Short Story Decision-Making

“The truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it, but there it is.” ~ Winston Churchill House of Commons May 17th, 1916.

There is something that most Americans suffer from called “Decision Making Under Ignorance”. I could easily expand this to all of humanity, but for the purposes of this article, I am restricting it to just Americans. This problem is self-inflicted. It is 100% voluntary, yet has profound implications by not correcting it. One of the most frustrating problems with this issue is that most Americans don’t even know they are contributing to it. Most Americans can function normally without any knowledge of this issue. However, they are also completely clueless as to the damage their ignorance is causing their fellow Americans and our country’s course through history.

While others before me have figured this out and call it by other names such as “Decision Making Under Ignorance”, I reached the same conclusion on my own and call it “Short Story Decision-Making”. People read the short abbreviated version and not the whole book. Yet they make decisions based on just the short story and not the whole book. This has profound implications because usually information later in the book changes your perspective from what you read in the beginning.

Call it what you like. I have created an analogy that I hope best explains this phenomenon and how it has serious consequences for not only those who practice it but for those around them as well.

 

“Imagine you and I are on a boat on the ocean. We can only see what is above the water. We base our reality, our perspective, our opinions, and our decisions on what we see above the surface of the water. We were storm blown into unknown waters. The surface of the ocean is a desert, there is no water for us to drink and no food for us to eat. We must get our boat to a place where we can at least feed ourselves, there is plenty of fishing gear on the boat. We must also find a safe harbor for fresh water or we will perish. The only thing we do know is there are land and harbors to the west. But that land is where our enemies live and is not a place we would normally want to go. We know that if we make it there they will most certainly either kill or imprison us. It is also a very long way and the chances of us both surviving the trip are slim. But we have no other choice; there are no other destinations near enough. We will perish on the ocean if we do not head west to our enemies land. So we decide to head west since that appears to be the best course given the information we have gleaned from the surface of the ocean.

Now, you happen to find a box on the boat that contains tools and equipment to allow you to view the world under the surface of the ocean. You have sonar, a depth finder/fish finder, you have swim goggles and scuba masks to look underwater, and you have an underwater camera attached to a tether so you can lower it under and see below. You point this stuff out to me and offer to share them so we can look under the ocean surface together. I decide that looking under the ocean surface is too much work and will not benefit us and is a waste of my time, so I decline your offer.

You, however, decide to take a look. What you discover completely changes your perspective of the environment we are in. You can see fish right below us. You can see ridges and valleys on the ocean floor. You can see coral reefs and plant life growing there. You can see that these things are to the east of us. You can see in that direction the ocean floor is rising up, an indication that land and the possibility of a safe harbor is just over the horizon. You see that most of the fish and plants and reefs are toward the east. In fact, the wildlife is so abundant in that direction there is no doubt in your mind that we could feed ourselves with such plenty. However, toward the west the ocean is getting deeper and deeper, an indication we are heading out into the deep ocean devoid of any life or a safe harbor for a very long way. The wildlife is thinning rapidly and you can almost see a line where it all stops and there is nothing but rock and mud beyond.

Now that your perspective has changed and your concept of the truth of our environment has been drastically altered, you realize we are headed in the wrong direction. We can catch fish and harvest ocean plants to feed ourselves, but only if we go east, not west. You realize that the safe harbor we need to make for is to the east, not the west. You realize that the decision we made to head west to relative safety is now wrong. You now realize that we based that decision on incomplete information.

This shift in your perspective is irrevocable. You will never be able to un-see what you have seen nor narrow your perspective of our environment you now possess. There is no taking it back. Truth has a no return policy that is ironclad. The truth is like Pandora, once it is out of the box there is no putting it back.

Even if all the tools and equipment that you used to view under the surface of the ocean were taken from you, never to be returned, you will forever know that there is an entire world right below the bottom of the boat. You will forever know that in relation to our current location on the ocean, that safety is to the east, not the west.

Now, armed with your new perspective, knowing that you now possess a much greater truth concerning our situation, you try to convince me that we made a faulty decision and that we need to go east, not west. You implore me to use the tools and equipment so that I can see for myself a greater perspective and learn the actual truth of our situation as you have. You beg and plead with me and argue with me because this is life or death.

