Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Is Not Conservation Essentially the Quintessential Conservative Position?

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.

Recognizing Resistance

There are clues in the behavior of others when they seem reluctant to buy into whatever it is you are trying to communicate.  If you ignore the warning signals, you risk communication to shut down just as would the engine of your car if you take no responsibility when warning indicators light up.

Instead of looking into the reasons why resistance is coming from the other person, some of us often simply seek an explanation.  Before man had any knowledge of yeasts, bacteria and other microbes, a theory of spontaneous generation seemed like a good explanation for things like infections, and fermentation.  It just wasn’t true.

It is good to have empathy, and wish to look inside yourself for why you might be cautious in the same situation where another person is expressing some concern.  But beware of the risk of presuming the other person is driven by the same wants, and therefore the same fears that account for your own behavior.  In fact, the other person may not be like you at all in some ways you might otherwise think they are, and therefore take for granted something that just isn’t true at all.

By “explaining”, I refer to the rationale of using presuppositions already accepted as if they are the same as fact rather than looking for the facts that could support a thesis or argument.  Here’s an example of what I mean:

John is telling Bill about his proposal for a departmental realignment, which includes the merger with another department: Bill’s.

John is known for his enthusiasm, and always puts out a maximum effort to get involvement from other team members.  John sees the project resulting in a high level of both corporate and customer approval.  John’s approach to Bill is on the assumption that Bill is driven to want the same things.  John thinks everybody should want the same things he does.  No matter how much John would want it to be that way, it just isn’t true.

Bill is known for his thorough planning.  He is cautious of change until he has had a chance to study all the ramifications of it.  That process is important to him, because to take action without understanding the variables is wrong.  Bill, more than anything else, hates to be wrong.

Here is what is likely to happen:

Bill, in an attempt to gather more information, especially data forewarning of risks and hazards that could come from the realignment and merger, is going to avoid any deadline, and he is also likely to avoid John.  The more John shows his enthusiasm for the project, the more Bill will see him as impulsive.  John will continue to call team meetings, which Bill sees as a waste of time because Bill feels he can produce more accurate information if allowed to work alone.

Bill’s reluctance to be a “team player” makes John tense, and the tension shows.  He tries to assert himself by cornering Bill, and telling him he is just being too analytical.  While there may be some truth to that, Bill will see it as an attack.  Bill is analytical, but for John to call him that in such a manner generates no more benefit than if he’d just called him “Obstinate”.  Unless the conflict between John’s need for applause, and Bill’s need to not be wrong can be resolved, the project could be in trouble.  Because of failing to make it work, John and Bill could be in trouble, too.

It’s good to understand some things about your own style of behavior, but also the styles of the others around you.  More than that, you need to see how others view your style in the workplace.  You can tell a lot by simply paying attention to how they act around you.  Find good adjectives to describe the observable behavior of others.  Make a list of them, but make sure you only keep the non-judgmental ones.  The risk of being judgmental could undermine any validity in your findings.  Take the time to see how these words modify something positive you notice about others.

A positive comment about how a co-worker went about a task, and especially because it was uniquely associated with the talents that person brings to the team, will go a long way towards understanding, cooperation, and mutual commitments to help each other get what you both want.  Don’t over-do it!  Flattery is not the same thing as a compliment, and can often be seen as little more than pandering.

Who are John and Bill?  Though they are models from a real life scenario I observed in the late 1980’s, on some days, they are both a significant, and often quite noticeable…part of me.