The same seems to happen in politics i.e. the candidate who has more sponsorship for their campaign will be seen and heard more often in the media. Therefore, by having more information on one candidate than the other, how can we expect voting to be an adequate method of selection if we don’t have most of the relevant information about the campaigns of both candidates. How can we know that the candidates are being honest in what they are saying? If their sponsor is in the war industry, the candidate will attempt to convince its electorate that war is necessary. Next time you are going to vote, keep in mind if you are voting for the person you think is a better candidate or the candidate that had more generous sponsors.
“So far, we have opinions from politicians that know nothing about ecology, safety, engineering, increasing the agricultural yield. They’re totally incapable.” – Jacque Fresco
Politicians are not a separate breed of people or aliens from outer space. They are our mothers, fathers, uncles, cousins or our next door neighbors. Jacque Fresco’s statement above applies for most people today; they feel comfortable in voicing their uninformed opinions. Imagine sitting in an airplane waiting to go on your much-anticipated holiday. The Captain of the flight comes over the passenger address system and announces Ladies and gentleman this is your Captain speaking. Apologies for the delay of departure, we seem to be experiencing a small technical issue with one of our engines, and we are awaiting the assessment of our local baker to tell us whether we can continue to go on with our flight or if further investigation is required before we take off. Some might unfasten their seat belt and run out of the airplane; others might protest, and few might think it’s a joke and laugh it off. If they find it amusing, it will be because they know that a qualified aeronautical engineer specialized in that particular engine model will examine it by running necessary tests and will only release the aircraft as fully functional if it meets manufacturer’s guidelines and all legal requirements. It is devastating that most people do not think its a joke when lawyers and businesspeople are making decisions on issues such as health, environment, education, nutrition and other areas which they are extremely under-qualified to do so.
“A cow asks no questions as to how it happens to have a dry stall and a supply of hay. The kitten laps it’s warm milk from a china saucer, without knowing anything about porcelain; the dog nestles in the corner of a divan with no sense of obligation to the inventors of upholstery and the manufacturers of down pillows. So we humans accept our breakfasts, our trains, and telephones and orchestras and movies, our national Constitution, or moral code and standards of manners, with the simplicity and innocence of a pet rabbit.” – The Mind in the Making
“What profession do all of these senators and congressmen have? Law, law, law, law, business man, law, law, law. Where are the scientists? Where are the engineers? Where’s the rest of life represented?” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
Cognitive Errors and Biases
“It’s not that people are good or bad. They’re raised in an aberrated or twisted environment.” – Jacque Fresco
Attribution is the process through which people ‘infer’ the causes of human behavior. According to Fritz Heider, there are two main types of attributions: Dispositional and Situational.
“You are taught in school that everyone should have a right to their own opinion is that right? Suppose you lived across the way from me, and I see ten guys coming out of your apartment, and I have a right to my own opinion. She could be a ballet instructor a language instructor. Never give people the right to their own opinion. If their own opinion is sane, and I ask “what is going on there?” They should say “I honestly don’t know.” – Jacque Fresco
The above quote describes Dispositional Attributions. This is when we say that “the headhunters of the Amazon are bad and evil” because of their cultural custom of using shrunken human heads as ornaments. In other words, when we attribute another’s behavior to something we consider inborn (Internal Attribution), like they do in law and religion. Situational Attribution, on the other hand, is when we say that the environment shapes human behavior (External Attribution.) In other words, when we attribute another’s behavior to the environment. It is much easier for the inefficient observer to turn to the internal or dispositional attributions about another person’s behavior.
Admittedly we cannot see the events that lead a person to act a certain way (invisibility problem,) it is easier to say what a jerk that guy is. It is hard to attain awareness to a level which may mitigate the problem of ‘invisibility’ in everyday life because you don’t want to make excuses for a person who is causing you pain. The reality is that you won’t be making excuses, it would be making a ‘saner’ situational attribution. We are not informed of this method in our current culture, and we are not taught or trained to move away from the dispositional type of thinking while learning to say I don’t know why the person acted this way thus achieving a saner way of speaking. Instead, we fall victims to our cognitive errors and biases.
“If a person with red spots always beat you up, next time you see a person with reds spots you would cross the road” – Jacque Fresco
We navigate our world by generalizing, and these generalizations carry associations which help us survive. If a stone of a certain size hits my head and it hurts, any object after that flying toward my head will be perceived as a threat. If I burn my hand on a sun-baked piece of metal, next time when I feel the heat coming from an iron, I will most likely perceive it as a threat. Evolutionarily, this mechanism had its uses in creating associations from the past and the present, and using them to project into the future, which might improve the level of predictability and general situational awareness. But in the meantime we may make inferences, ignoring environmental pressures which act as constraints, present in people’s minds and not apparent to us, such as societal pressures and parental conditioning. Jealousy and envy can be added to the list when speaking of ignoring these pressures and conditioning. Even just a photo may trigger such a reaction. We may look at a picture of our friend with his new car and say What a show-off! Or a sexually provocative picture of a female and say What a tramp! We get that from the present day culture, labeling people based on our conditioned emotional reactions.