Hi readers. Thanks for the visit.
Let’s be honest for once. We’ve spent our entire lives believing that at any given moment we were insightful, wise, generally smarter than the people around us of all ages. We’ve always been able to look backward at the people we were a decade ago, several decades ago, and recognize our younger folly, know we were wrong back then when we believed we were wise.
But we never manage to take the next step of reasoning or realization to recognize what applies to ourselves in the past still applies. Yes, even as then, when we believed wrongly in our wisdom, our ‘rightness’, probably a decade from now we’ll again view ourselves more realistically.
So why does this matter? Because today, more than any time in my lifetime, the population of this country is polarized…. politically, economically, socially, even by age, and our certainties about all sorts of issues drive irreconcilable wedges constantly deeper between us. A huge, vocal piece of the US population has a death grip on one or another set of beliefs so deliberately diametrically opposed to non-believers, other viewpoints, that there’s no room left for a loyal opposition.
This is comparatively new…….. I personally believe it is a consequence of a lot of phenomena not the least of which is talk radio on the one side, and television on the other.
Does anyone really believe this country can long survive the kind of scorn and hatred the factions of the population riding one ideology or another, spewing accusations and buzzword defamation at one another?
I personally do not. I believe that that this divisiveness being constantly solidified and enlarged within the population and electorate is conscious and deliberate. But I suspect those behind it don’t possess any more reliable wisdom than the rest of us. And the ability of human beings to prognosticate accurately is no better now than it was the day the Germans invaded Poland, or the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The day LBJ announced the Gulf of Tonkin incident knowing it was false. The day the Watergate burglars brought down a presidency. Ad infinitum.
The simple fact is, despite the fact somewhere human beings are capable of designing and manufacturing automobiles, computers, digitized cameras, put men into space, build skyscrapers and drill holes miles deep, none of us are all that smart. Almost none of us can do any of those things, nor much of anything else. Somewhere else, someone else does those things. Mostly we just shuffle papers, lay carpets, hang sheetrock, sell things to one another, flip hamburgers, do things with money.
But somehow it doesn’t exempt us from believing we, individually [and probably collectively] are smarter than the leaders of Japan when they decided to attack Pearl Harbor. Or smarter than Lyndon Johnson when he decided to announce to the world that US warships had been attacked by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin.
Know why? Here’s a hint: The reason we believe we are smarter than LBJ or the rulers of Japan in 1941 is not the product of our individual wisdom.
Thanks for coming by for a read.