Gaining Control through Vision

by

John Wright

 

Lots of people have used the tired old challenge that "someone couldnít see the forest for the trees," which simply meant that understanding the whole of anything nontrivial requires proper perspective and accompanying essential knowledge. Yes, we can be too close to a problem to understand the surrounding reasons why it exists. Thus, we focus on the problem instead of its causes, and our solutions are of short focus and they are simply palliatives, not fundamental eliminations or understandings of the sources of the problem.

So it is with the use of aspirin for a headache or fever. Most of the time it is so effective the user doesnít care how it works, why it works or even what it is. I call that type of gift serendipity for the ignorant. Yes, I am going to say there are times aspirin is useless and that the unhappiness of the user in those instances is simply one example of short focus. It is also an example of not seeing the forest, for any time we confine our interests and our knowledge only to pragmatic detail we open the door to disappointment and confusion. Real life doesnít fit into simplistic models.

I suppose we ordinary people of limited intelligence and limited education are fortunate to have the gifts bestowed upon us by the intelligent of our species, for without them we would perish while young, as did our distant ancestors.

Larger problems occur when we are both limited in our knowledge and matriculated into the larger world of real responsibility. For example, we vote. I would guess that most of us have strong opinions about anything that might be construed as controversial, whether it actually is or whether we have simply been told that it is so, ergo "hype."

 

That we have strong opinions without requisite knowledge is a terrible indictment of our objectivity. Is it not true that humility, or at least humbleness should accompany ignorance? Now that is a double-edged sword, for on one hand if we are humble we may never gain the knowledge we need. On the other hand, if we are convinced of our own superior knowledge and/or understanding, or even that we are dumb relative to those telling us what to do, we express firm opinions and so vote. Oh, my, this is a real problem. Ignorance combined with low aptitude lead to us becoming followers, not thinkers, and we know not. And we are easily led into all kinds of stupid conclusions by those smarter than ourselves, who profit from our ill-formed, incomplete and often illogical conclusions.

You might challenge me with some variation of castigation for my lack of trust of the powerful. Trust, you see, is something warranted when someone virtually always delivers what he or she promises. If you canít know for certain whether they made good on their promise, and the real cost to you to get what you paid for, you are a fool to trust them. You are also a fool to trust yourself if you blindly trust those who lead you.

Think how easily we are misled into buying the "large" box of detergent when the smaller box of a different brand has the same price. In truth, we may simply be buying more box and the same amount of detergent. It may also be true that the detergent is cut more with fillers. It may even be a less effective and cheaper chemical. Alas, all we see is the box and the advertising. Having bought the large box, how do we know quantitatively whether the detergent in it cleans our clothes as well as the other brand? We donít, for few of us would even think to design and execute a comparative and objective test.

Consider Catholicism and in particular the idea that a virgin birth is admirable while normal, ordinary people must have sex to reproduce. So the priests and nuns are elevated in their assumed level of perfection by renouncing sex. Well, we see that doesnít work given all the molested boys. More to the point, the entire notion that a natural act is the behavior of inferior people who need to be led by the abstainers is utter garbage. It is the perfect example of taking the ubiquitous and making it definitionally morally inferior. Iím amazed how stupid most of us are. And I wonder if monasteries were actually havens for practicing homosexuals.

Finally we get to the world of politics and the news media. In short, virtually all of us get our information indirectly through newspapers, magazines, radio and television. We simply donít have the opportunity to be present when important events happen, so we rely on the media to inform us. What we find if we happen to see news reporting of an event in which we were a participant or close observer is that the material presented to the general public is crafted to appeal to the mentality of a 14 year old. That is, the complex and potentially troublesome truth is run through various filters to tell a particular kind of message, not the detailed reporting of what actually happened. Of course, some information is simply not reported and that which is will be modified to suit the wants of the publisher or network. This is why so many famous people hate the news media for misquoting them or taking words out of context to create meanings the speaker never intended.

Politicians use the news media specifically to convince the public that what the politician promotes is simply the best. No room is given for counterargument and the logical and intellectual strength of the presented material is pathetic. Most of all, it is superficial thought presented with amazingly strong opinion. Opinions are treated as if they were facts in that they are not qualified with thorough and objective examples, but merely recited so many times that the audience is too numb to even think about formulating an original thought or contrarian question. We are presented lightweight unfounded or incomplete arguments as if they were manna from on high.

A thinking person finds the above realities intolerable. This means only the wealthy thinkers have their thoughts expressed in a broad public format, as we coalesce all media into ever fewer larger companies. We are worse off now than we were 150 years ago, due to the destruction of broadly circulated contrarian reporting that could stimulate readers to think. The ugly truth is that we are stimulated to not think. We are to react in pre-defined well-planned ways.

I am amazed at the audacity of our president, who in response to questions about anti-war marches and complete disdain by the intellectual community simply says that public opinion should not be the driver that decides his actions. Perhaps I have missed something important in my earlier education, but I always thought it was and is the responsibility of elected officials to reflect the wants of the people who voted them into office. Demonstrations, marches and public castigation by learned people occur when the elected person(s) vary too far from the morals and beliefs of the citizenry. President Bush has turned a deaf ear to USA citizens and to his counterparts in almost all of the rest of the world. I am dumbfounded with his arrogance.

Last, let me casually mention the rotten state of our economy. Our stock markets have now been on a downslide longer than that experienced in the Great Depression of the 1930ís. Exceptionally low interest rates are having almost no effect. Each month the number of unemployed continues to rise, and we will soon be above 7% as the unemployment rate, which if measured in the same manner as was done in the 1930ís would yield the unbelievable number of 10%. We conveniently have eliminated an estimated 3% of the people from our reported statistics by categorizing them as "permanently unemployable."

Given the above realities, most of us are reeling and dizzy. Too many negative situations are occurring at the same time, such that we canít seem to wrap our minds around the totality and come up with global political and local economy strategies that have any reasonable chance of working. Being out of control means we are living in a world of chaos instead of one of developed and implemented reason, purpose and strategy towards building a good future for the entire human race.

We need vision to get beyond chaos, and that is the only way we can again be in control of our destiny. Unfortunately, our leaders are spending almost all their time coming up with wrong answers to inappropriate questions. Worse, most of us are too ill informed, poorly educated and of questionable intellect to help. All we can do is watch while our historical values and economic success are destroyed in the name of political control of the masses here and globally on behalf of the wealthy.

The few who do see beyond the present and who are not part of the current power structure must now wait for failure on the part of the "leaders" to provide a window of opportunity for change. False pride inevitably brings down the powerful because they are woefully inadequate in their vision and their values. In the meantime, many commoners suffer. I have the vision to avoid our endless repetition of stupid behaviors, as provided in Destiny. I wish I had the means to shorten the path to that vision so that we might control our destiny.