Maxims, rules of thumb and other observations on human cognition and sociocultural affectations

This will be added to on an irregular basis...
  • What is said to humans directly is received with skepticism and considered with dubiousness while that which is heard in passing, especially that which most conforms to their mentality or prejudices, is readily believed.
  • Humans have a certain cognitive latency between exposure to new information or experiences and the ability to think dispassionately and intellectually about it.
  • Humans have a certain cognitive spectrum starting with the moment of exposure to new information or experiences and ending with some point at which the thing is effectively "in the past" for them.
  • This cognitive spectrum is linked to the emotional process often referred to as shock, anger, denial and acceptance.
  • The more and faster information or experiences are presented to people and the closer the quarters and the lesser the distance between people, the more their early reactions in the passionate emotional stage are reflected back to them in the manner of responses to those reactions from others in light of those responses.
  • The more outrages which are suffered without sufficient time to allow emotional bleed-off, the farther the bar for subsequent reaction and outrage are pushed, and the more further events must progress before reaction and outrage.
  • It is possible for serious detriments to eventually sit below this threshold for long enough for their damaging effects to build and multiply until their entire society undergoes some reactive convulsion.
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Sunday, May 08, 2005

On we march towards Ghost in the Shell...

(One of the more lucid and insightful things I've managed to spit out even if it is simply IMHO and possibly at odds with yours, this was written in response to this article on Slashdot:
UK to lnstall Wireless Mics on London Streets

Posted by timothy on Sunday May 08, @05:47AM

from the no-sir-that's-not-at-all-disturbing-no-sir dept.

johnthorensen writes "Looks like parts of London may be seeing wireless microphones on the street sometime soon. At this point, they're looking to use them to monitor noise ordinance violations - if you call about a repeated disturbance, they'll mount one by your place to monitor noise levels for the next several days. The article also notes that they intend to locate them more permanently outside bars and nightclubs. The microphones apparently communicate via wireless Internet connection, although no real details are given as to the nature of said connection. Are London residents getting the boiled frog treatment?")

It seems like over time, we are getting more and more wound up in an us vs. them (whoever we or they actually are at the moment) battle every day. The biggest ongoing one is the one of the people at large vs. the government which is inextricably tied to the people at large by blood and friendship, neighborhood and planet.

Government is in all cases mob rule. Whether the mob is leashed by a king in a monarchy or stumbling like a mass of drunken sailors on shore leave in a democracy. Mobs don't think well. It's a testament to our perseverance and dedication to what's best in and for ourselves that the democratic republics we in the west live under work as well as they do. So I have to take that as a bright note of hope for the future.

Nevertheless, not thinking well, government fears o'ermuch as they once said, and overreacts. So we ratchet up the infringements as much as the courts will let them get away with and the people fight a subversive war both against the unnecessary intrusions of the government and their misbehaving brethren whom the government is overreacting about in the first place. It can get so bad we wonder if the cure isn't worth the disease and the law enforcement worse than the criminals.

That being said, we still make it work somehow so I am not worried about incrementalism taking us to the world of 1984. We're not given to simple jingoistic rhetoric and propaganda, being increasingly disaffected, estranged, and cynical by turns. And we the people at large are somewhat given to superstitious overreaction and propaganda amongst ourselves as well. Our governments are in the end reflection of our own natures. Given that we continuously put into power a succession of people that cold logic and experience tells us flatly will be not the best and brightest, we easily override our intellect and vote with our emotions, largely those based on the idea of "what have you done for me lately?".

And so it goes...

I would just add that acoustic scramblers have been used for point to point phone communications for years by businesses and governments long before the digital age. So will we fear so much as to fit such things into face-masks and be only intelligible to those with proper headsets we choose to give the codes to? I wonder how the governments we put in power will overreact to our overreaction...