Posts filed under “Philosophy”

Here’s to the Lazy Ones . . .

“Here’s to the Lazy Ones. The halfwits, the bumblers, the square pegs in the round holes. The ones who don’t see things at all. They’re not fond of rules (can’t remember them). They have no respect for the status-quo, which they think its Latin for Fendi. You cannot quote them, as they say little that is original. You cannot disparage those with no reputations to ruin. About the only thing you can do is ignore them. (You sure as hell cannot hire them, for they are without marketable skills). They don’t change things. They don’t move the human race forward (or even sideways). And while some may see them as lazy, or as merely lacking intellectual curiosity, we see them as eejits . . .

-Not an Apple Commercial


As a follow up to the truly wonderful RIP Facts discussion yesterday, I am compelled to point out its evil twin, something as awful as that was wonderful: Megan Garber’s In Praise of Ignorance: Why It’s OK to Tweet, ‘Who Is Dick Clark?’.

There seems to be some confusion between 1) not knowing who someone is, and 2) publicly revealing, indeed, reveling, in that same ignorance. The question on my mind is rather different than that on Ms. Garber’s: Why should we praise ignorance, laziness or just outright foolishness?

I am perplexed by the defense of this. The intellectually curious Google or Wikipedia something and are immediately rewarded with an answer. “Who is that dead guy, and why is he all over TV and the front pages of newspapers blogs?” It is a perfect example of using a de minimus amount of energy to answer your own question. “Ahhh, so that’s who that old dude was…”

Tweeting out one’s ignorance is not remotely a search for the answer. It appears instead to be a way to take slothful pride (2 sins in 1) in your own lack of knowledge. It is something else, a passive aggressive display (like an attendance badge). “I DON’T KNOW AND I’M TOO LAZY TO EVEN LOOK” is what those tweets say. Imagine what they say to a potential employer (“Sorry, you are not Pensky material.”)

I know the counter arguments: That this generation exists 24/7 in social networks. That there is no line between what they do online or off. They think, therefore they Tweet.

I don’t buy it. I question the intelligence and motivations of those displaying their own ignorance rather than simply Googling; This is not Crowd-Sourcing — nor is it an indicia of a fertile mind nor of intellectual curiosity. Sorry, but this is pure, unadulterated laziness.

I am, apparently, old school. I still think ignorance is something to be ashamed of. As in “How could I not know THAT?!”(face in hand plant). So is posting nude photos of yourself online, getting so hammered as to be the subject of a public shaming, and 100s of other really self-destructive actions online. Perhaps Tweeting ignorance about a public figure 70 years older than you is one end of the spectrum; photos of yourself passed out with penises magic-markered all over your face is the other.

Regardless, The Atlantic pseudo-intellectual defense our youth’s Tweeting their ignorance (Twignorance?) makes perfect sense in a society that is fond of giving out “Participation awards.” If one gets a prize for merely showing up, imagine what accolades there are to be had for showing up and declaring “Look how little I know!” Defending not just ignorance, but aggressive and public ignorance, worn like a badge of honor amongst those artists formerly known as Schmucks derives from similar philosophical underpinnings.

You are free to disagree with me, but I found this to be one of those writings that makes many people think to themselves “No wonder this country is in such awful shape.” The phrase that finally pushed me over the edge — the language that led to this posting — was that the Dick Clark tweeters were “reappropriating ignorance“!?! Just as African Americans have taken back “the N word” and as GLAAD has done for the word Gay Queer, so too the uninformed have recaptured their flag. Three cheers for the cheerfully clueless!

Its not just that this mental masturbation is anti-intellectual fodder — it is that THIS is what passes for deep thought at one of more esteemed literary institutions.

Which reminds me of a little story.

Years ago, I worked on the Sell Side at a brokerage firm. A similar passive aggressive pride in their lack of knowledge existed amongst some of the retail brokers. They earned their money by “Smiling and Dialing;” Doing anything else meant they were earning less money. Anything that resembled craft, hard won experience, or learned insights were badges of dishonor. It was literally true that the less these guys knew, the more money they made.

The equivalent back then of a “Who Is Dick Clark” tweet was a simple question revealing similar prideful ignorance. That was accomplished by asking what the symbol was for a well known stock. It used to say “I am so busy I don’t have time to learn basic symbols.” We used to mock the dumbest of the retail brokers by responding “What is the symbol for EMC?” — which, of course, is E-M-C.

The Atlantic opines “These people refuse to be ashamed of the need to question something.” And that’s their problem — they should be.


In Praise of Ignorance: Why It’s OK to Tweet, ‘Who Is Dick Clark?’
Megan Garber
The Atlantic, Apr 19 2012, 2:30 PM ET

Category: Philosophy, Psychology, Really, really bad calls

RIP: Facts (360 B.C.-A.D. 2012)

This is the single cleverest thing I expect you will read all weekend: Facts, 360 B.C.-A.D. 2012 In memoriam: After years of health problems, Facts has finally died. A quick review of the long and illustrious career of Facts reveals some of the world’s most cherished absolutes: Gravity makes things fall down; 2 + 2…Read More

Category: Philosophy

Breakdown of Worlds Religion

Via National Post

Category: Digital Media, Philosophy, Weekend

Mike Wallace Interviews Ayn Rand (1959)

In this engaging 1959 interview, her first on television, Ayn Rand capsulizes her philosophy for CBS’s Mike Wallace. The discussion ranges from the nature of morality to the economic and historical distortions disseminated about the “robber barons.” She also comments on her relationship with Frank O’Connor, provides some autobiographical information and gives her perspective on the future of America.


Ayn Rand Mike Wallace Interview
Part 1


Part 2

Category: Philosophy, Video

Why Not . . . ?

Awesome debate smackdown line, in the comments section of Barron’s: “Now that you told us how you feel, why not tell us what you think?” Really caught my eye . . .

Category: Philosophy

Ten Pillars of Economic Wisdom

Nice piece I came across in Library of Economics and Liberty. There is not a lot to disagree with these. My one caveat about all such rules is that are a rough framework for conceptualizing the world, and are neither gospel nor a mantra. Reality does tend to intrude from time to time, making these…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Rules

Mary Matlin’s Economics

Paul Kasriel will be retiring from The Northern Trust Company on April 30. In the last month of his tenure, he plans to share some of his parting thoughts on economics. He begins with this humdinger: “Now, on to Mary Matalin. I saw her on one of the cable news shows on Wednesday defending Republican…Read More

Category: Humor, Philosophy, Politics

Complexity, Context, Probability & Bias

No one seems to remember the second part of Occam’s razor as rumored1 to be stated by Albert Einstein: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” That is an issue I am encountering quite frequently these days. We see it in discussions about markets, politics, sports, economics, indeed, just about any…Read More

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Investing, Markets, Mathematics, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology

Jim Grant Does His Best John Galt Impression

Category: Philosophy, Video

Founding Fathers’ Intelligent Design

Source Wuerker, Politico

Category: Philosophy, Science