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 Copyright © July 2002

A New Definition of Incompetence

How the Worst Has Become the Slothful Norm

~written from the common sense perspective of The Winds of the Soul~

by Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.)

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Norman Rockwell's America now exists only in his paintings.  And that's a very sad thing.  Because all the subtleties that underscored Rockwell's art, the spirit of kindness, of neighborliness, of honor and caring to do the right thing, of taking pride in our work and only wanting the best to be "good enough," appears to have long since left our shores. 

It used to be that one could count on the best of someone's efforts in this Country of ours, where customer service was important, and the expectation of fairness was as common as a friendly hello from a next-door neighbor.  But I'm afraid all of that has changed.  Fairness, per say, is a rare phenomenon almost extinct amongst us.  Norman Rockwell's America now exists only in his paintings.  And that's a very sad thing.  Because all the subtleties that underscored Rockwell's art, the spirit of kindness, of neighborliness, of honor and caring to do the right thing, of taking pride in our work and only wanting the best to be "good enough," appears to have long since left our shores.  We see this poverty of civil and spiritual incompetence everywhere we look.

For instance, if we now ask someone to give us their best, it's generally tantamount to insulting them or unreasonably asking for too much, as if we are the ones taking advantage of them!  It's as if we should be satisfied with being ripped off and shouldn't expect what is initially promised us and we've paid for.  Just ask yourself this....  How many times has your request for better service been met with a "who do you think you are" kind of look?

Copyright © 2002 Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.).  All Rights Reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, including but not limited to all forms of media print, audio, electronic and video reproduction,  without the prior express and specific written content of the author, except in cases of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. 

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Elsewhere, we find the same incompetence and indifference running rampantly through out our society.  Although mountains of public relations and advertising try to spin a different story, our government and public institutions seem to be the worst offenders. 

On the other end of things, customer service has come to mean "customer pinball" as we're bounced from one staid lethargic person to another without reason or satisfaction, our problems with their products and services falling on the deaf ears of "I couldn't-care-less" employees who just love to tell you that "it's not in my job description" or "that information is not on my screen." 

If we happen to be unlucky enough to be on the phone trying to find some help, we seem to be forever entangled in someone's sadistically annoying voice-menu, which like a roller-coaster we can't get off of once it's started, dooms us to listen to mountains of valueless information while taunting us with the lie that "your call is very important to us."  Our call important?  Then why don't they allow us to immediately talk to a live body?  Who programs this tripe, anyway?  I don't know about you, but I feel we're all beginning to live more and more in a poorly scripted "Monty Python" movie!  

Elsewhere, we find the same incompetence and indifference running rampantly throughout our society.  Although mountains of public relations and advertising try to spin a different story, our government and public institutions seem to be the worst offenders. 

For instance, it should be obvious to everyone that we are failing our children on a daily basis with a terminally flawed and failed educational system.  We keep putting more money into it, just like we do with AMTRAK, hoping that somehow its old rails and cars will get us through.  But it won't..., because it can't.  Our public educational system has already been gutted of its merit and meat by those far too politically correct.  Subsequently, our schools continue to perform poorly compared to the rest of the world despite what we are told otherwise. 

And it's no wonder, really.  Besides the lack of inspiration, leadership, insight, and wisdom that must be a part of any serious endeavor to educate another, we saddle our children with politically-correct-written Public School text books.  (Now there's a scam if there ever was one!)  These are so poorly written that most of them contain an unbelievable number of factual mistakes, actual factual misstatements concerning everything from science to literature.  These texts are generally so diluted of material and hopelessly fragmented, so exceptionally dull and convoluted, that it becomes needlessly laborious to read them.  To be sure, these texts make little logical sense, having little if any appeal to reason..., and that in themselves makes them difficult and unattractive to read.  Talk about zero entertainment value!  Apparently many kids would agree as most choose not to read them at all. 

