Unimaginable unrealized human potential

We appear to reach a point in our development that I think of as “calcification,” wherein opinions harden and new information cannot penetrate consciousness. I suppose it happens to all of us, and I have either experienced it and do not know it, or am in line for the event. Nonetheless, I will operate on the assumption that at this point in my life, I can be reached and persuaded with new evidence, and that information can be assembled and reassembled to yield new and better explanations than those I currently rely on to make my world view seem coherent. The world is immense and complex, and we experience so little of it no matter how much we read and pay attention. We have to be open to new ideas!

I say this because my blog discussions yesterday, here with Swede and at 4&20 with Turner and Craig Moore, are with people ahead of me in line. All three seemed impenetrable, that is, they stand poised with baseball bats to swing at anything thrown their way that might interfere with calcified opinions of … what – 40 years in Swede and Craig’s cases? Turner, confronted with new information that did not match his existing explanations of events, got up on a high horse and said “prove it to me.” I told him to use his computer, fingers and brain to investigate for himself, to which he suggested I not be condescending.

That is probably true. I do that. If it is about changing minds, it’s a quixotic quest. My attitude is that minds cannot be changed by persuasion. Most opinions have been implanted by media, are not reasoned, and are constantly reinforced in the full spectrum of news, education and entertainment. They cannot be changed. People deviate a little from the herd, and then get pulled back in. Hardly anyone examines why they “know” things. To dislodge an implanted impression requires shock, which produces cognitive dissonance, which discomfort requires adjustment and realignment of viewpoints.

The normal reaction to shock, however, is what I call the “eye flash,” wherein a defense system put in place by education, news and entertainment deflects nonconforming information much as a baseball bat sends a ball off on a long trip. I first encountered that phenomenon with a young college student who was learning how to make movies. She wanted to do a documentary on the Armenian Holocaust, which she said was the first genocide of the 20th century. I suggested to her that perhaps the US treatment of tribes in the Philippines qualified for that honor, and I noticed an eye flicker. “Does not compute. US no do genocide. Only foreigners.” That flicker was the sign that the new information has been instantly dismissed, and was deep in the left field seats.

I have no duty to prove anything to anyone. Each of us is charged with observation and investigative duties. Over the years I’ve come to understand some things and have had to change my outlook on many, many occasions, and yet still have to wonder if anything I know is true. Here’s just a brief rundown:

  • Education as we know it does not set us free. It enslaves us.
  • Most people hate freedom. Hate it. They prefer security.
  • Democracy only sort of works, and then only if there is a high level of organization, not currently present in our country.
  • News media does not report news, but rather focuses our attention as leaders desire, on some things, away from others.
  • Climate change might be real, might be an illusion. Individuals cannot affect it.
  • Climate change should not scare us, however. We’ll survive, easily.
  • Voting occasionally matters, usually on issues close to home.
  • We’re not running out of energy. We can’t. There can be incalculable potential unlocked from the atom by cold processes, shown to us in a startling way on 9/11/01.
  • In all political systems everywhere, real power is present but silent, and attempts to control all factions. Those that it cannot control, it attempts to destroy.

I got more and better stuff. We’re all unknowingly in a Stanley Kubrick film, and he’s hinting at us, poking ever so gently, because that was all he was allowed to do without himself getting killed. You think this world is strange? Oh yes, it is. Strange and fascinating. More so that we can fathom. And yet, comprehensible.

Long day, it was. But illuminating. Swede ended it on the proper note. Confronted with a comment longer than than one short paragraph, he said “Too long. Just skimmed.” “Go fuck yourself,” I responded, wanting to shorten the message for his attention span. I think he actually read that comment.

12 thoughts on “Unimaginable unrealized human potential

  1. EF Schumacher once said, “We must do what we conceive to be the right thing, and not bother our heads or burden our souls with whether we are going to be successful. Because if we don’t do the right thing, we’ll be doing the wrong thing, and we will just be part of the disease, and not a part of the cure.”

