April 14, 2011

Style Over Substance

It's remarkable and scary to think about how easy it's to fool the human brain. It's sad or scary to see how many small-minded humans occupy so much of the space and wield so much power.

It's also sad or scary to see so many members of the public being so vigorously interested in matters that are essentially trivial.

A survey comes out showing that Jennifer Lopez is the most beautiful woman in the world.

Angelina Jolie holds forth on the problems afflicting Africa. George Clooney too. Or Bono.

Pop music stars attract so much frenzy. People care about royal weddings. And other kinds of famous people's weddings too.

People are interested in the private lives of other people.

And wealth. Yes.

How rich people splurge interests those who are not rich. The yachts. Big houses. Furnishings. Cruise liner trips. Vacationing in style. In private islands.

And looking good. Self improvement. It has come to encompass only one's physical good looks. Cosmetic surgery scales new heights.

Sports. Achievers in sports acquire great wealth and suddenly. Not to mention female models.

Banking and finance becomes a lucrative career. Why? Because there's great money to be made. Doing what? Something quite esoteric and apparently complicated.

People in some professions seem to earn a lot of money. And we live in an individualistic, free-market economy world. So people with great wealth are considered to be great successes. And then that becomes conventional wisdom. It almost becomes a birthright of sports persons or movie stars or bankers to become millionaires.

How else can one explain the continued flourishing of odious monstrosities such as Goldman Sachs?

When tragedy strikes a few millionaires, that becomes a gripping story. When millions suffer great tragedy, we choose to ignore that.

Our senses, evolutionary products of animal origins, are uncertain guides.

Is it that we subconsciously count ourselves as a member of the same tribe as other successful people? When we fill our brains with information about celebrities, we are also developing a deep attachment with their well being or lack thereof.

We become connected at a deep level with the rich and famous and glamorous. The faceless millions are excluded from being part of our tribe.

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