Yuri Tarnopolsky
28. On Simple Reasons

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              Essay 28. On Simple Reasons

I am starting a collection of illustrations of my credo of simple reasons:

           Events in complex systems have simple  reasons

I half-seriously formulated it at the age of around thirty, listening to long confessions about relationships gone wrong. Watching myself from the inside, I saw that my personal problems seemed to involve a lot of factors. Nevertheless, they all somehow funneled down to a single simple reason that was difficult to acknowledge because of shame or guilt.
We commonly present a lot of reasons, trying to ease the internal pressure of cognitive dissonance (Essay 8). If there are so many circumstances against us, our weakness seems justified. This is an example of a simple reason.

With time, I came to conclusion that social life and politics had the same simplicity of  deep reasons. This view has a simple reason of its own: an abundance of reasons could paralyze a complex system.

        Of course, my questions may not be supported by facts, while the answers could be plain wrong.

1. Why do the Arabs dominate in the terrorist squads?

Because the Arabs suffered military defeat from Israel supported by Americans while other Muslims did not.

2. Why is Tony Blair such a firm supporter of the American policy on terrorism?

Because England suffered bombardments of its territory during WW2. Paris did not. Tony Blair was born in 1953, but in England history is in the air. Pun not intended.

3. Why do the pacifists seem to prevail among the callers on the Public Radio talk shows?

Because the non-pacifists are at work during the day and are pacified by it. The militants who do not work have their own shows.

4. Why has the level of the US television been steadily declining?

Because A.C.Nielsen rating company sends around thick questionnaires that require a lot of time to fill out so that no sensible viewer has enough time to do that.  The rating, therefore, reflects only the taste of a small category of TV addicts.

5.  Why has political correctness taken hold of American society?

Because everybody has something to sell and wants to expand the customer base.

6. Why is there no peace between Jews and Palestinians in Israel?

Because there is no single continuous border between them. The settlements and disconnected territories are like oil in water: they can be prevented from separation into two distinct areas only by constant shaking. In other words, the border between the two peoples is too long for the area.

The same reason may be responsible for possible perils of globalization. In physical language, the phenomenon  is ominously called surface tension.  It was definitely responsible for the post-Yugoslavian turmoil.

7. Why is the level of education in many public high schools so low?

Because the teachers are paid while the education is free.

8. Why is that liberalism, in the form of unbalanced varieties of pacifism, primate of  equality over distinction, freedom over duty, and minority over majority, spreads so wide in rich Western nations?

Because the liberal believes that he or she personally will profit from the benefits of the liberalism without paying for it. See Essay 16. In poor countries, an individual profits from belonging to the tribe or crowd and following the leader.


9. Why is the world fragmenting into ever smaller states on the pretext of national or religious independence?

Because in any independent state, however small, there are a room for the head of state and money for his salary and staff.  At the same time, in a smaller state there is a better chance for an average resident to have a friend or a relative in the government. Everybody has something to gain.

10. Tenure at universities was long ago invented and introduced to guarantee academic freedom, including freedom of opinion, dissent, and research.

 I do not question tenure, but I have the answer:

                    Because tenure does not guarantee grants.

11. Is there a simple reason for the anti-war protests after September 11, when the war came not to the other end of the earth but to the homeland?

        As Dostoevsky said, it is easy to love those far away, but it is a challenge to love your neighbor. Even this reason, however, is too complex.

        The  easiest love is the love of yourself. Young people are afraid of the possible change of the lifestyle, hardships of war, and military draft.

12. What could be a possible reason for educated well-to-do people like Osama bin-Laden and  Ayman al-Zawahiri to give up prospects of comfortable life, engage in ultimate violence, and challenge America?

        This seems to be the most dazzling problem for many Americans. Are the Arabs made of a different stuff? Are they fervent believers in God? Hardly.

        Answer: The prospects of even more comfortable and glorious beyond imagination life in the future.

        They could have that life as the leaders of a World Islamic Empire (actually, a kind of Commonwealth) with the center in Saudi Arabia,  where the Muslim countries would preserve formal independence but be guided by the custodians of the most holy sites under the gun of their own fundamentalists. Only that game could be worth the candles.

13. Why do the political opponents unite behind President in times of external conflict?

        Because it is not about competing philosophies of spending money.

14. Why cannot the sides in the Palestinian-Israeli and Pakistani-Indian conflicts come to an agreement?

        Because each side expects the opponent to be smarter and learn faster than itself.

