Being that I live in a sewer and am known for my lack of hygiene, I don’t often get out to the movies and they won’t install cable for me. However, I have subscribed to Netflix, so I can see movies and television shows, although they’re what you used to call “reruns”.
As I watch the political goings on, I am struck by the mob mentality. Mob might be a bit strong, but I believe someone once called it group-think. The phenomenon is that members of a group tend to surrender their individuality in order to fit in. Instead of using critical thinking and logic, they go with the prevailing opinion of the group.
The reason I mentioned Netflix is because I can’t say it better than how it was explained in Men in Black:
J: People are smart.
K: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.
MIAMI — In his first public appearance since the strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran, President Trump rallied his evangelical Christian base of supporters on Friday, portraying himself as the restorer of faith in the public square and claiming that God is “on our side.” (MSN.com)
Throughout history, one of the most popular–and effective methods for gaining power and influence has been to use hate and fear. People will unite against a threat better and faster than uniting in support of an ideal. Oftentimes the hate was aimed at a minority with claims that “they” were controlling wealth. “They” were a threat to everyday people. “They” would soon take over.
One group who were cast as “they” were the Jews, and not just by Hitler in the twentieth century. The middle ages are rife with similar examples. In the aftermath of the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan not only targeted Blacks, but also Jews and Catholics. “They” were different and if “they” gained power, “they” would upset the status quo.
Are the Jews being targeted again, today?
This isn’t fear of a group as much as it is fear of change. People often say, “The only constant is change.” Their mouths say those words, but neither their minds nor their hearts accept it. Their stance is, “You can have my perception of reality when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.” The more warped the perception, the more fiercely they defend it.
In the meantime, they happily suspend reality and hold on to false beliefs–beliefs based on unfounded fear and undeserved hate. People defend their egos from bruising by lying to themselves. They use whatever means necessary, including, murder, theft, lies, and the other tools of hate.
If there is one person one should be honest with, it is one’s self.
If you ever read about me you know that history claims that I lived in either a sewer or a large pot. Trust me, it was a sewer. If you live in a large pot, before too long, it becomes a sewer.
However, that was my choice. After all, I was a legitimate and, in fact, esteemed philosopher. I am credited with being a major force in developing the philosophical discipline known as cynicism. Me, being a cynic, suspect that you don’t believe that.
Observing events in your time, I must admit it adds great credence to the importance of the cynical philosophy. In fact, while every age needs a certain amount of healthy cynicism, your age will never be cynical enough.
But I digress.
I was thinking, after seeing political, social, and religious interactions over the past decade, how I am perfectly adapted to live in this time. If I had lived in your here and now, I would have readily eschewed my desire to find an honest man. It was a fool’s errand in my time, and today, um, well . . . .
Today, it is often not the person with a powerful title who has power; the power is frequently wielded by those who whisper in the leader’s ear–those once called the powers behind the throne.And, indeed, a throne it is.
If I lived in this day and age I could . . . .
No. Never mind.
I miss my sewer.
Your president tweeted* about a young lady who has taken a stand in favor of protecting the environment.
Apparently, she has admitted to Aspbergers, a “disorder” that often afflicts brilliant scientists, engineers, and computer programmers and allows them to focus intently on their work. However, the ability to focus on one thing often makes social interaction challenging. (“Sorry about not engaging in small talk–I’m trying to understand a quantum mechanics algorithm.”)
The president’s tweet said, “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend!”
She should take his advice to heart–after all, this advice comes from an individual who has significant experience with anger issues as well as extreme difficulty interacting socially.
I guess she did. Her reply? “A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”
* Are those who use Twitter, Twits?
In business, there is the Peter Principle, which states that people in an organization will be promoted until they reach their level of incompetence, after which they will neither be promoted nor demoted. A good clerk, for example, might be promoted to team leader. If successful as a team leader, the next step is supervisor. If less than successful as a supervisor, that former clerk will stay a supervisor. In other words, the cream rises until it sours.
Kings, lords, emperors, and other high personages seem somehow to reach incompetence whether appointed, anointed, or elected without bothering with the intermediate steps. However, the Huns and the Visigoths were interesting, the Borgias intriguing, and the Japanese Shoguns fascinating.
Unfortunately, the current crop seems not to include any exceptional people. No style. No grace. No culture. Almost all of them are cut from the same bolt of cloth.
I can’t adequately describe their approach, but a great philosopher sums it up well:
“I didn’t do it. No one saw me do it. You can’t prove anything.
– Bart Simpson
Since, by virtue of being dead and long gone, I am not impacted by your government’s activities, I can watch them with enjoyment as nothing more than entertainment.
People are being appointed by your president as federal judges who have never engaged in the judicial process to any real level. Have they tried a case? No. Have they deposed witnesses? No. Have they examined or cross-examined a witness? No.
Hey. it’s only a judge. What difference could they possibly make?
Let’s shift professions–if you needed surgery, would you be comfortable if your surgeon:
Had never performed surgery?
Had never decided whether a patient needed surgery?
Had never taken care of a patient after their surgery?
Hey, it’s only a surgeon. What difference could it possibly make?