First Published: December 28, 2005
Revised & Expanded: July 5, 2007
||Why is it that America is mostly of mediocre minds?
And, why is it actually a good thing?
|| The exact same reasons why the UK (or China, or Mars and
for that matter) is mostly of mediocre minds.
By definition, with any
given populace, you'll find that majority of them have neither brilliant nor
particularly dull minds. The average person has neither the means,
justifications nor slightest desire to pursue real enlightenment, as it
doesn't immediately pertain to what they aspire to in life.
It'd be wrong to assume that mediocre minds are not competent in making
money. Mediocrity is in no way detrimental to financial success. In fact,
it's an essential facilitator. A great mind, on the other hand, is a
hindrance: It creates concerns, reluctance, hesitation and distractions.
After all, mediocrity is not-at-all mutually incompatible with shrewdness.
In fact, they are in my judgment—symbiotically
Mediocrity has no particular implications on morality either. They are
just unwilling to go against the grain, and are known to be easily
influenced and manipulated. Thus, they would inevitably end up being unwitting accomplices of those with malevolent intents.
As for why is it actually a good thing? With mediocre minds
come inertia and status quo. Such predictability leads to stability and
momentum, as opposed to volatility and
cyclic stagnation. And that is a good thing, especially for economic development and wealth re-distribution (shuffling as
opposed to actual creation). There is a lot of truth in:
"The certainty of misery is better than the
misery of uncertainty."
Ignorance and indifference breed content and
harmony (hence bliss). Knowledge and intellect leads to frustrations, worries
stress (hence a curse). Optimal prosperity and advancement demands the
productivity and efficiency afforded by an
ample supply of rudimentary work force to form the prerequisite pyramid
structure. The military is not the only establishment where unconditionally
obedient soldiers are needed.
Too much of a good thing? As useful as mediocrity is, I would caution that too much shifting to the
low end creates a complete vacuum in accountability from the grass root
level. It tends to promote overly predatory (and unsustainable) maneuvers by ruthless opportunists,
blind-sighted by short-term greed, driven to actions that are harmful even to
their very own being. The result is a society with rampant fraud, violence
and general lawlessness. This will eventually escalate to catastrophic collapses.
Too much of a shift to the high end, on the other hand, tends to create
chaos and volatility. Society would be forced to deal with such undesirable
annoyances as: uncertainty,
competition, clashes, questioning of "faith," various investigations of
motives and truth, determination of fairness. Consensus become increasingly
unattainable. Resources are squandered on endless debates, and frequent impasse
becomes the norm. With knowledge come desire, demands and dissatisfaction. Possibility of mass suicide looms, as miseries become
So, what should we do?
Human behavior is for the most part, as predictable as days following
nights, summer following spring. A crucial ingredient of optimal economic prosperity
is relatively low intelligence for the bulk of the populace, and all
governments of the world (in "partnership" with the wealthy) are actively ensuring that to some extend. It is
imperative to maintain a healthy and sustainable equilibrium.
Utopia of pure benevolent rulers (in any
form) is but an elusive dream. It would be more productive to assume a
pragmatic posture. From my own Chankardian
||Politicians and the populace are
humans. One plagued by greed & corruptions, and the other by greed &
ignorance. Thus politics and governance is forever reduced to:
the evil in the former & tricking the latter toward goodness.
back rubbing, and perpetual grand deceptions.
Frequent incremental interventions are far less painful than
occasional grand ones—presumably in the
form of revolution. Such bite-size corrections require ever vigilance, and a bare minimal level
of education for the populace. Not surprisingly, the lack of an
informed public leads to the crumbling of the foundation of democracy we're
witnessing. The situation is dire and immediate drastic measures are in
||As night-fall does not come at once, neither does oppression...
It is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the
air―however slight―lest we become victims of the darkness.
Orville Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice
The goals (and duties) of voices of dissent
are not to exhaustively expose every nefarious act, or foolishly endeavor to
eliminate them.* Rather, the primary objective is containment—to enact & enforce a
tolerance threshold. Ideally, merely the potent
presence of dissent early on should accomplish such goals.
|Scenario #1: An ambulance driver was negligent by taking a known
congested street and the avoidable delay cost a patient his life.
Refrain from sensational, knee-jerk reactions
and make a federal case out of it. Just let the system take its course.
Scenario #2: In his rush to the hospital, he actually plowed thru a crowded
marketplace and mowed down numerous people; then severe punishment
is in order, as a deterrent. Let's expose his feeble "I was just trying to save a
life..." as hollow "justification."
Scenario #3: When it's revealed that... despite the blaring siren &
flashing lights, there's no patient inside! He's simply in a hurry
to buy a beer! Oh, it's not even the first time. Once during a showoff joyride
girlfriend while on duty. And, in sheer arrogance and impenitent, laughed about "dumb [donkeys] dropping like bowling pins" and boasted privately...
What shall we do to such a [waste-of-space] chronic offender?
The mediocre-minded would fault me for citing such "irrelevant" and
ridiculously unrealistic scenarios. Ironically, reality is far stranger than fiction, at
least for those in the know. As a response to those critics,
prepared this food for thought—henceforth
known as my
Chankardian quote #86, and I invite you to
take a whiff (if you dare):
||The balm of foul is smeared just above your upper lip, and you smell
nothing? You must be either breathing through your mouth, or lying
through your teeth. In other words:
willfully ignorant, naturally inept, or just plain deceitful.
Mediocrity is all we have. Live with it. Thrive with it.
* Sorry to disappoint, but we simply don't have time
for catching every petty thief. We have much bigger lobsters to steam! So
what? if we drop a couple shrimps here and there!