But to no avail. I will not budge. I cannot be bothered with the effort and time needed to see what you have seen. I don’t feel like it, that’s too much work. I feel that I have all the information I need to make the correct decision and head our boat toward safety. I do not need to waste my time with what you want me to do since I can move our boat to safety armed with the knowledge and perspective that I already have.

And I would be right, to a point. I know that there is a destination to the west. I know it will take a very long time to reach it. I also know that when we do reach it we will be either killed or put in prison upon arrival. But that is the best chance we have under the circumstances. I do not need to learn anymore since what I already know is the truth. It is the truth as I can see it in the perspective I have allowed myself. It’s just not the complete truth, as you have now discovered.

Now, since it is just the two of us you could take control of the boat and simply head us east and show me. Or you could throw me overboard since I refuse to see the truth and are endangering both of us because of stubbornly hanging onto my incomplete perspective. You are just as stubborn since now you know the truth, the complete truth, and will not be dissuaded by my ignorant arguments to the contrary. If it was just the two of us we would be deadlocked with regard to controlling the boats direction.

Now let’s add more people. You have two other friends who have seen underwater with you. You all know the truth and are trying to convince me and my group. I have one hundred people who all agree with me and that we need to go west and risk landing on our enemy’s shore. The three of you are not enough to control my group of one hundred and we take the boat to the west. Your only option is to convince us to use the tools and equipment and look under the water for ourselves. We refuse and continue heading west based on incomplete information. You have no choice but go along for the ride and a questionable fate at the end of the journey.

How frustrated would you be, knowing that almost certain death or imprisonment awaits us all at the end of the trip west, especially since in my ignorance I refuse to see the truth and correct our course? The tools and equipment to see the truth are lying right there at my feet, yet I refuse to use them. You know we are doomed if we continue west but you are powerless to convince me and my one hundred friends otherwise. You are powerless to convince me and my friends that we are basing our decisions on a tiny sliver of information that does not represent the entire truth.

Explained this way, most normal people would be screaming at me for being the idiot I am for not using the tools and equipment to see under the water. It is such a simple thing, is it not? If I just do my due diligence and take the time to look a little further I can save all of us in the boat with the right decision.

Bah, I cannot be bothered with wasting my time with that. I know the truth. I know enough to get us to dry land, I don’t need or want to hear any more out of you. I’m going to be ignorant and lazy and drive us all to our doom.”

 

And that ladies and gentlemen is my analogy describing short story decision-making.

This is what Americans are doing every day. This is why America is in the situation we now find ourselves in. This is why the vast majority of Americans simply refuse to look beyond that most basic introduction to our history, economics, social studies and civics they got in school; because they think they know enough of the truth.

The vast majority of Americans are driving us all to our doom by not educating themselves further and understanding a much broader perspective. It is a change in perspective that has profound and life altering implications. Most Americans are basing their opinions and decisions about how we are governed, and voting, by being lazy and using short story decision-making.

And yet when the few who have a much broader perspective try to show them they are heading America in the wrong direction because they are basing their voting decisions on incomplete information, they are usually shouted down. They are told to shut up and sit down by the majority of clueless Americans. They are ridiculed and ignored.

All the while, the majority of Americans are scratching their heads wondering how we got into the mess we are now in. The only thing they can see to fix the problems is to just vote, hope then cope harder, like we keep doing over and over, again and again expecting a different result this time…

Meanwhile, those few who have seen a far more complete picture of the truth are left frustrated that they cannot encourage the rest to open their eyes. Now they must be carried along to the doom that awaits everyone on the same train as it hurtles uncontrollably toward the gorge where the bridge is out. All because more Americans refuse to educate themselves further and switch the train to another track before they reach the gorge.

It is the most insidious of traps. The one where you can actually see the cage. The one where you can see that the cage door is not locked. The door is heavy so it will take all of you to move the door.Yet you cannot convince your cell mates to simply push open the door with you and walk out.

