*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Friday, 1 April 2011

It's not only Japan with its 'head in a box'.

Try to think outside of that box.  In Larry Niven's "Ringworld" books, 'insane' 'Piersons Puppeteers' were invaluable to the 'sane' ones in time of crisis, because only the 'insane' could come up with a creative solution to save the species from disaster.  Every society promotes people who think just like those who the society has accepted as successful: dogma self-perpetuates.  Or to use an expression: "generals always fight the last war."
Japan's not the only country guilty of this, nor its bureaucracies: ongoing Catholic pederasty scandals come to mind, as does the fact that every civilization has been destroyed by exhausting its resources.

There has been a great deal of 'group-think' during the Tohoku Earthquake disasters, among the Japanese and non-Japanese, in all strata.  I won't bother to reinforce the idea that Japanese are automata, both because truth is more nuanced, and that's such a trope it does not need my help.  The French and other embassies panicked, as did the foreign media, and much of the foreign population.  I submitted to the panic at first because the initial nuclear information was nothing but worrying, but I cancelled my tickets once I gave the situation some second thought.  It's a shame so few humans try second guessing themselves.  I suppose they should be afraid of what they will find.

You'll survive a real disaster, which my situation in Tokyo was not, by thinking 'outside of the box'.  There are Japanese people who do this, including manga-ka who long knew there might be a nuclear accident.  And there was an entire town that survived, unlike its neighbours, for the simple reason that they used topography to protect their town after rebuilding it more than a century ago, rather than relying on sea-walls.  There are also two schools worth of students and staff who survived because somebody had taught them how to think for themselves, and reassess the danger of the original evacuation plan.

The problem, as I have alluded, is that the original thinkers who are not narcissists do not get the reigns of power, nor want them.  Instead, 'shit floats to the top'.

1 comment:

  1. poignant, very good post. I do not always agree with what you write, but this one is spot on. And the stories in the links you provided give me chills.