This text is something I quickly outlined a few years ago but the recent bombings and shootings have struck the same chord in my brain, the same feeling.
After seeing the news about some crazy bomber who has gone into a shopping mall and blown up hundreds of people, or some another gunman who shot and killed a number of kids at gun point for no discernible reason, my first reaction is always the same. Even though I know how world works, my first reaction, for some reason, does not change.
“Why, why, why ...? Why killing those people? They have not done anything?”
And sometimes, although I am pacifist and I don’t believe in violence, my mind flickers to the following thought: “If you are about to do something so terrible, at least target your anger to somewhere where it should go.” This is a desperate background thought, seeking a spark of justice in the act of mindless revenge, wondering “At least once, can you target those who are causing the issues?”
You will never hear of a crazy person who has gone to Wall Street and blown up bunch of greedy bankers, or gone to a Mafia hideout and wiped those people from the planet's surface. That simply does not happen. Movies are made about it, just because it never happens - it is a fantasy, a fairy tale, an example of wishful thinking.
To shortly digress from the subject, in ethics, the trolley problem *1 is a thought experiment in which a runaway trolley is barreling down the railway tracks.
On the tracks ahead, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You have two options: Do nothing and the trolley kills the five people on the main track or, pull the lever and divert the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.
What do you think is the correct choice?
I would like to ask you to take a part in an anonymous, slightly modified trolley problem survey. In this case, the train is speeding straight toward an abyss where all of its 100 passengers will die if you do not take any action. You are standing next to the lever and you can save them, but you have to choose one of two side tracks. On both sidetracks there are groups no more than ten people and you can save only one group. The one you choose will be saved.
There are twenty (20) choices for which you need to choose an answer. You will have 5 seconds per choice and if you do not choose any group within that time, the 100 people from the train will end up in the abyss.
Try answering honestly but do not take it too seriously. At its best, this survey should just show what kind of people we care about more. Remember, the group you choose will be saved.
Press “Start” when you are ready.
After every military action or terrorist act, I’ve read things from people on one side of the world or another, saying how they hate Americans, or Arabs, or Muslims, or Christians.
Why? Why would anyone hate them?
The average American is clueless about what is going on beyond his street. He does not know how to find major countries of the world on the map and finding towns around the world is an even greater challenge. Why would someone blame a random stranger for something he has not done or does not have any knowledge about? What is the point of revenge if you take it out on someone who was not even remotely connected to your suffering?
This is similar to being beaten by an Asian person and retaliating by beating the first random person of a similar look. Another example would be taking revenge on a Mafia by going to their neighborhood and murdering the first innocent person you see, who is likely already racketeered by that same Mafia.
The average person’s only association to the blame they can place on them is that they belong to the same nation, or they look similar, or they have same the religion or same government that caused the issue in the first place.
Corrupt governments, crook politicians, and people from the top one percent are those who pull the strings. If you want to blame someone, start from there. Do not waste your time with small fish.
It was not the daily actions of a Turkish grocery man that led to Turkey shooting down the Russian airplane. Why would anyone blame Turkish people when 99 percent of them are innocent and clueless, same as many others on this planet?
We do not take issue with the majority of people. Instead, our issue is that we do not know how to handle the small percent who create issues for all of us.
I know that in theory, the goal of terrorism is to create panic and fear. The easiest ways to achieve these goals would be to attack places where people usually gather and socialize. By attacking innocent people, some people are almost religiously inclined to believe that maybe all evil people have the same boss, and I cannot blame them. But, there is nothing supernatural about this, simple logic behind this is that terrorists do not attack powerful people because they are heavily guarded, so innocent, unarmed people are just an easy target. Consequently, such events are going in favor of the elite and corporations; they can trade more guns and oil and earn even more money from human suffering, and additionally, they can justify their actions as necessity to act against “evil.”
This is a vicious cycle, in which any possible scenario benefits those on the top. The game is designed that way so that whatever you do, it will benefit them. It is very much like the stock market, where real players earn money when stocks are gaining - but also when they are losing - value. The worst thing for the stock exchange is when market is standing still. This means when there is peace, health, and satisfaction, they do not make money, and the opposites are “necessary” in order to create polarity and opportunity for profit. And this does not need to be thought as deliberate action; it can be a simple inherited behavior of an already established system, very much like you are not paying taxes because you want to, but because it is something that is enforced by the system.
On the other hand, maybe it is our fault. It is our fault, as we are like those in the original trolley problem and choose not to do anything, like those people who wait for problems to resolve on their own, those who wait for better times, comforting themselves by saying "It will get better eventually."
There is a saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
With every passing day, I wonder, more and more - is it because of the wrong actions or the lack of them?
# Update 30/01/2016:
Maybe you wonder why above survey looks balanced and what that means?
The simple way to explain this behaviour is — random clicking.
As questions were pulled from the lot randomly and also choices were aligned randomly, users from different location were eager to find out how did other people answer, therefore they were rushing through questions clicking randomly, without reading them, just to find out how did other people do. That caused unreliable answer that cannot be used ... for the most part.
What this tells us?
Nothing much, except that we are curious to find what other people think, but we do not care enough to give sincere answers. If we consider that majority behave in a similar way, conclusion is that survey is a misrepresentation of public opinion and nothing else.
Bare that in mind next time when you fill in some online survey. :)