15. Why is death such an unpopular subject in America?

        Because the dead do not purchase Things.

        For the same reason, Paradise has little attraction. What can you buy there?

16.  The US two-party system has been so impenetrable. Why?

        Because even a small third party would be the most powerful one in Congress, manipulating the voting balance. To buy it would not be cheap.

 17.  Why are the books written by patients on illness, sanity, and recovery   in such a big demand?

Because people do not trust their doctors.

18. Why does the opposition to Darwinism find such support in America, the paradise of science, technology, and higher education?

Because whatever is true—creationism or Darwinism—it seems to be about the long gone past and has nothing to do with making money today.

19.  Why has the US been holding on to its membership in the United Nations in spite of an evident political and moral incompatibility with authoritarian, clerical, or just egotistic regimes in the majority of the UN members?

Because for a government it is much easier to deal, one way or another, with a powerful leader than with an unrestrained, unruly, and unpredictable democracy, whether outside or in its own country.

20. What is the simple reason for the stock market crash of 2000-2??? 

The virtual reality is not the same as reality, but it has been all the public could see. In the last ten years of the twentieth century it was as hard to escape the virtual reality as the commercials on network TV. It has been hard enough to find reality, but much harder to tell one from the other.  It is incomparably easier to create the covering-its-tracks and self-destructive virtual reality with computers and the Internet. This reason applies also to presidential elections.

21. What was the simplest reason for the movement against the war with Iraq?

The reason is ideology: life is good, death is bad, war is death, war is bad. To subscribe to an ideology is very simple because any ideology is a substitute for complexity and does not require any specific information as a reason to join the ranks. If seven out of ten of your friends do something, most probably, you will do too. On the contrary, a person in the position of leadership and management—which puts all the friends at a natural distance—must make a decision basing on the sense of responsibility, as well as on tons of secret, incomplete, uncertain, and contradictory information. Ideology is not supposed to go into any details—to spare the burden of thinking is the main function of ideology—and may save and kill with equal zeal.

22. Why was the war with Iraq started?

Because in democracy, with its frequent elections and term limits, only those decisions that could be implemented fast have any chance to succeed during the term of presidency. Otherwise, the next guy can steal the success.  In the culture of optimism, failure is never a possibility.  But if **it happens, you can drop it off at the next guy's door.

23. What is the driving force behind the anti-globalization movement?

The subconscious realization that globalization will erode the Western standard of living and freedoms. One does not need to be a professor of physics to draw a lesson from a hot cup of coffee cooling down in a cold room with no effect on the room. Moreover, somebody will have to be drafted and given a gun to fight for a hot cup of coffee.

All great ideas come not from logic but from subconsciousness.

24. What  is the secret of Noam Chomsky's influence, however limited?

He possesses the so rare in the modern world gift of artistic eloquence, which makes you see what is not there.

            25. Why is America so much unlike Europe?

At least after the Roman Empire, Europe never knew the phenomenon of open frontier on its land. America never knew monarchy on its soil. With monarchy comes refinement. With the open frontier comes the sense of eternal playful youth. (Is this two simple reasons or one?)        

    26. Why do they hate us?

As for the Muslim fanatics, the reason is the simplest of all: the negative attitude toward Christians and Jews is right in the suras of Koran and one does not need even ask why. The same was with the Communists: the expropriators should be expropriated.  But need no despair. Let us distinguish between human thought, never directly observable, and its display in speech and behavior. When I lived in the Soviet Russia, I never saw a sincere America-hater, although to be one was required by the Communist faith.  Voltaire: "One great use of words is to hide our thoughts."

    27. But why do we hate ourselves?

Because by ourselves we mean personally anybody but ourselves.

            28.   Why do we  fear death so much in America?

Not so much because we fear the loss of our life—this is unavoidable and even sugar-coated by religion—but because we lose all our possessions, contrary to the principle: the more you have the more you will add to it. This is really the end of the world

          29. Why do  we  deny an easy death to other people?
See Simple Reason 27.

          30. Why did I, an independent, voted in 2000 for Bush II, with all my democratic and liberal sympathies?

The answer is: TV.  The TV screen is flat and it shows only the surface of things.  Not only do we vote for actors instead of real leaders, but we forget that the script precedes the play in TV while the play runs ahead of the script in real life. There is a big consolation: only half of the voters were as stupid as I was. Sorry! Hey, but now our guys have better hair! I swear to make the same mistake again (now = 2004).

