Shots of Wit

A regular posting of witticisms, aphorisms, and general musings by Clifford Cohen.

The tragedy of our times…

The tragedy of our times is that our leaders believe—as have so many leaders before them believed—that they have finally learned the techniques that will enable them to control and confuse the larger population indefinitely.

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It seems the allure of being able to dominate one’s fellow man is too great to resist. The techniques for manipulating others may be varied and ever-evolving, but I fear that we stand at a point in human history where the exercise of such techniques has evolved to the degree necessary to create a status quo, in which a majority of people are permanently confused and unable to see the true causes of their fears. Without insight into the root issues and practices that have led us to where we are, there is no possibility of remediation or reform.

I will be blunt: the primary tool of misdirection in our culture is the appeal to greed. Appealing to this facet of our collective psyche is viewed as an effective way to motivate action, but it does so at the expense of nurturing more sustainable impetuses. Greed may appear at first to lead to more efficient outcomes, but efficiency is an equivocal ideal. It should not be the only criterion by which the success of something is judged. Where human, environmental, and animal welfare are concerned, greed must take a back seat to other considerations, so that suffering is prevented. The next time you hear of a situation in which human, environmental, or animal suffering is involved, search for the role of greed in creating the conditions for it to occur. In all of your personal and business dealings, resolve to subordinate your selfish desires, and instead find motivation in other drivers of human action, such as love for your fellow man.

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