I was watching this archive documentary about how young people perceived the year 2000. It was in France in 1962, and each interviewed man and woman, boy and girl, talked about what they predicted for the future. What struck me wasn’t the quality of the video or what weird things they could imagine. It was the way they expressed themselves.
Of course, the customs, the educational system, everything was different. But how they articulate their thoughts led me to believe there was something else.
Some had an impressive knowledge of our world. They seemed more mature and less naive.
It makes sense when you think about it.
Their parents went through both world wars, and they experienced the end of the second one. More than a delay in science, technology, and health, they come from a fallen civilization that had a lot of weight on its shoulders. This generation was in charge of rebuilding their lives and country.
Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times — G. Michael Hopf
The Fall of Modern Civilization
We are the ones who can afford to be naive and sheltered. But we are also the ones who will have to deal with the consequences of our actions. Because sooner or later, we will have to face the music when the world we and those who came before us have built collapses.
I concluded that people no longer think. Most of them are blank pages on which anyone can come and write. Is it because they are stupid? Because of the information overload? Because of something else? No. It’s because they don’t have to.
Be good at school, get a well-paid job, buy a house, have kids, and save for a nice retirement. It is the script that everyone is supposed to follow. And this one is already outdated. Now you can sprinkle one or two pinches of climate disasters, economic, monetary, and social crises, as well as some nuclear wars with viruses, and you’re good to go.
“Yes, but Julien, it’s a generation aware of all this. They think about it.”
Most elites don’t plan to treat these challenges with focused and efficient actions. Even less motivated by the desire to make this world a better place.
There is a huge gap between today and 1962. The chaos of a post-war society gave way to an order that has progressed over the years to what we know today.
Whole generations, spoon-fed by the media, politicians, and institutions, establish and follow narratives. They don’t even bother to question them. All they do is consume and reproduce.
I refuse to believe it’s because humanity is silly.
We are just anesthetized and plunged into a state of lethargic naivety.
There are two types of people in this world. Those who want to know, and those who want to believe — Nikola Tesla
The Building Blocks of Naivety
Naivety is a lack of knowledge and experience in one aspect of life. Naive people accept things without questioning their validity. In other words, it is the simple-minded belief that everything is as it appears.
Children are naive. They are inexperienced and lack knowledge in many areas. It makes them sometimes cute, sometimes in the grip of scams.
As we grew up, we began to think scams are for others.
“This will never happen to me.”
“I’m not an idiot.”
“I know what I’m doing.”
We assume we have enough knowledge and experience to deal with most situations, which is false. So it’s interesting to see the few admissions of weakness, those areas where we readily admit our naivety.
For example, we are suspicious of garage owners and souvenir sellers. What do they have in common?
On one side, we are aware of our ignorance. We don’t know how our car works, so when we must fix it, we have no choice but to trust the mechanic. Same for souvenir sellers. We don’t know the real price of exotic products, so by buying in one store and not in the other, we consider the seller to be fair.
On the other side, we know their methods. Garage owners and souvenir sellers have to make money. One can charge you more than necessary, and we suspect the other to make a good profit on ordinary local products. In both cases, they can exploit our ignorance for their interests.
Most of the time, we are unaware of our ignorance and misunderstand people’s hidden agendas.
We don’t understand climate, biology, history, anthropology, or geopolitics. Yet, I have the impression that people know everything about everything in the course of a Netflix documentary and even allow themselves to make sanctimonious speeches.
The same people derive their knowledge from ideological content or content produced not to inform but to meet a political agenda.
It’s a toxic model to evade absolutely.
Correct Our Ignorance Awareness
The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias whereby unskilled people overestimate their ability in a given area. It’s a phenomenon that can be explained as follow; We don’t know what we don’t know. Or conversely, we only know what we know.
To avoid falling into this trap, face world experts. Read their books, watch or listen to long formats like podcasts or documentaries/interviews where they appear. Primetime TV shows in which they come to promote their new book for 10 minutes are useless to this end.
Understanding People’s Hidden Agenda
Deep inside, we are selfish. It is a part of us.
Our reality occurs inside different spaces: Intimate, personal, professional, social, and public spaces. If someone — whether it’s a relative or a public figure — enters one of those, they do something super important.
They’re spending time and energy to be in that space. And among many good reasons to do so, there will always have darker selfish ones, hidden motives they may or may not be aware of. To identify them, first study the context of your interaction. Then find out the person’s baseline behavior and compare it to your personal experiences.
A co-worker, all at once, offers to help you with your project. He sometimes brings you coffee and asks about your weekend. Is he trying to flirt?
- It depends on the context. Does he bring you coffee because he makes too much of it and doesn’t want to throw it away?
- It depends on the way he usually acts. Are you the only person who is entitled to this kind of favor?
- It depends on your experiences. Do people doing that to you usually want to be friendly only?
These aspects do not limit themselves to personal relationships. Before buying an online course on painting, see where you’re buying it and how you came across it. See if the person running it is lawful and if you think an online course is what you need to reach your goals.
The ultimate tool to understand someone’s hidden agenda remains his response to the good old Aladin’s dilemma. What would you do if you could have three wishes?
And guess what. You’ll never know the true and complete answer.
Nobody will tell you the truth about their dreams. Because It takes a lot of introspection to picture a dream life — we want things we don’t know yet. And because we all have an inner sanctum of nasty guilty ambitions.
All you can do is speculate.
What do you think politicians dream of? Bring more wealth equality
Do the right-minded go to bed every night proud to have applied to the letter what he thinks is beneficial for the world?
I can’t believe we always forget the scandals that discredit all virtue some carry. It’s a huge red flag. If someone is fighting for virtues they don’t even share, they are manipulating you.
In the very course of time,
Every vice has worn the crown of virtue,
Every virtue has been banished as a vice or a crime ― Sir Richard Francis Burton