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For instance, so-called "social studies" books water-down American History so much so that even the figure and character strengths of George Washington is barely covered at all.  Nor are the rest of our founding fathers given more than a mere mention, if at all.  The wonderful principles they stood for, the passionate reasons for the revolution, the underpinnings of the constitution are never discussed.  Only a waning whisper is heard now where once there was thunder.

For instance, so-called "social studies" books water-down American History so much so that even the figure and character strengths of George Washington are barely covered at all.  Nor are the rest of our founding fathers given more than a mere mention.  The wonderful principles they stood for, the passionate reasons for the revolution, the underpinnings of the constitution are rarely discussed in detail.  Only a waning whisper is heard now where once there was thunder. 

Purged too are other notable Americans, like Thomas Edison and Abraham Lincoln, who cannot be found referenced within today's text books with any appreciable substance.  Even the history recorded within our own time has become malignantly diluted and is no longer recorded truthfully for fear that it may prove offensive to some party or other.  A point of fact, the aggressive atrocities committed by the nation of Japan in World War II are generally withheld if not confabulated, replacing fact with fantasy. Even mention of the Holocaust is beginning to disappear.  Our children subsequently become more ill-prepared for the day they will be called upon to run the world..., or have it run for them by those enemies that they do not yet know..., or will fail to recognize in due time..., because of our failure to educate them properly.  If that's not a national security problem brewing in the background, I don't know one that is!

Again, the Teacher's Union and their cronified political machines seem to be the bureaucratic bunglers behind most of the problems within our schools, choosing texts that are poor if not completely misleading, curriculums that are nonsensical, and teachers who can't or just don't want to teach.  We seem to protect the incompetent in our society, framing their needs and rights above the rest of us.  Myopic self-serving, self-interested incompetence again rules the day. 

On yet another front of continuing rampant incompetence in the public sector, and perhaps most blatant of all, is the fact that here we are almost 10 months after 9-11 and it appears that we are no safer now than we were before that horrific event.  Ten months of flag-waving rhetoric, and despite all the press coverage, our government seems more narcissistically involved with itself than ever before, more involved in protecting its special interest groups and personal cash-cows, than the rights of all the citizens.  Just look at what has not been done:

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And in lieu of developmental progress, we get the expected flurry of self-justifying safe-your-own-tail-excuses, ongoing political deflections and finger-pointing, and the call for ever more policy meetings and commissions up the "ying-yang."   I've heard them all, and none of them amount to a hill of beans. 

Our Airline Pilots are still unarmed... our airlines unsafe.  Why...?  (Having armed pilots in the cockpit are presumably more dangerous than armed terrorists!)

Except for the reality of it, security precautions at most major airports remains comical.  Why...?  (Is it really important to ask elderly men and women to strip search?)

Our nation remains an open door to illegal aliens, while U.S. Troops are kept from patrolling the borders.  Why...?  (We don't want to offend our neighbors who illegally plan on keep sending their people into the U.S. for continued free education, healthcare, and other social services!

U.S. Immigration services continues to debacle the safety of our people.  Why...? (We think it unwise to burden our "guests" with the same rules and regulations that the rest of us have to respect and live by, in fact they should be given more freedom than the citizenry!)

Our Intelligence Services can't seem to cooperate with each other, sharing information as they should want to.  Why...?  (It's awkward having financially competing government organizations cooperate with each other, since, if one happens to make the other look good, it may mean a smaller budget for the one in the next fiscal year!)

We still have no national energy policy that appropriately funds the development of alternative energy sources and will successfully wean us away from foreign oil.  Why...? (We need to subsidize our own Oil Industry, and continue to buy foreign oil so as to indirectly fund militant Islamic educational centers, as well as other good causes, such as the continued funding of AMTRAK for yet another 30 years at the tune of $35 Billion!)

There remains no way or means to track and validate legal foreign visitors and students in our country.  Why...?  (Having our visitors carry some form of legal identification would be offensive and an invasion of their personal privacy.)

