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Eric Capitol

What We Think Doesn't Alter Anything

Posted on 2013.03.07 at 00:00
Current Location: 67114
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I read a piece awhile back which polled an exhaustive number of people and discovered that the majority of us believe we are above-average. Average of course being the mathematical mean; that which is neither in the majority nor minority. Ergo, were most of us truly above-average, that would be the average, and we would not be above it. If we then think we're above that average, and most of us do - then we've just raised the average again because of our numbers. Its a mathematical impossibility for most of us to be so. If where we think we are keeps adjusting where we actually are, nothing changes. What we think doesn't alter anything.

Which is why opinions fascinate me - they mean almost nothing. Our opinions are insignificant. The past decade I've been highly amused at those overly-simplistic polls on websites and news channels. The Yes/No option and then results of other's Yes/No option. Those don't actually change anything in the real world - its a collection and display of meaningless data. Most of them start with, "Do you think..." and then present a logical fallacy. In essence, by clicking either radio button you've already answered the question of whether you think or not by "answering" a logical fallacy despite what the remainder of the question may be; e.g. Do you think Charlie Sheen's recent antics will hurt his career? What you think is irrelevant. What those who disagree with you think is also irreverent. Both answers are irrelevant. You see, even if you're in the majority of your poll, what you think doesn't alter anything.

suzanne1945 sent me this girls-gone-wild video-gone-viral on wealth distribution which amused me greatly - not from anything real, but because of my perceived reaction from those who have opinions about political parties. Based on my limited exposure to most people who speak intelligently about politics from an armchair-quarterback perspective, I assume each defender of their favorite party is going to accuse the opposite party - and both sides will have really good reasons. Arguing about politics doesn't seem to be the solution to wealth distribution, but we're going to continue to believe it does, and continue to argue about it. You see, the majority of us believe its the other party's fault (Who supports a party they disagree with?). And we're back to mathematics about opinions. The same opinions which got us into this mess, and the same opinions which will keep us here. We're only human after all, and what we think doesn't alter anything.




http://xkcd.com/202/
http://xkcd.com/481/

Comments:


pcofwildthings
pcofwildthings at 2013-03-07 21:21 (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. Doesn't it? If you think one way, you may vote that way; change your thinking and vote another. I guess I'm not following, but maybe the video will enlighten me when I watch it later. I agree, most opinions seem pretty meaningless when it comes to the behavior other individuals. And yet we have them.

* * * *
Walter: Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.
ehowton
ehowton at 2013-03-07 22:33 (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. Doesn't it?

Not, apparently, where wealth inequality is concerned.
pcofwildthings
pcofwildthings at 2013-03-08 00:18 (UTC) (Link)
Okay. I watched the video and understand the context of your commentary. I need a White Russian.
CeltManX, Devlin O' Coileáin
celtmanx at 2013-03-08 03:43 (UTC) (Link)
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