Expertise is defined as the skill of being able to expediently ascertain what should be tabled or ignored. Moreover, and with all deference to Ludwig Wittgenstein, it is not merely language and nonsense which serve to bewitch and beguile the minds of men – but rather irrelevance and inconsequence.
Perhaps among the most ludicrous of warfare’s exigencies is the demand for one’s abject sacrifice of individual humanity in pursuit of its singular goal. A goal which is most often ratified by those who neither bear, nor comprehend the loss that others have assumed on their behalf. Not simply the great tragedy in loss of life mind you, but moreover a forfeiture of what could have been – the glutenous savoring of sacrificed human potential, expended in the ledger book of old men’s bitterness and encroaching insanity. And whether the war be cold, hot, or sociopolitical, relevance is its first and foremost casualty – a putrification which flavors in common each and every form of warfare.
I was selected for my particular career path in warfare the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in high school. Already a year ahead of my age-based class in school, I was accelerated an additional year and inserted two years early into an advanced science curriculum. My junior year physics paper on the neutrino won the state high school competition for best physics paper. At the same time, despite also being an Advanced Placement English student, I would irritate my humanities teachers for not placing the same level of effort into their classes. This instinctual habit of ‘do or do not, there is no try’ did not fit squarely within an academic environment. In academia you are to give everything the ‘good old college try’, without such prejudice.
Try as I may have, if my mind was not interested in a subject, I would place the absolute minimum effort into it. I didn’t earn ‘B’ grades, nor did I want them. A ‘C’ grade was of much greater value to me because it both afforded me life balance and allowed me to focus my effort in those specific classes wherein I wanted to attain optimal learning – grades be damned. The shorted instructors knew it too, and mistook the very apparent disinterest for insult. Looking back now, perhaps that is exactly what it was.
However as a counter to this notion, my mind bears both the advantage and misfortune of dispassionate economy. It has learned throughout life, not to invest energy into things which will return little or no value. Learning the hard way Steven Jobs’ admonition to not allow your life to be consumed by other peoples’ thinking and goals.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.~ Steven Jobs’ commencement speech to Stanford University 2005 graduating class
Thus as it transpired, because of this torrid pace of academic, warfare, and intelligence development track I missed a good bit of life’s experiences, and learned more about the Middle East and Fifth Generation Core nuclear reactors than I knew about my own home town or family history. I was not afforded sufficient time to learn relevance and salience in terms of life’s core meaning. This was purposeful. Such is the nature of tricks played by old men upon the young. I am grateful however, to have never lost a limb nor my life.
Nonetheless, wounded as it were by a career forced through the meat grinder of irrelevance, some aspect of my awareness began to comprehend its grotesque presence in my life. Constantly prepping to fight the Soviet Union and then Russia/China had turned out to be an enormous waste of a sizeable number of peoples’ time and talent. Fascist cronies took advantage of the vacuum back home, in order to create monopolies and new aristocracies to their own benefit, thereafter taxing and inflating into oblivion those who had stood in the gap for them during the day of conflict.
Expertise is defined as the skill of being able to expediently ascertain what should be tabled or ignored.
Failing to perceive this subconscious habituation for decades, eventually business and engineering colleagues began to point out the fact, that my mind bears a full-on and enormous antipathy towards wasteful, low value, or irrelevant matters. It values the critical path of an argument, and none of the trappings of impressive credential (ego) and virtue (vanity) that often serve to distract from it. Clients loved this, peers were threatened by it, and direct reports were inspired to give their all to both client and business. Moreover, and with all deference to Ludwig Wittgenstein, it is not merely language and nonsense which serve to bewitch and beguile the minds of men – but rather irrelevance and inconsequence.