As evidenced by the above, we really can't see the forest through the trees, can we?  Interestingly, when I was studying overseas during the seventy's, I recall personally being given a student visa, complete with separate card, photo ID, verified local address and phone number, separate foreign student ID numbers, including the stipulation that I had to report to the Police every six months to verify my whereabouts and continuing address, show my valid passport and have it re-stamped.  And, further, if at any time I changed my address to immediately notify them (within 24 hours) or else I would be deported.  With all these  security provisions, you would have thought I was in some place like Russia.  But I wasn't.  I was in Great Britain.... 

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Did you ever get the feeling that the spring is really running down, and the clock is still ticking?...that we're running out of steam but the consequences are still coming...?   And all the while, there is the consummate possibility that some terrorist is planning to setoff a nuclear device within our borders.  It could be happening as we speak..., and if we don't change things soon, it will happen....

I thought these demands to be perfectly reasonable, for after all, I was a guest in their country and needed to abide by their rules. My rights and privileges were secondary to obeying their laws, and I understood that.  I can imagine if such a system of tracking were to be tried in this country we would forever hear from the misguided protestations of the ACLU, and other special interest groups about the rights of foreigners, while the rights of we who live here are abandoned. 

And in lieu of developmental progress, we get the expected flurry of self-justifying safe-your-own-tail-excuses, ongoing political deflections and finger-pointing, and the call for ever more policy meetings and commissions up the "ying-yang."   I've heard them all, and none of them amount to a hill of beans.  In reality, relatively little has been done to protect our country.  The morale of this story seems to be:  If you ever want something not to get done, just ask a self-serving bureaucrat!  Aren't we getting sick enough of their graft and partisanship?

Did you ever get the feeling that the spring is really running down, and the clock is still ticking?...that we're running out of steam but the consequences are still coming...?   And all the while, there is the consummate possibility that some terrorist is planning to setoff a nuclear device within our borders.  It could be happening as we speak..., and if we don't change things soon, it will happen....  After all, we seem to be giving them all the time and opportunity in the world, aren't we?  Only a fool, or someone who doesn't want to disturb the status quo in Washington, would believe otherwise.

So, why do we tolerate these things?  How did these things get so bad?  How did we slip down so far and so quickly?  Why are we all subjected to the lowest common denominator?  And more importantly, why is it that we find this all so acceptable?  From where did incompetence, and the bad manners that go with it, get their powers of attraction?  How have they become so appropriate and popular?  Moreover, why on earth do we put up with them?  We certainly possess the technology and manpower to have shut the door on these problems by now if we had a mind to.  And we could have done so without damaging the constitutional rights of our own precious freedoms.  But we haven't. 

Well, truth be known, the solutions are available for us, but it appears that these would step on too many toes.  Indeed, we protect the incompetence of our institutions, so as to secure and guarantee the cash-cows they've become for the politicians and lawyers who suck and steal from their utters the milk rightfully meant for our children. 

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Incompetence used to mean the inability to perform well due to lack of intelligence, talent, or skill. But as late, it has come to mean the inability to do the right thing, even the strategic refusal to do that which is good so as to disadvantage another for self-gain. 

You see, in a rigged system, "incompetence" becomes the cleverly disguised means that protects ill-gotten gains and riches.  It is incompetence that offers the desired cover of darkness needed to ensure the protection of continuing personal gains for the elite we have empowered, for the members of the "club."  Efficiency is poison to this way of thinking, an anathema to its lifeblood, because it destroys the cash-cows where they stand.  That's why we'll probably never see "efficiency" as the general model for Washington, D.C.  Today, orchestrated incompetence is preferred over common-sense efficiencies.  These are the self-serving kinds of entanglement that stand in the way of our securing better freedoms. 

Of course we could all be more safe if we really wanted it, but only at the expense of getting rid of somebody's cash-cow.  And those that make the rules figure that's just too costly....  It's as simple as that....  That's what obscures the forest from view.  That's the selfish, pinheaded mentality that is crippling this country.

Quite interestingly, this kind of intractable "incompetence" does not stem from "stupidity" at all, but is one that is deceitfully clever.  Incompetence used to mean the inability to perform well due to lack of intelligence, talent, or skill. But as of late, it has come to mean something quite different.  Namely, the inability to do the right thing, even the strategic refusal to do that which is good so as to disadvantage another for self-gain. 

