Humans filter or reject negative information, as I first discussed in The Optimist's Brain. And let us not forget in this context that Ignorance Is Bliss. Humans surround themselves with positive information about themselves and their astonishing exploits. Human never tire of basking in their everlasting glory. Humans consider themselves to be the greatest thing the Universe ever produced. Humans think, albeit unconsciously, that the goal of all Creation, starting with the Big Bang, was to create them. I call this The Human Conceit, and I will post about it again before DOTE goes off the air.
Most of this human self-evaluation has nothing to do with Reality, of course, which is why I must present a lot of negative information on DOTE to provide even a tiny semblance of balance in the human view of the natural world and the artificial world they have created. As I once said in another context, the net effect of presenting this negative information is a lot like pissing in the ocean to raise the sea level.
Needless to say, highlighting negative information is not a popular thing to do...
The conceit arises out of anthropocentrism, which can be defined this way—
1. Regarding humans as the central element of the universe.
2. Interpreting reality exclusively in terms of human values and experience
Humans think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread, the cat's meow. Well, great compared to what?
Therein lies the rub, because there are no other species, tangible Higher Powers or space aliens to tell them otherwise. In the end, of course, Nature will tell them otherwise, but that hasn't happened yet.
See my Letter To God.
We can divide the humans up into roughly three piles, those forming the elite, those in the middle, and the downtrodden. The Human Conceit is chiefly the province of the elite, and has been since the rise of complex societies.
The elite include the most "successful" humans or those humans who had "successful" ancestors. The elites always run the show in modern, complex societies. A bona fides member of the elite always believes that he or she deserves his or her success because of his or her inherent wonderfulness.
Such "success" is achieved in the strictly human terms of an anthropocentric world the elites themselves define. And there is never a dearth of toadies eager to tell those in the elite just how great they are. It's all bullshit from the vantage point of a helpless outsider looking at the social world from a suitable distance.
In my subjective opinion, the "best" human beings are never the ones running the show. These people have managed to shun the allure of money, power and status. They have humility, and not just because conventional "success" was unavailable to them.
On the other hand, show me a Big Cheese, the Big Kahuna, the Head Honcho, the Top Dog, and I will show you a hopelessly irredeemable asshole who stepped on countless people in the middle or among the downtrodden—or whose ancestors did— to attain the exalted status he or she now holds.
And who is "elite" and who is not invariably a matter of context. Does your boss act like a little Napoleon who likes to push you around? Merely because he or she can do so because you need that job? And academics are even worse. Give people a little power, and watch what happens.
Really, if Homo sapiens is a fucked-up species, and the bulk of the evidence points that way, then members of the governing elite are by and large the most fucked up among the fucked up, not counting the most dangerously insane in the middle or among the downtrodden. Think of it that way.
Thus we get the unassailable arrogance, the astonishing hubris—the Human Conceit—we see in those who run human societies in the United States, Brazil, China, Russia, or anywhere else except Finland
And as the inestimable George Carlin once said, those in the elite don't give a fuck about you. Progressives and leftists are very good on this point, but a little weak on the next one.
There is nothing to be done with these alleged "leaders" short of cutting off their heads, but that doesn't help us out much because new assholes will simply arise to replace them. That is always the outcome. There are no exceptions, it is only a matter of time.
There's no escaping the Human Condition, and Progress is a myth.
I myself will keep on searching for a heart of gold.
Have a nice weekend.