Northern Dragon

… life in the twilight years of modern-day democracy …

The Age of Reason

“So yes, we are not experiencing the best times, but there is reason to hope that we will see a better day.”

– Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice, political figure

We live in the age of reason. The gods have fallen and turned to dust and science has taken their place. We no longer worship at alters lit by candles and the uncertain flames of burning offerings, and we no longer heed the advice of mystic oracles or those who claim to speak for the gods.

Or so we think.

And yet, despite it all, so very little has changed.

We may no longer worship the stars, but we still reach for them. We bring no gifts or offerings for mystics and seers, but we consult the Internet and listen to its wisdom. We no longer believe in magic, but venerate the magic of technology.

Yes, it looks very fair and pretty, does it not? This thin veneer of rational thought and reason with which we paint our world.

But in the dark depths below, the great beasts still lurk… Emotion rules far more of our choices than we would like to think. We choose and act, often on the flimsiest of pretexts just so we can tell ourselves that what we did was logical and reasonable. And we will instinctively – for this lies embedded deep within our psyche – try to conform to the expectations and behaviour of any group with which we identify.

I do not say this to try and cast aspersions on our emotions and instincts. Without feelings, we would be little better than machines, cold and uncaring and utterly devoid of empathy – or love. But there are questions which are better decided by reason than by groupthink, and the unreasoning choices we make may have a drastic impact on our lives – and society.

Nowhere is this more apparent than when we deal with politics. And politics is, at least in the Western world, something which we all have to deal with at times – if nothing else, then because we live in democracies, and democracies have elections.

And the outcome of those elections… well, that is our future, isn’t it? That is the way it works. If you do not like the world you live in, go out and vote. If sufficiently many people agree with you, the world will change direction. You may not get exactly what you voted for… but the direction will change.

You can see it in effect, even today.

It is, after all, why we have Trump…

Northern Dragon © 2019. All rights reserved.

Categories: Reflection

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

6 replies

  1. For the Trump election many people simply did not join the election (nearly 50 % as far as I know). Not very reasonable indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know my thoughts on suffrage, N.D. It is vital if you want to have any kind of voice. But it does appear despite all human progressions, we are lowering in intelligence. We get far more easily distracted and technology is changing our brains. If the human race survives, will we reach a time where verbalising words are superfluous to everyday discussions, and reserved for the probings of research?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we are not as much lowering in intelligence, as being misled and distracted by a constant stream of information and entertainment beyond anything we have ever had a chance to encounter before.
      Thought-worthy article: https://medium.com/thrive-global/how-technology-hijacks-peoples-minds-from-a-magician-and-google-s-design-ethicist-56d62ef5edf3

      I do not, by the way, have any doubt that the human race will survive (well, barring something truly cataclysmic like an Earth-shattering meteor or a global nuclear war). What is in doubt is if our current civilization will survive – that, indeed, may well be in doubt. But as a race, we are just about as difficult to wipe out as cockroaches…

      The thing about technology changing our brains? I recall reading something about that, several years back. But it seemed slow and uncertain at the time. Is that still the case?

      Like

      • Gosh – lots of food for thought there. Some I have read before, lots I haven’t. But the dilemma is, in sharing this to disseminate information, are we playing to the suggestions?
        “By shaping the menus we pick from, technology hijacks the way we perceive our choices and replaces them with new ones.”
        I hate that the first thing we do in the morning is pick up the phone. I fight that urge at least once a week. I am going to set a timer to limit the things I check things first thing on the weekends so that time doesn’t run away. I hate that my morning routine is hijacked. I hate that it comes back to making money – business without morals. I will resist this.

        Liked by 1 person

      • To answer your question about changing our brains, I heard it recently and it appears our brains changed with the advent of writing and they are some small changes noticed/predicted with technology. I must look into the research more. When I see babies in prams with smartphones propped in front of them, it seems certain to happen.

        Liked by 1 person

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