Bizzaro World: The New Normal?

Occam’s Razor:   The simplest explanation (no matter how unusual) is usually the correct one.

Pattern recognition, by some accounts, is the very basis of human intelligence.  However complicated human thought might be, it’s hard to argue that, in most circumstances, we’re really pretty good at “connecting the dots” and, thus, making sense of what might, otherwise, just be chaotic noise.  This talent, however, can break down when either the signal-to-noise ration gets too low or, alternatively, when our experiential (or heuristic) bias simply over-rides the process. 

I’m no logician, really, but, I do believe (and have noted previously) that the growing complexity of modern life (and the sheer quantity of data we’re processing) has led to a greater reliance on what are, in effect, heuristic reasoning methods.  Notably, most search engine algorithms rely heavily on heuristics, otherwise known as a “rule of thumb”, an educated guess, an intuitive judgment, or (simply) common sense.  One might also go so far as to add that heuristics are something of the “holy grail” in the realm of artificial intelligence. 

George Pólya, a Hungarian mathematician who pioneered the field, noted in 1939:  “Heuristic reasoning cannot demonstrate the truth or falsity of a theorem, it can only augment or diminish our confidence in a theorem which is still only a conjecture neither proved nor disproved.”   Which might reasonably be interpreted to mean, “context is everything”, at least in regards to our perception of reality.

So, let’s consider these notions in the context of current events. 

For the average American, the past three or four years has left many in a state of shock and with the growing realization that, in all probability, their imagined future has been horribly and permanently diminished.  Young or old, the path forward seems far narrower, far steeper, far less encouraging than ever before.  The (only) good news:  They might just be on to something (heuristically speaking).

This shock, of course, comes as a result of having lived for so long without any expectation, any “credible” warning, or even accidental awareness of the storm clouds that had been looming on the horizon for decades.  In Alan Greenspan’s own words, “No, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I had been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it (his conceptual framework) was working exceptionally well.”

As they say, “Denial: it’s not just a river in Egypt.”  Too that, I might add, “That light you see at the end of the tunnel might just be the fires of hell burning ever brighter.” 

Because, let’s face facts here.  We were warned about all of this.  Let me repeat (more boldly):  We were warned about all of this.  As I’ve had reason to note periodically:  From Thomas Jefferson himself (and, really, just about any credible political philosopher or economist for the past two thousand years) to the Bible (see Romans 13:8, for instance, among many, many others), we were warned.  We simply chose to ignore those warnings.

But, when you really think about it, perhaps such willful blindness is rather forgivable.  I mean, just how crazy would you have to be to believe in the sort of conspiracy theory that, taken to it’s “logical” conclusion would suggest that a series of “fiendish” plots would, over the span of time, say, lead to a global government with the power to control the freedom and ability of individuals to buy or sell.  I mean, how utterly improbable can you get?  Do you really want to go down that path?

For the tin-hat conspiracy theorist, of course, every news headline you might see today, can serve as confirmation of any expected plot (if only the tip of the iceberg, aha!).  To those that, in the past, have given credence to virtually every (generally) outlandish, but persistent, claim regarding topics as wide-ranging as the Bilderbergers and the Roswell Cover-up (see a more complete listing here), no explanation, it seems, can every really be all that implausible.  

But, in response to our (clearly) failing heuristics, I suggest a return to a more traditional application of Occam’s Razor.  Try if you will, but, it seems to be getting harder (even for those that might rather go back to bed and pull the covers up over their heads) to ignore a number of significant (and, it must be said, rather Orwellian) trends.  Consider the following:

  • The co-opting of government by big banking, corporate, labor, and/or globalist interests:  Check
  • The co-opting by government of the mainstream media:  Check
  • The increasingly heavy-handed expansion of governmental arrogance and power:  Check
  • The increasing lack of concern for matters of Constitutional Law:  Check
  • The increasingly automatic assumption that Global Governance is a desirable, even necessary, solution to the world’s problems:  Check 
  • The increasingly brazen dismissal of any tradition value, let alone one as simple as intolerance of corruption:  Check
  • The increasingly successful indoctrination of children by means of institutional education and media bombardment:  Check 
  • The continually rising hubris of humanity, even (and especially) in the face of stunning, crumbling, catastrophic human failure:  Check
  • The diminished, even lost, capacity for discernment, let alone the mere conceptual recognition, of the truth:  Check    

Now, many (including myself on the average day) might tend to focus on certain material parameters of what many are, of late, describing as the “New Normal”.  This perspective was adequately described by the likes of PIMCO’s Bill Gross the other day:  “…a declining dollar and a lower standard of living.”   And, as far as it goes, that’s, very probably, a true statement.  The Average American is, without question, being confronted with the Law of Diminishing Returns.  

Still, does any of that really matter in the “bigger picture” context of a world in which so many (in India or China, for instance) are being lifted out of poverty?  Maybe not.  There have always been winners and losers in the global distribution of power.  Perhaps, our time in the sun is over.

But, however true that might be (again, heuristically speaking), it doesn’t serve all that well to explain the aggregate trajectory described above.  This is not, it seems, just an economic or even a political problem.  It might serve us well to be mindful of answers that go a bit deeper.  If what we observe are merely symptoms of a much bigger spiritual condition, we’ll not solve it at the ballot box or the printing press. 

Have we really created the sort of “Bizzaro World” that Orwell described, one in which “war is peace”, “freedom is slavery”, and “ignorance is strength”?  Is that the “New Normal”?  I truly hope not.    

Harry Tuttle

My dear brothers, never forget, when you hear the progress of enlightenment vaunted, that the devil’s best trick is to persuade you that he doesn’t exist!” – Baudelaire


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