Can You Learn How To Be Un-afraid?

This is as good a time as any to test my philosophy professor’s favorite theme: “The more you learn, the less you fear.”

After a week of scanning the news, this is some of what I learned:

* Two chaperones at a Colorado HS prom sprayed disinfectant on students who in their words were “dancing like they were having sex with their clothes on”

* A single parking space is on sale in the heart of Manhattan for $1 million

* After Facebook’s initial public offering, hundreds of 20-somehings became instant millionaires

* Having children can add or detract from a couple’s happiness — pretty much all depending on which survey by which committee of experts you read

* In the battle of the 99:1 %, facts suggest the 1% benefit generously from the federal outlay of $2.1 trillion in social programs like Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, and Pell Grants

* About 93% of immigrants applying for US citizenship can correctly answer six out of 10 questions about our history and government; only 65% of native-born Americans can

* Dr Daniel Wilson, best selling author & robotics engineer, is featured in this week’s Wall Street Journal predicting, “High-tech implants will soon be commonplace under our skin and inside our skulls, making us stronger and smarter.” In effect, prospects for a new superman

The first five items are a mixed commentary on our shifting social values. But those last two…When you place them side by side, you’re reminded that tens of millions of uninformed native-born-citizens are about to vote our nation’s future. And yet equally distressing is the memory of the last regime which spoke of creating a new superman.

One is left to wonder which is more dangerous: Our ignorance or those who would replace our ignorance with their neural enhancements? Sixty years later, I still wonder about Professor Link’s pledge: the more you learn, the less you fear.

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  • I discussed Facebook on Chicago Now on Rare Chicago May 19th, but apparently those millionaires now have only 60% as much as they thought. The real question is whether greed backfired, or in fact there was securities fraud. Supposedly, the SEC is investigating.

    "...pretty much all depending on which survey by which committee of experts you read." That's about the case on everything, at least in the news media.

    I'm not sure where you are going with regard to the 99% statement, unless you are suggesting that Warren Buffet and Mitt Romney are on food stamps. Maybe Trump is.

    The percentages of immigrants vs. native born who understand citizenship--well that can be supported by any newspaper comment board, and probably 45% of the bloggers under the Chicago Now politics tab. With the S-T having a pay wall, I'm not jousting with them there, and if, as reported, the Tribune also erects one, I'm not going to pay to joust with them there, either.

    The implants are more like the "Million Dollar Man," and the followup "Million Dollar Woman." While both turned out to be superhumans, I think the real point is that robotics is about ready to alleviate those suffering paralysis or missing limbs or organs, which was supposedly the reason those two fictional characters got them.

    And for Professor Link's point, he hasn't figured out a way to know about death.

  • Sorry. Dumb error. I meant to write the 99% get those benefits. As far as death, you're right. HE hasn't nor have I....

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