16 August, 2011

I Know What is Wrong With The World - and there is no way to fix it

I can sum up everything that is wrong with the world in three words:

People Are Stupid.
We like to think we are the pinnacle of evolution (in itself a stupid misconception of how evolution works) and that our vast intelligence separates up from the animals (sorry, stupid mistake, the other animals, I mean), but the fact is that we're not all that bright. We have a few advantages over, say primates, language and better memories for example, but research suggests that when it comes to sheer reasoning ability, we're not all that much brighter than chimps. I don't want to get into an IQ debate here, but let's assume there's some correlation between general intelligence and IQ. The average is around 100 (it varies from group to group and culture to culture - mainly because we're too stupid to devise a sensible test where the average is always 100 for every place and time).
Give or take a couple of standard deviations, most of us - like 96% of us - have that IQ. And it's abysmally low. It's the IQ of the kind of person who reads Murdoch newspapers, the IQ of the kind of person who watches soaps (even if it's the slick US cop show or medical show type and you think it's somehow better than Home and Away), and the kind of person who believes in the supernatural ("well, there has to be something more than this, doesn't there, science can't explain everything").
If you're still reading, it probably means you think you're not one of the stupid people I'm talking about. Well, you're wrong. Here's a little test to show just how stupid you are. 
  • Q1 Can you solve world poverty? 
  • Q2 Can you stop war? 
  • Q3 Can you stop the persecution of minorities?
  • Q4 Can you devise an economic system that treats everybody fairly?
The answers to all those questions are "No". I can think of dozens, probably hundreds of other questions that you would have to say no to, too. The fact is, we are all, even the very brightest among us, deeply and unutterably stupid. We can't solve the world's problems because we're too thick. We've been trying throughout recorded history (and presumably long before then) and we have failed. Failed dismally. Failed in a way that should be excruciatingly embarrassing to all of us. Let's face it, we're a bunch of chimps with cars and cell phones and we haven't got a clue.
And that's why there is no way to fix the world; we just haven't got the brains. We might as well give up, go back to the trees and scratch our arses until we're extinct.
Oh, hang on, we can't do that, can we? We stupidly cut down all the trees.

Now how did he get here?

04 August, 2011

Yasmin needs brain surgery but can't afford it

It is a sad and terrible indictment of the society in which we live that a woman like Yasmin McKillop might die because she can't afford the surgery that could save her life. Yasmin is a young woman, a nurse who cares for old people at my local hospital. She's one of those lovely people you take to immediately. She is married to my friend James, who is blind, and they have two young boys. And now, Yasmin has a brain tumour. The prognosis from surgeons at the public hospitals here is very poor, but there is a surgeon in Sydney who believes he can save her, if she can find sixty thousand dollars for the operation.

On a nurse's wage and James' invalidity benefits, Yasmin has no house to sell, no savings to draw on. Her family are just ordinary, working people. That kind of money is so far beyond the reach of normal people that it must seem completely hopeless to her family and friends.

In desperation, her sister, Mia, has launched an appeal. Mia is not a media-savvy campaigner with far-reaching networks into the circles where money like this is easily found. She's just a young woman who lives and works in a small, country town who loves her sister and is doing all she can for her. She has put up a Facebook page. She is talking to local people and local businesses - in Stanthorpe, one of the poorest towns in the whole of Australia. That's why we need to do something to help Mia raise that money and save her sister.

I know most of the people who read my blog are writers and working people too. I doubt we could raise that much money between us, but we can raise some, and there are plenty of other ways we can help. This is what I would like each of you to do.

1. Visit Mia's Facebook page and donate something to the appeal - even if it is only $5 - the price of a cup of coffee. The link is also at the bottom of this post.

2. Use the Facebook and Tweet this links at the top of this post to spread the word to your social networks. You can also Digg the post, or use StumbleUpon or any other sharing tools you like. Do whatever you can to help Mia get the message out to the world that Yasmin needs help.

3. Mention the appeal on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, MySpace, Twitter, and anywhere else you have an audience.

4. Write a blog post on your own blog - even if it is just one sentence with a link to Mia's appeal page, it might just help.

5. If you know a journalist, mention Yasmin's plight to them. A 'human interest' story like this might just be something they, or a colleague, are looking for. If the story made it into a State or national newspaper, or was mentioned on a popular radio or TV show, it would take the appeal to a level where anything is possible. Even if you don't live in Australia, mention it anyway. Generosity doesn't stop at national borders.

6. Write a letter and send it to your local newspaper, your local radio station, your local Rotary Club, anywhere you can think of where people might be willing to help.

I'm sorry to ask. I'm sorry to live in a society where I have to ask. Please help Yasmin and her family. Please do whatever you can.

The link to the appeal is http://www.facebook.com/Yasmin.Aid?sk=info

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