It is getting depressing out there. No. I take that back. It’s scary.
Jabba . . . sorry, I should show deference to the title. Let me start again.
President Elect Hutt has been nominating his way through a seriously scary list of cronies, conspiracy nuts, and outright religious fanatics. I suppose I could start commenting on all the nominations, but there is plenty of places one can find that kind of material. For instance, HERE one can read on one of his latest.
By the way, for this post, I’m getting back to macros. In this instance, pieces of coral gathered at a beach I recently visited.
As I mentioned before, photos appearing on Sunday with my thoughts are gathered and presented in THIS SmugMug Gallery. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you can also click on the photos for a larger version.
Anyway, if one wants to hear/read stuff about PE Hutt’s nominees, there is no shortage of opinions and facts available out there on the web. We do, after all, live in an age where a few keystrokes will get you actual video of pretty much anything you hear about.
Unfortunately, the modus operandi for most people is to take their brains and set them aside lest they “get informed.” Many, many people — too many people — prefer being told what people said and wrote instead of listening to what was said or read what was written. No; that would be useful but is deemed too dangerous because they would then have to rely on their own critical thinking abilities, such as they are.
What they want is someone like the FoxNews Slimetards — or their equivalent on the Left — telling them what they should think and feel about a given topic. As near as I have seen — I can only stomach so much exposure before turning away — the Slimetard’s role is to ensure their followers are not confused. They do this by “interpreting” what friends and foes say and presenting it as a consistent and easily understood message.
This is the way for a large number of people incapable — or unwilling — to think for themselves. This especially evident when it comes to certain books, but that’s for another post.
It is clear that feelings matter much more than data and facts (something I’ve learned during my many discussions about guns and religion). Here’s an example of what I mean:
HERE is the original exchange. To be fair, while we can laugh at Gingrich, understand he was — and is — a member of PE Hutt’s inner circle of trusted advisors. That strategy of conflating feelings and facts worked really well in the campaign, so it’s difficult refuting the efficacy of it. I can’t even accuse him of being callous about it because the scary thing is that I think he’s in earnest.
By the way, the beaches around here are awash with pieces like the above. Coral reefs are hurting pretty much across the globe due to rising water temperatures and other environmental factors. They are dying out at an alarming rate. Read about it if you want to feel just a bit sadder about things.
As you look at the photos, note the amount of wear in the various pieces. Some are pretty smooth, having been rolled by the surf . Others still retain the dense texture of the once living organisms. The fresh pieces are very rough and can do serious damage to the skin. They are a bit like graters. Or velcro, if velcro could shred your skin to ribbons.
Anyway, back to fake news. Prior to the election, the Internet was flooded with fake political news stories. Some were even repeated on reputable channels. The Internet is still awash with them.
As an example, do a search for “Hillary Demon Kids Slaves Pizza” and you will be regaled with story after story about the secret kid slave-ring Hillary and Podesta run out of a NY Pizza place. They sell kids — or use kids, I’m not sure — for demonic rituals.
By the way, the Pizza place is a real establishment and they are being bombarded with threats to their lives and to the lives of their family.
I would warn you not to actually go to the sites that come up . . . serious brain damage — or, in my case, serious disillusionment with the human race in general — might ensue.
You can read a summary HERE (Snopes).
I don’t normally come across these stories because I don’t venture into the slime-swamps of either the far left or the far right. For them who are curious, I came across it on THIS podcast.
Now, I’m not here to review every distortion, lie-by-omission, lie-by-misconstruction, or just plain lie out there.
No . . . what bothers me more than the lies and the fake news stories is how easily people believe them.
I got to thinking about that.
I mean, you can read other opinions on it, but I will share a few of my thoughts on the subject.
As I am wont to do, I begin with blaming religion. Religion may provide the security blanket that replaces the hem of a mother’s skirt, but it does more than that. It demands, demands, I tell you, that we ignore what we know to be true by observations that span millennia and ignore what we know as facts about the real world.
