lends itself to a low level of inequality.

    • The book I’ve been looking at is Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions, and Everyday Life by Kari Marie Norgaard.

      It’s a study that focuses on a particular town in Norway. The author focused there because it is a wealthy, well educated, politically active and environmentally aware society.


      “Norgaard, who is fluent in Norwegian and whose grandmother emigrated from Norway to the U.S., studied this village because it presented a microcosm unaffected by conditions she would have had to control for elsewhere. Norway has the highest standard of living in the world and the highest percentage of newspaper readership, as well as extremely high grassroots political and voting activity. “Everyday people are likely to be involved in political parties,” Norgaard explains. So she did not have to control for villagers’ worrying about their livelihoods, ignorance of global warming, or political apathy. In addition, global warming had already affected Norway dramatically because of its northerly location.”

      One of the first things she noticed is that Norwegians didn’t talk about global warming. Also, they were in some ways less politically active about global warming than even countries like the US where large-scale protest and marches will sometimes occur. Her specific concern isn’t Norwegian culture, but her observation stood out to me. I also liked that she brought up Lifton’s view on psychic numbing (related to dissociation), something I first learned about from Derrick Jensen:


      Part of the problem for Norwegians is that, despite their overt environmental concerns, their economy and standard of living is heavily dependent on non-sustainable natural resources. Norway carbon, fossil energy, and water footprints are up there with other industrialized Western countries, and their land footprint is the largest in the world. Their cancer rate is slightly above that of the United States, which is high, although it isn’t as high as Denmark.

      Their wealth and hence inequality comes at a great environmental cost for the world. But at least they are getting something for the costs they are externalizing. The average American doesn’t even get the benefit of low inequality.


      “Norway is the largest holder of crude oil and natural gas reserves in Europe, and it provides much of the petroleum liquids and natural gas consumed on the continent. Norway was the third-largest exporter of natural gas in the world after Russia and Qatar in 2013.

      “In 2014, the petroleum and natural gas sector accounted for 45% of Norway’s export revenues and more than 20% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).1 Norway’s petroleum and other liquids production peaked in 2001 at 3.4 million barrels per day (b/d) and declined to 1.8 million b/d in 2013 before growing to 1.9 million b/d in 2014. Natural gas production, on the other hand, increased nearly every year since 1993, except for a small decline in year-over-year production in 2011 and 2013. Natural gas production in 2014 was roughly the same as in 2013.”


      “In 2011, Norway was the eighth largest crude oil exporter in the world (at 78Mt), and the 9th largest exporter of refined oil (at 86Mt). It was also the world’s third largest natural gas exporter (at 99bcm), having significant gas reserves in the North Sea.[2][3] Norway also possesses some of the world’s largest potentially exploitable coal reserves (located under the Norwegian continental shelf) on earth.[4]

      “Three million barrels of oil adds 1.3 Mt of CO2 per day to the atmosphere as it is consumed, 474 Mt/year.[citation needed] Thus the global CO2 impact of Norway’s activities is significant. Much of the CO2 creation happens outside of Norway’s borders, from Norwegian fossil fuel exports.”




  7. Norway is far from perfect, but at least the resources benefited the people. Certainly not in America, although it is not the worst example.

    The same cannot often be said elsewhere. Even here in Canada, the private investors benefit and the average person does not.

    • I agree. It is too bad that they are so economically dependent on exporting pollution-causing natural resources. But I suppose there are far worse things to export, such as mass militarized violence.

      I do appreciate that at least some of the money from those natural resources is funding services, infrastructure, welfare, etc that benefits the public and promotes the public good. That is reminiscent of Thomas Paine’s proposal of having land taxes pay for a citizen’s dividend, something akin to social security and basic income.

  8. Recently Norway has become in a deep recession though. The low oil prices have not been kind to their economy at all.

    As far as the oil, yeah I guess you get this sort of denial effect going on. It’s kind of like an alcoholic that relies on drinking for getting by but denies how much they drink.

    • The recession probably makes the topic even harder to talk about. Their entire standard of living is dependent on those natural resources. For them to take a hit there means their strong social democracy and social safety net becomes threatened.

      Countries like the US does have an advantage in having a more diverse economy, not just vast natural resources but also agriculture, industry, and technological development. The problems here are a different kind. But in terms of open discussion of climate change, it maybe is the same difference.

      • Norway is an interesting country. The government’s heavy involvement and interventionism in the private sector could be called soft fascism, although very soft and balanced with the powerful social democracy of a politically active public and the trust-inducing democratic socialism of an effective welfare state.

