Let me review. So far we have concluded that culture exercises great power in shaping who we are and what we do. We have noted that some cultures are superior to others, and that this superiority results from alignment with reality. We also saw that our own culture is out of sync with reality at practically every point, this being the reason that it is inflicting such destruction on our society.
What, then, are the defenses against the ravages of our culture of unreality?
What I am about to say seems to go without saying, but as we will see, it needs to be said, so please bear with me. The foundational weapon at our disposal is our mind.
Though the concept of thinking seems simple, even a cursory analysis reveals its complexities. The brain functions something like a central processing unit in a computer that with the aid of a program processes data that is entered. The computer program in this case consists of our education, be it formal or through our own study and life experience. That education guides the data processing procedure. The brain with the help of this program performs analysis on the data that is entered using inductive and deductive reasoning. It then applies a very complicated process of synthesis that sorts through and weighs all the analysis in order to arrive at a decision.
Think in terms of purchasing a car. We all have varying degrees of “education” in this area, that is, each of us has developed to some degree our program for processing the incoming data. We embark on data gathering that may include perusing cars.com, talking with salesmen, reading reviews, etc. We analyze all of this data, seeking to organize and evaluate it. Then comes the synthesis stage at which we sort through the results of this analysis, weigh the various factors, and draw a conclusion. I don’t like the color of the blue car but it gets the best mileage, though I’m not sure its resale value will be as good as the silver one, which also has leather seats but doesn’t have a sunroof.
Just like your GPS sorts through 65,398,274 options to find the best route, likewise your mind employs a similar process to guide you to the best car.
I go through all of this to remind us that thinking is highly complicated and challenging. That being the case, thinking effectively requires a good central processing unit. For a computer we merely buy one that functions at a high level. Humans need to develop that capacity at school and elsewhere. We also need a good education that will download all of the apps necessary to process the major issues of life. We also need to know how to read and research so that we can gather data effectively. We then need training in analyzing and synthesizing that data.
The ultimate goal of this thinking process is to connect us to reality. If done effectively it will reveal to us which car or President or Senator or healthcare system will serve us best in the real world.
Consequently, we must ask whether our culture of unreality stems from a populous that has not been taught to think. We hear a lot about the low information voter. My sense is that these voters not only lack information but also development in all the aspects of the thinking process.
But perhaps the problem is even more serious. The unrealistic decisions of the American voter may not merely result from the fact that they have not been taught to think but because they have been taught not to think. A populous taught not to think can be easily controlled.
I plan to pursue that concern in my next post.