Are We Any Wiser After 9/11?
On 9/7/11, David Ropeik, a consultant in risk perception, risk communication and risk management, and an Instructor at Harvard, in an article entitled 9/11 + 10 Terror’s Toll
, published in "Big Think, asked a question "Are we any wiser..." after 9/11. The article is an excellent summary of what has happened to us since 9/11 and I recommend that everyone read it. After reading it, the next question we must ask and answer, the next question we must ask and answer at this point in our lives is, "What can we do to remedy the situationwe are in?" Here are my thoughts on the subject. This is a transcript of my comment to that article.
The answer to the question, “Are we any wiser after 9/11” is “No, we are not” and “We are not going to be.” We are not going to be any wiser until we ask and answer the question “What do we have to do to become wiser as individuals, as a nation, and as a civilization?” Then we must make the answer known to every man, woman and child living on this planet. Until we do this, we are going to go on repeating our mistakes until we destroy everything we have, and everything we have accomplished from the beginning of time and we we will not be any wiser.
The answer to this question did not matter until now because the world was not as integrated as it is today. Information took forever to travel and our destructive ability was limited to ourselves, and our own little communities. Now we are integrated. Information travels at the velocity of light, and our ability to destroy, even as individuals, has become astronomical. If we want such a civilization not to self-destruct, we have to raise the ability of every one in the civilization to think and act to the best of ones ability, rapidly, repeatedly and consistently, every time anyone thinks about anything or does anything. All it takes is one person, unaware of how to learn from ones mistakes, to destroy everything for everybody.
The only way we can hope to accomplish this end is by expressing as an algorithm, the fundamental steps of which anyone and everyone must take every time anyone thinks about anything or does anything. We must determine what this algorithm is by expressing as an algorithm the common steps shared by algorithms used by successful people like Newton, Einstein, engineers, navigators, physicians and surgeons to succeed in the recent past. We must consider this algorithm as the mother algorithm, make it known to everyone and use it to make all our decisions the way we use common sense today. We need to replace common sense with a state of the art decision-making algorithm because common sense is very inefficient and its fallibility is what makes us make mistakes and go on repeating our mistakes leading us to all our “difficulties,” as Einstein has pointed out.
Is it possible to do what I have just described? It is not only possible, physicians and especially surgeons use this algorithm all the time to diagnose and treat their patients. In addition, I have already done what I just said we must do. I described this algorithm in a letter I wrote to President Bush on Sept. 15, 2008. Many events culminating in 9/11 and the way President Bush, Congress and the nation as a whole, reacted to 9/11 made me write that letter. It took me eight years to finish writing it and President Bush unknowingly helped me put the “finishing touch” to it by enabling me to think of a shortcut for using the algorithm I had described. President Bush could have used that shortcut to maximize the efficiency of democracy by making bipartisanship mandatory in all democratic decision-making processes. President Bush gave me the hint I needed during a campaign speech just before I finalized my letter to him. The title of my letter was long but it described exactly what I was sure, it would do. The title was “Open Letter to President Bush, all the Candidates, and all Americans on How to Win The war on Terror by Eliminating Fallibility From Common sense Using The George Bush Bypass for Using Einstein’s Philosophy and Transform Yourself From a Lame Duck American President into a Soaring Eagle Amongst world Leaders!”
The algorithm I described was ACTINEMAS
and its shortcut was ASET
. President Bush ignored my letter. I wrote to President Obama about it. Either my letters did not make it to him or he too has chosen to ignore it.
I have archived my letters at my free website at www.successateverything.com
for the perusal of anyone interested in reading them. I do not claim to be 100 percent right in what I am saying but in my defense I have to say is that the algorithm I have described has worked for me ninety-nine percent of the time in my profession. The one percent failure rate represents the failure rate of everything in life, the end that must precede every new beginning, an end and a beginning we should be able to orchestrate efficiently if we learn to orchestrate everything else. What is more important than the question as to whether I am right or wrong, is the fact that we must begin thinking and acting in this direction because we will be not be able to solve the astronomical problems that confront us if we do not start thinking and acting in unison. To do this, we need an algorithm to help us think in a coordinated fashion and navigate our way through the unknown paths we have to take. We need to break down old ideas that have stopped working and engineer new ones that will work. We have to be able to diagnose what went wrong when things go wrong and to be able to remedy those problems with the diligence of a surgeon.
These are precisely the things ACTINEMAS
should enable us to do because it is the acronym for Algorithm for Coordinated Thinking, Intellectual Navigation, (Intellectual) Engineering, (Intellectual) Medicine, and (Intellectual) Surgery. In addition, it is immaterial if I am right or wrong because a law of nature (Newton’s third law) makes what is right today wrong tomorrow and what is wrong today right tomorrow and the process will go on. Thanks to this law, all we have to do is to make collective decisions, implement our decisions once we make them, and have an exit strategy to all our plans-of-action that require us to do the opposite of what our plans-of-action required us to do in the first place and go on repeating this process ad infinitum. If we do this, we will be able to say that we have become wiser and will go on becoming wiser with the passage of time. We will go on learning from our past and go on using this information in the future. Only then, will we be able to go on living our lives most efficiently and enjoying the best of everything life has to offer.
Let us make a decision to implement a plan-of-action to become wiser on the anniversary of 9/11. The best way we can honor the memories, the heroism and the sacrifices of all who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the past and honor those who are making those sacrifices today and will make them in the future is by insuring that their families especially their children, will have a better life. If we do not do this for them, their sacrifices would have been for naught.