Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Importance of Doubt

If there is anything I've learnt in life, it's that if you actively attempt things, you're going to get it wrong eventually. I know the saying goes that if you keep working at a problem long enough, you're going to get it right, but one should hope that people would realize not to keep hitting their head against a brick wall all too long. Partially because it's a waste of time, but mostly because it's detrimental to your health.

The reason why the saying is so optimistic, is because it assumes we'll keep on coming up with creative new solutions to our problems, and eventually one will be right. But when you hit upon a streak of successful solutions, that is when you are truly put to the test. So I say beware of those who are far too sure of themselves, for none is infallible.

How then does this present itself in society? It is visible all over the political and religious extremes. When people are so sure of their cause being just that they do not for a second consider the possibility that their premisses might be incorrect, that is when logical fallacy creeps up on them and they go astray. It means that when the inevitable happens, when you go awry, you are unable to see that you have strayed from the path and thus can't react in an appropriate fashion. It means you have no back-up plan for when things fall apart. It means you will stay a course which is detrimental to your goals, long after the first signs of your failure have become evident.

How then to go about life in a balanced manner, neither paralyzed by fear nor blinding by ego? Accept that failure is a part of life. You will make mistakes, you will stumble and fall. Be vigilant in questioning your own actions, principles and ideals. Look to new data and the latest in scientific facts and seek to eliminate fallacies in your own reasoning. Examine each subject from each side before determining a stance on the subject. Do not be afraid of going against conventional knowledge, for time and time again, conventional knowledge has failed us. Yet as much as you question your own premises and actions, never fail to act, and act with confidence. The world is no better off because you hesitate. The very best you can do is prepare and think ahead, but when the time comes to make decisions, do the best you can, and don't fear the outcome. If you were wrong, be vigilant in correcting your mistakes and in changing your stance as new facts present themselves. Doubt is both a blessing and a curse. Harness it, focus it. It will be an endless means of propelling you forward, ever questioning the world around you. Yet do not let it control you, for it will do you no good if it dominates your decision making process.

In short, doubt is the best tool we are given for self-improvement. Do not lay your fate in the hands of those who do not understand to use it, for they will walk off the cliff and believe they can fly, and will be none the wiser until they've hit the ground. That's a bad thing, by the way.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Solidary Confinement

Hello and welcome to the first ever installment of Jazz and Politics.

In holding with the good traditions of blogging, I will never make any sense, and just rant at random about anything and everything that comes to mind, be it political, musical or just general bitterness over the rotten state of the world. The name of my blog may be a bit misleading, as I don't intend to restrict myself to just these two topics. So sue me. Having said this, let us begin.

I'm currently sat at the Finnish Socialdemocratic Youth's biannual congress. Well, atleast I was when I wrote this, right now I'm sat on a bed. It's not even a particularly comfortable bed. I'm told you should first seek to be comfortable before you start talking about politics. Wether that is because you're going to be in the same position for quite some time, or just because the person who said it liked to be comfortable, I do not know. But I digress.

We've just elected a new president for the party. There's a lot of patting each other on the backs, a feeling of well done. Yet is it justified? Over these two days so far I've come to realize we're a horribly stagnated organization. We are a politically correct socialist youth organization, and if there ever has been a greater tragedy, I do not know it.

Political correctness is one of my favored talking points; it is a state of mind I do truly despise. It is a view of the world which is horribly distorted. Instead of seeing the world for what it is, you chose to see a world which is in the fundamentals fair and equal, if not in practice. However this is not the case. The very nature of man is diverse, and we have different premises upon which to build. In the case of many leftist movements, people choose not to see these different premises and instead treat all as one. This leads to a discrimination of people of a higher intellectual potential. You might note that the logical assessment would be that both high and low would fall in between the cracks, however the solidarity of the socialist movement tends to reach out to the weak and do its best to lift them up. Those of a higher intellect however are not treated as kindly. Any mention of IQ in a socialist forum will get you shunned by the rest of the leftists, as if not our movement was based on a tradition of intellectuals. There is in fact a correlation between higher intellectual capacity and leftist political views. Why then do we deny any association with intellectualism? Is it truly so fundamental to solidarity to associate not with the intellectual elite but with the common man and none other, that we choose to completely overlook the needs of the potential leaders of our future?

If you're a politically correct socialist you are probably wondering why I would proclaim any special needs for those of a higher intellectual ability. Fear not, I shalt explain. There are two basic types of high intelligence people. There are those who are born in families with others of equal potential, go to schools with others like them and grow up in a bubble of intellectual discourse. And then there are those who are not. Brought up as part of the general society, they have trouble surpassing the communications barrier which exists between people of different levels of intellect. They have a significantly higher tendency towards mental problems, withdrawal from society and general misanthropy. Because of their intellectual ability, things tend to come easily for them. Confronted with a lack of challenges growing up, they develop a basic understanding of everything, yet never commit to any given thing. They develop a pattern of lazily drifting through life without exercising their mental ability.

I hear you saying that this is all good and well, but how does this become a problem of society as a whole? A definition of genius has been given, in which the common man is fully capable of taking in and making use of information, yet the ability to go beyond what is common knowledge is what makes the genius special. For the progress of society and the well being of us all, the genius should be nurtured and integrated into society, not put down upon and shunned by society. For the betterment of mankind, we need to keep innovating, and the only way to do so is through the cultivation of our greatest natural resource, the human brain. I thus propose that the only truly solidary action is to take into consideration both the needs of high as of low. We need to reform society in a direction where we do not alienate our greatest intellects from society but integrate them into society and show them the measure of respect they deserve.