Yesterday the esteemed Jerome A Paris wrote a seering diary on how the Reality War ™ was a lost cause.
It's no use being "reality-based". It no longer works.
I've been spending the past couple hours struggling with an increasing number of articles that distort reality blatantly, or even include outright lies to make the same points over and over (globalization is inevitable and wages must go down, the French economy is fucked up and needs a dose of Thatcherism, Democrats are terrorist enablers and should not confront Bush in such a partisan way, etc...). I have graphs ready (from unimpeachable sources i.e. business newspapers) that demonstrate the exact opposite of what is stated as obvious truths in these articles. I have the facts on my side, I have widely read tribunes on DailyKos or European Tribune, and I could post (yet another) deconstruction of the propaganda that now passes for journalism, and have a good chance of seeing it be well received.
But today, I'm struggling with hopelessness as I read yet more articles...
Today I respond to his heartfelt frustration with a hearty battle cry and a new plan of attack.
Today I respond to his heartfelt frustration with a hearty battle cry and a new plan of attack.
You see, the first problem is Jerome's approach, one I'm sure shared by many of us Reality Warriors, is in our attempts to use the Fact Swarm Blitzkrieg to overwhelm our opposition. We attempt to gain the high ground, position our Fact Battalions on our opponents left flank, time our attack to be in sync with a massive carpet bombing raid of Hardened Depleted Uranium Tipped Facts from the MSM Air Wing of the New York Times or Washington Post, this we coincide with a bombardment of Youtube Vids from Battleship Olbermann parked just off shore firing volkswagen Jetta sized shells of searing and pointed Special Comment Rants.
We plan thoroughly, we marshal our forces with care.
Yet when the smoke clears the Koolaid Kommando's are still in place, holding their ground, visibly unaffected.
I'll admit it's more than a little annoying.
Their Fact Resistance Shield © is quite strong, if not nigh impenetrable, as well it should be - they've spent the entirety of western civilization, if not human existence helping to construct and refurbish it.
Thus rather than attempt to overwhelm the shields capacity from the outside, we must change our plan of attack to focus on de-constructing that rather impressive obstacle from it's very foundations. In order to that we need to strive to truly grasp the nature of this resistance, and after a least of couple decades of consideration - I've come to the conclusion that this shield is actually a part of how the human mind functions on a biochemical level.
You see, our minds are limited in their capacity - at this stage in our development and existence we don't yet have the ability to simultaneously see every single aspect of our reality at the same time.
Let me give you a couple examples.
When I was first studying psychology at Cal State Long Beach they described to us many of the leading theories of personality construction. They described Freud, Rogers and Skinner (who was a disciple of Pavlov) and told us that each of these man had developed their own rules, terms and structure for how the mind works. Each were valuable and had led to many effective treatment techniques for various patients - yet each was mutual exclusive and contradicted the others. To me, this was a conundrum. It's as if Freud argued with his Id, Ego and Superego that our minds were the equivalent of a Diesel engine, while Rogers said it was coal fired and Skinner a gas powered turbine. The only thing they had in common was that each was certain of their own rightness and the wrongness of the others.
But the fact is, our mind and brain are all made of the same basic component parts. Freud, Rogers and Skinner are all simultaneously correct, which is possible only because each is only seeing a portion of the larger issue at a time. The truth, the reality is too large for us to completely grasp - yet (or at least until I finally publish my Unified Personality Theory, it's only been 20 years in the works - I still got time...) Anyway - they (and us) are like the three blind men and the elephant, one thinks it's a rope, the other a stone wall while the last thinks it's a snake.
The Facts are on all of their sides - they all have a piece of the truth, yet their final and complete understanding of the True Reality of Things remains incorrect and incomplete. No matter how high you climb or fly, there's always a horizon beyond which you can not see, and can only imagine.
This applies to religion as well. IMO those who chose to see reality through the lens of Budda, Krishna, Vishnu, Jehovah, Yahweh, Muhammad, Abraham, Jesus, Santa and of course The All Mighty and Powerful Easter Bunny - are only seeing pieces of a vast multidimensional puzzle. They all might be right, at least partially - but unfortunately they are all also wrong to reject all the other pieces simply because they haven't yet discovered how they "Fit".
Also biochemically, even if we could "see everything" we really wouldn't know what to do with it all. We don't have the capacity to store everything we might learn, see or experience (except for those annoy people with total memory recall like that rat-bastard David Duchovny). Our brains triage information, discarding the trivial and keeping the vital. That which is more comfortable and familiar is easily recalled, that which is in conflict with what we believe - is forgotten and ignored.
Still the true problem is that the uncertainty unknowing is so frightening.
In order to comfort ourselves against the reality of our un-knowledge we seek to construct among the threads and fragments of the fact-lets our limitations allow us to grasp a ragged facsimile of the world around us. From the time we are toddlers on were are hard at work weaving our Afghan Fact Rugs of protect us from the cold hard reality filled world.
Thus, we have the origins of The Shield which by adulthood has often grown hard and crusted.
It's why Copernicus was shunned and held under house arrest by the church for daring to state the Fact that the Earth was not the Center of the Universe. Those who dare to challenge one thread of our well constructed Shield must be dealt with swiftly and harshly or else - it just might completely unravel.
And we can't have not now can we?
Oh yes, we can - and we will.
