That Lakota phrase reflects the Great Truth – We Are All Related.
The denial of that truth, the failure to honor it is at the root of most of our self-inflicted problems.
It permits us to commit all sorts of evils, injustice, rapine, fraud, bigotry.
Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have views we have internalized to become our beliefs; we each have our individual-specific ‘confirmation bias’; our own intellectual filters which affect what we see and how we see it.
If we’re lucky, we get a little glimpse of the truth, and for most of us that’s about all we can tolerate at any one time.
The disparity between facts and our beliefs fosters the delusion of infinite growth with finite resources; the delusion that one person has more inherent worth than another; the delusion that some are entitled to a lions’s share of the world’s wealth; and the list goes on.
Those who benefit from the delusions are often not personally deluded. They know there will be a day of reckoning vis-a-vis the climate, the ecology, the economy. It’s just that they figure that whatever happens, their wealth and power will insulate them from the consequences; that only the Great Unwashed will suffer.
This is called sociopathy.
The question is what can be done to puncture the delusions – our own and others – to learn and to teach, so that people are motivated to demand and establish a better, more human and humane political, economic and social infrastructure?
As bloggers, what can we do? How can we change the mind of others?
Let me tell you a tale of a successful and totally unintentional persuasion.
In college, I majored in Linguistics and the lone professor was a very scientific chap. The department had only recently been established and the school still had several profs in the English Department who really didn’t understand the difference between the Science of Linguistics and a scholarly interest in word origins or old place names. As part of my major, I was required to take a class under a very kindly old gentleman who had always considered himself a linguist, by his definition, if not my mine. I really didn’t pay much attention in his class and did a half-assed term paper, expecting to end up with a B or even a C in the class and I was okay with that.
At some student/faculty soiree, we happened to get to chatting and I expressed an interest in word origins and how words change as languages change. This interest on my part was genuine and connected to his interest purely by coincidence (?). As we parted company he asked if his course counted toward my major and I told him it did. It was only when he asked that question that I realized I had manipulated him into giving me an A instead of the B or C I had earned.
To this day I’m not quite sure how I did it, but I know what I did: I took advantage of our common interest to establish us as ‘fellow scholars’ at some level, then somehow planted in his mind the belief that giving me an A would reaffirm his self-image as a linguist and scholar who could help another scholar.
When I look back on the process, I’m still flabbergasted and can only say, “Boy, I wish I knew how I did that!”.
I could have gotten promotions, made a fortune as a salesman or become president, depending on how high or low I set my sights.
If we can figure out how to establish a sense of commonality with those we wish to talk to and get them to accept us as equals, we may be able to bypass some of their knee-jerk responses and be a bit more open to alternative views. In this regard, the greatest failing of the Contemporary Left is having lost their ‘street creds’. We sympathize with the poor, with Labor and minorities, but we no longer share common ground simply because we do not share their plight. Beaten and jailed union pickets, Julian Assange & Bradley Manning, maced and beaten OWS protesters; people who ‘speak truth to power’ and live with the consequences, deserve and get respect.
A blog may be an odd place to say so, but laying out opinions online simply isn’t enough.
We owe the future our best effort. As someone remarked, “If we don’t change where going, we’re likely to end up where we’re headed”.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my great-granchildren to inherit the world I see looming on the horizon if things don’t change.
As people concerned about our country and our world, we need to take the gloves off and get down-and-dirty with the Power Elite.
Participate in the political process beyond just voting.
Investigate public and corporate activity when possible.
Publish wrong-doing when encountered.
Support appropriate groups.
Learn from the people who are doing it, the people who know.
Somewhere out there is an answer to every question. Find it.
Propagandize, preach, teach.
It’s the only way to change what needs changing.
It may not work, at least on your time schedule and certainly not mine (I’m an old fart), but it’s better to try something worthwhile and fail reaching for a good cause than to kick back with a glass of Montrachet and bemoan the state of affairs.
Believe me, the Koch brothers and their Think Tank intellectual goons, the fundamentalist Dominionists trying
to replace the Constitution with the bible, the Grover Norquists of the GOP don’t take the world as lightly as progressives seem to.
They work hard at keeping the world running to their benefit.
We need to work equally hard to make it run for the benefit of the larger population.
They have money and the MSM it buys.
We need to counter that by mobilizing sufficient numbers to make their billions ineffective.
And that will give us something real to blog about.