Please, I beg you, never stop educating yourself. Education is a life-long journey, not a final destination at the end of school. Don’t just settle for learning only the things that reinforce your current point of view. Look at opposing viewpoints as well. Never stop questioning, especially the views and opinions you are most comfortable with, you never know what you may find hidden there. There are always two sides to every coin. You do yourself, and all of us, a great disservice by looking at only one side of the coin. As the saying goes, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Truth in the middle

 

True freedom and liberty require a great deal of personal responsibility, a lifelong commitment to self-education, a copious amount of critical thinking, and a willingness to participate far more in the sociopolitical/economic process than just voting.

The greater the freedom and liberty, the greater mankind can become. It is only through the freedom and liberty to act that innovation, invention, and creativity can survive and thrive.

Second, only to our very lives, freedom and liberty is the most precious and costly gift we will ever have the great fortune to possess.

Something this valuable requires continuous hard work and sacrifice, because freedom has never been free. If you truly want it, you have to work hard for it.

Every. Single. Day.

 

Greggery Kunkle

 

 

 

 

 

The things that make me say… “What the hell were you thinking?”

(An open letter to self-proclaimed social justice warriors)

There is an impulse that overtakes some of you self-proclaimed social justice warriors that I don’t think I will ever understand.

There is a basic universal law of nature that any normal and sane human being completely understands. You don’t go poke at a bear to try and get a reaction out of it do you? The resulting mauling you would receive would be completely your own fault. No one is going to blame the bear for you being spectacularly stupid. If you managed to live through such a stupendously ignorant decision I would ask you, “what the hell were you thinking?”

So what drives you social justice warriors to break bad with someone actively serving in the military or a Veteran, all because you greatly disagree with our government’s horrible foreign policy? You think you’re all big and bad and brave and making a difference in the world by waiting for the occasional unfortunate Veteran or active duty military member to happen into your view. No, actually you’re not. You’re just being dangerously stupid and lazy.

Regardless of how you may feel about the military, you obviously have not thought your actions all the way through. You most certainly have the right to have your own opinion and to even express that opinion. However, I don’t think that you’re practicing critical thinking skills when expressing that opinion to a member of the armed forces or a Veteran.

I am going to use the Marines as my example because of the flak and grief they seem to take over and above the other branches. I am not writing this to debate the validity of your allegations of baby killing and other atrocities you think the Marines have committed. I’m writing this solely to address the completely illogical choice you make when you happen upon a Marine and your ego suddenly outgrew your common sense and you’re about three seconds from possibly receiving some serious pain. I’m trying to save you from that pain.

It is blatantly obvious that you social justice warriors do not understand what the military’s primary mission is. The military has one job. It does that job so extremely well it is terrifying. The military’s job is to be the force behind the will of a nation. Now regardless of how you may feel about that mission, there is no denying that our military is one of the best at that job that the world has ever known. Now think of that historic military force as a spear. The Marines are the sharp point of that spear and they are the very first thing our enemies encounter when hostilities commence.

There is a very good reason for this.

The Marines are the only branch of our military where every single Marine is a rifleman first, and whatever specialty jobs they are to do, second. None of the other branches do this. This is a critically significant distinction so let me repeat this so that you are completely clear as to what I am trying to get you to understand. It is the very point of this entire letter.

Every single Marine, bar none, is trained to be a skilled rifleman first and foremost above all other things. They are trained how to subdue, disable, cripple, or kill and destroy any person or target they are pointed at. It is because of this that the Marines are one of the most feared and lethal fighting forces in the history of mankind.

Now that you hopefully have wrapped your head around the military’s mission and the Marine Corps specifically, I have to ask you this. When you happen to come across a Marine, why is the most intelligent thing you can come up with is intentionally antagonizing and pissing off one of the most highly trained and lethal warriors in the history of mankind? You’re not too bright, are you? This is the point where I would ask, “What the hell were you thinking?” The resulting mauling you are about to receive from that Marine is completely your own fault. Most normal people are not going to blame the Marine for your complete lack of common sense.

On top of that, do you self-proclaimed social justice warriors not stop and seriously consider that the Marine, or other active duty military member or Veteran you decided to break bad with, might have a bad case of PTSD? Do you not consider the possibility that your petulant inability to keep your opinion to yourself, and lack of basic common respect for your fellow human beings, might actually be the one thing that sets the guy, or gals, PTSD off?

