WORDS: 1,683 — It wasn’t so much that I was burned out from blogging or had some level of writer’s block. No… I stopped simply because I could. It’s generally a good idea for anyone to take leave for a while to find purpose in something, or to even catch up on things more important than blogging (there are, btw). I can’t say I “found myself” with my absence (at my age I better not get lost in the first place), but I went down a different blogging avenue for a while (and I even engaged in some real-life endeavors to get me away from here!).
The only other post on this blog is the last one I made nearly nine months ago, still listed here. I’ve left it to provide some level of continuity. All my previous posts have been removed from this blog simply to present a new beginning of sorts, with a revised theme of focusing on applied critical thinking processes to find the context of issues rather than siding with blanket statements. While I might have some personal slant toward human behaviors and humanism… I am certainly no “guru” nor does anything I say go beyond being simply my opinion. I am not projecting myself as some sort of educator. I am presenting myself as being one of 340 million Americans with an opinion that matters little in the real world… or if you prefer, the grand scheme of things.
The whole idea in blogging is to say what you want to say, posting it to the world, and try and get like-minded people to pay attention to you… well, to agree with you. Opinion bloggers are the worst (of which I am one). It’s a mindset that thrives on attention… the numbers of hits, visits, and followers, as well as people posting replies to your sage posts, affirming what you said as if you were some deity of wisdom descended from the heavens to set everyone straight.
On the other hand… there’s something to be said for blogging being a bit therapeutic. If you have garbage building up inside of you that you just need to get out to an uncaring world, blogging serves the purpose. I don’t claim to be any better at blogging than the next guy and I am human enough to have entertained all those human reasons for blogging at various times. But for me it’s far more about a level of sharing ideas and opinion in order to learn how others think… and to consider fine-tuning my own ideas. This is part of the humanist/behavioral “thing” I have about people in general (yep, I even subscribe to Psychology Today, et al).
What I Have Found
Some of my (really supportive) regular readers were around during my last couple blog endeavors in response to the last couple elections and the percolating political scene here in America, and know of my general anti-Trump fervor. But my absence from the scene allowed me to appreciate another angle to all this… venturing in to the actual “lion’s dens” (not the good blogger of the same name) of Conservative discourse, and actually engaging in their thought processes. It’s been a learning experience, and, while you wouldn’t think I’d last 5 minutes in their world with my non-MAGA/Trumpian preferences before getting booted, it was a challenge to stay with them simply using my relatively non-confrontational approach. Oh for sure I was generally the magnet for all the MAGA jocks and jockettes to vent their anger and rage… but there were times I managed to tame the beast enough to learn something beyond just the Neanderthal-ic emotion.
What I Have Learned From All This…
It’s often stated that our current political and social divide is based on a form of political and cultural tribalism; the idea that we cluster with those who have our same outlooks and perceptions of the world, and together we point our fingers to cast blame on others who differ from us. All this is nothing but languishing in the world of fear. Social networking, and blogging in general, provides the echo chambers of what makes us afraid, and who to blame for that fear. The instant communication backbone that social networking flourishes on, has little or no filtering that time and distance used to provide to moderate what we read in newspapers and magazines, or heard on the radio or watched on the TV “news at 10” (or 11). The evening news had no followup analysis from guest talking heads telling us how it is or how it should be; we had to think for ourselves. Yet, life is now far more complex, and news happens at the speed of light like at no time before in world history. Much more demands our attention these days in order to stay informed. What happens in the remote regions of this planet does indeed affect us all around the world. Also, as voters, we truly need to stay informed in order to exercise our control of government.
Remember The Concept Of “Fake News”?
Back when that trendy backwash of doubt became a “thing”, the idea that someone who didn’t like what “the other” used as a defense of their position was simply dismissed by asserting they were using a source spewing fake news… and the debate was over. People believe in fake news… even when proven otherwise. Then came doctored photographs showing prominent people at places and doing things not normally accepted in society simply to cast doubt and suggesting social disgrace or ethical impropriety. People believed the fake pics… even when proven fake.
