Furthest Right

Means-Ends confusion

Modern society is a sophomoric time, meaning that we have all this great technology, but any abstract or complex order eludes us. We’re good with the tangible things that can be held up to a crowd or a machine, but the idea of complex interrelated consequences is difficult to communicate so we’ve left it for more civilized species.

Two major confusions of the modern time relate directly to this. People understand one-step procedures very well; complex, branching procedures that require the user to be aware of the long-term goal at all times are much less popular. As a result, there are two major confusions of long-term versus short-term, strategy versus method, ends versus means.

  1. Goals and methods. For example, people will say they want “peace” or “liberty,” but really, those are means to an end. The end is a stable civilization where they can raise their kids among peers. Even if people claim that’s absolutely not what they want, their actions reveal it’s what they want, as they work hard for money to live in neighborhoods of people like them.
  2. Plans and disadvantages. For example, people will say that we cannot stop overpopulation because injustice will result. Injustice is a disadvantage, but it doesn’t change the fact that stopping overpopulation fixes the problem of ecocide. If injustice meant that an action intended to prevent ecocide was unable to prevent ecocide, that action would be a failed plan; otherwise, injustice is a side effect only.

This means we have “wise fools” who understand the methods they want to use, but not the goals they hope to achieve, and who cannot tell the difference between success with side effects and failure to achieve that goal.

No wonder it’s a lonely time for ideas. People have no idea how to interpret anything but that which is spoon-fed to them, and the requisite dumbing-down renders it into gibberish.

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