          31. Regardless  the previous, what could be a possible valid justification behind the decision to attack Iraq?
I am a chemist and I know that chemical technology is like a cookbook: it contains all the necessary information for making a pizza. It is absolutely of no importance whether somebody has a stale pizza in the form of the stockpile of chemical and biological weapons. If there is a technological recipe, the meal can be made from scratch. Chemical and biochemical equipment is essentially the same as pots and pans in the kitchen. Surprisingly, nobody, as far as I know, mentioned that. Not even Bush himself.  So, next time, do not show a vial with white powder. Show a textbook. But the vial looks better on TV.  Do not generalize it over pizza: it looks better than the cookbook.

          32. Individualism is in the very foundation of American spirit. Nevertheless, millions of Americans worship pop gods, work like ants to keep up with the Johnses, and build the web of connections. Why?

Individualism is incompatible with large crowds of people fighting for a limited resource. An individual has no chance against the crowd, whatever the movies claim. America started as a scarcely populated country. Self-reliance was a  necessity. Today it is just a myth because only the resources of pollution are unlimited.
            Besides, individualism and totalitarianism are the opposite ends of a continuous scale.

         33. Why would some people in America want to weaken, if not eliminate, Social Security?
They are true American patriots. Without SS there will be more poor people, the USA will depend less on cheap foreign labor and outsourcing,  the traditional American values will be strengthen, and America will stop rolling downhill or falling apart or both.

          34.  But why do the same people want to strengthen religion?

Well, it is obvious. If you make the government weaker, you need a strong hand anyway to keep the flock together.

        35.  Why is religion so wide spread in America?

Because it has become a technologically advanced industry. It may not be opium for the people anymore, but it is certainly like soap for the soul.  This soap business is not taxed.

         36. Oh, no! Not everybody has dirty soul! Why are people genuinely attracted to the places of worship?

Automobile has been dispersing and scattering people for a hundred years.  The place of worship pulls them together. It has no wheels.   

         37. Why do we in the modern West have problem with any war?  War has been considered normalcy for millennia.

It is the identification with the enemy. We are humans, they are humans.  We become our own enemy.

       38.  But  why is that the right wing has no qualms about war?

To have no qualms is the definition of the right wing.  Therefore, the ultra-left wing of the left wing is the right wing.

      39.  In 2004 George W. Bush was one of the most vulnerable candidates on memory.  Why was he elected?

Because the majority of voters cast their ballots for him. But it is a big mistake to believe that the American President is elected by the majority. In fact, the President is brought to power by the power of voters (P) which is the number of potential voters for him (V)  times the turnout  (T), i.e., fraction of them who actually comes to the polls : P = V × T. This is not quite simple, but still a reason.

        40. Why was suicidal terrorism successful in New York?

First,  very complex reasons, just so that you could see how simple the simple reason is.

The branches of intelligence did not communicate, the Congress had little supervision over the intelligence, the suicide bomber is the most perfect weapon ever, endowed with human intelligence, blah-blah-blah.

Now the simple reason. The  American civilization, oriented toward maximal business freedom, enhances any business activity fueled by money.  Whatever you want to do, sell pornography,  play Shakespeare,  build a nursing home, or blow up the White House, the system will work for you until the moment  people discover it works against them. This moment comes post factum, which is rather late. Modern terrorism is a social parallel of the viral infection, in which a simple low life form uses the sophisticated biochemical apparatus of the cell to destroy it.

      41. Forget the reasons! How can we protect ourselves against terrorism?

Terrorism is similar to AIDS. That the virus reproduces and multiplies itself by killing cells while the terrorist dies in the act, does not matter. This leaves us nothing by a social condom to prevent the terro-AIDS. This is why Israel is building the condom wall. All the more, democracy has always suffered some weakness of  immune system. But the vitamins won't help.

Am I right or what? Left?

        42. If the reasons are always simple, why do we mess everything up so often?

The reasons are simple, but the solutions are complex. To find out the reason takes one mind, but to implement a solution takes many. In spite of all the drama, family law somehow works because it involves very few people.

August 31, 2005.

        43.  Pope John Paul II was a modern man, highly educated, intelligent, and well  familiar with the unstoppable pace of history. Why did he so stubbornly resist any liberalism in birth control?

