Sunday, 19 April 2015

On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Part 19

19. Honesty and hypocrisy

The bottom up thinker values honesty. Indeed, honesty is one of the most important values in his entire stock. Not only does he prize truth and straightforwardness. Not only does he make efforts to understand right and wrong, to do only the right, and to treat people with civility. Not only does he aim to be conscientious and trustworthy. Not only does he seek to earn his living by work and trade, rather than to live off others by theft or deception. No; above and beyond all these, he always tries to practise what he preaches.

The top down thinker, in glaring contrast, is always liable to fall into dishonesty. He may lie, deceive or obfuscate. He may spread fear and alarm without good, truthful and demonstrable reason. He may make promises he never intends to keep, or go back on his earlier word. He may do, deliberately, what he knows is wrong. He may, with malicious intent, harm innocent people, or violate their human rights. He may take tax money to do things which are no benefit, or even a disbenefit, to those who paid the taxes.

But most of all, the top down thinker is always in danger of falling into hypocrisy or double standards. For example, he may tell others that they should cut their energy use, while himself using far more energy than they do. (Yes, that’s you, Al Gore.) He may agitate to force people out of their cars and to stop them flying, while himself being chauffeured in government limos, or going on holiday by private plane. (Yes, that’s you, Prince Charles.) He may promote scares about rising sea levels, while buying beachfront property. He may preach that everyone has a duty to help the poor, while himself not only giving nothing to the poor, but also supporting policies, like a minimum wage, that deny the poor the chance to lift themselves out of poverty.

Thus, top down thinkers demand sacrifices from others. But very few, if any, of them are actually willing to make any sacrifices themselves.

And from the point of view of the bottom up thinker, such hypocritical behaviour by top down thinkers is worse than merely criminal. It is uncivilized. It is hateful conduct. It is sub-human.

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