    “When gadflies feel like using a bovine analogy, they prefer to think of themselves as mavericks — animals whose only sin has been to wander off from their colleagues. They also drink upstream from the herd which, if you know anything about cattle, is not a bad idea.” Sam Smith, 1994.


    Ever consider that those you annoy the most don’t have their own blog, maybe wishing they did? In Wannabe World everybody wants to be somebody or something. The last thing a wannabe wants to do is actually do something real. Not many bloggers in your league right now. When kicking up a little dust, try not to look back when you hear that choking sound.


    1. Thanks. I don’t really have a problem with annoyance, as I get and give. But the impenetrability factor, the need to administer a shock just to cause the eye to have to do that flicker … I wonder if it is a product of television? It is, after all, a hypnotic media.

      Like the concept of drinking upstream from the herd. Palin and McCain destroyed the maverick concept for me, as there are not two more unoriginal non-thinkers in all of politics.


  2. Maverick has lost some shine, I agree. Imagine what an artist must now swim in. Everybody’s an artist, right? And they all have something important to express, and can get support for whatever they do unless it’s something “controversial” or “unsafe” or, God forbid, “political.” Like in the time of Rome’s decline, or Nazi Germany, artists must knuckle under or find “real jobs.” I hear Homeland Security is hiring.


  3. Mark, certainly, at some point, you either chose to read or were forced to read Oliver Twist, right? The most fascinating character (to me) was Fagan, a petty thief broken between his intense desire for a life of comfort and station, and the certain knowledge that those of that station would never accept him, and would do everything to rip him apart like the very cultured rabid dogs they are. The second most fascinating character (to me) was the Artful Dodger, one of Fagan’s boys, a petty pickpocket who knew what he was doing was ‘wrong’, could be hurtful, had dire consequence if he were caught, but couldn’t stop himself because he was just so goddamned good at what he did. That would be Craig Moore and Big Swede.

    Credit where it’s due. They are masters at deception, deflection, and claiming the moral high-ground, even when it’s evident that they don’t believe what they are spewing at all. Sorry, Steve, they are not ‘wannabes’. They’ve arrived and they know exactly where and exactly why. Nor do I see it as a fossilization of belief, save this: They believe that they are smarter than those they engage with. In short, Mark, they believe themselves to be doing the same thing that you do; they’re just a metric ton more successfully irritating about it. Here’s the thing, while anyone puts forth the mammoth amount of energy to break through to Swede, all he has to do is to keep the illusion that you haven’t ‘won’, ’cause that’s his end game. Look like he’s got the easier task. Notice, none of that engagement really has anything to do with what he ‘thinks’ or how he thinks. Notice this as well, the more time he spends online arguing with you, Mark, the less he can actually affect the reasoning of those around him.

    So, if nothing else, I guess one could say that you are doing us a public service, Mark.


    1. I have not read that book. It is one of many that I have not read, even as it might have been assigned.

      Here’s the thing, while anyone puts forth the mammoth amount of energy to break through to Swede, all he has to do is to keep the illusion that you haven’t ‘won’, ’cause that’s his end game.

      That is insightful.


      1. That’s too bad. Dickens was bloody brilliant. I know you’re not fan of fiction, but Charles Dickens was one of those rare subversives who was able to write more reality into his fiction than anything that has ever been written for Regnery publishing. And he did it all right under the nose of the those cultured but rabid persons of station.


        1. I ahve tremendous respect for fiction. It just does not usually sit well with me.Give me Abbey meandering down a river on a raft, I’m fine. Give me the Monkey Wench Gang, meh.

          I did read The Stranger, by Camus, and was deeply moved by it. Encouraged by that I dove into Dostoevsky, and my tires sunk and I got stuck, and I am back into NF now.


      1. unlike Swede, he reads. also, he remembers and will search out material to throw back in people’s faces. he’s really tried recently to troll 4&20. really, it’s kinda flattering.


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