As of this writing it’s being revealed that the world’s first hit song by a popular group recently introduced online is fake.. yet completely convincing due to new AI tech (story HERE)
So it doesn’t take a tech genius or a political strategist to see where this is all headed. If people have been so gullible (or not) into believing “convincing” fake news and fake photos.. just wait until this tech becomes mainstream. It’s one thing to imagine some politician’s rankled image and convincing imposter’s voice being contrived by his/her political enemies, but it’s a whole other dimension of paralyzing our senses with contradictory AI video and voice. People WILL believe this like no other fakery before this. Even worse, people will immediately suspect fakery and dismiss actual truth (or evidence of it) completely out of the fear of not being sure what to believe. Consider the possibilities. (Is that “press conference” being broadcast “live” on FOX real.. or a ‘Tucker Carlson’?)
It’s the fear of our American shadows. We already are doubting our neighbors in a variety of ways. We fear the other guy’s politics will dictate our future. The fear of our own vulnerability toward being ripped off by trash advertising of products we don’t need, spam robo phone calls, tricky sophisticated ways for people to grab our private data simply by walking past us in a crowded street. We fear eating anything because it will cause us cancer down the line. We fear rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, and geographical shifts making our real estate worthless to sell. We “instinctively(?)” grab for our guns when someone pulls into our driveway, rings our front doorbell, as we opt to shoot now and ask questions later. We fear just going to the store, to church, to the mall. There are 340 million reasons in this country to fear something or someone; to point to our neighbors, fellow Americans, as being the reason for our fears.
I’m thinkin’ one of these days we will begin to fear our own Constitution, given we already are showing signs of fearing anything related to the government created by it.
Pretty damned gloomy outlook, huh? Is that what I learned in my time away roaming the cyber-wilderness?
The vast majority of public opinion and or media reporting that is believed is believed without the believer having researched the original context of the issue, the decision, the policy, the goals, etc. “The Democrats just want to print and spend as much money as possible on social programs, governmental oversight, and raise taxes.” “The Republicans want less government, lower taxes, and less give-a-way social programs.” Both completely generalized statements of little or no substance, yet readily believed as “sound reasoning” on their own. Why is that ? We will discuss this in a future post.
There Are Indeed “Avenues of Hope”
I am no social doctor who imagines himself as the savior of the country. My wanderings have resulted in some re-think and resulting perceptions of things that could provide some avenues for hope in trying to bring back a bit of our humanity toward one another. From there, trying to redefine what a re-purposed American way of life might mean going into the next election cycle and beyond. There’s no returning to the MAGA-preferred socially white dominated years of the post-WW2 1950’s when the U.S. dominated the economic, political, and military world. But there’s certainly nothing wrong in using the positives of that decade to create a future decade.. or even decades… of racial and political inclusion. After all, in a few short years white America will be outnumbered by non-white citizens of all racial categories.
In fact, besides the impact of our own social and political fears gripping our American psyche we have the real impact of an increasing population here and around the world. Numbers matter everywhere. Honestly, if I were to select the one thing that affects our national and global events it would be the increasing population everywhere.
Where To Go From Here?
My future posts will be having more or less a theme of leveraging critical thought to try and filter out emotionalism and grievance/vengeance politics on issues. But I will also have a posting series called “Avenues of Hope” where I will bring out my perceptions of how “things” might help to improve our American view of ourselves. I speak from no authority or credibility but simply tossing out concepts that might be helpful to others in forming their own opinions.
Let’s see how this goes.
My first long comment didn’t appear, Doug.
Oh crap.. I am so sorry, Pete. I’ve been there often enough in the past myself. I generally walk away frustrated. I’ve learned to hedge that possibility a bit by doing a copy just before I hit the send on the long ones. That way it it goes south I can just paste a new post. Sorry, Buddy. Wish I could’ve read it. I find I have that issue more when I am piggybacking on another wifi hot spot.
Had to agree with much of your perspective, even if it is for different reasons. Of those many “fears” listed; for myself and folks who stand on the Almighty being in 100% control, I refuse to be afraid. We are supposed to be alert, wary if you will, and our close proximity in age makes mutual understanding of our viewpoints easier.
Consider that most of everything so passe today was non existent thirty five years ago.
I got a big chill way back when the news was showing police chasing O.J. Simpson down a freeway; it was just like the scene in Fahrenheit 451, where Montag the fireman, was being hunted down, and broadcast on television. Yet that was still before the Internet, or all the other advances of today.
So these frenetic times are reason to be wary, and not succumb to fear.
You are correct.. and I recall the OJ fiasco… and the 451 reference. But.. I will propose that declaring ones self not afraid of anything is in fact, a defense on the fear of fear itself (ala Roosevelt). Although I understand your context. Good to see you again.