EgyptAir Flight MS804: In Public Eyes Which Are Defective (And how to correct it)

** This article is originally published in OpEd News Network with 72 hours exclusive **

It’s been almost 10 days now since EgyptAir’s flight MS804 came down into the Mediterranean sea. However, Egypt public interpretations have been 30 days old (i.e. more mature than the elapsed time in which experts are working on deciphering the incident). In fact, public interpretations have been flying over social networks before even a single wreckage was ever found.

Aviation experts says there are three main reasons behind airplanes fall: 1) Meteorological, 2) Technical, and 3) Terrorism – and they ruled out the Meteorological. This left us with only Technical and Terrorism. Well, this is aviation experts worldwide. What happened next is interesting.

Egyptian public interpretations, and sometimes remarkably confident conclusions, have started to formulate around these two categories depending on the previous mental background of each one. If the person is from the group who sees Egypt on the rise and that there is conspiracy to bring it behind, the person will be more inclined to Terrorism as the reason; saying that there was a bomb aboard and so on. The group would mostly be older generations Egyptians. If the person is from the group who sees that EVERY thing about Egypt is shit, then, the person will be more inclined to the Technical cause and will go further by adding that it’s induced by some careless on the pilot’s part or the company’s part. This group is mostly the younger generations Egyptians. And since statistically Egypt’s 78% of population is young age, it follows therefore that the majority of the Egyptian public is now blaming the company or the pilots for causing the crash.

Remarkably, members of each group have been talking confidently like experts. And this is a known mental illusion proven by Neuroscience: the brain constructs the perfect story from impressions formulated from appearances; then, gets that story endorsed by your analytical parts of the brain (thorough but lazy) based on what’s called Associative Memory – which makes available to you anything from the past memory that supports the impression at hand. When this procedure happens, what we call “Prejudice” appears. You become prejudiced about specific group or specific country or specific company.

To the prejudiced Egyptians of Group 2, I direct these questions and facts:

Haven’t the Egyptians suffered a lot from prejudiced opinions? Would you like to be denied your rights anywhere in the world because you are an Egyptian? Certainly you wouldn’t want that and for sure you are abhorring the suffer of prejudice against Egyptians or Muslims or Doctors. Then, why you are denying now the company’s right or the pilots’ rights by being prejudiced about the situation?

For instance, a hashtag in Twitter was created in Arabic, meaning #I_Will_Not_Fly_EgyptAir. Based on what? The leaked information you have from the sight, or from your ability to see the destiny, or based on the story your mind has told you in alignments with your own negative background on everything in Egypt…

If you are from those who are insulting EgyptAir (management or pilots), have an honest pause with yourself and ask yourself just this: based on what you have formulated your attack? And if your stand is based on information provided by others, ask yourself based on what they have formulated their attack? If you do this honestly, you will 100% find that your stand against the company is implausible and unfair. You will also find that those you grouped with are just imposing their own mental stories on you. They have no ground too.

The below are some pointers that should aid you in correcting your unfair stand; if you honestly care about not being unfair to someone so that no one becomes unfair to you someday:

A- Almost every airliner had incidents in its track record. For example, just last year Germanwings pilot who crashed his plane into the mountains for suicide. No one like you has commenced an attack calling for boycotting the airliner.

B- Be critical about it. No formal authority with hands-on the situation has said any conclusion. You should wait and only by the availability of the information you can start critically validating things and formulate your own conclusion. Even if a country like France came out and said Egyptians were fools, you shouldn’t take this at face value. Instead, you examine there premises on which they built their conclusion critically then see if it makes sense or not. Same with individuals. For example, some employees in the company or in the airport has said “Maintenance is shit and the plane is shit.” Question their stand. Are they experts? What the hell they know about planes and maintenance operations to make such statements? And if they do, where is this shit everywhere?

C- People makes blunt statements like experts because of two things: 1) it makes them feel good about themselves or 2) they are serving specific agenda. You should be careful and classify. A ground hostess in the airport or an office employee in EgyptAir who tweets that EgyptAir maintenance is shit is an example of group 1. She feels great about herself because this blunt conclusion gives her the illusionary satisfaction that she’s an important person in the company. Oh yeah, she’s there and knows everything. A specific country or a specific group may want to undermine your country people trust in their own national company. Don’t fall prey to these two types. As I speak here about the Egyptian public opinions; then, most of what you encountered so far is the first type: people feeding their own psychological problems by being smart ass. They are simply not because simply there are no proved information or data on which their forceful conclusions are based. Want to try? Ask any of them to present them; and you will find non-sense.

