Massimo Pigliucci on Ignorance Today

04 Education, 11 Society, Civil Society, Cultural Intelligence, IO Sense-Making
Who, Me?

Ignorance Today

Massimo Pigliucci


NEW YORK – Ignorance is the root of all evil, according to Plato, who also famously gave us a still-current definition of its opposite: knowledge. For Plato, knowledge is “justified true belief.” That definition is worthy of consideration as we reflect on the perils of ignorance in the twenty-first century.

Plato thought that three conditions must be met in order for us to “know” something: the notion in question must actually be true; we must believe it (because if we do not believe something that is true, we can hardly claim that we know it); and, most subtly, it must be justifiable – there must be reasons why we believe the notion to be true.

Consider something that we all think we know: the earth is (approximately) round. This is as true as astronomical facts get, particularly because we have sent artificial satellites into orbit and seen that our planet is indeed roundish. Most of us (except for a lunatic fringe of flat-earthers) also believe this to be the case.

What about the justification of that belief? How would you answer if someone asked you why you believe that the earth is round?

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Reference: Opening the World–Social networks and the formation of free [prosperous] communities

Advanced Cyber/IO, Budgets & Funding, Civil Society, Collective Intelligence, Collective Intelligence, Counter-Oppression/Counter-Dictatorship Practices, Cultural Intelligence, Ethics, Gift Intelligence, InfoOps (IO), International Aid, Key Players, Methods & Process, microfinancing, Mobile, Policies, Real Time, Strategy, Threats, Tools
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37-Slide Briefing

Taliban Tunnel Frees Over 500 From Prison

08 Wild Cards, 10 Security, 11 Society, Cultural Intelligence, IO Sense-Making

106 Taliban Escape After Huge Prison Jailbreak In Afghanistan

Gus Lubin, April 25, 2011

Business Insider

Last night the Taliban brazenly tunneled into a major prison in Kandahar and broke out 504 prisoners, including 106 Taliban fighters, according to Al Arabiya.

The 1,050-meter tunnel went from a nearby house into the political wing of the prison.

The Taliban told Al Arabiya it had buses waiting at the end of the tunnel to transport prisoners to Taliban safehouses.

This is the second biggest jailbreak in Afghanistan, after militants blew up the front gates to free around 1,000 prisoners in 2008.

See Also:

Review: The Tunnels of Cu Chi

35 Facts on Average American Economy

03 Economy, 07 Other Atrocities, Civil Society, Corruption, Cultural Intelligence
Who, Me?

35 Facts That Show Just How Much The Average American Has Been Destroyed By This Economy

The economic statistics that you are about to read are incredibly shocking, but they are also very, very real.  Tonight there are going to be millions of men and women all across America that cannot sleep because they are consumed with anxiety about their financial problems.

Click here to see the facts >

Read rest of cover story….

Call for Criminal Investigation of Bush-Cheney

07 Other Atrocities, 09 Justice, 10 Security, 11 Society, Corruption, Cultural Intelligence, Government, Law Enforcement, Military, Peace Intelligence
Mohamed ElBaradei

(AP) – 22 April 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — Former chief U.N. nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei suggests in a new memoir that Bush administration officials should face international criminal investigation for the “shame of a needless war” in Iraq.

Freer to speak now than he was as an international civil servant, the Nobel-winning Egyptian accuses U.S. leaders of “grotesque distortion” in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, when then-President George W. Bush and his lieutenants claimed Iraq possessed doomsday weapons despite contrary evidence collected by ElBaradei’s and other arms inspectors inside the country.

The Iraq war taught him that “deliberate deception was not limited to small countries ruled by ruthless dictators,” ElBaradei writes in “The Age of Deception,” being published Tuesday by Henry Holt and Company.

The 68-year-old legal scholar, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 1997 to 2009 and recently a rallying figure in Egypt’s revolution, concludes his 321-page account of two decades of “tedious, wrenching” nuclear diplomacy with a plea for more of it, particularly in the efforts to rein in North Korean and Iranian nuclear ambitions.

