Oct 5-11 2014

TaN: Only when we are comparing between and among those that are good should we use “better”, “best”, “less good”, and “least good”, otherwise, between and among those that are bad, we should use “worse”, “worst”, “less bad”, and “least bad”.  It is a common — though not necessarily correct — tendency for people to interchangeably (mis-)use the comparatives and superlatives when we make comparisons.

Using “better” or “best” when the items being compared are not both or all good — and “worse” or “worst” for those that are not both or all bad — is merely an excuse or opporunity to justify a decision or action that is not right or moral.

For instance, a pickpocket caught in the act will justify his/her crime by arguing that s/he needed the money for his/her sick mother and it is “better” than robbery or kidnapping for ransom.  In this case, pickpocketing, robbery, and kidnapping are all evils and there is no “better” in comparing evils.  Comparing one’s actions to another evil that is (conventionally considered) worse is just an attempt to justify the wrongdoing — by citing and comparing the wrongful act to a supposed (perceived by society) as a more evil act.

Evil is evil; there is no such thing as “lesser of evils”; just as there is no “better of good”.  We must rid ourselves of such tendencies, that is to justify our wrongful acts by comparing it to a supposed worse one.

In any case, comparisons should only be done for purposes other than avoiding or circumventing guilt, blame, malice, responsibility, or liability.

TaN: Confucius say (and to quote from “Revisiting the WORLD of Confucius“, by Nancy T Lu in STARWEEK dated September 28, 2014): “…social harmony is more important than performance in any organization’s activity. … The superior must take the blame if his subordinates do not perform wellThus, he does not write critical evaluations.”

This is interesting because it has been the “tradition” for superiors to evaluate their subordinates and not the other way around.  If there was any evaluation of superiors, the evaluation usually either carries very little or no significance or weight or is just fpr show and boosting the morale of the subordinates.

Confucian argument is correct because it makes sense.  Since it is the superiors who are supposed to provide the leadership (the direction, the guidance, the plan of action, the so-called marching orders), should there be failure, the superiors should take the blame and not the subordinates.  After all, subordinates will not act without (explicit) instructions from superiors.  Moreover, if the reason (being given) to justify blame on the subordinates is that the latter are incompetent or disobedient, then who hired them in the first place.

There is a saying, An employee fears his/her superior/s so it is expected that s/he will behave in their presence, not so much among peers because they can “squeal or rat” on them, but will not hesitate to show their true selves on their subordinates because s/he has authority or ascendancy over them.  Therefore, to have a true and (reasonably) honest and reliable evaluation of an employee, always survey or ask the subordinates.

Superiors evaluating subordinates are but a means or instrument by which the former can exercise some “damage control” over the latter.  Superiors evaluating subordinates are a waste of time, effort, and resources.  They are often self-serving.  Conducting such evaluations only show that management is not truly interested in the truth but merely a way of ensuring subordinates “toe the line”.

TaN: Illiteracy is not ignorance.  Though it is not exactly a majority, many people may have the propensity to mistake or otherwise interchangeably consider illiteracy to be ignorance.  Illiteracy is more aptly applied to people who are incapable of reading and writing a (formal) language — “formal” is a qualifier because there are so many different languages and to simply say that illiteracy is the inability to read or write in a language will render every person an illiterate since there is bound to be quite a number of languages that one can neither read nor write in.

Anyway, ignorance is not being aware of a particular knowledge but it does not mean that one is ignorant of everything.  One can be literate and still be ignorant of certain things just as one can be illiterate but still be knowledgeable in many more other things.  So, never mistake the illiteracy of indigenous people and ethnic or remote tribes with being ignorant.  They may be unaware of many things in modern living but they are by no means ignorant.

TaN: The laws of nature and properties or characteristics of substances are (more often than not, drastically) different between the world we are familiar with and that of the world of the small — the molecular and microscopic.  It was made known to me a short time ago through a program where it avered that the “wetness” characteristic of water is evident only when the water molecules are taken collectively.  Individually, each water molecule is not “wet”.

