March 5, 2005

You Can't Change Human Behavior...

or at least you can not do it on a grand scale. not quickly anyway.

I was at the SearchEngineStrategies conference in NYC last week. As you get closer to New York City you notice more flags on overpasses. And you notice more "Fines Doubled" signs (even though most of them specify no reason).

Nonetheless I seriously doubt those fines doubled signs slow people down. I still went faster than what was legal. I doubt those flags make people care more about the concept of pride in our country.

I think as time passes more and more people are realizing what a sham (word of the day) the whole September 11 incident was. How we are using that event to manipulate people into trying to make it sound like the government is actually trying to serve the people when we spend most of our money on debt and military spending and loot social security to do our bests to throw a little more wealth into defense stocks.

Military spending is driving the country near bankruptcy so we must cut things like education. That is real fucking brilliant investing into the future. Why not encourage alternative energy sources and lower our dependance on foreign energy?

The deficit spending erodes the value of our currency and so the price of oil goes up and then we demand higher oil production to lower oil costs. Or else fucking what?

As seen my the continued fighting in Iraq there are people there who do not want us there. Could you imagine if on accident your house was blown up and your parents were killed. I know if that happened to me I would be inclined to express myself on that issue (most likely in a violent way too).

Imagine how many soldiers die from the stupid fucking war. And then think of the greater number who will live with post traumatic stress disorder for the rest of their lives. Have nightmares when they sleep. Dream of death until one day they shoot their head off with a shotgun. Imagine what that does to their children. and their children.

Then you look at jail. Another huge fucking sham. I can't visit my sister to this day because one of the people who ran one of the jails was a bitch. My sister is still being punished 5 years later by not being able to see me. Worse yet she is in jail because our legal system is a hunk of shit.

Then if people in jail want to call to talk to their family the calls are about $30 - $50 per half hour. You take people away from the social bonds they made. You take most their freedoms. And then you lock them up with other people who for one reason or another were deemed as criminals by some segment of society.

Either they are guilty or they were fucked by the system, either way there is nothing which actively encourages change in behaviour from within. And I cant imagine that pulling a person out of society for a decade makes them a more functional member of society.

We prescribe people drugs. They go numb or forget their problems or maybe the problems build until they kill them. Maybe the same things that caused people problems were the same things that brought them the greatest joy in their lives.

The one drug is good because it can be prescribed and the other is bad because it is hard to regulate and may be used recreationally. So we say a problem exists with people importing the drug. Supply will ALWAYS find its way to demand.

How do you eradicate the demand of another? How do you force your views onto the world?

Sure you can manipulate some people with fear. But what is the purpose. If you fuck over the lives of millions of others to get your way what the fuck does that prove? That you are the worst humanity has to offer?

I am prettymuch about 99.83% anti authoritarian because I see almost everything that is supposed to be official and good for you as a hoax or scam. And when people dig deep enough the outcome is frequently similar.

All systems and ideas can be improved and few things will ever show the same return on investment as investing in yourself. Though most days many people are rushed for time...and bring bullshit stress upon themselves...and eat bad food...and sacrifice themselves and their family for this arbitrary idea called business or money or getting ahead.

While in NYC I got to look over into the near by buildings at 8PM and watch real life reality TV (which appeared far more interesting that the shit they stream on TV). I also was a bit amazed at thinking how such a city can spring up. How concrete can live organically like a person does.

When I get too drunk sometimes I talk to bums because many of them have interesting stories to tell. I try to do what I can to lift up their spirits. But I doubt I ever do much to change any of them.

I cant.

Maybe they dont want to change. If they are happy then they may not want to change. And it may not be easy either.

The only way for a system or person to change longterm is if it does so internally. You can't take one variable from one system and inject it into another closed system and make a functional algorithm out of it.

That idea was one which was strongly expressed by an information retrieval scientist I chatted with at the NYC conference.

Few systems in the world work well across cultural boundaries, in large cities, and in small towns.

Search engines try to do that though. And because they are so scalable and granular in nature they are wildly profitable too.

It is possible to eradicate homelessness and hunger amongst many of those who want to be helped. It is also possible to help curb worldwide disease and lower infant mortality rate.

Anyone can publish their thoughts and ideas can spread so fast that some governments are already thinking about taxing the ability to link to certain sites. Tell me that is an idea with free speech and fairness in mind.

How ironic is it that campaign finance reform wants to esentially cut off the single largest income stream for most third party canidates. What the fuck kind of reform is that.

It seems way to often we justify our state of being or our actions by saying that others are worse off. We then overemphasize whatever we feel is important to do our best to bring that topic adequate coverage.

Many times this involves plugging some arbitrary force into another system and as long as we solve symptoms with expensive patches there will always be work to do the next day. Perhaps this is a part of the reasoning behind our actions, to always ensure that we have more to do the next day.

Sure we are imperfect, but some days are we extra imperfect to ensure that we will be able to have the same drive / motivation / mindset when we wake the next morning?

Too often though it seems that we wish to change how others think or how others act when typically the largest worldly change any person sees is one that occurs within their own mind. But then again if you can change the thoughts of others maybe you can also learn to change your own?

Posted at March 5, 2005 6:07 AM
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