Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Commonplace Thinking: Winners and Losers


It is worth bearing in mind and even regularly reminding oneself that many people do not take to sophisticated thought patterns.

A Facebook friend of mine was angry about UK Brexit voters who refused to listen to her points online, since according to them they had 'won' and she had 'lost' so it was her duty to shut up. 

The winning-losing, success-failure couplets are now a commonplace and extremely widespread means of evaluation, encouraged at all times by mainstream media outlets and many TV shows.

In entertainment many commentators point to box office receipts and sales returns as salient points to raise in evaluating films and video games, in the 'working world', unemployed misfits are of course casually referred to as 'losers' (successful business owners being the 'winners'), in business, success or failure at making money (rather than success or failure at contributing to the common good) are constantly scrutinised by investors and, in politics, voters will often make fun of how the opposition 'lost' at an election or a referendum.  

Months ago I expressed my love of losers or people who identified with the 'loser' label, not knowing in their so doing how well their heads were screwed on (Losers). 

For winning and losing is a playground, childish and morally dubious way to appreciate the world, since abusers and psychopaths (including multinational corporations) who harm others may well and in fact do come to be seen as exemplary successes to be imitated and followed whereas introspective, ethical people (or companies) who care for their fellow human beings will often be looked down as wastes of space and time (at least by the competitively minded and by investors). 

This makes me think of Philip Pullman's hint in His Dark Materials that the true battle fought through the ages was and is one between wisdom and ignorance.

Yet it is arguably futile to attempt to fight ignorance with wisdom, since people who choose to ignore truth, knowledge and the good will not allow themselves be persuaded by philosophical arguments, however clear, concise, fair-minded and transparent. 

Independent and esoteric researcher/speaker Mark Passio (see Mark Passio and the Chess Game) does not, for his part, suffer fools gladly and is credited with saying
"Wilful ignorance in the presence of knowledge is the measure of a bad person."
Yet, even though disastrous in its effects, ignorance is not a wrong in itself. People are entitled to be ignorant, even of that which they could reasonably be expected to know. It is harm caused to others, whether through ignorance or conscious malice or both, that is a wrong.

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