August 16, 2010

You Need To Think For Yourself

A thousand years ago when I was a wee lad who thought himself a man I interviewed an adult. It was my senior year of high school and I was convinced that there wasn't anyone out there who was smarter than myself.

The gentleman in question had spent a semester at my high school and then written a scathing piece about what he saw. Old Jack, the wise 17 year-old decided that it was a hatchet job and that I would use his own words to hoist him on his own petard.

Just thinking of how very arrogant and ignorant I was makes a wry grin come across my face. You see, the adult I interviewed was erudite, eloquent and had such command of the language that it took less than two minutes for me to realize that I was in over my head.

But he taught me a very important lesson in which I learned the value of not getting caught up in a mob mentality and relying upon group think to make decisions. He taught me the value of critical reasoning and taking time to analyze and evaluate the situations that I encounter in life. I like to think that I learned those lessons well and that I am doing a good job of passing this knowledge along to my children.

The impetus for this post comes from an ongoing debate/discussion I am having with a group of my fellow members of the tribe. We have been going back and forth and up and down about numerous different issues but I have been sorely disappointed in the quality of the discussion. It is not that I lay claim to being a member of Mensa or that I consider myself to be superior to others. I am just an ordinary Joe who likes to stimulate himself by engaging in discussions with people who have different perspectives.

But the thing that I am finding here is that they are a group of sheeple who see unwilling or unable to think for themselves. As the back and forth between us goes along they throw out links and quotes but never bother to string them together or demonstrate how they are relevant. It is a bit frustrating because there is some real meat to discuss, but they seem to miss it.

If you spend any time thinking about your perspective and position you should be able to spell out why you believe as you do or to at least admit that it is based solely upon faith and not fact. I know, that such a thing is blasphemy to literalists, but it is really what you should do.

So because at times I enjoy being an obnoxious prat I am going to grab a handful of excerpts from posts that I have written and tie them together.  Here they are, selected at random from Fragments of Fiction.

It was inconceivable because I had never had the experience and so when it was described to me by others I nodded and smiled, tried to pretend that I understood. But I didn't.

So if you want to know more, if you want to really learn what is happening you'll have to take advantage of Ma Bell. Pull out that old rotary phone and let your fingers do the walking. In the interim I have to go as I have a meeting with destiny and I am not willing to be late for that one.

but I was not concerned because my arms were made for holding you tight and feeling your heart beat against mine gives me all the strength that I require.

But that doesn't sit so well with me either. I am not the guy who hides from life. That fire in my belly burns brightly because I go the distance, I take the chance that dancing in the fire might burn me.

And then you took off your watch and stuffed it in a drawer because the last thing you wanted to be reminded of was timing.

So I kissed you one last time. One final kiss so that we'd never forget. One kiss so that if we ever lost our way we could use it to find our way back.

If I argued as you folks do I'd simply point at the lines above and say, "see, that is proof." But I don't do it that way. I take a look at the material that I have to work with and provide a rationale for how it applies.

If I used the sections listed above I'd turn it into a story about a couple who faced a serious challenge. I'd talk about how they resolved to work together to find a way to overcome it and how they never gave up. I'd talk about how they were best friends and that though they danced in fire they were never consumed and that the reason for that was their love. It protected them from the flames.

Now there are a lot of holes in that and a lot of questions that can be asked, but there is a beginning a middle and an end to follow. There is a story line that connects the dots so that those who are less familiar can follow it.

And that leads into another issue I have with these sheeple. Not only are they semi-articulate they are dumbfounded that anyone questions their beliefs and see it as a personal attack. Color me confused and call me a jerk, but WTF. You sheeple routinely accuse me of not understanding and are amazed when I disagree with your positions.

Why is it offensive when I ask you to support your position and not offensive when you ask it of me. I am comfortable and confident in my beliefs. It doesn't matter to me whether you accept or agree. Some of it is based upon faith and that is ok with me, that is what religion is. But part of the reason that I engage with you is to be challenged and to hear different ideas and perspectives.

If you are not willing to participate than just say so. Be forthright. Don't try to hide your disgust or mask your disdain. You are far more transparent than you realize.

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