Big Thought

Philosophy, Uncategorized

I firmly believe that most all human problems are attributed to one flaw: our unwillingness to think when it’s inconvenient. We all have the capacity to think. It’s just that it takes effort most of the time and it seems like a task to think beyond what we experience.

Investment failures, prejudicial bias, political partisanship, relationship problems, they can all be traced back to a refusal to review, to think.

Not thinking makes life easy. We don’t have to see others’ points of view or try to comprehend something unpleasant. Life is simple when we can take something that we don’t want to deal with and put it in a closet and shut the door.

Being a black-and-white thinker is effortless. Despite all of our attempts to make our mind a canvas with one dimension, it goes against nature. The world is like a gem, with facets all around that refract light into different colors from different angles. To understand all of those differences, you need to be willing to look at them.

When we sit in our own personal corners and watch the world from that perspective, we stop growing. This is when we become “set in our ways.” We don’t want to learn new ways of doing things. We don’t want to make the effort to comprehend someone else’s point of view. We don’t want to understand different cultures. We don’t want to know why some abstract painting is art. We want people to do things our way. We want people to speak our language. That’s when things get dangerous. When we stop progressing, we draw lines in the sand and would rather fight than think about an alternative.

Lack of thinking generates a world of calamity. It creates enemies, starts wars and sets us all on the path of disaster.

There are those who will say “there are times when you must act and not think.” This is true, especially in times of a response to violence or the specter of violence. But our action can be the appropriate reaction when we think about how we’ll react before we are forced to confront a situation and make a hasty decision.

Be a thinker. Everything starts with a thought, an idea. Reason, choice, action, worship, epiphany and emotion— they are all products of thought. What goes on in your mind eventually matriculates to your actions. What you think influences what you do and what you do is who you are. Every bad deed and every good deed you’ve done started in your mind first before it became an action.

Be a thinker. No matter how disturbing or difficult the situation, thinking may not find you the answer, but it will get you closer.

Be a thinker. People may deride you because you seem unwilling to settle on one view. They’ll call you a lazy dreamer, pretentious and say your head’s in the clouds. They’ll say you think too much and don’t do. It isn’t true. Just because you take your time acting doesn’t mean you don’t take action; it means you know when to act.

At the end of the day, this is all about understanding both yourself and your world. It’s important to understand and to apply thinking to everything you experience because it spawns new ideas and new approaches to old problems. Understanding leads to generating better solutions both for you and your world.

Living with one view is not thinking. Living with a single stance stymies understanding. That stagnancy causes your mind to atrophy and you end up being only what the world will allow.

Think about it.

(originally posted on Medium.com)

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Mind Market

Politics

apple

I love Apple. Their products, in my mind, are far superior than most, if not all, PC makers.

It’s not as though I didn’t give PCs a try. Starting back in the DOS days 20 years ago, I used PCs and several operating systems including, but not limited to, Windows, Linux, Unix, etc.

Then I used Macintosh. It never crashed. It always worked. It was easy to use. In short, it was just a better product.

This was all before the advent of Mac’s trendy marketing campaign. I mean way before it, like when the Apple logo was rainbow-colored. I came to Apple honestly.

Fast forward to today. Thanks to the iPod, iPhone and various other forms of “i”s Apple went from near bankruptcy to the most profitable company in the world.

Apple fans are accused of being drones, slaves to the product and suckers for the clever, hipster marketing techniques.

This is a problem in today’s world with how we view brands. People, particularly progressives, are leery of products with strong marketing campaigns. Whether it’s baby formula, fast food, vaccines or even politics, some feel that we are being force-fed goods that are no good for us. They think that we’re victims of manipulative marketing.

Three years ago the Supreme Court issued it’s “Citizen’s United” decision where they determined that corporations can pour as much money into political propaganda as they want. Critics cried foul because they felt that secretive marketing would somehow taint the election process and corrupt our political system.

Right, because it wasn’t corrupt before.

Do political actions committees, fast food companies, beer brewers and marketing firms use unscrupulous tactics to make us want their products? Of course. They sneak in sexual innuendo. They make exaggerated claims. They use cartoon characters to sell cigarettes. They study cult behavior to determine how people get hooked on a feeling. They try to make you feel irresponsible if you don’t buy a five-star crash rating car or purchase supplemental life insurance. The T&A, my Lord, they use T&A to sell everything.

People cry foul. I used to agree but I don’t anymore.

Why? Because at the end of the day, we still make a choice. Marketing is exactly that— it’s marketing not mind control. All told, I still have to line up and get my Apple fix. People still choose to smoke, drink beer, buy organic or drive a Ford.

As the guy said in the PBS Frontline special on Citizens United, it’s about the message. PACs can spend as much as they want on a candidate but at the end of the day, the voter still decides whether to buy the message and vote for the candidate.

If you want to weigh marketing dollar for dollar, success doesn’t correlate to the amount of money you spend on marketing. John Kerry had more political donations than George W. Bush in 2004. Bush still won. Mitt Romney spent more than Barack Obama in battleground states. Obama still won. The marketing upper hand doesn’t automatically mean a win. Just ask Karl Rove.

No matter how much we point the finger at those who try to fool us, it’s still mind over marketing. The process is a two-way street and a mutual decision.

If you want to buy something, ask yourself if you really need it or want it. Then DO RESEARCH and figure out if the advertiser’s claims are true. THEN decide.

I have just about every make of Apple Computer including the Apple IIc, the iPad, MacBook Pro, G3 Powerbook and a IIGS. Hell, I even own an Apple Newton. But ironically, I’m sticking with my Android phone though. I’ve read the iPhone is not actually a good cell phone despite it’s innovative apps.

When I was considering whether to buy an iPad, my wife tried to dissuade me from it saying she didn’t see why I needed it.

“You know what? I just want one,” I told her.

Nope, Apple doesn’t control me.

Subjection and Entertainment

Philosophy

quote

The days of objectivity are gone.

People may tell you they want objectivity in their news but they’re full of shit. They want conjecture, opinion, rants, sound bites, etc. They don’t want facts, differing views or analysis.

In short, people want to hear what they want to hear. They won’t tell you that though. The public says it wants facts, when they really want entertainment. People want the latest on the Kardashians, not Jim Lehrer’s insight on the federal budget.

Example. Go to Yahoo and read a news story. Scroll to the bottom and read the user comments. They’re listed according to how many votes they get from other users who like the posts.

Some of the posters offer straight up opinion based on what’s in the story. These people usually get little to no votes. Guess who gets the most thumbs up? The most visceral, outlandish posts get the most nods from readers. I saw one top post on an Enron retrospective story that said “they’re all CROOKS!” and that was it. The post had 500+ who liked it while more sobering comments had no votes at all.

Short bits like that, that require no thinking or effort to read, is what people want.

That’s sad.