It would be a terrible waste of life if the unfortunate Marine snapped because of being cornered by you, armed with your amazing lack of common sense and lack of common decency and you end up being killed. This, of course, would be a tragedy to you and your family. But also for the Marine and his family as well since he would most likely go to prison for murder, a murder that you in your ignorance provoked him into. All because you never learned to keep your mouth shut at the right time with the wrong person.

There is a time and a place to air your grievances with the government of the United States about their horrible foreign policy. Picking on the individual Marine or other active military member or Veteran, is not it. Stop being such a spectacular ass to someone who has absolutely no say in our countries horrific foreign policies. That time and place is at your elected representative’s local office. Go yell and scream at them and call them baby killers and murderers and bust their balls. They are the ones who decided to go to war for the most juvenile of reasons and are the ones who send our loved ones to hell all in the name of greed and power.

It is a testament to the discipline, restraint and the love for their fellow countrymen (even when those countrymen are being blindingly stupid) that military members and the Marines, in particular, have in this kind of scenario. It is because of this discipline, restraint, and ability to rise above the stupendously ignorant, that cases of assault, battery, and even murder by members of the armed forces as I am insinuating above are so rare.

No malice intended toward anyone. Well, maybe just a little well-deserved ridicule, but no malice. I hope for the safety and well-being of all involved, that you self-proclaimed social justice warriors heed my words of warning and advice. Please, pause for a moment and think it through before you erroneously decide that you are that one exception to the rule and think you can get away with poking a bear without getting mauled. You may be unlucky enough to come across the one Marine who is going to reduce your overblown ego back down to where it belongs in a way that might be the most painful experience of your life. I am trying to save you from some possible future pain, or even worse.

Think about it.

Greggery Kunkle

U.S. Navy Veteran

The personal cost of true Freedom and Liberty

True freedom and liberty require a great deal of personal responsibility, a lifelong commitment to self-education, a copious amount of critical thinking, and a willingness to participate far more in the sociopolitical/economic process than just voting.

The greater the freedom and liberty, the greater mankind can become. It is only through the freedom and liberty to act that innovation, invention, and creativity can survive and thrive.

Second, only to our very lives, freedom and liberty is the most precious and costly gift we will ever have the great fortune to possess.

Something this valuable requires continuous hard work and sacrifice, because freedom has never been free. If you truly want it, you have to work hard for it. Every single day.

Greggery Kunkle

Fake Bestsellers, Concern Trolls, and Hidden Agendas

I am re-blogging this so that I can keep the information in the article. Good read for those wishing to self publish.

David Gaughran

boomLast Friday we were treated to a story from the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times, where Tony Horwitz claimed “I Was A Digital Bestseller” then complained about how little money this made him, and how he would now stick with traditional, print publishers as a result.

Then this Op-Ed was held up – in outlets like Gawker – as another example of how writers have it so tough in this scary new digital world which is going to lead us all into penury.

Just like the story I wrote in January – Fake Controversy Alert: Hitler’s Mein Kampf Was Not A Digital Bestseller – the key “fact” in Horwitz’s tale of woe doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

Can you guess what it is?

Tracker2

Tracker1Boomwas published on January 29 this year. According to KND’s Tracker, before the Op-Ed, the highest rank it achieved in the…

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Living and Loving as an Introvert

Here is a great article on being an introvert. This describes me to a tee.

dorkymum

good advice

*stands up*

*shuffles nervously*

*clears throat*

Hello. My name’s Ruth and I am an introvert.

Would you believe that it has taken me 31 years to say that?

Most of those years have been taken up with saying other things. No, I’m not anti-social. No, I’m not shy. No, it’s not that I hate people, or that I hate you, or that I’m a badly brought up Awkward Annie.

I’m just an introvert.

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My thoughts on inheritance

The greatest inheritance you will ever receive from your parents is not money or any physical possession. The greatest gifts you will ever get from everyone who touches your life will not be handed to you. The greatest inheritance, the greatest gift in the world is the memory of the moments you spend with others. Even the bad moments and memories are a gift to an extent for they helped build your character and your strength. Cherish the moments you are given for they are gone in a heartbeat and become golden memories.~ Greggery Kunkle