When it comes down to the politically polarized issues about our environment, a good many people seem to be arguing about things outside their understanding. It isn’t a new practice; it’s been going on for thousands of years–millions perhaps if you go back to the early beginnings of the hominids. About 95% of our population is scientifically illiterate (according to Dr. Carl Sagan), and consequently fearful about what they don’t understand.
It is because of what they don’t know (and do not want to know), that they will presume to get their conclusions from other people. The overwhelming majority are phobics, and as a large subset, get their opinions, not from research, or study, but from accepting the ideas presented to them by their bullies (dominators). And as long as certain dominators are blinded by the prospects of a hugely profitable immediacy, the inability to postpone gratification, one of the basic character flaws found in individuals and societies as a whole, they will passionately pursue those profits, and support a campaign program of perception management to keep their phobic followers seeing everything as simple, and in some way similar to a pep-rally at a high school football game. To them, it is just easier to see it as a game. And during games, they will yell: “Hooray for our side!”
Some are not convinced, in the face of data they literally do not understand, that if we must err, it would be wiser to err on the side of caution. Strangely enough, they have been convinced (which should give any reasonably bright person a clue to what is happening) that protecting the earth, air, and water in some natural way that can sustain life is some kind of communist plot. At the same time, the delusion has now spread so far as to insist conservation itself, which is the ultimate conservative position, is somehow a bad idea.
Furthermore, it is presumed bad by those who externalize good and bad to things outside themselves, especially if they do not understand them. What makes it easy for dominators to benefit from such idiocy is the very nature of the phobics. It is common for them to fear what is framed as “the opposition”, and fear it vehemently more so if it is not understood, or if at all, not very clearly.
And what irrational fear seems so profoundly expressed so loudly and so often? What more so than the in-your-face insistence of an idea from someone seen to be of an opposing political or religious ideology? In fact, since that very angst drives humans to become passionate about war, it appears that fears associated with threats they recognize (though not always rationally) to the fabric of their beliefs, will overwhelm even the fear of the loss of life and limb. You’ve seen it in lots of places. I’ve seen it on fields of battle. You can find lots of evidence to support what I just said, if you’ll just look for it.
In the meantime, while incidences of melanoma continue to rise, while a glacier in Nova Scotia continues to melt risking thermal dynamic alterations to The Gulf Stream, while crude oil still leaks into the lower part of that Gulf Stream, while humans and their children have flammable liquids come into their homes through their kitchen faucets, since what was once thought to be an unlimited source of food in our oceans seen now to be endangered and very finite, while we continue to breathe air so unlike the air from just a mere century ago, people turn their backs to the problem, primarily because…they don’t even understand it? And all of these things are happening whether anyone is willing to admit it, or not.
Oh, these issues are likely to bring sickness, pain, and death to some of the children and grandchildren of our people, but it is much easier to just not think about it than to risk the odd chance of becoming aware of the possibility that some things may have already gone too far. And to turn our backs and not stand up to face these adversities is not a very responsible, or even a brave thing to do. When others are seen to be not facing, and even hiding from things that could threaten them, it is often observed as the essence of cowardice, isn’t it? Maybe we here in the home of the brave, should think about that a little bit.
I thought of some apparent confusions about irrational fearfulness and bravery the other day while looking at a photograph of a man carrying an AR-15 with him to the grocery store. Imagine so many other people going to buy their daily bread without so much as a pocket knife on them. Is it that they do not understand all the imminent dangers omni-present all around them? Or instead, are they just enjoying the freedom that is found only in a peaceful mind? And perhaps to some, is that not a peacefulness passing far beyond what others might have developed as skills, or ever made habits to even begin to understand? Well, of course it is.
Human life exists on this planet, as does lots of other kinds of life, due to delicate balances within nature itself. Some want to believe all this life, all this nature, is the good work and good gifts to us from an unerringly good Deity, yet they would trash it? Hardly makes sense when you think about it. But to think about it and want to understand requires an effort. Those who are lazy with ideas and only want to stand on those built by someone else, some authority they’ve acquiesced their rights to self-reliant thought processing, will not think about it without becoming irrational, thus angry and even hateful. Peacefulness, a by-product of understanding, is not the business of those willing to be enslaved by their own misunderstandings.
So the fearful will be sedated by the empty promises of their dominators, and remain faithfully in hope of being lead to safety. And absolutely nothing outside those empty promises will be of any long-term benefit to the phobics, or to their children.
“Stop worrying about these rumors you’re hearing about Agent Orange. It’s just a defoliant, and cannot cause any harm to people or other animals.”
~ Lt. Commander (name withheld), Civil Engineer Corps, USN, 1969, just outside DaNang, Vietnam. I remember it well.