Incompetence today is not a relatively benign bungling of ineptitude that can easily be changed out for something better.  It is a shell game determined to stay in place, one that is played solely to fool the observer and to profit the gamester.  Albeit hidden from view, this is an active strategy, not a passive one, one (in the eyes of its adherents) that does not need fixing because it isn't broken, one that seeks to selfishly justify and continually enrich itself.  As such, incompetence is in reality a practiced way of "stealing," a distraction and cover for something that is slyly rehearsed in order to unlawfully and immorally get gain through slothfulness. 

Oh yes..., you've understood what I'm saying.  When incompetence is not the fault of too little intelligence, talent, or skill.... it is "sloth" pure and simple.  Sloth is the appetite for laziness and indolence, to "get something for nothing" and the need to justify it's actions drives its energies to protect itself from public view.  Slothfulness hides under the cover of incompetence as witnessed and practiced in Washington, stealing tax payers money hand over fist.  It proliferates in our schools and businesses, and is becoming a standard of American fare.  It seems that slothfulness has finally become acceptable and desirable amongst the majority of us....

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This is a most deadly and serious game for it seeks, under the fear of ridicule and "turn-about," to dull the senses of others, dulling the expectations and dreams, dulling the notion of goodness and fairness..., till the observer no longer cares and is willing to accept for a pittance that which previously was worth far more. 

After all, the "get something for nothing" attitude has become the rallying cry of politicians, educators, and business marketers alike, hasn't it....   Government subsidies are given for special interest groups who in turn guarantee votes for politicians.  Educators graduate High Schools "seniors" who can't read or write for the promise of policy and financial kick-backs.  Corporate Officers enrich themselves at the expense of their shareholders while other marketers profit on the backs of their get-rich-quick schemes.... All have become socially acceptable means of "sloth," all cleverly disguised within the fuzzy legal climes of our personal "rights." 

Every one of these offers the titillating notion of "getting something for nothing," of hitting the jack-pot without any individual merit or honest investment of productiveness and fair industry.  Those that practice it seek for their audience in those that they may reward, and then rely upon the latter to keep them empowered.  Thus, all of them secure their future with the same failed and deceptive promises of a Ponzi scheme, an investment swindle in which high profits are promised from fictitious sources and where early investors can only be paid off with funds raised from later ones.

But there is something even more frightening than this.  At the base, there is something even more sinister..., namely, the conscious and selfish motive to shun the good and accept the bad, even to call for the redefining of the one to the other: calling the "bad," "good," and then to make the "good" appear "bad."  All in order to appear acceptable and appropriate for all concerned..., to justify the gamester and embarrass any dissenters that may arise.  After all, the "Emperor's New Clothes" cannot be criticized.  Those that practice this kind of sloth, do so while parading their deception as good works...., trying their hardest to get us to disbelieve our own eyes, our sense of what is right and wrong.

This is a most deadly and serious game for it seeks, under the fear of ridicule and "turn-about," to dull the senses of others, dulling the expectations and dreams, dulling the notion of goodness and fairness..., till the observer no longer cares and is willing to accept for a pittance that which previously was worth far more.  This is the end game of slothfulness' distraction.  To numb us all so that our pockets may be picked clean.

Such a slight-of-hand is even the more worrisome because it has become so rampant within our country, parading as a form of social acceptability and political correctness.  Indeed, now we may understand a relationship heretofore repressed and dismissed:  Political Correctness = Incompetence disguised = Slothfulness?  Hmmm....  Very interesting!  Those that practice it are idolized and are thought of as "winners."  Those that don't are persecuted and are labeled as "losers."  And whether we like it or not, it's a manner of conduct and twisted ideology that affects everyone of us, surreptitiously running our schools and government, pirating our business world and markets, infecting our health care and legal systems. 