Most of all, religion demands that we set aside our ability to reason, to use logic, to learn, to build on knowledge by questioning, investigating, experimenting, and most of all, thinking.
It does this in a well-tried-and-true fashion. It indoctrinates people from a very young age, it promises a reward for obedience and faith while promising punishment for disobedience and any form of questioning. That’s at the core of it. There are nuances, of course. Father figures, other figures of authority, easy answers to complicated questions, and the comfort of belonging to a group all play a role in the scam.
It’s no coincidence that most religious stories and books aimed at children leave out a great many details . . . details that would have them question the stories that they are told.
It’s not until later in life that some — regretfully, very few as most adults do not read their sacred scriptures — learn of the things that were omitted, but even then, ready answers, contradictory and illogical as they are, reassure the believer that everything is OK.
And woven in there, is the message that anyone who would question your belief is evil. That they will lie. That they seek to sway you from receiving your reward. Some will tell you that merely listening to these unbelievers is enough to suffer the punishment of eternal damnation.
And so believers are told all manners of lies about unbelievers and anyone who is not of their faith. About anyone “outside” their group. The believers swallow this whole. They not only don’t know how to question it, they don’t want to.
It is difficult to counter because, as I said, the training includes sanctions against reading or listening to anything contrary to the teachings. Sanctions threatening the loss of one’s eternal soul, threatening eternal torture.
It also makes my interactions with believers a tad awkward. I’m used to hearing that I am nothing like “other” atheists. Some go so far as saying I can’t be an atheist, that I am misguided (lost) and that god really is in me.
At no time have I ever convinced anyone that, you know, most atheist are pretty much like me, that atheist in comparison to believers have lower substance abuse problems, are proportionally less likely to commit crimes, have lower divorce rates, etc. etc.
Nope. To many believers, my role is that of being the exception to what they “know.”
Let me take you on a quick side trip before I continue . . . this next short video is what Christianity sounds like to someone who was not raised on it. Except, Barker was raised in it, so he knows it better than most. Better, even, than believers. It’s less than a minute; you should watch it.
Anyway, being raised in that kind of culture does two things that are key to making one susceptible to all sorts of bull droppings.
One, it conditions one to defer to authority. No need to think, you see. It’s more comfortable having someone explain to you what you should think.
Two, having been told what to think, you are conditioned to own it. You will defend that thought, no matter what it is, with as much rigor as if it were your own. No. More rigor than if it were your own. You, as a human, might eventually get saddled with doubt. But you, as one of the blind faithful, will cast doubt from your mind. To doubt is to perish in everlasting torment.
Enter FoxNews Slimetards, along with nearly every dictator in history. Dictators know this model well and use it to their advantage. Sometimes, in conjunction with religion. Sometimes they replace religion with a similar political construct. Regardless, their role is to stoke the fires of fear against anything but group-think.
FoxNews Slimetards are often called on the misinformation and lies and distortions they spread. When that happens, they fall back to the “Pundits Defense”.
“We are not newsmen/newswomen,” they will say all innocent like. “We are but Pundits expressing an opinion.” Well, then, how about removing the “News” from your name? You know, so that people know you are just expressing opinions, “feelings”, and not dealing in facts?
Yes, yes, MSNBC, CNN, you name it, they all say the same thing. I pick on Fox because they are, in my opinion, the most hypocritical, cynical, and shameless of the bunch. Some say MSNBC is worse, but as Slimetard Bill likes to say, no one watches them. Rest assured; the problem is widespread, but the faithful love their FoxNews Slimetards.
Whenever I talk to someone about this, the response is never “Son of a gun! You are right! We are being manipulated. Manipulated by fear, programmed to hate, programmed to unquestioningly accept things that often make little sense!”
Instead, the most oft-heard refrain is “The other side does it too!”
It astounds me. It saddens me. It angers me. It makes me fear for the human race.
With that simple phrase, they are not denying it. What they instead say is this:
“Yes, we understand, but we must accept these lies, these distortions, we must avoid rational thought, we must be manipulated because the other side accepts their lies, their distortions, also avoid rational thought, and let themselves be manipulated.”
