With the extent to which everyone pretends to get along these days, I sometimes wonder how people would have acted if they had lived during the civil rights movement. Would they have fought for equal justice for all americans? Would they have demonized black people and blamed them for their own suffering? Would they have ignored it entirely? I feel that I have a window into the answer to that question when I hear the way people react to the Trayvon Martin case.
My girlfriend showed me a video today in which an apparently out-of-touch Mitt Romney spoke to the NAACP, and hilarity ensued. After laughing at Mr Romney sufficiently, I couldn’t help but wonder why he would speak to the NAACP in the first place. Think about it. If you had 100s of millions of dollars and were running for president, chances are, you’ve hired from among the smartest, most talented campaign managers in the country. Why would a person like that tell Romney to speak to the NAACP and tell them that he’s going to repeal Obamacare and lower taxes on rich people? Did they really think they would win the black community with that?
Of course not. I think they never had any intent of trying to win black votes. What I think they really wanted was a video clip of Romney saying he would repeal Obamacare, followed by a room full of black people booing him down. While not winning the hearts of the black community, it did send a powerful image to white America, telling us that Obamacare is for black people, and that black people are the enemy of those who don’t like Obamacare. Ultimately, it just bolsters the idea that the black president is stealing money from white people to give it to black people.
I might be wrong. It could just be that the Romney campaign has no idea what they’re doing. It seems pretty unlikely that a rich guy would hire stupid people, but I really hope that’s what’s happening here. Because if it’s not, it’s just plain evil.
The universe is a big, complex machine. Learn how the machine works, and you can understand it and predict what it will do. Maybe no with absolute accuracy, because of quantum uncertainty, but you can know quite a bit.
People are robots. We may have a tiny shred of free will. The jury is still out on that. But mostly, we are robots. Learn how the machinery works, and you can understand why people do what they do, and how to move them to do other things.
I find it curious how often people engage in pseudoscience to try to understand the universe and achieve their goals. It used to be that such pseudosciences were all we really had. But these days, while we don’t have all the answers, we have a lot of them. We have more answers than a single person could ever learn in their life time. Each one of them is (probably) true, and each one will make us more able to understand how the universe is, predict what will happen in the future, and achieve the goals we want in life.
And yet, I still know more people who know more about astrology than neuroscience.