D- Remember any situation in your life when someone has judged you at face value without caring about facts or your defense. For example, one time when your direct supervisor has told the manager that your work is no good and the manager brought you for a performance meeting where you had to defend yourself to find him demanding improvements from you and blaming you. Or when your membership to a group has brought you pain or even jail without giving you the opportunity of a trial. Or when you found difficulty obtaining a visa to travel somewhere because you are an Egyptian. Remember these situations that happened to you when you were attacked or denied rights because of someone or some country or some group has made an upfront general conclusion against you like the “Will_Never_Fly_EgyptAir” you are supporting now.

E- Consider the big picture, 1) how many years EgyptAir has been operating in Egypt? 2) How many flights EgyptAir commences daily? 3) How many crash incidents in its track record?

F- Are are you judging things through black lens because you see everything in Egypt as shit? Admittedly, Egypt as a developing country having big share in chaos could not be the best place to live; however, your “valid” opinion about the country must be kept only for your conclusion about living in the country; however, never let it pollute your ability to judge things fairly. This would be a stigma chasing you throughout your life anywhere you would go. One might be hating everything about a country because it’s all shit, but when it comes to judging things, ONLY valid, correct, and fair mentality should be applied. This is your own wellbeing; do not pollute it because you live in a country you consider shitty.

G- If you are convinced or claim that your stand or analysis of the crash is based on logical reasoning, be careful, it’s your own Self fooling you.

There are only two forms of logical arguments: Induction and Deduction. Deductive reasoning starts with a general statement; then, follows with specifics, which all must be true in order for the conclusion to be true. An example of a deductive reasoning is: All men is mortal. Jack is man. Therefore, Jack is mortal. So, Mr. Logician, if your stand is based on this type of logical reasoning; then, your argument would be like this: All EgyptAir flights are doomed by carelessness-maintenance-stupidity-mistakes. Flight MS804 is EgyptAir. Therefore, Flight MS804 is doomed by carelessness-maintenance-stupidity-mistakes. In such case, your first premise is logically wrong; because not all EgyptAir flights got doomed (consider the first point). Inductive reasoning, on the other hand, starts with specifics that all must be true such that it ends up in a general statement that is logically true. Under such reasoning approach, your argument against the situation would be like this: Flight MS804 is flown by EgyptAir. The flight got doomed. Therefore, All EgyptAir flights are doomed. Again, a logically wrong argument.

I hope you can use the above pointers (and possibly add to them) in correcting your stand and remove prejudice. And always remember that anyone can judge you (and act upon your life) with the same quickness and with partial information as you are doing here. Same as you don’t want that to be done to you, take the correct route before judging situations and others.

Death’s Sensational Defeat

 

Have you ever wondered how humans are able to live peacefully though all the potential dangers and bad outcomes that could happen to us? What dangers and what bad outcomes? Well, we don’t know – there are just plenty of them from illnesses to relationship failure to death. All are unknown; either by case or by timing.

Hope is a characteristic paired with the unknown. It’s the unknown with its potential outcomes of good or bad that make us hope for the good to happen rather than the bad. If life’s incidents are pre-known to us, there wouldn’t be any need for hope. As such, one of Hope workings is the must of projecting into the future. You cannot hope for something for the moment; you have to throw it off one or two points in the sphere of future; then, sling to it with your hope. The other part of the process is that as you project it into the future, you envision that the good part is the one that keeps happening, indefinitely. This is basically what we mean by “I Hope”. To summarize, Hope is something about the future, not the past nor the present, and it’s about the good thing always happening as the outcome. I boldfaced ‘indefinitely’ above because it’s very interesting feature of hope: there is no end for your imagination of the good always happening. Hope is an indefinite sensation. Want a proof? Easy. Without this indefinite feature of hope, no human being would be able to live with the fact of Death.

Hope is the Sensational Defeat for Death.