Tell me that’s not what people mean. They don’t phrase it like that, of course. I’m guessing they subconsciously want, at all costs, to avoid challenging themselves and people in positions of self-declared authority, be they priests, ministers, pundits, or what-not.
Perhaps, there’s also another thing at play.
The easy answer.
Most things are complicated. Most things are not clear-cut. Problems seldom have simple solutions. To really solve problems, to advance the human condition, to keep pushing civilization forward, one must learn to recognize that simple fact, and that recognition leads to discussion, to a deeper understanding, to compromises.
But, no. Religious people cannot let go of any of the tenets they have accepted and invested their lives in. For one, they are immutable. They are still dealing with the same books that were passed on by second-hand oral tradition, then transcribed into multiple languages, translated over a few centuries into new languages, edited, revised, agreed upon by self-appointed sages, and eventually condensed into the current form some 500 years ago. It’s still subject to different interpretations, but the text itself has not been modified since the Middle Ages.
No, current believers will not easily let go of their investment into ignorance. Certainly not within a generation, within the lifespan of an individual.
We have come a long way from the Inquisition (not far enough, I say) but it was a slow and gradual process. At every step, it required a letting go of lies, of dogma, of blind trust, of blind acceptance of a book that was written by people who had no knowledge of biology, astronomy, of different cultures, and were woefully illiterate. They were especially devoid of any scientific literacy. But, you see, they had feelings.
The major religions all have a father figure that cannot be challenged and must be obeyed under the penalty of death and eternal suffering.
All the major religion offer easy answers. Sure, they are wrong answers, but they are easy. Simple. Compact. Self-contained. They require no thinking of any kind.
That alone should wake everyone . . . not thinking goes against human nature, and here it is, heralded as a good thing.
Knowledge is touted as a bad thing by every religion you are likely to encounter. Heck, god was against it. Feelings are more important, as Newt would say.
Unfortunately for Newt, we do live in a world where knowledge is readily available. Knowledge is the answer to dogma, hence why entrenched religions and power groups are so adamant about controlling knowledge and learning.
It’s how successive generations advance. Despite the challenges they face, despite the resistance, knowledge spreads and minds eventually face truths that are incompatible with belief (hence the God of the Gaps). Some invariably double-down (we are seeing some of that in our own time), but many eventually find it impossible to hold on to barbaric beliefs that are an affront to every thinking being and counter to all that humanity aspires for itself.
And, that’s what fake news attacks. Knowledge.
We have a predisposition to believing all sorts of crap. We have an unnatural respect for authority. We have a learned desire for simple answers. That desire for simple answers makes us predisposed to only hear what we want to hear and reject the rest.
In that playing field, in that field sowed with the seeds of manipulation and obfuscation, is where the battle is being fought, literally for the future of mankind.
. . . I’m sorry to have to say this . . . it’s not looking good.
The Internet, something with the potential to literally help mankind shed the shackles of ignorance, of tyranny, of oppression, the Internet has been coopted by people with the sole desire to spread false promises, encourage ignorance, and stoke the embers of fear.
I really can’t blame them, though . . . I blame believers. They have parked their brain and willingly let layers of crap build on it until they can no longer see the light of reason.
You can’t imagine how often I am tempted, upon hearing “God Bless you”, to answer with “may the light of reason awaken your brain.”
Of course, that would be offensive to people who give nary a thought about whether I am offended by their ignorance and offended by their willingness to eschew thinking for themselves, offended by their desire to avoid learning, and offended by their decision to immolate their future and that of their children, preferring, instead, to sit content as no more than dogs at their master’s feet.
Although few people will watch it — and of those, not likely people who really should — here is a bonus video. It’s about 15 minutes.
As I mention above, there is a greater chance I will win the lotto than a given believer will watch this video. Believers will spend countless hours of their lives practicing their faith — almost as much as watching porn — but are so inculcated in it that they won’t invest 15 minutes to examine it. Still, for them who value thinking . . .
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.
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