Simple reasons are always deep and hidden. Exactly  because of the reasons listed above he understood well that with the unstoppable pace of global history the Christians, and the Western Civilization with them, have the worst chances to survive unless there is a drive to multiply. Things and goods eat children. Things and goods have no faith. But children may have it. So, we have to start with children.   

        44. What is the simple reason behind the European Union?

EU means a discovery of America in Europe.

Modern capitalist country can be rich if there is a reservoir of poverty that maintains the gradient between rich and poor. This gradient has been supplied by the immigrants from former colonies. At some point the leaders of Europe realized that sooner or later the infertile Western Civilization would be absorbed or at least eroded by the influx. As the Communism had fallen, the gold mine of the East European poverty, which is Christian, White, and therefore Western, suddenly came to the surface, wide open for the continental drive to the East.

      45. Why are people rarely honest about simple reasons?

Money does not smell. Simple reasons do.

      47. Why did the USSR fall? 

Because designed for isolation from the world, it slightly opened borders to goods,  people, and ideas, in other words, to globalization.

A big misconception about globalization is to ignore that national constitutions and laws have no global power. The strongest wins. Globalization is indeed a global gamble. The most  likely political outcome is  the competition between the democratic camp and the strongest ever authoritarian camp, with an axis  China-Russia-AIC, where AIC stands for Authoritarian Islamic Countries. 

     48. Why could globalization be a threat to America?

Because the Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of Dependence (i.e., globalization, outsourcing, reliance on external energy and talents) do not seem to walk hand in hand.

     49. Why hydrogen as source of energy is a hoax?

Because before hydrogen can be combined with oxygen (i.e., burned), releasing energy--about 3.75 times more than the same weight of gasoline--it must be obtained by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, which requires exactly the same energy.   Where  would it come?  Hydrogen is an environmentally friendly, although even more lawyer-friendly, "form of energy," in the same sense as gasoline, but water is not a source of energy.  There is no free hydrogen on earth.

NOTE: It has been known for 150 years that coal and water can be converted into a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen ("town gas").

    50.  Why are so many countries ahead of America in public education?

Because  education there is part of culture. Culture is part of national identity. National identity is something one cannot sell.

In America, culture is part of business. Entertainment is part of culture. Education becomes part of entertainment. Entertainment is part of culture. Culture is part of business. And so on.

    51. Why is it difficult to restore education in America? 

There is no single simple reason, but there is a simple reason for the absence of a simple reason.

American history is radically different from the history of most developed countries because it was shaped by the  phenomenon of  open frontier.  When you are on the move to a new life, culture is a means, not the end. 

    52. Why can a country of, say, 300 million lose a war against a country of 30 million?

This is simple: if the war is accompanied by a Cold Civil War, the 300 millions are fighting another 330 millions. This levels the playground.

    53. Why is freedom of religion unlike any other freedom?

Because faith is sacred. With all your freedom of speech, you cannot argue with faith.

    54. Why is America in the state of a Cold Civil War? 

Because the entire historical situation in the world, together with America's place in it, is changing. Big historical change runs always in an unknown and unexpected direction. The Great Cold Civil War is the evidence of the ambiguity of the data and the lack of consensus in their interpretations.  It is like a debate before a great scientific discovery, minus the civility of science, plus the choice of only two colors for uniforms.

     55. But why is the Cold Civil War still cold?

Nothing unites people as much as human nature and nothing separates them as much. Well, humans have not only minds, but bodies, too. One cannot put either the Bible or the multiplication table on the dinner plate. The stomach calls for evading extremes, expanding the customer base, and getting along with others. What naturally eases the tension is the spatial segregation: North and South, East and West, City and Suburbs, Red and Blue.  Unfortunately, the longer the borders, the more surface tension (see Simple Reason 6).

    56. As it has been often noted, the conservatives and religious right are usually well organized and vigorous while the liberals seem sloppy and careless. Why?

Liberals are rationalists who believe, not always rationally, in reason, logic, and proof. They think that the benefits of personal freedom are as self-obvious as 2 ×2 = 4. You cannot fight for the truth of arithmetic because it is the universally acknowledged truth. On the other side, people quite irrationally worship different religions and ideologies, none of them ever proven to be better than the other. To convince somebody  in an idea beyond proof needs some motivation, training, organization, eloquence, and a good deal of reason. Money, too.

