Libra is the Zodiac sign for those born between September 23 and October 21. The symbol for Libra is a pair of large, golden scales.
The model for Libra is the Scales of Justice used by Astraea, the goddess of justice. She would use these scales to compare the arguments of the defendant and the plaintiff in a trial to decide who was right. Interestingly, the concept of using scales in a trial can be found in other cultures such as Egyptian mythology. Anubis, the god of death, would take a person’s heart out when they died, put it on scales and compare the weight against the Feather of Truth. If the heart was lighter, the person’s soul would be sent to heaven; if it was heavier, he would be sent to hell. Astraea’s scales also became a constellation when she ascended to the heavens.
(Part of the Zodiac series: https://jineralknowledge.com/tag/zodiacs/?order=asc)
The following is an excerpt from the book Amusing Ourselves To Death by Neil Postman, where the author compares and contrasts two famous books depicting a dystopian society: Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books.
What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who would want to read one.
Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information.
Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism
Orwell feared the truth would be concealed from us.
Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.
Orwell feared we would become a captive culture.
Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the Feelies, the orgy porgy and the Centrifugal Bumble-puppy.
As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions”.
In Nineteen Eighty-Four, people are controlled by inflicting pain.
In Brave New World, people are controlled by inflicting pleasure.
In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us.
Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.
Humans have a tendency to think in a black-and-white manner, leading us to fall into the trap of the Nirvana fallacy. This is when one compares the real world to some perfect yet unrealistic alternative, causing reality to pale in comparison. Thus, it causes us to believe that many things are not worth doing as they are insignificant compared to this alternative.
For instance, the notion of the drop in the ocean means that we tend not to do altruistic things as we believe that it will not make much of a difference in fixing poverty or cure the world of cancer. Not only does the fallacy apply to how we see the world, but it affects day-to-day life too. People are so afraid of not being able to achieve an ideal, perfect future so ironically they do nothing. This is a major reason procrastination happens, as the person believes that if they do something now, it will be inefficient. They then plan for a perfect opportunity to start doing work, and a vicious cycle begins. Thanks to this way of thinking, people often miss out on a great job opportunity or a lovely girl or a chance to change their life just because it was not perfect and did not live up to their expectations.
In fact, people often fail to see the small steps and only see the big picture. So if someone tries to make an improvement (e.g. going on a diet), others will ridicule that person by saying that going to the gym every week is not going to turn you into an Adonis, ergo it is pointless.
The Nirvana fallacy is also useful in debates. One can create a false dichotomy (that is, a black-and-white argument) and compare someone’s argument to an unrealistic argument. When someone makes a suggestion, you can attack it by pointing out one flaw and show how it is clearly not a perfect solution (even better if you provide an example of the argument failing). This will automatically disintegrate their argument. For example, if someone proposes a new idea, you may point out how someone may abuse the new system or provide a case when a similar idea failed. However, be warned that this method can easily be rebutted with common sense, so one must use it in a convincing way and distract the audience from the fact that it is absolutely ridiculous.
(The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, click for larger image)
A mammal that ranges in size from about 1 to 2 metres.
Weighs between 30kg and 100kg. Females are pregnant for 9 months.
Omnivorous diet. Population estimated around 7 billion.
An insect that ranges in size from about 0.01 to 3 centimetres.
Weighs between 0.001mg and 1g. Can produce eggs endlessly given there is an ample sperm reservoir.
Omnivorous diet. Population estimated around 1 quintillion (1 billion times 1 billion).
(from The Encyclopaedia of Relative and Absolute Knowledge by Bernard Werber)