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The more fragmented we are, the less industrious we are, lacking the wherewithal and inspiration necessary for productivity.  The more fragmented and less industrious we become, the more prone we become to indiscriminately take from others to satisfy our hungers and justify our means, being less concerned with the things of fairness and justice.  The more fragmented and cutoff from the children we used to be, the easier it is for sloth to find place within us. 

 

It teaches us not to respond, not to react, not to care.  It thrives when we give up.  Smiles when we acquiesce. Rejoices when we forget the better days and better times of our innocence.  It especially enjoins the abandoning of our sensitivities for fairness, honesty, and Goodness.  It encourages a dulling of our common sense, our conscience, our awareness and moral sensorium. For then it's future amongst us is more certain.  It is an enemy of the Spirit of Goodness, seeking to rewrite its law of extreme self-indulgence within the heart of man.  It seeks to separate us from His Spirit and belittle all that resist, as well as suppress anything that is contrary to its swindling and covetous mandate.  It's notion to take and steal what it needs knows no sting of conscience or remorse, no need of thankfulness or acknowledgment of being provided its provisions, no matter how unlawfully.  It is central to its own need and cannot see beyond it, rationalizing all its actions without consideration of consistency or logic.  It is a dark wind, a parasite that fuels itself on others alone. 

Once again, I must point out that this kind of dark and sly imagining, of duplicitous incompetence, was not generally known to us as children.  Instead, we remembered first the laws of fairness, industry, and kindness within our hearts, and naturally shunned the ways of evil.  Indeed, children only learn the many ways of stealing as they grow older and become ever more fragmented.  The more fragmented we are, the more sedated our awareness, the harder it is for us to understand these things.  The more fragmented we are, the less industrious we are, lacking the wherewithal and inspiration necessary for productivity.  The more fragmented and less industrious we are, the more prone we become to indiscriminately take from others to satisfy our hungers and justify our means, being less concerned with the things of fairness and justice.  The more fragmented and cutoff from the children we used to be, the easier it is for sloth to find place within us.  It's a vicious cycle and its endemic within our society.  Do you see how this can be yet another indication of where we are in life, and how these things can be thoroughly understood within the concepts of the Winds of the Soul...?

All of this can be a lesson for us, if we will receive it.  When we are in pursuit of restoring and reconciling the lost children within us, we are involved in productive and industrious habits that shun the "get something for nothing" philosophy of our world.  We will naturally feel uncomfortable in receiving things that we have not earned or worked for fairly.  We become unattracted and repulsed by anything that promotes otherwise.  Rather, we will feel ourselves becoming comfortable only when our increase enables the advantaging of others, and only by fairly advantaging others, looking for win-win opportunities of abundance. 

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About the Author:  Dr. Gregory C.D. Young, Ph.D.(Oxon.) is a Clinical Psychologist and Neuroscientist having been educated abroad where he completed his postgraduate studies at King’s College, the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and then graduated and received his Doctorate from the University of Oxford, Oxford, England. He has been in private clinical practice and medical research for over 25 years, being active as an author, popular radio and TV personality, public speaker, and biomedical researcher. An expert in a number of fields including Forensic/Criminal Psychology, Child and Family/Relationship Psychology, and Neuropsychology.  He has also served as an expert scientific advisor, product innovator and formulator, and professional consultant to the Medical and Pharmaceutical Industries. He is the author of The Winds of the Soul~Heaven’s First Voice To Us, as well as numerous other scholarly papers and works.

When close to the children within us, we become more responsible and sensitive to others around us, not seeing others as "marks" to prey upon as do the slothfully incompetent and duplicitous, but regarding others in fairness and honesty as we wish others to regard ourselves.  Can't we see that when we are in touch with the Winds of our Soul, our world-view is always broader, more balanced and even than when we are not?  Isn't that where we should always strive to be....?  Not to be trite, but in reflecting upon all of this, I pray that we will want only that which we truly need, and never feel the need for that which we should never want.   

 

Why don’t you take a moment and become part of the discussion. Share with me your perspective, questions, and comments; tell me what you think of all this by emailing me at: DrYoung@WindsoftheSoul.com.


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