Understanding Trust, In China and the West

This is a post from Harvard Business Review in 2015. It tackles into the extremely relevant side of Chinese society and ecosystem. This discussion based on trust is the fundamental difference between western societies and the Chinese one.

The depth it dug into is beyond the scope of normal Chinese interpersonal networks. Chinese themselves don’t understand these things and they do it unconsciously. And it is how they are raised mostly in this country. ...READ MORE

On Behalf of the Inevitable Proceeding of Lying Myself into a College, and I Didn’t

Guess it really leaves me no choice to do so.

I have been against doing this the whole time but the robotic and stupid system forced me to do so.

I have been contacting Langara College for weeks for my high school graduation and transcript, which I don’t really have, to spare me the process of these documents.

I presented them my work, my resume, called them several times, emailed all the contacts I have from that school, did all I can… ...READ MORE

Democracy in Canada

During my time stay in Canada, I witnessed a landscape with extraordinary sceneries, well organized systems of infrastructures and the embarrassing situation of the homeless.

For me, the west seems like a free land of all sorts of ideologies, and I don’t want to stress the term ideology much, as I’d like to think of the west has a democratic approach to groups of people in a society, and how, from that, a society flourishes.

Here in Canada, you don’t need to worry about your behaviors outside on the streets, nobody cares. While in China, public figure is important and you don’t want to break the social norms. Plus, people comment easily on you based on your behaviors and subsequently gossip around.

The west gives me this sort of feeling of freedom, but not exactly that free. It is definitely much better than China.

In China, you are not allowed to have too many thoughts on the government. Here in Canada, you are allowed to do so and moreover, you are allowed to denounce your government or to praise it endlessly. Most people in the west take a critical approach to their government–they praise where it’s done something good, they despise where it’s done something bad.

On such a free land, one thing caught my attention. People here are exactly what sociology would describe as a society, there are many different groups of people, representing different values and ideas. And a western society is composed of these different groups of people.

And that, information is so transparent here, people are easily influenced by rumors and conspiracies. Although, the term, Common Sense, originates from the west, it seems fallible to describe the general public having Common Sense, as a matter of fact, the general public seems to be fed up with all sorts of propaganda and ideologies.

A police state does not allow you to think, a democratic state allows you to think but can’t eliminate fringe ideologies.

The amount of free thoughts here seem to be overwhelming to somebody who comes from a country where free thoughts are limited.

But people are easily swayed as well. Like I once discussed the topics of Cognitive Bias and Rational Ambiguity. It’s possible to forge these things out of nowhere in order to disturb the public discourse. We have people doing this sort of thing back in China as well, so to control the direction of the public opinion.

I would say Canada in terms of efficiency is a backwards country compared to China. Because if something can be done in 1 day, we make it done in 1 day, unlike Canada, where things have to be done in a longer span of time for all sorts of reasons.

However, the well-organized systems here memorize me. They are extremely simple yet effective. Take rapid transit system here for example. The rapid transit systems in both Vancouver and Toronto are well designed, and function very efficiently. The buses are always on time and the intervals are very short so people don’t have to wait too long for a next ride. And such infrastructure was built a decade ago!

By the time I was in Montreal, I stepped into the lowest stratum of Canadian society–the homeless.

I wouldn’t say how poor the condition homeless people here have, and how that would impact the Canadian society as a whole. But I do feel it in my heart, of the struggles, and the sufferings.

Instead of microscoping into the lowest stratum of the society, I’d like to take a grander approach to look at the poor people in Canadian society. And I am not very surprised that this system is very alike the American system. Many middle class people, and a few upper, and a few lower.

The daily landscape consists of vastly middle class people and lower-middle class people. The rich and the elites here drive in lambos, so not quite common to see. The poor here also have a quality life, they don’t necessarily suffer from homeless situation.

What I would like to infer, is the reasons of homeless. The reasons of them being homeless seem quite natural. Most homeless people have very bad habits such as alcoholism, drug addiction, and have past records of violence. And most of them seem very mental and have bad medical conditions.

What surprised me was the fact that many homeless choose to be homeless, enjoying a way of homeless? This is unimaginable in China.

Meanwhile, I’ve discovered this profound understanding based on how Montreal functions.

The system punishes the poor harshly and asks them to behave, but gives more leeway to people at higher tiers, and cuts them slacks and grants them more freedom. Such system only makes the poor poorer, and the rich richer. And such punishments are under the disguise that it is for the greater good of the society, and frames it with ethics and morality.

However, such phenomenon seems to pervade all cultures no matter what system people are in. The rich always have it easier to get away with problems, whilst the poor have to suffer in ways unimaginable. Replace rich and poor with powerful and peasants, you got a Chinese system that is doing the exactly same thing.

However, saying that the poor people are put into a lower rung and asked to behave in the books of greater good or morality, may have a much deeper and complicated root.