Irrelevance and Inconsequence
The highlight image at the top of this article is a work inside the collection of Daniel Ridgway Knight, one which I call ‘Salience in a backdrop of relevance’.1 In contrast, the image to the immediate right is of an absolutely moronic, nuclear-war-risking, and terrifying statement issued over a news broadcast by a master practitioner in mis and dis-information deception.2 We in the United States, with the introduction of the new Disinformation Governance Board, are about to be subject to massive amounts of ingens vanitatum deception and propaganda. Keeping everyone confused, scared, and in the dark will be the board’s primary mission. A mission which promotes a condition allowing government to act outside the purview and accountability of its Constitutional constituency. You will not be allowed to speak objectively in dissent, as such action would be deemed ‘disinformation’, and subject one to punitive action for a ‘violent act by reason of false narrative’.3
Returning back to the theme of this article, both relevance and salience relate the concept of a logical object’s appropriateness inside the discussion or question at hand. Salience however, is sometimes referred to as ‘special relevance’, an increased level of applicability above and beyond mere relation to the topic. Relevance supports definition or context, while salience supports the greater efficacy of discovery or insight. In similar delineation, there exists a difference between that which is not relevant (noise and red herring) and that which is relevant but not salient (smoke & mirrors and ignoratio elenchi). Collectively, the combined set of that which is not relevant and that which is not salient, is called ingens vanitatum, or ‘a vast archive of vanities’ – the skillful exploitation of irrelevance and/or inconsequence which serves to disinform or deceive.
(Latin: ingens ‘vast’ and vanitatum ‘archives’ or ‘vanities’) – knowing a great deal of irrelevance (noise: lack of relevance) and/or inconsequence (smoke & mirrors: lack of salience), or the citing of such disinformation. A form of rhetoric through Nelsonian knowledge of most facets of a subject and most of the latest propaganda therein. A condition which bears irony however, in that this supervacuous, irrelevant, or inconsequential set of knowledge stands as all that composes the science, or all that is possessed by the person making a claim to knowledge. A useless set of information which serves only to displace any relevance, salience, or logical calculus of the actual argument, principle or question at hand. The skillful exploitation of irrelevance and/or inconsequence which serves to disinform or deceive.
The chart above is a continuation of the chart schema outlined in a series of two articles. Part I – Disinformation vs Misinformation – Neither Can Be Defined by ‘Intent’ can be read here.
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.
~ Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes in The Boscombe Valley Mystery
Now to be fair, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, through his character Sherlock Holmes also stated in A Study in Scarlet, “To a great mind, nothing is little.”4 The reader should note however, that the simple fact of a detail’s being small does not relate in any way to its nature in regard to being critical path. Those who spin deception, do so precisely with big facts and socially up-spun obviousness, conspicuously avoiding the very small details which would serve to trip them up along a critical path of inference. In similar regard, the character Sherlock Holmes’ regard for the silence of a normally noisy dog in the night-time, became a critical path element of information in The Adventure of Silver Blaze.5
“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention (make salient)?”~ Arthur Conan Doyle, Silver Blaze – a Sherlock Holmes Short Story
“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
“The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
“That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.
The bottom line is this: while big facts and coercive understandings often reveal themselves as completely useless information, in contrast, critical path is always relevant, always salient, and is so no matter how small its issue might appear to be.
The Critical Relationship Between Abductive Reasoning and Ingens Vanitatum
Such principle can be elucidated through considering the role of abductive reasoning contrasted with other forms of sound inference. Abductive reasoning (Occam’s Razor) appears as sound inference, precisely because it exploits the cache of obviousness or visibility, along the following lines:
- all relevance/salience is staged for the recipient, with undesired relevance/salience pre-sorted out of consideration
- therefore the diagnostic of abduction is both immediate, and as well appears to be result of inference itself
- the cache of obviousness or coercive high visibility is then exploited in qualifying abduction as a decision heuristic, when it is nothing of the sort
- this ‘decision heuristic’ is then used as methodological muscle to select for answers to more difficult questions, answers which are not valid in the least (see example below).
The reality is that abduction is not inference at all – neither is it problem solving. It is simply answer lookup and nothing more – a method no stronger in ethic than is ‘fact checking’. If one is diagnosing appendicitis, such methodology can serve a critical benefit. However, if one is determining trade policy, investigating a murder, or researching anomalous events, abduction offers nothing but ample opportunity for the deception of ingens vanitatum.
An Example of Enormous Human Harm and Suffering Through Ingens Vanitatum Argument
An example of both abduction in action, along with damaging application of ingens vanitatum can be found inside the following article by Houston Methodist Academic Medical Center in Houston, Texas.6 An image of this work in propaganda can be found by clicking here, just in case it is taken down at some point in the future.
