Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Learners vs. Non-Learners

It has lately come to pass that the word incompetent is the single term most likely to be associated with President Bush. It's about time. Those of us who were aware of this all along are quite happy to find others catching on. Yay, team.

"Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

— Praising Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the morning after he revealed (in a network television interview) that he did not know about the thousands of people stranded at New Orleans' convention center until a day after extensive media reports on the situation. (Washington Post, "FEMA Director Singled Out by Response Critics", Spencer S. Hsu and Susan B. Glasser, Sept. 6, 2005.)

Incompetent, and also unaware of it. Yes, this has been rather thoroughly discussed among the Atriots and other real bloggers, but I will chime this bell repeatedly until I hear the mainstream media taking it up as an acceptable narrative. Or until hell freezes over, likely first.

We argue that when people are incompetent in the strategies they adopt to achieve success and satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it.

Snipped from a nifty study put out by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology a few years back, which you can see here if you like.

It so applies to our current assinine dunce of a president.

And again, thoroughly discussed by the Atriots, god bless 'em all. I just love those people.

The essence of it all is that some people just do not learn from their mistakes. Most of us do. Bush does not. He's one of those "doomed to repeat it" kind of guys. Plus, he's a psychopath, so even if he could learn from mistakes, he wouldn't care if he did, and he wouldn't bother unless it accrued him greater power or ability to command misery upon others.


The Epic of Gilgamesh is probably the oldest written story to have come down to us over lo so many centuries. Interestingly, part of it involves a pre-emptive attack on a "monster" which turns out very badly for the hero, as his best friend Enkidu (who apparently has the sexual stamina of an ultra-marathoner) is subsequently taken from Gilgamesh and killed.

Let's recap, shall we:

The mighty hero Gilgamesh who somehow fashions himself part-divine pre-emptively attacks a Middle-Eastern "monster" and this turns out badly for him and his nation.

I read Gilgamesh when I was a highschool student. Bush, not much of a reader himself, has probably not been exposed to this. The oldest story known to mankind. And if not exposed to it, how could he then learn from it?

Well, not at all. Which just happens to be the same way he learns from things he has been exposed to. That is to say, not at all.

He just doesn't learn.

Because everything is going OK, and no mistakes have been made, and even though New Orleans was drowning and its population devastated and dispersed, everything was just swell. In Iraq every day more of our young soldiers die senselesly, but this is progress in the minds of many in this Administration.

He screws up, but he thinks everything is just fine, because he is unable to see otherwise. He's blind.

And naked. And, to tell you all the sad truth, quite small, if you know what I mean.

Tiny, in fact.


There remains a schism between two types of people in the world: those who learn from mistakes, and those who don't.

We apparently now are ruled by those for whom a thousands-years-old story holds no lessons at all. They don't get it, and they never will, because they do not learn, and besides that they are incompetent psychopaths.

Get into the groove, patriots. It's still your country, and mine.


Eli Blake said...

About all I remember from the Epic Tale of Gilgamesh was something about a flood.

Seems like I may have heard that somewhere else too.

But hey, what do you expect from a guy who thinks it's swell to teach 'Intelligent Design' (a hypothesis which has never been subjected to scientific testing) alongside Evolution in America's science classrooms.

Goddam Liberal said...

One of the things I hate most about Bush is that he's ignorant and condescending. Like when he was saying that the Amnesty International report on US torture was the work of people who "disassemble - that means not tell the truth". Jackass!

Geo said...

Huge fan of Gilgamesh, personally, but I think you could probably find more contemporary object lessons from literature and history on why what we're doing in Iraq is ill-advised.

Hadrian beyond the Euphrates.


Darmok and Jalad at Tenagra.

Lots of examples.

See also, here.