Daily Archives: May 12, 2021

Ask Old Jules: Caring what people think, Not caring about money, Intellectual decline of the US, Philosophical questions, How to repay someone who saved your life

Harper, TX 2010 123

Old Jules,  would you say its human nature to care what others think? Many people try to not care but, it is really hard to not care. Why is this?

I don’t believe it’s human nature [which would result in something akin to a unanimous set of views]. But society has learned a lot over the past century about how to condition human beings to think in lockstep with those around them. It manifests itself in ‘caring what others think’ and feels natural enough for those who’ve responded to the conditioning to cause them to believe it’s human nature.

I don’t care about money and material things? 20 year old guy and I just can’t bring myself to care about money, material possessions and careers. The only reason I work for money is to get by, otherwise I couldn’t give a shit less how much money I make a year or how many expensive things I own.  Am I in for a rough life ahead because I don’t care about money and material things?

20 is probably a bit premature to believe you’re able to recognize what’s BS and what isn’t. Even though a lot is, discerning which is and which isn’t takes more times around the block than you’ve experienced. Not to suggest triple or quadruple times around the star will give you a solid handle on it. It won’t.
But listening and watching with an open mind helps a lot, as opposed to ‘knowing’ too much at any given time to allow yourself the option of noticing what you might have otherwise been able to learn.
Probably it doesn’t have a bearing on whether your life will be a tough one or won’t. It’s a middling good shot it will be tough. Most are for those who don’t manage to pull off ‘numb’ as a state of being.

      Old Jules, when and how did the intellectual decline of United States start?
I’m more concerned of the current generation which seems duller and more inert than previous generations.

My personal thought is that educational decline began immediately after WWII with the WWII baby boomers hitting the school systems unprepared for them. I started grammar school in 1949 and by the time I finished high school I had to admit my parents were better educated than myself in many areas even though neither had gone to a university. Both of them could read [and had read] Cicero and Pliny in Latin, for example.

When television first came to my area in 1957-1958, I think things declined more rapidly and the manifestations of poorer education were complicated by everything that went with television entertainment.

But the death-knell, I believe, came with the advent of ‘canned laughter’ which came on the TV with sitcoms late 1960s-early 1970s. At the time there was a lot of noise from psychiatrists and psychologists about potential of training the mind to be voluntarily brainwashed by canned laughter, rendering it malleable to television ‘training’ in habits of thought.

Now a lot of generations have seen infants staring at television and trained not to think, beginning with whether it’s funny, but listening for the hive, the tribe, the artifact of conventional or popular [by the sound of laughter] wisdom.

It’s no damned wonder they can’t think.

Old Jules, I need some deep, hard to answer philosophical questions? Like “Are we real?” et cetera. Something that I will have to think about all day. Oh and please introduce me to some interesting philosophies!

Do some thinking about the concept of ‘now’ or ‘the present’ and get what you believe it is firmly fleshed out in your mind. Then try to chase your thoughts upstream to a place where it isn’t ‘the past’.

You can’t do it. So the question isn’t, does ‘now’ or ‘the present’ exist… it doesn’t. Before you can form a microscopic piece of a thought it’s already past.

The question is, what are the philosophical implications of a reality where ‘now’ doesn’t exist. Where are those things you think you’re thinking coming from? Do you believe you actually can extrapolate anything about the ‘front’ side of human thinking?

Old Jules, if someone saved your life, how would you repay them?

I’d be fairly hacked off if someone intruded in my affairs that way without knowing whether I’d wish it or wouldn’t. I’ll live as long as I’m able, but when the time comes I don’t want any busybody doooogooder blocking the road out. I had my life saved once a few decades ago and was grateful, thanked him repeatedly, but I didn’t have so many miles behind me yet.