Inside this propaganda article, the denial of ivermectin access to doctors and the citizens of the United States, despite its successful use across the rest of the globe, is justified by copious application of ingens vanitatum rhetoric. Specifically the following ‘facts’ about ivermectin are posited for your consumption:
- A ‘veterinary formulation‘ and ‘dewormer in horses‘. This information is relevant, but not salient. In fact, ivermectin is used as a broadscope anti-parasitic in humans. The authors are hoping that the reader conflates the two levels of discriminating relevance as a single litmus.
- ‘Animal medications aren’t intended for human use‘. This is correct and relevant, however not salient to the argument they have broached. It is lying through use of a fact in the wrong context.
- ‘The facts‘. This is the watchword of a social liar.
- ‘There’s no evidence‘. This is the catch-phrase of the pharmaceutical criminal who works copiously to ensure that such evidence is never allowed to see the light of day. In philosophy this is called an ‘appeal to ignorance’. In human rights, it is called a ‘crime’.
- ‘So, does any data currently exist to support taking ivermectin for COVID-19?” No.‘ This is a prevarication. In fact, there have been numerous studies which demonstrate that timely and sufficient dosage/duration of ivermectin is effective and safe in inhibiting severe effects of SARS-CoV-2.7
- Since ivermectin is an anti-parasitic, then it should have been tested based upon a schedule which functions along its primary mode of efficacy – namely anti-parasitic action. Such an effect takes time to manifest. Testing ivermectin as if it were an erstwhile aspirin for a headache or direct chemical cure, was disingenuous and inconsequential in merit. It was Machiavellian politic and not medicine.
- ‘Ivermectin isn’t authorized…‘. Well of course it isn’t. The FDA did not undertake any effort to study the treatment until late 2021 and early 2022, well after the campaign for its denial was already years underway. This again is disinformation smoke & mirrors. The irresponsible delay in study, a human rights crime.
- ‘…adverse effects associated with ivermectin misuse and taking large doses…‘. Almost any over the counter drug is harmful when abused or taken in too large a dose. This again is relevant but not salient nor sequitur to the very question the article has raised. Water is deadly if consumed in too large a quantity and people have died doing so. Does this mean that water should be a controlled substance now as well? I bet if you gave water to 3,000 cancer patients as well, it would not be observed to act as a cure – and possibly someone in the group might have even drowned during the study window! Such exhibits the incongruous and psychopathic nature of ingens vanitatum disinformation.
- ‘We already have effective, safe ways (a vaccine) to stay safe from Covid-19‘ Because there is a vaccine, therefore you may justifiably be denied access to treatment. This is a human rights crime which is addressed in this article by The Ethical Skeptic.
- ‘Several FDA-approved and authorized treatments exist…‘ A year and a half had already transpired and 700,000 people had already died from lack of treatment in the United States alone (100 times higher rates of death than most ivermectin-using nations), before we ever got around to slowly introducing this inexcusably paltry set of ‘authorized treatments’. The fault for this resides squarely upon the shoulders of entities just like Houston Methodist Academic Medical Center.
This article is nothing short of dishonesty, pretense, and criminal activity in terms of human rights. It employs all the foibles of ingens vanitatum:
- Exploits the noise of irrelevance
- Deceives the layman or outsider
- Conflates holding of knowledge with competence
- Deceives its user-psychopath
- Promotes authority and accolade rather than argument and inference
- Exploits the smoke & mirrors of inconsequence
- Obfuscates the salient and critical path
- Pretends to present plenary argument
- Used to substantiate an Omega Hypothesis
- Foments mistakes and suffering on a grand scale.
The simple fact is this, that ingens vanitatum is a pathological mental disorder which serves to confuse both the promoter of its argument, and hopefully (on the part of the promoter) as well, its intended victim (you). Don’t fall for it ethical skeptic. Keep your guard up for such logical chicanery at all times.
The Ethical Skeptic, “Ingens Vanitatum – Possessing a Great Deal of Inconsequence or Irrelevance”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 24 Apr 2022; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/?p=65125