Sunday, March 20, 2005

Post No. 6: 2 Questions

Question 1:

If you knew a woman who was pregnant, who had 8 kids already, 3 whom were deaf, 2 blind, 1 mentally retarded and she has syphilis, would you recommend her to have an abortion?


It is time to elect the leader of the newly set up World Government and your vote is the tie-breaker...

Here are some info about the 3 leading candidates:

Candidate A
Associates with crooked politicians and consults with astrologers. He have had 2 mistresses, chain smokes and drinks 8-10 martinis per day.

Candidate B
He was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college and drinks a quart of whisky every evening.

Candidate C
He was a decorated war hero. He's a vegetarian, doesn't smoke, drink an occasional beer and hasn't had any extramarital affairs.

Who would you vote for...?

Candidate A is Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Candidate B is Winston Churchill
Candidate C is Adolf Hitler
and, oh yeah, by the way:
if you answered "yes" to Question 1, you just killed Beethoven even before he was born...

Yeah... I know that the 2 questions above are skewed, pushing you all to answer "yes" and choosing Candidate C for the 1st and 2nd question respectively. However, I meant this as a lesson. The lesson? Not to blindly accept everything we read and/or hear, that's what the lesson is. We need to be more critical. We should not take everything as the Gospel truth (in fact, no offence to Christians or Christianity, it's my humble opinion that even the Gospels may need to be approached critically). Things aren't always what they seem on the surface. Recognise that whoever wrote or said what you are reading or hearing has interests to protect and agendas to push, consciously or otherwise (Yes, even I, when writing this post, have my own interests to protect and agenda to promote). Recognise that, similar to the 2 questions above, information can be manipulated and presented in such a way to push you towards a certain direction and/or towards forming a certain opinion that need not be the correct direction you should be taking or the right opinion you should be forming.

Don't put too much of your faith into statistics either. What statistics do show hides what they don't show. For example, statistics showing a high GDP per capita for a country need not necessarily mean that the citizens of that country have a high quality of living. This is considering that, when calculating GDP pre capita of a country, government expenditure is also taken into account.This means that the high GDP per capita could be a result of the country's government spending a large sum of money to purchase the latest model of armoured fighting vehicles or to commission the building of a grand monument to commerate the country's nth year of independence. Such expenditure do not really improve people's quality of living, does it? Also, it must be remembered that GDP per capita is a quantitative indicator, not qaulitative. Futhermore, critical factors such as the level of pollution are not taken into account when calculating GDP per capita. Of course, by choosing to believe the example I used above to bolster my arguement, you are also choosing to believe that I still correctly recall what I learnt in Economics... :)

What about photographs? Surely they can be trusted, can't they? Well, pictures may say a thousand words but there is a lot more they don't say. To illustrate this point, I would refer you all to the example of the infamous photo, taken during the Vuetnam War of 1965-1975, showing a civilian being executed, Mafia-style, with a pistol pointed to his head by a South Vietnames military personnel. This infamous photo, when first released back then, was taken by many as an example of the cruelty & inhumanity of the South Vietnamese army and, I suppose, helped to turn public opinion against the US-influenced war in Vietnam. However, what many people do not know is that the civilian shown in the photograph was actually a military spy (from North Vietnam, if I remembered correctly) in civilian clothing. Hence, he is not protected by the Geneva Convention as he does not wear an uniform indicating that he is a member of a recognised military force. Furthermore, it is widely acknowledged that spying during wartime is a crime punishable by death. Oh yeah, I mustn't forget to add that the South Vietnamese military personnel shown executing the abovementioned spy in the photograph, had just lost a person very dear to him as a result of an operation conducted by the spy he executed. So, do you all think that photos can be trusted?

Okay now... Don't be mistaken. I'm not advocating that you all follow the adage of: "Doubt everything". Such a stance would be too radical and exhuasting. We surely can't live through our lives not believing in anything or fearing that there may be something hidden under the appearance of everything, can we? We surely must believe and accept some things sometimes, if not we'll die from exhuastion due to doubting the credibility of everything we read, see or hear. What I'm advocating is that we abide by the maxim of: "Don't blindly believe everything". Our mind is there for a purpose.

Well, whether you all choose to accept or believe what I wrote above is up to you all. Just remember: "Don't blindly believe everything".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the 2 qns, btw. =) Ya! By all means, be skeptical and question~ a lot of things are not as they seemed to be. The world can indeed be delusive and deceptive. Any ya, the mind is indeed for a purpose, as u mentioned-- gd to use it always. What's the point of believing in anything blindly?

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