Please read the signature line at the end of the article about a book you should read and a worldwide plan to make the world a safer and healthier place to live. Learn more about the book and the plan at http://billallin.com
Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.
– Albert Einstein
Whose eyes and heart would one use, we might ask? Actually, as it happens, just about anyone’s, including those of a stranger.
During his working years my father always had employees and colleagues he could consult on any subject, including getting someone to repair the plumbing in our house or fix a problem with his car. After he retired, he lost contact with such people, as is the way of modern business relationships.
When he had a question or problem about which I had some knowledge, he would politely listen to my suggestion or allow me to complete a repair. But if he was told something different from what I had said about some topic, he would be more inclined to believe the stranger he just met in a store than me.
This is not unusual in families. Strangers are believed to give unbiased advice because they (apparently) have nothing to gain by lying. However, as many of us know from experience, strangers can be just as wrong as anyone else, unbiased or not.
Many of us take what we hear on the evening news as fact, as if networks present nothing but the truth on any issue. Over half of us now understand that television or radio news reports may well be editorialized to the point of giving us limited facts in such a way as to distort the truth of a story. So, needing another source for news we turn to the internet, which is renown for inaccuracies and just plain lies.
Over one-quarter of the material aired on “free” television is advertising, which is lies twisted and convoluted so much that they begin to look like truth about needs the advertisers created on our behalf, or promotions of programs that seldom meet the lofty objectives shown in the 30 second promos.
Over half of the content of newspapers and magazines is advertising (see above). In the case of some magazines the story content may describe some business or business person who by merest coincidence has just agreed to advertise in the publication. Information sources these days can often be described as media whores based on their policies. Yet when the media do it we call it business, whereas most of us want the older form of prostitution to be removed from the streets.
Some of us go to places of worship where the religious leaders literally invent stories they call “facts,” claim they come from the holy book(s) and insist that they must be true because the information came from an unimpeachable source. Some scientists in Islamic countries have been known to claim something as proven fact because it appears in the Qu’ran. In Christian countries you can learn a great deal about the personality and nature of God, whom the same religion teaches in unknowable.
As a writer I have been known to spend many hours a day at my computer dressed in my pajamas and slippers, but most people who go to work at someone else’s place of employment dress according to the style of the day, which usually changes from season to season, as someone else dictates. Do the heads of state of our countries do a better job at running their nations or cooperate better with each other at summits because they wear suits and neckties, always in the latest styles?
Come election time in many democratic countries, a huge percentage of qualified voters don’t go to the polls because they don’t know who to vote for. The others do their civic duty, voting for the candidates their party has told them to vote for or their favourite television news anchor openly supports.
Like it or not (there is no valid reason we should), what we believe (or “see”) is what we have been told to believe.
When a devastating natural disaster such as the tsunami in the Indian Ocean a couple of years ago strikes, the media jump on it and tell of the endless amount of human suffering. We immediately phone in our pledge to support relief efforts to help survivors. The same media say little or nothing about the millions who suffer and die from AIDS, malaria, even dysentery every year, and the families who may find themselves orphaned, homeless and starving as a result, so we don’t worry about contributing to those causes.
As Einstein said, our hearts, like our eyes, depend on others to tell us what is important and to ignore what is not.
When a factory closes or a fishery loses its traditional stock, putting many people out of work, some rush right away to find other employment. Others can’t find any other job, more than any other reason because no one tells them to go to this place and submit an application or go to that school to learn a new trade. When they don’t have a boss to tell them what to do, they don’t know what to do.
Without guidance we humans are often dumber than the “dumb animals” we consider lesser species. No doubt we have brilliant intellectuals who can think on any given topic, we have experts in every field, we have hard working entrepreneurs who build their own businesses successfully. But many of us would still be using leaves and old catalogues in outhouses if we didn’t’ have others to build bathrooms for us and advertisers to tell us which bathroom tissue to buy.
The purpose of this article is not to criticize lazy or unthinking people. It’s to bring to your attention that our system of education (including what our children learn from their parents) fails us. It produces automatons and followers, not people who could function independently if a disaster put our power systems out for an extended period of time.
Being a reader, you are not likely one of those people. You read, so you have knowledge and access to resources. You are part of a tiny minority. In the western world a mere six percent of adults read more than three books per year, most read none.
If you, who reads and have resources do nothing to change how our education system works, don’t expect those who don’t read or think for themselves to know how to change anything, including their minds.
Talk about this with others. Only by talking about it more and more will anything change. It’s the only way anything can change.
It is your responsibility. That’s what you get for being so smart.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a book about a cheap and easily implemented plan to change our education systems without resorting to religion, political ideology or war.
Learn more at http://billallin.com