    57. Why are people unable to draw lessons from history?

Those who could seriously warn others are actually already dead . Those who had survived could draw only a lesson of optimism.

    58. Why  are we insatiable consumers?

Because the more we have, the more we have not. For example, if we have a car, we don't have a better car.  However, if we have a car and a boat, we don't have a better car and a better boat.  

September 10, 2005

    59.  Why is America so careless?

The terrorists are not stopped before 9-11, the soldiers in Iraq are not protected in their vehicles,  space shuttle Columbia is a victim of neglect, New Orleans is not prepared against the flood, etc. Why?

This is an eternal question well beyond American experience. Why do people make costly, stupid, tragic, but predictable and avoidable mistakes?  To answer this question, let us assume that people do not make such mistakes. Could there be any simple reason for that? Obviously, not, which answers the question.  Something always goes wrong in a complex system. But see Simple Reason 71.

    60. But why all that falls on a single presidency?

Probably, the president  is too simple for the complex system.

    61. Why is our world so complicated?

Why, indeed? Each  elementary act of our life is simple: make a choice between two alternatives. The complexity comes only from the number of binary choices, which leads to a staggering number of combinations.

The presidential election is comfortably minimalist, like the choice of soup or salad.  Most people stick to their habits, unless somebody persuades them that one is better than the other. 

    62. Why should we watch out for simple people in the government?

Beware of simple people: they have only one goal. Most probably, it is different from yours, while a complex person may have a common ground with you as well as with your neighbor. 

    63. Why then do we elect a simple person to lead a complex system?

This is natural if we don't like our neighbor.

    64. Whatever history will say about George W. Bush, he has exacerbated the antagonism between parts of American society along many lines. There are plenty of reasons, but what is the simplest?

President's priorities have been to serve the team of people who ensured his election first, his party second, and the people third. To put it differently, the reason is the centrifugal order of priorities: from himself to the periphery. Great leaders do it the other way around, so that they have to unite the periphery first. 

    65. Why do we cherish democracy so much if it does not prevent large scale blunders?

In democracy you can blame only yourself. If so, the burden of guilt per person is really tiny as compared with the scale of a tragedy.   

    66. Why is equality impossible? 

All have the same value, therefore I have the same value. But it does not mean that you have the same value as I.

    67. Why is the US Supreme Court  so often split if the US Constitution is remarkably concise and clear?

Because the US Constitution is a result of an intelligent design, while the real life is result of evolution.

    68. Why do we need to know "why?"

Power comes from knowledge but knowledge comes from curiosity.

What is the simplest reason behind the resurgence of militant religious orthodoxy in various parts of the world?

A chronic dissatisfaction with the government. God as commander-in-chief could not fail.

70.  Why is there no link between money and culture?

We believe in the absolute power of money, which can bring people to the moon, win a war, feed the hungry, solve a problem, and elect a president. We are blessed with the singularity and transparency of money. Money is the simplest reason of all. All currencies are mutually convertible.  The most irrational thing in modern society is not to be tempted by money.

Culture by definition is irrational, like the deer's antlers and peacock's tail. This is why we are blessed with the diversity of the world.  But this is why there is no link between money and culture, unless by culture we mean the culture of money. 


    September 23, 2005

    71. The world becomes more complex, but our knowledge grows and people are still assigned to manage limited projects. Why do people in charge so often lose imagination and fail as result?

Because  people who are in charge today have been living all their lives in the age of TV, the supreme killer of imagination. No wonder, both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have demonstrated the loss of imagination on catastrophic scale.  See also Simple Reason 59.

    72. If  individualism is an essential part of American mentality, why is religious, social, and racial identity, i.e., belonging to a larger crowd, is equally important?

The question should be reversed: why do we believe in individualism if collectivism is the most ancient human attribute?

Because individualism is a myth. Myth always contradicts reality, but it is fit to be believable.

    73. Why is the phenomenon of open frontier so crucial for American history?

Because it made the myth of individualism a temporary reality.

    74. Why is the concept of a single superpower senseless?

Because the power must be proved in the contest with the equal in the same category.

    75. Why is America so anti-intellectual?

(Is it? It is more fair to ask why it seems anti-intellectual to the intellectuals. Anyway, the intellectuals have restated the question in affirmative numerous times.)

Because ideas cannot be taxed. This question leads to one of the most fascinating contradictions in the modern psyche. While few things are as repulsive for us as tax, anything that cannot be taxed is regarded worthless.