        It’s not what most people think of as fascism, the hardcore right-wing authoritarianism of violence and oppression where cooperating big biz is kept in line with big govt—for example, in the Nazi economy, many corporations that aligned their interests with the government were able be extremely successful and profitable, including getting free slave labor (some of those corporations are still around today). Nor is it the inverted totalitarianism and banana republic of American plutocracy where big biz and monied special interest groups call the shots, where backroom cronyism rules every major decision in both the public and private spheres.

        I suppose Canada is not entirely like the US model, but kept more mild by some elements similar to the Norway model. Now that Canada has a more liberal government back in power, maybe it will shift toward the Norway model again. The US can set the bad example for Canadians to see what not to do. And Canada can set the good example for what we Americans should be doing.

        As for Norway, I wish them the best. I hope they can make the transition happen to a new alternative energy economy. Someone needs to show that it can be done and how it can be done.

    • I noticed in particular that they have “high levels of household debt and a very high cost of living.” I wonder what is going on with that. Why is their cost of living so high? And is that what is causing their high levels of household debt (or is it some other cause)?

      “The black mark on Norway’s economic record has been the long-term presence of high household debt. Norway’s gross debt-to-income ratio of households has risen annually from 141 per cent in 2004 to 180 per cent in
      2011. Only Denmark (at 267 per cent), Ireland (at 205 per cent) and the Netherlands (at 250 per cent) have higher levels of household debt.15 This leaves Norway particularly exposed to external pressures, such as oil price increases, which could cause a sudden increase in unemployment and leave people with unmanageable levels of debt.”

      That is a serious potential vulnerability. That would be all the more reason for them to shift their economy to sustainable energy, but their population might be too small to diversify their economy beyond its present focus. Still, that small population size might allow them to be more flexible and adaptable in response to changes.

      I also noticed this near the end:

      “Norway places an emphasis upon policies that enhance flexibility and security in the labour market. Norwegian labour market policies have been reshaped over the last few years towards making them increasingly more
      active, with a shift towards more focused qualifications to help people move into specific jobs, as well as keeping those unemployed in touch with the labour market through job practice schemes. Both employer organizations and trade unions support this approach.20 Indeed, Norway has had consistently high levels of workplace democracy, with a trade union representation level at 54 per cent, well above that in most other European countries, and second only to Sweden (67 per cent).21 This is especially important since Norway has no national minimum wage and has the highest cost of living in Europe. ”

      Maybe they realize what their strengths are and are trying to emphasize them. They seem to be trying to get ahead of their problems. Their approach seems proactive, rather than reactive like the US. I’ll be curious if they’ll be able to pull it off.

    • Well Norway does have the highest standard of living in the world according to the HDI and I would not be surprised if they dominated by other metrics as well.

      In practice, wages in Norway are amongst the highest in Europe, and minimums that you can expect to earn are quite high so that even people with relatively modest means can keep living.

      Still this is the salary breakdown:

      Most of Norway’s high debt is due to the high cost of housing. Housing prices are expensive and it may have been a bubble.

  9. On the political right, there is also this:



    Apparently the conservative view on being “strange”.

    That and they probably see it as an existential threat to their ideology, admittedly with some justification there.

    • The strange must be suppressed and controlled. Boundaries must be enforced through government and then internalized through propaganada. That is the real purpose of education, to create the mindless and not to develop minds. Control how children and you can control a society. Conservatives understood that early, which is why they prioritized taking over school boards in local communities. It’s a demented version of grassroots organizing.

    • I’ve heard about it. But I haven’t read it. In relation to that, I’d argue the greatest problems humanity faces are global, not national. This is true in so many ways.

      The greatest inequalities of wealth, healthcare, environmental regulations, education, employment, work safety, opportunities, resources, democratic rights, etc exists across the entire world population. This is also seen in terms of pollution, toxicity, deforestation, natural resource depletion, environmental degradation, and the effects of climate change.

      The majority of the wealthiest and most powerful people in every country have more in common with one another than they have in common with the lower classes in their own countries. What the economic and political elite do effects everyone else, often in extremely tangible ways. In fact, it effects everyone more than it effects the upper class minority.

  10. We now have a group of super wealthy that don’t care about the rest of society and seem hell-bent on getting more wealth for themselves, no matter the cost.

    They seem determined to plunder at times in ways that seem totally at odds with an ideals of morals and basic human decency.

    Left unchecked, combined with the excesses of global warming, I think that the world could be facing some very serious challenges in the coming decades.

    • One thing I like about the inequality problem is that in the long term it will solve itself. At some point, it will be pushed too far and the whole system will become stressed. Then the problem will become unavoidable.

      What will the filthy rich do and where will they go when there is a global revolution, when in many cases militaries and police forces join the side of the public? It has happened before and it will happen again.

      Arrogance always brings its own downfall. But let’s hope the downfall won’t take down all of civilization in the process.

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