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The characteristic of the moment is that the mediocre mind, aware of its own mediocrity, is bold enough to affirm the rights of mediocrity and to impose them everywhere.

NameJosť Ortega y Gasset
Life1883 - 1955
CountrySpain
CategoryRealism
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The masses of people are, of course, justified in being "tired of living and scared of dying", as the "ol'man river" of social development rolls on. Just as the elites, they try to grab power. But the more they cry for it, the less they get. We have literary sources for some 4,000 years. For 3,850 of them, slavery was a normal institution. Only in the 1600's did the Quakers start to question the justice of it. After 200 years of discussion, action followed. Slavery was formally abolished in the British Empire in 1833, in Russia in 1861 and in the United States in 1865. What Marx called "wage slavery" came instead. After the abolition of slavery, however, Leopold II of Belgium had his wage slaves kill at least five million Africans in his hunt for rubber. The suffering of the wage slaves, who didn't get any jobs, was extreme during the super-inflation in Germany in the 1920's and the European crisis of the 1930's. Such being our history, we should not be surprised that the masses, as Ortega y Gasset then showed in his book on "The Rebellion of the Masses", desired to make themselves the norm of everything by demanding "equality". What did they get? We now live in a "knowledge society". Its winners are those who, faster than others, are able to organize "co-thinking Superbrains" in the field of information and genomics. In this "knowledge based" competitive arms race, new gaps have materialized, now based not on physical but on mental strength. Why? For three reasons that we are loath to acknowledge: Nature has given us significant
innate differences in intelligence; These differences are crucial to success in the competitive race; and Freedom is determined, as shown on page 00. You cannot whip wage slaves into using their brains to the maximum. You must pay them, generously. And those who, with the stimulus of huge income carrots, are extra skilled in uniting highly intelligent "career slaves" into knowledge-based Superbrains, can earn spectacular fortunes. If the figures of the United Nations can be trusted, my "minimization of A/P" is well documented for the latest forty years. The richest one fifth of humanity had 30 times as high an income in 1960 as the poorest; 60 times in 1990; and 74 times in 1997 when three individual billionaires had more assets than 600 million fellowmen had in one yearly income! That is: 3 A/600,000,000 P. Aren't the huge fortunes also used to buy the media and to influence the politicians of the "demos"? Aren't they used to create a global plutocracy behind the guise of democracy? The more the masses of Ortega y Gasset talk about creating a mediocratic society, the less they get one. At least if we judge by material gaps. And yet, something that UN authors might question more than they do is: is it not this huge economic success at the top of the concentrated knowledge society that has given the poor nations the means to increase their population with 600 million individuals in less than ten years? Given the egoism in human nature, do not the poorest 600 millions, as Mandeville suggested, live thanks to the ferocious struggle for power and luxury at the top of the global Superbrain? If so, might it be better to work with, rather than against, this human nature?