The Value of Discernment
"For those who stubbornly seek freedom around the world, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understand the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. These are easy to perceive in the totalitarian societies, much less so in the propaganda system to which we are subjected and in which all too often we serve as unwilling or unwitting instruments.”
–– Norm Chomsky, linguist and educator
Which side of the climate change crisis are you on? Do you believe in global warming, or the alternative, global cooling? There seems to be evidence on both sides.
Which side of the Democrat– Republican debate are you on? Do you believe in big government, or laissez–faire?
Hermann Goering, head of the Nazi Luftwaffe and Hitler’s designated successor, once said at the Nuremburg Trials
“Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
As I remarked in my last blog post, “the materialist dialectic,” it is easy to get people excited and disturbed, merely by creating a problem and offering a solution that always keeps attention focused on the desired result. In the climate change crisis, it’s global warming vs. global cooling. In politics, it’s Democrat vs. Republican, or Left vs. Right, or War vs. Pacifism. Humanity has been taught to take sides. “Where do YOU stand?” is the question we are asked, and fence–sitting is not admired, for it smacks of indecision or even cowardice. Thus is nuanced thinking discouraged.
Taking sides polarizes opinions and hardens attitudes, creating conflict and separation between and within human populations.
Discernment, however, is the ability to recognize subtleties in thought and action. A discerning person is more aware, and more intelligent. For example, if you believe in Creationism, you are forced to accept the fact that dinosaurs are only a few thousand years old. In the Creation Museum in Kentucky, circa 2007, saddles were placed on the backs of dinosaur skeletons, showing that dino’s existed right alongside horses! Although this is an obvious example of the stupidity of polarized thinking, it is very easy to become entrapped in political or religious drama. You might be asked, for example, “Are you a Christian?” or, “Do you believe in God?” There are only two answers to that question, yes or no, placing you at one extreme or the other. But a brighter person might respond, “Why do you ask?” or “How do you define God?” These are questions that are difficult for those trapped within false dichotomy’s.
Either–Or thinking seems to excite the emotions as well. If you’ve ever gotten into a religious or political debate, you know what I’m talking about! Unfortunately, emotion usually obscures reason and inhibits tolerance of other points of view.
The arena of politics is especially susceptible to such polarized thinking. Politicians are required to tell us whether they are “soft on terrorism,” or “soft on crime,” and as citizens, national elections are always framed in these simplistic, lowest–common–denominator terms.
How do crises and polarized thinking become perpetuated? Through repetition.
It is accepted practice among propagandists (and marketers!) that a message will not get through unless it is repeated over and over. In fact, the dark actor Joseph Goebbels, Nazi minister of propaganda , once said
“[propaganda is] a carefully built up erection of statements, which whether true or false can be made to undermine quite rigidly held ideas and to construct new ones that will take their place. It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. What after all are a square and a circle? They are mere words and words can be moulded until they clothe ideas in disguise."
It is important to understand that you don’t have to take either–or positions on any issue. To those who are interested in manipulating opinion, it is irrelevant whether climate change, for example, means global cooling or global warming, for both sides serve the intended purpose, which is the crisis. (And the next crisis, and the next one, and the next one.) Once Communism collapsed, for example, terrorism became the next big global crisis. Once the Saddam Hussein straw–man was destroyed, the debate became the crisis between the Sunni and the Shiite in Iraq. The list of crises is practically endless!
How do you determine whether an issue is defined by a false dichotomy? Simply observe how the issue is framed. If you are told that disaster will result if you do not see an issue in the presented manner, or, you are encouraged to fight or resist something, then more than likely, someone has an agenda and is trying to convince you to follow it!
Rational and reasonable people welcome differing opinions, because well–intentioned people want to SOLVE the problem, not perpetuate it!
The materialist dialectic of created crises is just a way to confuse and obfuscate.
The proper way to handle a conflict of opposites is to practice discernment. A discerning person is difficult to indoctrinate; for he or she does not fall for the presented simplistic and polarizing dichotomy. He or she is capable of moving deeper into the question, and transcending the limiting and polarizing “conflict of opposites.”
A crisis can only exist when there are two opposing sides, continually clashing together. Nuanced thinking allows both “sides” to create new solutions that are at a higher vibration than the crisis, thus transcending the problem and dissolving it. Thus is propaganda defeated by mindful thinking and deliberate creation of your life.
Those who are spiritually aware have almost always transcended the simplistic and polarizing conflict of opposites. It is up to us to educate our brothers and sisters who are still immersed in the false dichotomy of crises and polarization.
So let’s get to work!
Kenneth James Michael MacLean