Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why They Can't Stand To See My Face In The Crowd

A few years ago my boss, my co-worker, and I were talking while we were sorting some items. My boss was talking about an old horse that she and her daughter were worried about and caring for in some way. All I remember from the conversation was that at some point I began to think this poor unfortunate horse was suffering unnecessarily because my boss and her daughter were too maudlin to put the horse down.
My co-worker later asked me if I was the eldest in my family. I am. My co-worker said that I had the exact same expression that she has seen her older sister give her when she was saying something her sister didn't quite believe.
I have been aware of Paul Ekman, and that there are seven universal facial expressions for a while, so I thought it highly possible this was another facial expression that could be universal, in the sense that the oldest siblings probably make this expression all over the world to little kid siblings who are either lying or don't quite have all the facts together. This would make sense from an evolutionary perspective. The oldest child has managed to survive in his environment just a little bit longer than the younger ones, so the older sibling's facial expression could provide the sort of information that the younger sibling needs for a better outcome. Obviously, parents can make faces too, but older siblings are very often just a little bit bigger than the itty bitty sibling, and there's a whole lot of stuff adults begin to forget about being little after being in such big bodies for a while.
I've had that idea running around in my head for a while, that there is the facial expression that I make, but that I wouldn't be particularly aware of- i.e. if other people make it to me I wouldn't necessarily see it for what it was- and then I got a picture last night. I thought of me in any of a number of audiences, meetings, talks, etc...

I was never going to fit it in, was I?

Even just sitting there, trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, I was still tripping the evolutionary trigger. Didn't matter if you were twice my age; if you had an older sibling, and you were saying something that didn't quite add up (regardless of why), you would see that face. And if you saw that face, my face, no matter how cooperative I was with you, you'd still have that same emotional response as you would have had when you were five years old and your older brother was calling you out.

Weak and pathetic leaders, interspersed with the complete lunatic, are de rigueur these days. They use various social structures as validation for their positions, but they don't have the core necessary to deal coherently with anything. Additionally, most of the professional classes from which they tend to be drawn are compromised classes. Lawyers are lawyers. Doctors get paid well but they are in a highly regulated field, so they just happen to think the current vaccination schedule is just peachy keen, that cholesterol is bad for you, and that soy is a health food. Even in the rarified air of the researcher- research is contingent on funding, and there was a lot of funding for global warming research, because it was Al Gore's political tool. Additionally there is computer modeling of practically everything, which is a money maker for those making computers, but not particularly helpful. There is even some evidence that the next big thing can't actually be: Why Quantum Computers Cannot Work.

If Gil Kalai is right, what is Mr. Quantum Computing Guy going to do? I can guess. Most likely Mr. Quantum Computing Guy won't let himself believe Gil Kalai.
He won't even let it get to the point where he must struggle with himself and maybe do something that would look almost but not entirely like repent, change his ways, and not get any more funding. In other words, he will instinctively try to keep any rational argument away from his rational side. His livelihood depends on it.

But a facial expression is too fast, too obvious, and is right there in the crowd for them to see. It stems from natural authority, some thing so arbitrarily simple as birth order, yet more real, more authentic than all the baubles modern society can throw at a person.

My mother recently asked why her children were all becoming anarchists. They aren't really. I am the only one, as far as I know, who could be considered an anarchist- in the sense Austrian economists use the term. My other brother involved in the conversation seemed to be stuck in Republicanland- or whatever Bill O'Reilly is selling these days.

The answer to her question though is that we are going through a period of massive leadership failure. It must be due, in some part, to this ridiculous idea that we can train people to be leaders, but it is also due to the bright sunlight the internet brings to leadership decisions. It isn't hard to go find answers to your questions, and then you turn around and find your leader, the person who is supposed to be either expert or at least have some amateur level of caring about the subject, not only won't listen, but will instead actively do anything other than what should be done to get the result we are supposedly trying to get.

What can be expected under this onslaught? There are a few people that I don't even know personally, but that I've listened to online that I think I could actually put myself under them. They aren't always right, by any means, but they are congruent to their stated purpose. But for the rest of the world, either no rulers, or I rule. You have failed me and yourselves too often for it to be otherwise.

No comments: