Once I was having a coffee with couple of friends. As gossip behaves, topic of discussion was changing its direction like a smoke in the wind. Somehow it came to the topic of colors and how they are made. It was about how the city used to have a color factory and local water sources would change its color based on the factory schedule and demands. One of them mentioned that black color is most harmful color to make and due to some laws to protect labor it was moved to another countries without such strict laws. I do not know the details as to why, but surely something to do with the chemicals used. It was a new information to me.
After sometime the discussion moved on to finance and capitalism. Two of them were aligning there thoughts on how capitalism is bad, especially the financial system. They were of the opinion that “owners” of the financial system are hiding the details from the common people. This way system keeps people in dark and it helps system to exploit and manipulate commoner. It was mostly the usual complains about the system, till one of them made this comment. She said, “Having information is the key. Once we have the information then it helps us make the right decisions. This is why financial system makes sure that ordinary person does not understand how the system works by hiding information!”.
When I heard that I was not sure what to do or say. Most often it happens in the moment of such indecisions that I go to my default action; smile. I just smiled more to myself. But it did not get unnoticed. They asked me what is there to smile? Knowing them I did not want to make a comment and tried to move the gossip to something else. They were not happy and said that they do not like it when someone smiles like that as it means they are showing they are smarter than others. Now, this was once again a new information to me. Apparently one cannot even smile on a real life situation without causing next level troubles.
In this case situation was really like a joke. The idea of a joke is to make a story flow in a given direction till the last moment when it suddenly flips with no serious outcomes. This is the reason why we laugh when a person causally walking by suddenly falls by slipping on something and does not get injured. But, in the same situation if the person gets injured or a blood starts to flow we do not laugh. We seems to have some “fun meter” for the level of pain person feels when falling or hitting a toe on table. Back to gossip scene. First there was mention of that black color being harmful and dangerous to people who work with that color. An information known to them. Secondly there is enough material available to understand how financial system work. Third they are talking all this while smoking cigarettes wearing black dresses!
They had all the information, but the trouble is what to do with that information. And what we do with information is generally not based on what the information contains rather on our emotions and believes. This happens across the board from a commoner to experts. Few examples are very nicely laid out in this video lecture by Royal Institute. It is probably too long a video for many, especially when it is not about cats doing some silly stuff. So, if you do not have time try to start at 20:35 and listen for couple of minutes atleast.
Interestingly, despite that we know for a long time that more information does not necessarily help and leads to intended results, we continue to produce more and more information. Do we know how much is enough or how much is too much? It seems, what we need is to make more information available that it is ok to smile and laugh on daily if not hourly basis. Especially, it is ok to smile on real life situations and not just while watching funny youtube videos on your phone.
Mulla Nasrudin, who had just passed his test for his first-aid certificate, was on his way home. Suddenly, he saw a man lying face down in the street. Without a second thought, he threw himself upon the man and began applying artificial respiration. After a while, the man raised his head and said, “SIR, I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO DO, BUT I AM TRYING TO FISH A WIRE DOWN THIS MANHOLE.”