It is hope that makes you expecting to live for tomorrow; you cannot be possibly dying tomorrow, not after a month, not after a year….. It keeps going indefinitely. Everybody has an internal hope to live for tomorrow, every day!

With the unknown lying at a distance, you cannot help imaging that the bad is the option to happen that you “hope” for the good to happen; then, you live up for that day. That’s how you keep going.

But hope is nothing negative. It decorates our life and gives us something to live for. It only becomes negative when hope is paired with inactivity. This is when the student doesn’t study for the exam and hopes that he still passes it. This is when hope becomes a painkiller for our inactivity and a conscience silencer for our ill-doings. And here is opens a very interesting thing about human beings: Honest action with total faith vanishes hope.

Faithful action for itself dispels hope.

When you love for itself. When you write for itself. When you work for itself. When you live your life with all what’s in it faithfully for itself, you cease to need hope because there won’t be any unknown you care for. In itself emphasizes the now; the unknown that lies at a distance is not longer important. There is no future state for which you are doing what you are doing now. Thus, you don’t need hope anymore.

Living faithfully and honestly for whatever in your life for itself is the mother of all healthy living, void of fear or expectations. It’s not living in the now as much as believing in whatever you are doing now. Stop hoping for your life. Just live that life, for now and for itself.

How you live?

How much from your life is on the Autopilot?

A disruptive question that I usually ask to shake the peaceful equilibrium deep inside. This is because, in fact, your life, well, could be run on the autopilot most of the time.

Let me first attempt to put a definition first. A life run on auto-pilot is a life lived reactively. Except for the deliberate thinking activities you may be doing in your job, you live your life always responding to life’s situations; without deliberate thought. Typical examples of auto-pilot affairs are like culture, norms, social beliefs…etc. While having some of your actions/thoughts automated is something good for living efficiently, the other side of the same coin is drastic – actions and decisions taken reactively are prone to mistakes and regrets.

Auto-pilot living is not a fiction nor what I am warning you of above is something metaphorical. It’s now something we could tract and prove scientifically. Neuroscience has made a feat in increasing our understanding of our mental lives. Consider the below figure and answer the following question:

 

mullerlyer-illusia

 

Which line is longer?

You most certainly answered that the top one is longer than the bottom one. If you got a ruler and measured both lines, you would find that both lines are of exact same length. Worse, even after you have measured it with the ruler and confirmed that they are of equal length, your feeling will keep telling you that the top one is really longer.

We can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness. ~ Daniel Kahneman

This is an example for auto-pilot living. You live judging things and observing them without invoking much thought; without using the parts in your brain responsible for in-depth analysis of things. You snap judge things reactively and through appearances. This is my true friend, this is my true love, this is my true job; you auto-pilot these choices and your feeling of their truth is just as real as you felt the top line in the above figure is really longer. Welcome to the world of Illusions, that only shows us how flawed our ability to engage our true faculty of mind into reasoning about things. The above figure is called Muller Illusion; and it (among many other  illusions) demonstrates the conflict between two divisions in your brain, psychologists call System 1 and System 2; with System 1 being responsible for making impressions, feelings, and automated responses while System 2 being responsible for in-depth analysis and reasoning. In the basic sense, System 1 handles running your basic daily operations; however, System 2 takes over when deliberate mental effort is engaged like when you are solving mathematical problem or taking an exam or analyzing a situation in-depth.

This is no offense for System 1. Without it, after all, our lives would be like hell; and without it, failure is inevitable. The harmony of interplay with the in-depth System 2 is also a mark of success. However, the problem lies when affairs of your life are not handled by the right system; that is, when the switch doesn’t happen and you live always with System 1 that lacks in-depth analysis of things when you need one. At that time, you would see falseness in reality and swear of it – like you would swear that the top line is longer; and like you would swear that this is your best friend or true person to you.

Knowing you have two competing systems in your mental life and their purposes is a leap in understanding more about how you mentally take in things. It takes just a deliberate will to do the switch and you engage System2 as it should in conducting your life affairs. And it’s not about wrong decisions. If you weigh up things with your System2 and decide that this wrong decision is what you want; then, be it. The most important thing is that you are mentally engaged as the matter calls for and that you are true to yourself accordingly.

How much do you live on auto-pilot? That’s my question to you that when you ask yourself you will be no longer on auto-pilot.