Why This Exists
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect” — Mark Twain
Consensus is a dangerous word. The origin of consensus unsurprisingly comes from consent. It is not equivocal to unanimous.
It makes sense to be in agreement on certain subjects, but there are many scenarios where we are programmed by people with an agenda to believe that things do not need to be unraveled and assessed further. Most times, even a good idea which we consider dogma can be improved. In other cases, we can consider something to be dogma when we aware that it is fundamentally bad. When we project future outcomes for things that may not exist yet, we can be overly optimistic and have selective ignorance. Consensus is a way to overlook all of these because there is no simple and apparent alternative.
The aim of this blog is to dig deeper on areas we believe are ingrained in our world. It is not intended to be a how to guide. Rather, it is a way to deconstruct principles, ideas, and practices that we are typically believe are true. With that being said, it will explore ideas and propose alternatives that might not seem “rational” while not being conspiratorial.
When you read this blog, there will be posts where you will scratch your head or simply think that there is no way that something you are certain of may not be fact. In that sense, it will be controversial. For topics that we believe consensus is good, it will look for improvements. On areas that we believe have fundamental issues, we try to analyze that problem to the best of our ability. As a reader, I hope you will read this with an open mind. When you disagree wholeheartedly voice your opinion, but at least take the time to step back and consider, “Is there no way this could be true?”
The initial posts are going to be written on topics and ideas that I alone have considered. In that sense, I am limited. There are always areas that we need to dig deeper which I am blind to. While I am generally hesitant and fretful about the comments sections on media platforms, my ultimate goal is for the readers to suggest new areas that we should look into, and to shed light on considerations that I might have overlooked.
To give a quick sneak preview of how this blog will be structured, I would like to give two examples. The first is on an idea that we consider to be a tenant of our world in a good way which can be improved. The second is on a consensus that we hold true which is detrimental and therefore overlooked. There are some topics that fall out of this structure like Artificial Intelligence which fall under the realm of future projections. Since we do not yet know whether it will be good or bad, we will play out potential outcomes. In any case, these are topics to give a preliminary taste of the types of ideas which will be explored in detail through this blog.
The Good That Can Be Improved
The Periodic Table of Elements is a staple of science. We believe these elements to be transferable across the universe in some capacity. All of us have seen it before in school and can identify it. Unless you are in the field of science, most of us only know it through our schooling. At that time it is considered dogma, yet the Periodic Table has changed significantly over time since it was created by Dimitri Mendeleev in 1869. In fact, the number of elements have almost doubled since that date. Some of the one’s we added that might be familiar to you in your own life include: zinc, calcium, helium, neon, and fluorine.
Astronomy savants say that we can tell the composition of stars by the pigmentation of the light it reflects. Meanwhile, we are still adding elements to the periodic table that have been discovered on Earth. In 2016 alone, we added four. We are essentially told that we can tell what elements other galaxies have when we have still not fully discovered everything that makes up the planet we inhabit. Which is kind of a strange conclusion to jump to, let alone to speak of it as a fact.
What is more interesting to look into, however, is that there is no real indicator of importance on the Periodic Table. Everything is ordered by atomic mass. When you look at it, you can unintentionally rank importance by the order in which it is presented. I am sure some scientists would argue that all the elements are important, but surely there has to be more crucial elements than others to sustaining life on Earth, and we should be aware of that.
To give some examples, we know that hydrogen and oxygen are important because they make water. Without water, we would not have life. Conversely, we think of Carbon and Nitrogen as bad in excess, but they are also crucial to our planet.
Any time you create rankings, you adding a subjective bias. So I do not think the Periodic Table of Elements should be ranked in order of importance. I do think we should have a separate table indicating the elements that are crucial to life. Like the Periodic Table, it can be revised over time. When I look up the fourth element, beryllium, I can see that it is a rare chemical element. If I am not studying science, this is useless to me and it also not crucial to sustaining life. Would it be so bad to come up with a new table for these crucial elements just so some subconscious minds do not rank beryllium ahead of oxygen?
The Consensus That Needs Evaluation
More is often considered better. If you are an American citizen or a citizen of a developed country you are likely fall into the category of a consumer. The flow of goods typically goes through five steps: extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal. Even if your job entails producing something, you are exposed only to a fragment of the supply chain. If anything, most of us are exposed to two components of the supply chain via production and consumption with some exceptions. With many manufacturing jobs shifting overseas, the production component of our consumable goods is even easier to overlook.
Meanwhile, we are using the natural resources in the extraction stage at an alarming rate, and our waste is massive. The amount of consumption in the world, especially in the United States, has a massive environmental impact. No matter your feelings on Global Warming (another future topic), the rate at which we are using resources is beyond our means. Inevitably, some of the resources that we use constantly will run out. It comes down to the question of which ones and when?
It is easy to point at consumer habits and blame that for any potential crisis in our future. Yet that is too simple. Each aspect of the flow of goods has flaws which need to be looked at. It is obvious that their are combatants to this issue, but even these people use language that is vague or does not make sense.
We will hear scary statistics about how much of the world’s resources we are using, but when you look at it, it is often not logical. If we were using resources at the rate that environmental advocates say we do, we would have run out of all of them ten years ago. It would be much more beneficial to know which natural resources are becoming scarce and projections on when they will run out. The only resource which we routinely do this for is oil, which experts estimate will run out in 2050.
We hear that estimate and brilliant minds gather to find alternatives. The electric car movement is an obvious example of this. So why not go resource specific? If people know what exactly they need to do to resolve an issue they will typically attempt to make amends. General and vague statistics which clearly are meant to frighten us do not always work to change an endemic problem. We need to dig deeper because that is when we find the solutions.