I’ve written a different form of this blog post at least once before, maybe more. Here’s the basic thesis: the bizarro unreality of the world in which we now live is egregious enough to make me wonder if we haven’t veered wildly off the path at some point and now exist within reality prime. I suppose one can choose any number of historical inflections to represent the branching point. For me, it was the reelection of George W. Bush in 2004. (The 9/11 attacks and “wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq had already occurred or commenced by then, and it had already revealed as well that lies — Saddam had WMDs — that sold the American public on the Iraq “war” were effective and remain so today.) Lots of other events changed the course of history, but none other felt as much to me like a gut punch precisely because, in the case of the 2004 presidential election, we chose our path. I fantasized waking up from my reality-prime nightmare but eventually had to grudgingly accept that if multiverses exist, ours mine had become one where we chose (collectively, and just barely) to keep in office an executive who behaved like a farce of stupidity. Well, joke’s on us. Twelve years later, we chose someone even more stupid, though with a “certain serpentine cunning,” and with arguably the worst character of any U.S. executive in living history.

So what to do in the face of this dysfunctional state of affairs? Bret Weinstein below has ideas. (As usual, I’m quite late, embedding a video that by Internet standards is already ancient. I also admit this is equivalent to a smash cut because I don’t have a particularly good transition or justification for turning so suddenly to Weinstein.) Weinstein is an evolutionary biologist, so no surprise that the approach he recommends is borne out of evolutionary thinking. In fairness, a politician would logically recommend political solutions, a financier would recommend economic solutions, and other professionals would seek solutions from within their areas of expertise.

The title of the interview is “Harnessing Evolution,” meaning Weinstein suggests we use evolutionary models to better understand our own needs and distortions to guide or plot proper path(s) forward and get back on track. Never mind that a healthy minority of the U.S. public rejects evolution outright while an additional percentage takes a hybrid stance. While I’m impressed that Weinstein has an answer for everything (pedagogue or demagogue or both?) and has clearly thought through sociopolitical issues, I daresay he’s living in reality double-prime if he thinks science education can be a panacea for what ails us. My pessimism is showing.

  1. Brian Miller says:

    Thought provoking. I had to look up “Reality Prime”. So, my take-away may be off the mark.

    “I daresay he’s living in reality double-prime if he thinks science education can be a panacea for what ails us.” Particularly since public education, as currently structured, is a failure. I measure that by the simplest of yard sticks, all skill levels are in decline. Only 1/3 of American eighth graders read at what is assessed as proficient (adequate). If 2/3 of students cannot comprehend what they are assigned to read… I’m confused as to how science education proceeds.

    Our local high school had a 65% failure to achieve a high school diploma in 1999. Three years later with the incentive to keep funds provided by the No Child Left Behind a miracle occurred, a 99% graduation. Remarkable! We make our reality down here, which may help explain 2004 and 2016.

    • Brutus says:

      Probably should have guessed that my usage wouldn’t be clear to others. In mathematics, the prime symbol is sometimes used to indicate a second, third, fourth, etc. variable derived or transformed from a first. It seemed to me the right thing to describe one reality peeling off or diverging from another. Of course, now with Amazon Prime, the term’s connotation could be quite different (luxury brand), though in truth, it’s the very same idea.

      My appreciation of the current state of education is not from first-hand exposure, nor it is from within higher education as with Weinstein. I suspect the dismal local numbers you provide are quite widespread. In any large population, there is certain to be lots of smart and well-educated people. Across the entire citizenry, however, educational results point a different direction.

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