Emperor Titters

The news that Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and Space X, has recently become the largest shareholder of Twitter Inc. is grist to the mill of the media with hoots and huhs. Musk has ascended to the throne and begun to wield his power to shake the Twitter Empire from inside and out. He expressed a design of converting the Twitter HQ into a homeless shelter while contemplating changing the name Twitter to Titter, egged on by a popular vote of consent he instigated a while ago on the portal. So the question is, has Musk already gone mad in the fury of retaliation against the Twitter Senate? Or is it out of his pure, unscrupulous intention drenched in the wine of humanity?

My perception of Elon Musk may be an illustration of heuristics and biases to form a systematic judgment of error and make a decision based on resemblance shaped by intuitive preference. But such a design of machinery of cognition is also complemented by System 2 of slow thinking requiring analytical reasoning. Were it not for Tesla’s lawsuits brought by racism in the work environment and Musk’s nonchalant attitudes toward them adorned with his flamboyant gestures, I would applaud him to the end of the earth riding on a Tesla flying on a Space X. Perhaps, such acrid regard of him is akin to accusing a socially estranged woman of being a witch without a preponderance of the evidence. But Musk is anything but a pitiful figure deserving our pity with his immense universal wealth, doing businesses on earth and heaven. Although, as the saying goes, “A tree is known by its fruits,” the racially-motivated lawsuits betoken the dispiriting work environment of Tesla tells something about Musk’s personality. I find it very hard to regard Musk’s declaration of converting the Twitter HQ into homeless housing. It seems an adrenaline-driven uppercut blow to the foe as sweet vindication with Tittering.

I read that Jeff Bezos, the executive chairman of Amazon and the owner of a private galactical tourist company, consented to Musk’s profound charitable remark. Nowadays, celebrities have all negative heuristics and biases against social media. Nevertheless, they feed on attention and thrive in it, so any such uttering of disaffection with the media is a sign of entrepreneurial solidarity. Not that I have the same sentiment toward Bezos, who is more intelligent and reticent than his slightly younger rival, but that they are astronomically rich and universally famous. It’s called class consciousness, by which the members of the same class share the same social statuses and cultures to guard themselves against those of another class. Musk’s sensational promise to give housing largess to the homeless and change the world’s famous media platform reminds me of Emperor Nero. Truth or false, he was said to play the cithara singing while Rome was burning and then distributed stipends to the homeless due to the great fire.

‘The Maid’ by Nita Prose

The Maid by Nita Prose is a one-of-kind, touchy-feely novel without collapsed grand narratives and vehement subjective rhetorics about existential vertigoes in life that burdens the reader with a duty to interpret the philosophical, the intellectual meaning of a story, all fragmented and adrift. Instead, the story uses the real to perfect the ideal delightfully blended with a taste of Murder She Wrote with relatively ordinary characters doing the most extraordinary things like you never know.

The Maid is one lonely young Molly Gray. She is a Maid of Maids, taking her job religiously in a hotel that does not quite reciprocate her dedicated service but sees her as a quiet oddball because of her reclusive comportment. But Molly is a swan in a lake of ducklings and geese, a harpist among percussionists, whose feet constantly move beneath reality’s surface. Molly is anachronistically muliebral and incongruously proper. She belongs to a preceding era of decency, saying early Edwardian London as a chambermaid, a coveted position for working-class women. To judge Molly as a misfit is downright callous and heartless because she inwardly craves recognition from those she thinks of as sympathetic souls who use her as a pawn in their game of passion and avarice. The more we learn about Molly as the narrative deepens, the better we know of her as if we were contracted severe strains of Stockholm Syndrome. Hence, our better angels persuade us to forgive and forget the stupendousness of truth that Molly confides to us at the end of the story’s labyrinth.

This fictional Maid by Nita Prose and that real-life Maid by Stephanie Land are stories about working-class women struggling with the realities of life by themselves. The only difference is that the former has a blessing of luck in the form of sympathetic and resourceful supporters who rescue her from a dungeon of hopelessness. It is understanding because, as Charlotte Brontë expressed, one of the reasons she wrote was to be a kind creator for her stories’ heroines otherwise to whom no sweet soft touch of warmth and love would caress their weeping heads. However, Molly, the Maid is not all melancholic, a damsel in distress, a clueless loner succumbing to a subtle form of gaslighting because she is the one who laughs the last laugh with intelligence wrapped in a maid’s hide. Molly Gray the Maid may have a woman’s body but has the king’s stomach and heart in the most magnanimous way. Therefore, don’t mess with Molly – and the likes.

‘Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress’ by Steven Pinker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gods may be crazy, as the tribal men thought when they picked up a bottle of coke dropped from an airplane. But the world is not crazy and will not be crazier unless you wish it. So you’d better lose faith in the doomsday industry that prompts you to think so because our faculty is intuitive rather than reasoning, rather physical than metaphysical. Steven Pinker points out in this book that we need rationality or a habit of rational thinking to aspire to objective understanding lest we should fall back on the doomsday scenario of a dystopian world.

To begin with, the enlighten movement is not a product of the west but rooted in human nature as the universal feature. The spirit of the enlightenment movement is “Dare to Understand,” which means applying knowledge to understanding our world to enhance our human welfare to the full effect and force. Enlightenment is comprised of Reason, progress, science, and humanism. However, the currents of modernity flow into global populist tractions that champion totalitarian relativism from individual modes of thinking to social and political policy-making in the name of progressive liberalism or conservatism, when it is not with the absence of Reason and humanism. The proponents of the ideologies described above take precedence of faith over Reason, nation, or culture over individualism and metaphysical over real because they couldn’t care less about it.

The most impressive finding that I have described from this book is Pinker’s perceptive analysis of the counter-enlightenment movements run by both conservatives and liberals, especially in the States. As many people might conjecture, Pinker is not an ultra-right-wing intellectual because his view on former President Trump and his cult is logically solid and intellectually revoking. He explains that the philosophical roots of Trumpism are a synthesis of a militant derivative of Nietzchean school of philosophy and anti-enlightenment humanism. It’s not conservatism but racism lite, shading into authoritarian populism and romantic nationalism, harping on the good ole days, which weren’t good in respects of the quality of living conditions and level of human rights.

Amid the bipartisan world of ideologies, the heightened pessimistic opinions of our planet from the environment to social services, Pinker’s education on what Enlightenment means on human progress shines like a beacon of light on Slough Despond. This book gives the world a sense of self-confidence in our cultural progress this far as a collective human enterprise. The history of the world is not cyclical or linear, but progressive and in progress as long as humanity continues. It is this humanity that Pinker emphasizes in the truest sense of Enlightenment that the thinkers such as Voltaire and Kant also professed to be an inseparable element of human progress. Progress without humanism is not progress. Humanism is not a sign of shallow intellectual culture akin to pastoral romanticism or unproductive ideals. Humanism represents the sense, as science reason, which are universal human traits common to all. That is what this book wants to teach us.

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