Why does everything have to be so complicated?
Danielle: I heard they found evidence on Vic.
Dutch: Yeah. Maybe a little too much.
Danielle: What do you mean?
Dutch: You ever hear of Occam’s razor? The simplest answer is usually the right one? Good. Now apply that to the Lemansky case. Now all this evidence is pointing to Vic. Occam’s razor would suggest he’s guilty. Walter Chatton a contemporary of Occam’s. Disputed the razor. Coined his own anti-razor.
Danielle: What’s that?
Dutch: Chatton believed that the world was too complex. Too many variables to assume that the simplest answer was always the correct one.
From “Baptism by Fire,” the second episode of season 6 of The Shield.
I haven’t watched The Shield in years, but this exchange has haunted my dreams ever since. The world is indeed a complicated place, and most complex phenomena have complicated explanations, but, more often than not, the simplest hypothesis is the best. Why are so many of us tempted to believe otherwise, like Dutch here?
We all hate change. I think it’s safe to say that unwanted change in our lives is one of the primary sources of stress for pretty much all of us. Even for those people who appear to thrive on change and chaos, underlying their lives are secret routines they have that we can’t see. If our routines and habits are disrupted by someone or something, this makes us angry, confused and stressed out.
The most obvious reason why we don’t like change is that human beings prefer what’s familiar. That’s a constant throughout human history; we humans have always preferred the familiar to what’s not. We could have a long conversation about why that is, but I want to focus on a second reason why human beings fear change and, more specifically, dislike reform, e.g. socio-political changes. This reason compliments and reinforces our innate fear of the new and different. This reason is The Just World Fallacy.
Why do so many Americans deny global warming/climate change? Is it because they’re idiots who don’t understand science? Is it because they believe in faith over reason? Or is there something else going on, a little more nuanced?
It has long been a cliche of our internet age that the comments section of an article will feature the worst of what humanity has to offer – every kind of discrimination and slander you can imagine, all supposedly enabled by the anonymity of the internet. But the same kinds of behaviour can be found on twitter where many people use their real names or aliases that can be readily linked to them. This bad behaviour, whether it’s trolling or something else, targets various “minorities” more often than not, but often seems to focus on a “minority” that’s actually a majority: the female half of the species. Why is it that women are a persecuted “minority” on the internet?
If there’s one thing in society we think we deserve, it’s the money we earn , however we earn it. But do we really deserve it?
Whether we earn money as compensation for work, or we earn interest from investments or profits from a company we own, the vast majority of us are agreed that we deserve the money we are paid. We decide we deserve this money regardless of other factors:
Donald Trump was recently elected President of the United States of America on the slogan “Make America Great Again.” Few thought he would win for most of his 18-month campaign. Then he won. Donald Trump – the huckster Donald Trump, who doesn’t read a book and doesn’t appear to know anything at all about, well, anything except his own branding, is now President of the United States of America.
Trump won for many reasons, but one compelling reason was the use of the word ‘again’ in his primary slogan. We human beings long for the past. When someone promises the past to us we believe him, no matter how incompetent he appears. Why?
Respect. Where has it gone? Why don’t millennials have the same respect that we used to?
The world is a weird place in 2017. Suddenly the term “Alternate facts” is being thrown out by the administration of The Most Powerful Country in the World (TM) and we are confronted with a regime in the US that seems to believe they can make up the truth.
But this shouldn’t be that shocking to us. The powers that be have manipulated “the facts” since there were people in power. It’s just that the Trump administration is more open about it than most governments of liberal democratic countries.
Whenever the television news media shows violence stemming from a protest on TV, the tacit assumption is always that the protesters started the violence: they chose to protest, they must have chosen to be violent. When the protesters come prepared for tear gas and the like, it is all the easier for the television media to look down on the protesters as instigators.
We the viewers come to these images of violent protests with the same assumptions: the protesters started it because, had they not protested, there would be no violence. Both media and audience believe that any violence by the police is justified as retaliatory. But why?
The last two years have witnessed a migration crisis in Europe the likes of which hasn’t been seen in 70 years. Though there have been plenty of migrations of people throughout the world over these decades, we in The West have been blissfully unaware because these migrations usually didn’t affect us (and there wasn’t 24 news coverage). But with Europe seemingly overwhelmed with immigrants, and with Americans and Canadians fearing they’re next, it’s worth wondering what we’re so afraid of.