What I've described here for those who see through my almost clever little analogies is The Paradigm Effect. Or more specifically Paradigm Paralysis.
What is paradigm paralysis? Or more basically, what is a paradigm?
As you probably know, a paradigm is a model or a pattern. It's a shared set of assumptions that have to do with how we perceive the world. Paradigms are very helpful because they allow us to develop expectations about what will probably occur based on these assumptions. But when data falls outside our paradigm, we find it hard to see and accept. This is called the PARADIGM EFFECT. And when the paradigm effect is so strong that we are prevented from actually seeing what is under our very noses, we are said to be suffering from paradigm paralysis.
Here we have the definition for the syndrome that we as Reality Warriors frequently confront. We are well armed with our lethal facts and figures - yet the opposition is virtually immune to all of them. They are in Paradigm Paralysis, unable and unwilling to grasp any new information which may contradict with that which they have already come to accept and have woven into their belief system. They're immune and impervious to fact and reason. That one little crucial factoid that we'd love hurl like a spitball at the back of the teacher's head is doomed to bounce off her bouffant like pebbles on a deflector grid array.
Weapons have no effect Captain, they're shields are too strong!
So the next obvious question is how do we pull a U.S.S. Defiant and get them to voluntarily drop shields?
Well, you see - there's a weakness in them, a flaw - it's call the Paradigm Shift. The Reality Shield created by Paradigm Paralysis may seem impervious, but it is not. Eventually, under the weight of undeniable fact, it cracks and shifts to accommodate and absorb the newly found information into it's Reality Template. Reality (or rather our limited perception of it) is elastic and can bend to accept new information, each time growing one step closer to completing the puzzle and one step closer to that distant horizon of understanding.
But this only occurs, when one has the courage to allow it to take place.
It's not something that one persons can force onto another, just as you can't force an addict to quit snorting paint chips. Although they can be guided down the right path, they essentially have to come to make the change on their own.
Bringing this macro level argument back down to the micro issues of Conservative/Traditionalist vs Liberal/Progressive on the Reality War Front - we have to realize that the war isn't really between these two archetypes. The war is within ourselves, and we have to be just as willing to accept reasonable portions of their template into our matrix as we expect from them.
Generally speaking though, the nature of a Conservative is indeed to embrace Paradigm Paralysis. It's at the core of what and who they are. They wish - even if they don't all realize it - that things to return back to the pre-Copernicus era. A Flat Earth at the Center of the Universe where everything made sense (to them).
the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, the most powerful committee in the
House , distributed to legislators a memo pitching crazed wingers who believe the earth stands still -- doesn't spin on its axis or revolve around the Sun -- that Copernicus was part of a Jewish conspiracy to undermine the Old Testament. That would be the same Old Testament that was written by the folks Chisum's friends say are conspiring to undermine it.
They wish to return us to a feudal society, one controlled by Corporate Multi-National Overlords of immense power, wealth and influence who have the ability to completely manipulate and control the lives of their
workers and customers wage-slaves and serfs - through their enablers and sycophants in the media, the halls of Congress and the White House. U.S. Steel, United Fruit and the William Randalf Hearst Empire of half-truths have all been resurrected by the new 21st Century Robber-Barons. That is the truth they have yet to fully face because they believe they might one day become an Overlord themselves. The concerns of the little people crushed along the super-speedway of their self-gratification are therefore irrelevant, and probably their own fault since they obviously failed to do the logical thing and get out of way by jumping on the neo-conartist Capitalism is the One True GOD bandwagon.
Thus we have Iraq, Katrina, Walter Reed and quite possibly Iran.
Science is their enemy, as is Reality (with all it's Liberal Biases and all it's Inconvenient Truths) which require them to adopt and absorb radical, painful paradigm shifts.
We must understand that both their fuel and primary tool is Fear.
They use it well and they use it often. They've used it in the War
on Of Terror ™. They use it in our Churches and our Schools. For decades they have worked in tandem to erect the Conservative Fact Shield to protect their interests and their goals from all threats. Especially Us. The best tactic then to help prosecute this Reality War - one which is the True War of Civilizations IMO - as well as help Koolaid Kids and Komandos who oppose us into their next inevitable paradigm shift, is to confront those fears with Courage.
Some, possibly the 23%-ers who rank above 90 on The Inhofe Scale are well beyond all hope of recovery from their compulsive addiction to bullshit, but many others may be open to reason if they are not necessarily attacked with a fact swarm but rather engaged and challenged to have the courage to consider a new approach and a new viewpoint. They may not completely come to accept the new information, not right away, but simply getting them to consider the possibilities is always an improvement.
The goal has to be to implement incremental changes and slowly move the Overton Window just a smidge at a time.
It can be painful, it can be frustrating - but it's well worth it.
And that goes not just for the Neo-Cons, Proto-Cons and Zeta-Cons, it goes for we Progressives as well, because the entire point of being a progressive in my view, is being willing and able to make the next Paradigm Shift in our own Reality Template.
And the next.
And the next.
P.S. Speaking of Paradigm Shifts. Someone seriously needs to tell Bully O'Leilly that "They Drank the Koolaid" is a complete misnomer since the hundreds of people who died in Jonestown in the 70's did not voluantarily commit suicide - they were mass murdered, forced to drink poison at gunpoint. Just another thought nugget for ya.