As they gain more experience, they tend to transfer this to ideology. “All my friends think socialized medicine is an erudite, compassionate and modern idea, so it must be the best plan.”
When they gain even more experience, they tend to defer toward sources. “These books I respect greatly suggest that quantum mechanics means we are all reptiles, which makes sense to me.”
Very few of them stop to take the simple step of comparing the notions in our heads to the world outside us.
We can cook up any number of schemes in the world of thought, but this does not mean those thoughts exist in reality. Reality, both natural and informational, has certain rules and tendencies that don’t change just because we want them to.
Insane people take this to its reduction to absurdity. If I look at a carpet and think, “it would be great if this were a flying carpet,” I shrug that off as fantasy. An insane person takes the carpet to the window and leaps out holding it.
People who are inexperienced or exhausted tend to be nervous. Welled up with doubt from within, and confusion about the world outside of them, they cling to whatever “truths” are quick and mentally convenient for them. This is fundamentally dishonest but keeps them from getting overwhelmed.
Life in contrast to this is a process of long-term results. The goal for an organism is to establish overall fitness. This is not a matter of winning a fight by pure strength, or coming up with a solution fastest. It rewards those who are most realistic about what will work and who have the discipline to follow through consistently. These values are eternal.
Very few modern people have this. They are used to pushing buttons, giving orders, trading money for objects. They are not used to getting up every day as the sun rises and plugging away stubbornly at some godawful project in order to have it come to fruition in twenty-five years.
When people gather in groups, they are reduced to the lowest common denominator in their decision making. You have seen this problem in committees and other groups. The more people in the group, the lower the compromise goes, until when you get a big enough group about all you can get is “I like beer” or “Kill anyone who opposes us.”
Society, being nervous because it knows it is unstable, likes easy answers that anyone can “work” to achieve. By work, they mean show up at an office and get some money, then apply it. This has nothing to do with real work, which means conceiving of a vision of something new, finding a realistic plan and making it happen.
These two are forever in opposition. The appearance of work, which pleases the crowd right now, and actual work, which may well be eternal and shapes the soul like snowmelt carves paths through impregnable mountain rock.
Nervous feelings make us hasty. We look for quick external solutions. When we relax, loaf and let our minds wander to the ages before us and after us, we see the long term challenge. This one is not settled by quick “work,” but by persistent strengthening of mental ability, health, morality, wisdom and aggression (the will to act).
In a nervous time, these important values are not recognized and are pushed aside by temporary values. Those temporary values are new however, in the last 200 years or so, and as they come to fruition and reveal failure, people are turning from the nervous haste back toward the idea of the eternal.