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THE CASE FOR MERITOCRACY



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Sinopse

The human race is ill. One story above all reveals the sickness at the core of the human psyche... the tale of the Tree of Knowledge. What does it say about the human race that knowledge is associated with the loss of paradise, with the forbidden, with the defiance of the rightful authority (“God”), with alliance with the serpent (the Devil), and with the advent of suffering, sin, and death?! Why should we be surprised that Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, described reason as “the Devil’s whore”? Why was Socrates put to death by Athenian democracy? Why has no genius ever been a king, prime minister or president? Why are intellectuals held in contempt? Knowledge and reason have always been viewed by the human race as distasteful, suspect, unnatural, and likely to lead to trouble.Of course, the smartest human beings have always taken the opposite view. It’s ignorance, faith and irrationalism that are holding back humanity. The allegory of the Ship of Fools derives from Plato, one of the world’s greatest geniuses, and describes the disaster that will befall a ship if the crew gets rid of the navigator..., i.e., if the fools, contemptuous of knowledge and expertise, put themselves in charge of steering the vessel.Human history has been subject to three disastrous forces – three Horses of the Apocalypse, we might say. They are: 1) the power of violence (war, military strength... everything that’s sustained by brute force), 2) the power of stories (religion, monarchy... everything sustained by the beliefs people hold, by the Mythos they have chosen to explain their lives to themselves), and 3) the power of money (the universal currency for buying what you want, for getting people to do what you want because they crave the money you can give them).Human societies have always been ruled by military elites, or Mythos elites (religious or royal), or rich elites. They have never been ruled by intellectual elites.Humanity could be saved by knowledge, understanding, reason and logic, but these have always been despised by the average person. Plainly, none of these things plays any role in the lives of typical Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, or consumer capitalists. They play no part in prayer, meditation and going shopping. No one in the West says you can be “saved” by maximizing your intelligence; no, you must instead maximize your irrational faith. No one in the East says that the path to Enlightenment is the one concerned with the most rational ontology and epistemology; no, you must cross your legs, close your eyes, and literally try to escape from your own mind – the exact definition of a Mindless ideology! No capitalist says that anything other than buying stuff can make you happy.In comparison with the three Horses of the Apocalypse, intellectual attributes have never played a decisive role in human affairs. They have always served the Horses, and never controlled them. The intelligentsia have always been advisers, and never those occupying the throne and taking the decisions.What would happen to the world if Logos people rather than Mythos people were in charge, if smart people rather than military people were in charge, if people of knowledge ruled rather than people of wealth? The world would be transformed. Humanity would undergo a wondrous metamorphosis.A political system exists that can deliver this New World Order... a world where intelligence becomes the most valued resource. It’s called Meritocracy.

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