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-generation Egyptians. If the person is from the group who sees that EVERY thing about Egypt is sh*t, then, the person will be more inclined to the technical cause and will go further by adding that it's induced by some carelessness on the pilot's part or the company's part. This group is mostly the younger-generation 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 their 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 sh*t and the plane is sh*t." 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 sh*t 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 sh*t 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 sh*t? 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 sh*t, but when it comes to judging things, ONLY valid, correct, and fair mentality should be applied. This is your own well-being; do not pollute it because you live in a country you consider sh*tty.
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, 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.
Ahmed El-Deeb is a Medical Computing Scientist specialized in Medical Wearables and a philosopher specialized in Applied Philosophy, Ethics, Philosophy of Science, and Existentialism. He is an editorial team member in the Philosophical Society (more...)