Read full article…

Phi Beta Iota: We endorse the truth & reconciliation process and believe that if the USA is to restore its promise as a contributor to the international community of nations, it must first disclose the truth.  In our view, the investigation should begin three months prior to 9-11, when Dick Cheney first mandated a nation-wide counter-terrorism exercise that assured his complete control over the entire US Government on 9-11….an assurance he and his planners needed to not just let it happen, but to execute all the trimmings and then carry on with the Weapons of Mass Deception that committed America to an elective multi-trillion dollar war against multiple countries.  Dick Cheney hijacked the Presidency.  We all need the truth on the table.

Bob Seelert, Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide (New York): When things are not going well, until you get the truth out on the table, no matter how ugly, you are not in a position to deal with it.

See Also:

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Disinformation, Other Information Pathologies, & Repression

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Empire as Cancer Including Betrayal & Deceit

Worth a Look: Impeachable Offenses, Modern & Historic

Reference: APJ Abdul Kalam–Pure Wisdom

01 Poverty, 03 Environmental Degradation, 03 India, 04 Education, 05 Energy, 08 Proliferation, 11 Society, Advanced Cyber/IO, Articles & Chapters, Cultural Intelligence, Earth Intelligence, Ethics
APJ Abdul Kalam

‘To create better world, it is necessary to alleviate poverty’

Chicago, Apr 24:

Former President, Mr A P J Abdul Kalam today said that to create a better world, it is necessary to alleviate poverty, safeguard drinking water, use clean energy and ensure quality education and values for all.

Mr Kalam, who was honoured at a public reception by the Indo-American Centre (IAC) here, said: “The world is integrally connected through the environment, economy, people and ideas.”

He said that we need an educational value system, and ideas and innovations should not be politically inclined.

On political unrest in the Middle East, Mr Kalam explained how the Egyptian revolution for a change to democracy has spread to the Arab world.

“We need to stop corruption,” he said.

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VIDEOS: David Brooks The Social Animal

Civil Society, Cultural Intelligence
Amazon Page

Phi Beta Iota: The videos are vastly better than the book at cutting to the chase.  In our view his subtitle was poorly chosen–this is not about love, it is about trust and emotional or spiritual intuition.  On that point, as a supporting note, see our review of The Hidden Wealth of Nations as well as our review of Pedagogy of Freedom–Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage.


David Brooks: The social animal (TED)

David Brooks: “Social Animal”? (CBS)

From THE SOCIAL ANIMAL by David Brooks (Animation)

See Also:

Economics of Happiness: Going Local

Reference: Happiness Ten Precepts

Reference: Trust and Networks

Journal: Statecraft, Soulcraft, & Well-Being

Review: Making Learning Whole–How Seven Principles of Teaching can Transform Education

Review (Guest): Cognitive Surplus–Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age

Review: Reality Is Broken–Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

Review: Building Social Business–The New Kind of Capitalism that Serves Humanity’s Most Pressing Needs

What Presidents Don’t Know About Education Plus RECAP of 6 Star Plus Books Relevant to Creating a Smart Nation with a Strategic Narrative that WORKS

Seth Godin: The [Public] Opportunity is Here II of II

Cultural Intelligence
Seth Godin Home

I of II: Seth Goden: The [Public] Realization is Now

II of II:  The [public] opportunity is here

At the same time that our economic engines are faltering, something else is happening. Like all revolutions, it happens in fits and starts, without perfection, but it’s clearly happening.

The mass market is being replaced by multiple micro markets and the long tail of choice.

Google is connecting buyers and sellers over vaster distances, more efficiently and more cheaply than ever before.

Manufacturing is more of a conceptual hurdle than a practical one.

The exchange of information creates ever more value, while commodity products are ever cheaper. It takes fewer employees to generate more value, make more noise and impact more people.

Most of all is this: every individual, self-employed or with a boss, is now more in charge of her destiny than ever before. The notion of a company town or a stagnant industry with little choice is fading fast.

Right before your eyes, a fundamentally different economy, with different players and different ways to add value is being built. What used to be an essential asset (for a person or for a company) is worth far less, while new attributes are both scarce and valuable.

Are there dislocations? There’s no doubt about it. Pain and uncertainty and risk, for sure.

The opportunity, though, is the biggest of our generation (or the last one, for that matter). The opportunity is there for anyone (with or without a job) smart enough to take it–to develop a best in class skill, to tell a story, to spread the word, to be in demand, to satisfy real needs, to run from the mediocre middle and to change everything.

