Friday, September 23, 2005

The Personal Consequences of Bad Ideas

Last time I focused on the large-scale consequences of social pollution. This time I'll make a few observations about the personal consequences of bad ideas. This is an important topic because people, and not societies, have values and beliefs and lifestyles. The social impacts of bad ideas are mostly a result of the cumulative impact these ideas have on people like you and me.

It isn't hard to see how social pollution affects one's own life. The signs are like the signs of a physical illness really. When you are sick, you may feel fatigued or maybe you develop a stuffy nose. Bad ideas produce similar symptoms of dis-ease in our lifestyles, beliefs and behaviors.

Do you need to lose weight? Get more organized? Put the kids through college? Learn more about feng shui? Get breast implants? Take steroids to get "big enough"?

I'm not saying that all of those things are wrong. Its just that the ideas behind them may qualify as social pollution. Some of the questions in the previous papargraph could be based on ideas that are counterfactual or illogical. Or, the ideas produce consequences are more harmful than helpful.


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