Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Blinded by ideology

Last week, the blog title above suddenly entered my mind, including the song below. I think, feel and believe that it captures our current times quite well. Indeed, many people appear to be blinded by ideology. I do wonder, however, why pragmatism is becoming a lost art (eg, source).

To a large extent, pragmatism is related to concepts like (i) Machiavellianism (ie, the end justifies the means), and (ii) utilitarianism (a.k.a. the Greater Good). On the surface, that (alleged) relationship may seem weird. However, it becomes clear from the Wiki definition of pragmatism:

Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition that considers words and thought as tools and instruments for predictionproblem solving, and action, and rejects the idea that the function of thought is to describe, represent, or mirror reality.”

Wiki definition of pragmatism

In my view, the rise in ideology relates to a rise in fear over topics like Artificial Intelligence & robotics, burnout epidemic, China, climate change, depression epidemic, eco-anxiety, gun control, mass shootings, migrants & refugees, political correctness, and woke. Before, it was the political Islam.

Why did we fell out of love with pragmatism? What explains its decline? I suppose it’s fair to say that our present-day societies are governed by fear; see topics in previous paragraph. Perhaps, the ultimate reason is in the title of my March 8 blog: Do we fear to embrace Hope?

Most remarkably, our main ideology is no longer Money, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science, or Technology but it’s represented by the Love for our perceived Truth. We all need, want, believe and love being right. All others must be wrong because our truth is the Truth.

In the previous century, Karl Popper (1902-1994) concluded that there are three kinds of truths:

  1. Absolute truths (of which its existence is uncertain);
  2. Objective truths (a.k.a. facts);
  3. Subjective truths (a.k.a. opinions).

In my view, Karl Popper was right. There may not even be absolute truths in our lives. Moreover, our objective truths (a.k.a. facts) are subject to time and/or (geographical) space (eg, the heliocentrism debate).

An alternative title for this blog would have been: blinded by our opinions.

Some interesting quotes:

  • “Like love, ideology is blind, even if people caught up in it are not”. Slavoj Žižek
  • “The public knows that human beings are fallible. Only people blinded by ideology fall into the trap of believing in their own infallibility.” Freeman Dyson
  • “Ideology just blinds me. It makes me less rigorous, not more rigorous. It makes me worse at my job. So, I save it for talk at home or with my buddies at the Elks or with my dad. Not here. I just can’t let it cloud my judgment. It’s too costly for all of us.” Jim Cramer

Blinded By The Light (1973) by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (1977 cover)
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-song

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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