Part II: Believers
“People say they love truth, but in reality they want to believe that which they love is true.” Robert J. Ringer
I believe most people become annoyed and even angry when you don’t believe as they do because they want assurance that if they are wrong, they are not alone. Friendships have been lost and wars have been fought simply for the sake of convincing, coercing, or outright forcing people to buy into the beliefs of others. Regardless of their social standing, ethnicity or education, people are not comfortable or happy unless everyone around them thinks and believes as they do. When people climb out on the believers’ limb, they do not want to be alone, and they will do whatever it takes to bring others out on that limb with them. However, lately, it seems the vast majority of people need little convincing or coercing to climb out on that limb no matter how outrageous or precarious.
To be socially accepted in the circles they travel, people in general have little problem believing in anything that is thinkless [sic] or void of common sense. For example, look at television commercials. Every year, the public spends billions of dollars on gadgets advertised to make their life easier and more enjoyable: gadgets that let them listen in on private conversations through walls a block away (Can you say voyeurism, eavesdropping, or unethical?), gadgets such as X-Ray glasses that supposedly allow you to see through fabric or clothes (Can you say perverted?) and health gadgets such as elastic belly wraps guaranteed to peel away the fat by simply wearing the device daily (Can you say gullible?). People are born believers in anything that guarantees them an easy solution to righting their perceived or actual inadequacies. They buy into TV commercials, clearly biased news reporting, hearsay, stealth politics and even peer pressure in their continuous quest for anything that helps them “fit in,” fixes them or promises to bring truth and happiness into their lives.
The problem is that people too often tend to blindly embrace fabricated truths. But, unless you are willing to subject yourself to ridicule and abuse, it is best to allow them to indulge in their delusions or fantasies of reality. They are hurting no one but themselves and maybe their pocketbooks; therefore, sometimes the best remedy for ignorance is to not nurture it by ignoring it. But, unfortunately there are times when ignoring ignorance is like feeding plague pellets to rats; the ignorance infection grows out of control even faster. In today’s society, there is no shortage of people willing to blindly wallow in ignorance. Isaac Asimov said, “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” In an age of convenience, the only sword of knowledge some people possess is their ignorance. They sometimes flaunt their ignorance under the flags of individual rights, religion, and what is politically correct. Why? I believe Thomas Edison explained it best when he said, “Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.” In today’s society, it is easier to accept ignorance as a fact than it is to use common sense and brain power to invalidate the stupid, the ignorant, and the ridiculous. Thinking has become too much work for a society more interested in being entertained, patronized, sanctified, and politicized.
So, what can be done? Probably nothing! Of course, it would be best for everyone if shallow thinkers simply went back to school and started over. We have Head Start programs for underprivileged children, so why not have a Restart program for underprivileged adults who are intellectually and common sense challenged? It certainly would not be difficult to identify candidates for such a program. The beliefs people embrace are often the biggest clue that they desperately need to unplug and reboot – THEY NEED TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL!
You might need to go back to school if . . . .
- You believe you can deal with stupid people by arming yourself with knowledge;
- You believe Preparation-H shrinks wrinkles;
- You believe in the first and second amendments, but not the pursuit of “life, liberty, and happiness” for all people;
- You believe yoga is an evil practice and Harry Potter is an evil book designed to trick people into joining the dark side;
- You believe you can change a stupid person’s mind by lowering your standards and looking at life from his/her perspective;
- You believe in Rumpology or “bottom reading” as a legitimate science. If you do, maybe you can tell me why I get this sudden pain in my right rump cheek when I am around you, or maybe that does explain it;
- You believe in Urine Therapy! Here’s drinking to your health;
- You believe everything you read on the Internet, Facebook, and Rolling Stone;
- You believe adults don’t urinate in swimming pools; and
- You believe it is okay to share your opinions, but take offense when others share theirs.
I doubt such a list will strike a personal nerve with any of my readers, but if you recognize a friend, relative, or acquaintance in any of these ten items, please help that person enroll in the nearest school as soon as possible. Your sanity and mine may well depend on it.
©Jack Linton, May 11, 2015
Coming in future weeks:
Part III: You might need to go back to school if . . . . for Politics
Part IV: You might need to go back to school if . . . . for the Gullible
Part V: You might need to go back to school if . . . . for the Simple Minded