June 22, 2014

Why We Expect Nothing

I took this photo of a sign at the Metro station to the Reagan National Airport by Washington, D.C. 

"Expect The Unexpected" is the warning.

Don't be complacent--anything can happen--be vigilant--is the message. 

It reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where Jerry jokes about people going to the beach and hiding their wallets in their shoes.

Like, a criminal would never think to check your shoe!

Oh, push the wallet all the way down to the toes, under the tongue, that way the bad guys will never be able to get to it. 

Here, it's more a case of of why don't we expect the darn expected. 

Everybody knows that people "hide" their valuables at the beach in their shoes!

In modern times, we seem blind though to any expectations at all.

- Arab Spring and civil war spreading into Syria and Iraq--after Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, and more--who would've thought?

- Russia taking over Crimea and agitating in Eastern Ukraine--after their little excursions into Georgia and Chechnya--who would expect that?  

- Financial meltdowns and major recession after the dot com and housing bubbles--even my barber was talking about retiring and buying a mansion in the Caribbean--where are these coming from?

The question then is are we really unable to see past our noses or do we just hold steadfast to principle that ignorance is bliss?

Well let's just test the "expect nothing doctrine" that we seem to all be living by these days and see how you feel about these:

  • North Korea--they would never invade the South again.
  • Iran--sure, they are going to give up their nuclear weapons and their greater Middle Eastern Caliphate ambitions. 
  • China--Yeah, we'll just pin them in the South China Sea and they'll never get out.
  • The national deficit--it's not and will never be too big for us to handle because we're rich. 
  • Terrorism in a major American city--not after 9/11 and all that Homeland Security.
  • Environmental catastrophe--we will build a big bubble over ourselves, so no problem.
  • Economic inequity--the top 1% deserves to control 43% of the Nation's wealth and everyone else just sit down and shut up.
  • The Singularity--how could a machine ever be smarter than us; we've got all the technology fully under our control. 

Well, if you are blind or dumb enough to believe these, just keep putting your money in your shoes at the beach, because there is no reason to expect that anyone would ever think to look for it there. ;-)


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