To me, it seems more like an access problem than really people are forced into a lower rung. For example, poor people take buses to commute, so they have to obey the rules of public transit services, sometimes it could be stringent. Rich people on the other hand, drive their own vehicles to commute, they don’t need to obey the rules of public transit services, because they don’t use it at all. So if you’re rich, you have more access than the poor. If you’re poor, you have less access than the rich.

But sometimes, the problem can also see a drastic and violent manifestation in the society.

All it takes, is just one bad day, to turn a sane person, to a mad man.

In life, we generally have ups and downs. And we don’t know when they would hit us and how hard it would be. My personal experience taught me this. Arbitrariness is somehow the source of all evil.

In general, as I am still very uncertain of my future life, it seems like my journey here is put with a temporary period.

Cognitive Bias and Rational Ambiguity

Cognitive Bias

Cognitive bias is this type of bias, that has real evidence and proof to support it.

It’s actually quite common to see cognitive biases in people. For example, Trump. Trump has severe cognitive biases according to his criticisms towards media and Democratic Party.

He called most presses just fake news, because the proofs to support these presses being fake news are actually there. There are evidence to indicate that CNN being fake news, MSNBC being fake news, Router being fake news. You can’t debate the fact that there are details and evidence to support their compromised veracity.

Cognitive bias comes from seeing these details and evidence that constantly support one’s view.

Somehow, it is yet hard to say that cognitive bias is true or false. A truth can be defined as true because there is a proof to support it being true. Cognitive bias is based on this so cognitive bias can be seen as true.

So when I try to term cognitive bias, such view can either be called “a bias”, or “a truth”.

But what’s interesting about cognitive bias is that, if you zoom out to the whole picture, you’ll see a distinct difference between the truth you’re seeing, and the truth laid open to the public. Trump has been scoping into the miniscule fields too much that he’s already lost his “senses”. If he really got one. 

So to me, it’ll be more of a balance of truthfulness. For news, a press does have some fake news in the past, the overall, the real news being reported are more than the fake news. So when you are seeing the whole picture, the press is not likely to lie about their stories.

And frankly, cognitive biases are quite common in life. Because cognitive bias is just a theory, being enforced, by a proof, and subsequently, becomes a truth. Such process of identification of truth is completely the same as how normally a truth is established. However, the catch here is simply that when the theory is being enforced by a proof, the conceiver of such theory is constantly seeking proofs that support the theory. So, flat-earthers are forever just flat-earthers because they only believe that, a round earth, is a lie told by the government. And this is when we call somebody narrow-minded because, well, they kind of are.

I’d like to suggest that a good way of looking at truth is simply being open-minded. Because if you only see one side of a truth, it’s like a tip of the iceberg, if you can zoom out, and see the whole picture, you’ll have a much better understanding of the truth you are seeking. But frankly, in life, no one ever reaches 100% truth as far as I concern. We all live a life that is based on the preconceptions and our beliefs towards certain things, and that is probably the reason how cultures are born and formed. 

The procedure of getting a cognitive bias is quite simple: First, you only need a pre-notation of something. Then, you meet evidence that are actually supporting this notation. And then, you believe whole-heartedly that this notation holds true because of the previous evidence. So, you kind of get into a mode where you spearhead yourself into the proofs that are just supporting the notation. And then, you can’t get out of this mode because such reality seems so real to you. And then, you keep enforcing yourself with this notation and evidence that are supporting it. Now, finally, you have a cognitive bias that even yourself can’t really distinguish it from truth. And such cognitive bias becomes truth in you.

What I would like to point out is that the formation of cognitive bias is also very likely dependent on a person’s concurrent mood, i.e. emotions. If the person is angry, he’s very likely to walk into the trap he set for himself. If the person is insecure, or scared, he’s also very likely to become cognitive biased.

 

Rational Ambiguity

Rational ambiguity is this subfield of rationality. Rational ambiguities reside within the realm of rationality because, they are, actually, rational. And indeed, they belong to rationality.

Rationality is one of the major founding blocks of western civilizations, as you can see how important rationality is.

But today, we assert ambiguity into rationality, and see what happens.

Rational ambiguity is designed to not give a result. They are like mazes set forth inside the cosmos of rationality, you may once awhile stumble upon them, but you might as well never get out of them.

Rational ambiguity firstly looks extremely convincing and rational at front. It’s like this maze that you are going into.

However, the catch is that, your preconception of such rational design is not going to help you to solve the this problem. This maze, has no out. It is designed to trap you inside, and designed to have a dead end so you can not go back out.

The process of trapping you is extremely fascinating and rational, that’s kind of the reason why you firstly admitted yourself into the maze.

I would say, rational ambiguity is rare inside the rationality realm, because they kind of make sense and kind of not make sense. We want everything inside rationality to “make sense”, right? But rational ambiguity doesn’t “really” make sense.

Only people with highly articulating and rationalizing abilities can impose rational ambiguities on others.

And when you encounter these ambiguities, do not try to tackle them at all, avoid them at all cost.

