This Isn't Normal

“That’s just the way it is!”

It amazes me how easily bad ideas fool humans.

If a bad idea has a lifespan of more than a decade, then a generation of people will consider the idea self-evident and normal.

If a bad idea has a lifespan of more than a century, then generations of people will live with the idea without ever questioning it. It won’t just be “normal” – it will be, in their minds, an intrinsic property of reality itself.

It’s easier to see these bad ideas in hindsight:

  1. Our ancestors eventually figured out that human sacrifice was a bad idea.
  2. But some people today still haven’t figured out that animal sacrifice doesn’t work.
  3. It took a couple thousand years to figure out slavery was a bad idea.
  4. Of course, we still do that too.
  5. We literally just figured out (in 1993) that a husband raping his wife is a bad idea.
  6. But some societies still think killing homosexuals is a totally good idea.

These are extreme examples, but there are more mundane ones too…

  1. It took roughly 80 years to figure out cigarettes were unhealthy.
  2. And about 60 years to figure out seat belts were a good idea.
  3. But we’re still struggling with the fact that sugar water is a really bad idea.

This makes me think: what bad ideas do we consider to be “just the way it is”?

I humbly propose a few contenders:

  1. Advertising consists of paying teams of humans to brainwash us to buy their product. Their livelihood is dependent on their ability to manipulate us into giving them attention and money.
  2. Capital punishment consists of the state legally murdering innocent citizens.
  3. For-profit prisons incentivizes a corporation to lock up as many people as possible.
  4. The idea of a job.

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posted 28 Apr 2017 by Sean
tags: meditation

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