Waxing Eloquent

In the rabbit hole that is the Internet, I found myself reading about the life and times of H.G. Wells’ one-time paramour, and mother to his son, Rebecca West.  She was a fascinating woman, and left her mark on this world.

In reading the article, something dawned on me that hadn’t before.

At least I don’t think it had.

Why do the collective ‘we’ look to people, mostly famous or notorious, for wisdom?

Why don’t most people trust themselves and listen to their own counsel?

That’s not a rhetorical question, by the way.  I’m truly curious.

I ask because I rarely seek counsel.

Rarely.

And, sometimes that’s a bad thing.  Especially when I am too close to a situation to see it clearly. Then, I go stumbling blindly along making all sorts of mistakes.

It’s times like that when I wish I had a seeing-eye dog for decision-making.

Do they have those?

And, I rarely offer counsel.  Mostly because I haven’t a clue what’s best for you and you and you.

But, also because I will offer counsel based on what’s best for me in that situation.

And that may be in direct opposition to what’s best for you.

I have no idea where I was going with this, as is often the case when I attempt to wax eloquent.

So…umm…here, look at some cute kitties for a while and we can just forget about this conversation.

 

Ever notice how kittens always seem to be smiling?  I think there’s some big cat secret to happiness that we’ve yet to unlock.

And, I think it involves napping.

A whole lot of napping.

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Posted on May 4, 2012, in Random Crap, Too Much Information and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. I vote for napping!

  2. It’s an instinctual thing that leads back to our monkey days. We see those who are loudest/most visible as leaders of sorts.

    This hearkens back to when social status and visibility was directly correlated with dominance within the clan. Those who were higher up socially got to that point by having the widest array of skills and being smarter. So basically they were the most fit, strongest, and most devious monkeys on the block. They lived longer, had more knowledge and wisdom than other monkeys, and typically got to where they were by knowing what and when to do things. Everyone knew who these leaders were, and everyone came to them for advice. They were famous because they KNEW how to survive; and knowing who they were was essential to the survival of the clan.

    However, since we’re hardwired to equate fame with wisdom; fame has become equated with the ability to lead. Since people are automatically wise leaders due to their visibility, we automatically assume at an instinctual level that they must know what they’re doing since they are a highly visible pack leader; and since these people are usually successful, they must have wisdom.

    The problem is, the actuality of these people is typically the opposite of that expectation. They aren’t successful because of their actual knowledge, but typically because of new criteria that require less intelligence (looks, acting ability, athletic ability, connection to other famous people, etc).

    In truth, there is nobody who’s opinion I trust LESS than a celebrity’s because celebrity’s are typically pretty dumb and easily purchased through either indoctrination or flat out giving them money. And, in the case of actors, they’re good at lying because it’s their job to lie.

    However, even those who logically realize this disparity of thought must be on guard for the lure of faulty instinctual reasoning. It’s too easy to see a celebrity who agrees with you and automatically think “See?! [Celebrity] agrees with me so I MUST be right!”

    This is what makes so many of our instincts so very difficult to fight. They are sinister in that they appear like reason, they hide within faulty but comfortable logic, and make people think that following instinct is in fact fighting against it and overcoming it. They short-circuit the logical parts of the brain to reach easy conclusions that are comforting to us, all while whispering in our ears that we’re correct to think this way and that we’ve conquered our instincts to become fully rational creatures. However, when you stop and actually apply reason directly to these thought processes, they fall apart. This doesn’t protect us from these thought processes, but it does give us a way to try to reduce their negative impacts if we chose to examine them.

    Sadly, few actually stop to look at these faulty reasoning paths; which is why celebrities continue to be looked to for conventional wisdom despite their lack of actual credibility.

    /tl;dr

    • Damn, Taco…that was deep. And, insightful…exceedingly insightful..

      Like I said, though, I apparently missed that part of the wiring, so I posited the question.

      I would agree with you, but…umm….are you famous? 😉

      • I’m so nearly, almost, kinda famous! I’ve had a few posts on my blog from webcomic authors whose work I featured!

      • Draw the lines between you and Kevin Bacon, and then we’ll talk.

      • And I can’t really take credit for that insight. It’s from a lecture series on reward centers of the brain and their link to cognitive thought processes that I attended as part of my neural physiology course.

        Fascinating stuff, but it does kind of break down ones illusions about how far we haven’t come from instinctual thinking.

      • Lets see here…

        -I am one of my father’s children.
        -My father was the Vet for one of the dogs used in the first Beethoven movie.
        -Beethoven co-starred Oliver Platt
        -Oliver Platt was in Lover Boy with Kevin Bacon.

        Boom, got it in 4.

  3. That doesn’t explain why my mother and sister, both older and presumably wiser than I am, always ask me for advice. Do I just look like a famous person?

  4. I’ve met and had conversations with Michael Waltrip and Dale Jarrett, and was almost stepped on by the wrestler, Big Show at the airport. I qualify to give unsolicited advice… whether it’s accurate or not… meh.

  5. Ooooo, kitties! What did you say?

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