I am re-reading “Atlas Shrugged” in hopes of gaining new perspective a world that makes less sense to me day by day. I am committed to hearing different voices. I know that I will show respect and will learn from the majority of my neighbors at the bayshore who see the world very differently than I do. I make this commitment knowing that many disagree with the approach. My interest is self-serving. I am interested in working together to build efficiency and my own effectiveness. I know that collaberation among people with different skills and resources is the very sign of intelligence. I am also interested in learning about myself. I want to know how did this happen? Why are the things so clear to me invisible to others and vice versa? Why are so many unwilling to even discuss the data of our world even when confronted with their lack of logic? Today, exactly three weeks after our national election, I see nine of my neighbors flying “Trump 2020 No more bullshit” banners. I am accustomed to attribute this behavior to some type of fluid mental illness stress response but I’ve not learned how to think about this worldly thinking that is adapted by half the population.
Tonight I listened to the TED talk of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya about fearlessness in the face of authoritarianism. Meanwhile, earlier today a long time friend said that he concludes that he will die soon on the day when Biden comes to take his guns. The irony is apparent; my attempt to use intellectual analysis on a situation that defies and revolts against this very same cognitive process. Having a conversation with a person not living in the same platform of reality is shocking. Knowing that he lives in a world where virtually all share his alternate reality is mind-boggling. The obvious difference in where this difference leads us: peaceful protest vs. armed revolution is the thing that most immediately jumps out.
Also today I spoke with two visionaries – people far more successful in business leadership than I’ve been able to demonstrate – two both see great opportunity ahead and are not deterred by the craziness in the world.
The thing I’ve learned so far actually caught me by complete surprise. I am looking to understand change in the world but what I’ve learned instead is the change within me. We are the change. We are John Galt.
I read Andrew Lewis’ book “The Drowning of Money Island” today. I am reminded that we can learn in at least three different ways from a documentary book like this. I did; and I’ll likely have many The learning aspects are amplified, of course, since I’m reading partly about my own story.
First, I benefited from reading the things I already know. Seeing familiar facts laid out in a book format, organized and interpreted by someone else brings a fresh perspective to understanding these facts. Andy’s analysis, for example, is something that had much more impact in writing than in our discussions.
Second, I benefited from learning new information and details. Andy spent about two years gathering information and conducting interviews. It is natural that he knows more about these topics covered than anyone else. Toward the end of the book-writing process I recognized this accumulated and began asking his opinion as an “expert” whenever a new bay issue came up. The book is loaded with details that I did not know before.
Third is the learning that does not come from what’s written on the pages. This is the analytical part, the real value of reading and structured education. I’ve been hugely influenced by many books in the past and this book will have an oversized impact.
I will comment later on details and lessons learned – some fall in each of these three categories.
We face threats to our quality of life and even our continued existence in two primary realms: 1) democracy and 2) planet. The proven effective strategy of those in control of the status quo is to repress history and current science by replacing these with emotionally driven memes that support their own agendas. We see that happening now at a shocking level.
The attack can be deterred by improving the quality of information we absorb. Education weakens the power of propaganda and big money interests. Our salvation does not require change in everyone. If only 5% more people based their positions on quality information sources like primary peer reviewed journals, conventions, the classic arts and books rather than social media then the entire world could be saved.
I’m not saying that I believe that we will actually reverse the dumbing down and decline in the intellect of the mass population. I am just saying that there is a clear possible path to save ourselves. Yet this solution is increasingly attacked as “elitist”, both by the elites already in power and the masses influenced by their propaganda. I hear some version of this label frequently in attempts to repress this thinking.
Being labeled as an elitist and independent thinker can even be dangerous. My community campaign of handing out information to influence local government to follow scientific standards for environmental sustainability triggered death threats and a hit attempt by a local politician in 2006.
Today the repression of democratic process and deliberate repression of information in locally important issues is worse than any other time of my life. This ongoing effort to address this catastrophe remains my primary life focus despite my admission that we are losing the war.