    76. Why has the war with Iraq failed the expectations of its initiators?

The simplest reason of all is incompetence. Unless you are Noah, you cannot be required competence regarding unique catastrophic events, like flood in a big city, but guerilla insurgents have been fighting regular armies throughout the entire human history, so that there is no excuse. Paradoxically,  there could be an excuse for the final failure: it happens all the time.

    November 28, 2005

     77. In America, financial achievements are typically glorified and revered more than intellectual ones. Why?

Brains are from God, but  you have to earn money on your own. You cannot  lose your intellectual achievement, but you can lose your money.

     78. Why is the two-party system  flawed?

Because as "there is only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous" (Napoleon) , there is only one step from the two-party  to the one-party system. Fortunately, we are watching a misstep.

       79. Why is religion successful in operating large masses of people?

Because it possesses a powerful authoritarian means of control: supervision of open rituals. On the contrary,  in a democracy the only mass secular ritual of voting is secret and cannot be easily controlled.    

     80. Why would some people stubbornly deny a failure?

It makes sense. When you have lost so much, some resilience will be a gain.

    81. For some leaders the loyalty of their inner circle is of a crucial importance. What could be the reason?

They have something to hide.

  82. Why do we as a nation need strong and invincible enemies?

    Because if an enemy is defeated, its features are kosher to borrow.

July 24, 2006

  83. Why has Israel no chance to survive against the militant Islam?
            Because of the immense numerical advantage of the enemies.

84. Why has Israel decent chances to survive against the militant Islam?

 Because of the very nature of history: historical event is the one you do not expect.

Why is America in no danger of undermining the Constitution and transforming itself into an authoritarian society?

Because of the great distance between American democracy  and authoritarian  rule.  The Constitution was designed to make such jump impossible.

86 . Why is America in danger of undermining the Constitution and transforming itself into an authoritarian society?

Because any great distance can be passed in a sequence of small easy steps.


          January 11, 2007

          87. Why would George W. Bush go against the predominant mood and expectation of the country and escalate the war in Iraq?

           Because he hopes to be stopped by the Congress and have an excuse at the trial of history.    

          88.  Why is the growth of income inequality in USA dangerous?

             Because people disappointed in social justice tend to elect demagogues.  Examples galore in space and time.


89. Why are the conservative talk shows so numerous while the liberal ones almost non-existent?

The conservative is not curious about the world because he (or she) knows what he wants and hates. The conservative is easy to be pleased by the echo of his thoughts. The liberal knows only what he hates, especially, being told what to do and what to think. He is curious about what new he could possibly like.


1. My theory belongs to a whole category of similar (but not identical) principles, the founder of which was William of Occam (or Ockham), who lived in the 14th century. His position became known as Ockham Razor:

            Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily

There is also Hanlon's Razor :

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity

I have to mention also theory of simple reasons in Artificial Intelligence, but I do not know what it is.

2.  A good example of complex reasons:

It remains for us to explain the relation between causes and motives in the everyday case in which they exist side by side. For example, I can join the Socialist party because I judge that this party serves the interests of justice and of humanity or because I believe that it will become the principal historical force in the years which will follow my joining: these are causes. And at the same time I can have motives: a feeling of pity or charity for certain classes of the oppressed, a feeling of shame at being on the “good side of the barricade,” as Gide says, or again an inferiority complex, a desire to shock my relatives, etc. What can be meant by the statement that I have joined the Socialist party for these causes and these motives?          Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness, Part Four, Chapter One, I.
A possible simple reason is in "etc.":  I was promised a position of a salaried functionary.

A simple reason does not leave any further "why."

3.  After picking Reason No.10, I got a feeling that I had read something obliquely relevant. And I found it:

There are high welfare categories as well as low ones. Some professors work hard, said the Dean. Most of them do. But a professor when he gets tenure doesn't have to do anything. A tenured professor and a welfare mother with eight kids have much in common....
                                           Saul Bellow, The Deans December, 1982,  Chapter 18.
            Everybody needs grants, tenure or not.

  4.      Comments on Simple Reasons  83 to 86

Two Jews came to the Rabbi and asked to solve their dispute. The Rabbi had listened to the first Jew and said: "You are right." Then he had listened to the second Jew and said "You are also right." But the Rabbi's disciple intervened: "It is impossible for both to be right!"  "And you are right, too, my friend," the Rabbi said.  

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