¡Note! Like all revolutions, this is an opportunity, not a solution, not a guarantee. It’s an opportunity to poke and experiment and fail and discover dead ends on the way to making a difference. The old economy offered a guarantee–time plus education plus obedience = stability. The new one, not so much. The new one offers a chance for you to take a chance and make an impact.

¡Note! If you’re looking for ‘how’, if you’re looking for a map, for a way to industrialize the new era, you’ve totally missed the point and you will end up disappointed. The nature of the last era was that repetition and management of results increased profits. The nature of this one is the opposite: if someone can tell you precisely what to do, it’s too late. Art and novelty and innovation cannot be reliably and successfully industrialized.

In 1924, Walt Disney wrote a letter to Ub Iwerks. Walt was already in Hollywood and he wanted his old friend Ubbe to leave Kansas City and come join him to build an animation studio. The last line of the letter said “PS I wouldn’t live in KC now if you gave me the place—yep—you bet—Hooray for Hollywood.” And, just above, in larger letters, he scrawled, “Don’t hesitate—Do it now.”

It’s not 1924, and this isn’t Hollywood, but it is a revolution, and there’s a spot for you (and your boss if you push) if you realize you’re capable of making a difference. Or you could be frustrated. Up to you.

Seth Goden: The [Public] Realization is Now

Civil Society, Cultural Intelligence
Seth Godin Home

I of II:  The [public] realization is now

New polling out this week shows that Americans are frustrated with the world and pessimistic about the future. They’re losing patience with the economy, with their prospects, with their leaders (of both parties).

What’s actually happening is this: we’re realizing that the industrial revolution is fading. The 80 year long run that brought ever-increasing productivity (and along with it, well-paying jobs for an ever-expanding middle class) is ending.

It’s one thing to read about the changes the internet brought, it’s another to experience them. People who thought they had a valuable skill or degree have discovered that being an anonymous middleman doesn’t guarantee job security. Individuals who were trained to comply and follow instructions have discovered that the deal is over… and it isn’t their fault, because they’ve always done what they were told.

This isn’t fair of course. It’s not fair to train for years, to pay your dues, to invest in a house or a career and then suddenly see it fade.

For a while, politicians and organizations promised that things would get back to normal. Those promises aren’t enough, though, and it’s clear to many that this might be the new normal. In fact, it is the new normal.

I regularly hear from people who say, “enough with this conceptual stuff, tell me how to get my factory moving, my day job replaced, my consistent paycheck restored…” There’s an idea that somehow, if we just do things with more effort or skill, we can go back to the Brady Bunch and mass markets and mediocre products that pay off for years. It’s not an idea, though, it’s a myth.

Some people insist that if we focus on “business fundamentals” and get “back to basics,” all will return. Not so. The promise that you can get paid really well to do precisely what your boss instructs you to do is now a dream, no longer a reality.

It takes a long time for a generation to come around to significant revolutionary change. The newspaper business, the steel business, law firms, the car business, the record business, even computers… one by one, our industries are being turned upside down, and so quickly that it requires us to change faster than we’d like.

It’s unpleasant, it’s not fair, but it’s all we’ve got. The sooner we realize that the world has changed, the sooner we can accept it and make something of what we’ve got. Whining isn’t a scalable solution.

Tomorrow: part II—the opportunity

See Also:

The Substance of Governance

2010 INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability

On Intelligence–Out of Touch Squared

Corruption, Cultural Intelligence, Government, InfoOps (IO), Intelligence (government), IO Impotency, Methods & Process, Military, Peace Intelligence
DefDog Recommends...

A very interesting article by Chuck. Earlier I was thinking along similar lines about how the Military Intelligence System has devolved in the same manner as our air strategy.

When I first signed up, the Army had a number of sites in far flung places with strange sounding names.  The advantage was the people working their were somewhat in tune with the psychological mindset of the people who lived in proximity to the “threat”.  When they were concerned it raised our awareness of activities by the “other side”.  The local population always had better intelligence than we did, but it was an indicator that we picked up on and used to focus our efforts.

Enter technology (re: US Air Force) resulting in the consolidation of intelligence activities to major fixed bases (somewhat like our overall military strategy – hunker down).  We no longer have that view of the population, hell, we don’t have any concept of the human terrain in those areas or anywhere else (with the exception of Korea where we have not run away).

Continue reading “On Intelligence–Out of Touch Squared”