The best way to solve ambiguities is to just not solve them at all, or that, the best way to solve ambiguities is, identify them first, then avoid them. 

There is another word relates to rational ambiguity, “paradox”.

Paradox utilizes two completely contradicting ideas and makes them to attack each other, so in the end, you don’t get anything. There is no result in a paradox and yet again, you probably will find yourself inside a trap.

Rational ambiguity is designed not to make you rationalize them, but to just, sense them. Like comets and debris in the universe, there is not much point encountering them, but to just avoid them as much as possible. You would not want to crash your cruiser.

So, the idea is quite simple, you need to see if people want to trap you first. Because if you can see the nature of these things, it’s quite easy to break them or let them self-collapse without much doing.

On Leadership, and Dissection of Homeless Situation in Montreal

Whenever one talks about leadership, we think of a person walking in the front of all.

There are, many types of leaderships. This time, I want to document someone who is contagious, charismatic, persistent and intelligent.

Her way of leading almost reminds me of a rather original way of leading.

An old man in ancient China tried to remove a mountain in front of his house. He started by his own, and slowly, his action and motive attracted even more people to do the same thing and join his cause. All because this person kept doing it. Whilst you are consistently doing something, with a goal that is honorable or justifiable, people will hear your voice and subsequently join.

So I think, such leadership can be typed as a great combination of persistency, charisma and intelligence. Charisma attracts followers, persistency keeps the cause going and intelligence gives the cause strategies to plow through things easier.

When it is near the end, you have to keep on what you are doing. Some people quit at that time, they waver. You have to keep who you are, push them, sometimes even a bit more aggressive, stand your ground, keep persistent. And in the end, everything will just fall into place. ...READ MORE

The Perfect Meritocracy?

Earlier in time I wrote about how to create an ideal meritocracy system, a society where inheritance system is eliminated, people are rewarded as what they are capable of and… And I stopped there, I couldn’t figure out the rest of it–How do you even eliminate inheritance system first? In order to achieve equality for all?

But… could communism be the perfect meritocracy model for everyone?

The ideal communism state is a classless and stateless society. No class means no conflicts between classes, by which the contrary, is a state of affairs throughout human history. There is no government, everyone has a say in public matters. It is also a public ownership state. If a state is stripped of private ownership, that means no one owns anything and that means, no inheritance system. In this case, we may really eliminate the source of all evil, the inheritance system.

However, in reality, communistic states are not the ideal ones in Marx’s philosophy.

This utopian world seems too good to be true.

It requires massive amount of wealth, and on top of that, the world still keeps producing. If everyone is rich, then no one needs to work. If decent wealth is owned by everyone, then there is no poor, and no rich as well.

If no one needs to work, who is producing? The machines? But we have yet to reach that state where everyone can stop what they are doing and leave them to robots.

Plus, hypothetically, there are robots working non-stop and humans enjoying their lives whatsoever, is human nature timid enough to not try to rob other off their resources?

The resources on Earth is already limited, even the robots are producing, it doesn’t mean the resources they produce would be partitioned equally. Greed is one human nature. You don’t just want one, you want all.

The Wanting Itself Is Attractive

Real world has all types of temptations, money, power, women and fame.

To ordinary people, these things are always desirable.

However, it’s the wanting itself being attractive, not the objects being inherently attractive.

We realize our values onto things we want, thus they are attractive.

Money, power, women and fame, are all heavily valued by most people.

When one object gets much value, it becomes desirable.

But what keeps you wanting this object is not the object itself, but the very thought of you wanting this object.

Your thought makes this object valuable to you, and attractive to you.

Our consciousness is based on our personal reflections to the world. Our values are reflected when we assert our wants onto things.

Thing itself is not desirable, the human heart is desiring.

So when you stop saying, or stop thinking, “I want this”, the thing stops being attractive anymore.

When one thing is valued by most people, it automatically becomes universally valuable. However, this doesn’t stop one devaluing one thing, and not stop one neglecting one thing.

This sort of peer pressure of values is what makes us all want the exact same things, money, power, women and fame.

This process of wanting is intoxicating, it moves mountains, it drives people’s wills.

Like when you want to have sex with a woman. Before you have physical contact with the woman, you have all sorts of fantasies and wants asserted onto this woman. When you actually lay physical contact on her, you find out that all your wants are somewhat skewed, you don’t want this woman, you want your wants to be fulfilled.

Another example: You are rich, and you want to buy a supercar. The supercar itself is a status add-on to you, not the supercar itself. You want it because you want it. Not because how much utility the car can produce you, or how much value the car can generate. The car is given value by being a status symbol, not actually the car is in any other way useful.

So I think, the moral of the story is that when you want something, it is necessary to understand why you want it. Because the remainder of you striving for it is the very process of you fulfilling your desires, and these desires have to be clear. Otherwise the thing is not valuable enough to give it that much work.

Also, other people’s wants are not your wants. You need to figure out your own wants.