In fact, all the characteristics of water that we are familiar with — the most familiar of which is its wetness — are only evident when water molecules are in a collection (i.e., there are many of them lumped together and behaving as one).  This can somewhat be likened to rights and privileges that a group of individuals (acting as an organization or society) acquires that are absent when the individuals act or behave apart from each other — e.g., CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) and suffrage.  Or better still, Sir Isaac Newton’s planetary physics as compared to Albert Einstein’s cosmological  physics.

TaN: As was foreseen by Jesus — because of the duality in all of creation — modern man has resorted to semantics to manipulatte the world around him so as to justify his personal agenda.  Much of what public figures — like presidents and heads of state, experts, and media people — must be taken with a grain of salt.

Duality does not only apply to the physical or material but even to the abstract such as terminologies.  This is most true with respect to idomatic expressions and double-meanings.  People say one thing but mean something totally different — sometimes unwittingly or unintentionally.  This is usually the case with people who are well-meaning or sincere but, as the saying goes: One can be sincere and still be sincerely wrong.

In the case of (so-called) experts and pundits, they are often led to believe that what they have heard or read or come to know is true when in truth it is not quite so.  Frequently, we hear or see public figures being invited to a mass media program and, because they would like to appear well-informed or at the forefront, they will teach viewers how to cook healthy food because it is a vegetable dish — but they do not know that any food exposed to high heat especially for a considerable length of time renders the food unhealthy, even if it is vegetables.  Or, endorse certain energy drinks as being healthy because they contain vitamins and other “good stuff” not knowing that something to be considered good must be completely good with nary a bit of unhealthy component (like sugar, petroleum-based vitamins and nutrients, and processed ingredients).

As for semantics, we often see public personalities accused of alleged wrongdoings yet they deny it to high heavens and can do so with a straight face — because, in their minds, they have a different definition or meaning or interpretation of the wrongdoing.

As a concrete example, someone, say a public official, will be accused of receiving and pocketing kickbacks or bribe money.  S/he will deny it with a straight face and even swears to God — taking the Lord’s name in vain — that s/he did no such thing, because, in his/her mind, his/her definition of bribe may be different from the accuser/s’ or the money was never handed to him/her.  This is similar to the case where an investigator is trying to catch a serial killer who is so thorough that there are virtually no clues or leads, except one (where the killer is a patient of a psychiatrist) but that single clue/lead cannot be touched by the investigator due to patient-doctor confidentiality so physician “accidentally leaves” the information and leaves the room for some reason and giving the investigator an opportunity to access the needed information.  The confidentiality was not (technically) violated because the physician did not volunteer the information; it is just “carelessness — leaving the information unsecured or out in the open and in plain sight for anyone prying eyes to peruse”.

In these times, it is becoming the norm for many people to use double meanings, idiomatic expressions, and redefinitions to cover-up or mask their true intentions and ensure that their conscience is “clear” — to escape from or avoid feeling guilty, to deceive themselves into believing that they are ethical and moral.  How pitiful.

TaN: One major cause of the extinction or disappearance of a particular (traditional) commodity or item is “herd mentality”, no thanks to the propensity of business to capitalize on the “weakness” of consumers — the sense of being modern or “up-to-date” or “new school”.  The disappearance may be due to either neglect because consumers lost preference for it (so business will it fit not to support, manufacture, grow, or otherwise continue to propagate it) or over-consumption to such an extent that the resources needed to sustain it is exhausted beyond the point of recovery.

Due to neglect, a commodity or item can become obsolete because (practically) no consumer will purchase it anymore.  Obsolescence due to neglect applies only to artificial or manmade commodity.  For natural items, abandonment by business due to nonprofitability is even advantageous as it will enable the item to recover, to reproduce, to repopulate itself.

Due to over-consumption, it is obvious that a commodity or item, being finite, will eventually be depleted to the point of obliteration.  Even if alternative or substitute materials or components (to manufacture it) become available, there will come a time when they will run out.  This is the cause behind the extinctions of many of nature’s bounty — such as the dodo (which became the poster boy of species extinction), the Tasmanian wolf, the passenger pigeon, and many more.

This is a primary reason why things are constantly under pressure of becoming extinct or obsolete — either they are “harvested” relentlessly until they are totally depleted or (in the case of manmade commodities and items) business stops manufacturing and selling.  Production of the latter (i.e., manmade commodities) are abruptly stopped once it is no longer profitable, even if there are still a few consumers who still prefer them.

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