Lots of people have made up their minds about the candidate that they are going to select come November. Well, sometimes, the only way to calm down my 20-month-old grandson is to play a video featuring a dozen versions of the children’s song, “The Wheels on the Bus.”
Truthfully, between the conventions and ongoing international carnage, we need to make sure that we check the lug nuts on the wheels of our own buses before we make our final decisions. Consequently, the topic that I would like to pursue here is hopefulness, and the art and science of rational thinking.
I’m not going to write about Dallas, Baton Rouge, Paris, Brussels, Nice, Munich, Orlando, or Minnesota. I have no desire to readdress the wars in Syrian or Afghanistan. There will be no playing of the blame game on either party because, from my perspective, the wheels of both parties’ buses have been off more than once in this campaign. It’s been disagreeable, disgusting, and disconcerting.
My theme here is about something that one of my college professors spent an entire semester professing. We, as human beings, are no longer being taught to actually think anymore. Let me clarify this a little. We are not given the tools or the classes in rational, scientific method analytics to allow us to make sense of life. We spend our days consuming Pablum.
For the vast majority of us, the primary extent of our day-to-day existence is based almost purely on emotions. Logic hardly ever enters the equation. We are stimulus-response creatures that are mostly driven by the amygdala in our brain, and that almost always leads us into places that are not good for anyone.
We tend to focus on the mundane, the negative, the petty, the hideous, and the horrible, and that little thumb-sized amygdala gleefully sends fear, hatred, anger and paranoia throughout our brains. We mentally manipulate ourselves every day.
Much of the trouble that we are experiencing is coming from a worldwide lack of education. That, and our continued wars over whose God is better, contribute to producing a lack of rational hope. We end up living in a “whack a mole” continuum of crisis, anger, worry and warfare.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not just pushing IQ here, I’m talking about EQ (emotional intelligence) as well. We all know very smart people who have the emotional capacity of a third-grade schoolyard bully, and some not-so-smart folks who have beautiful insights into the meaning of life.
As a capitalistic society, we tend to elevate and sometimes worship people who have worked their way to the top of the food chain. Even through many have done it through ruthless exploitation, their wealth seems to elevate them to a God-like status of perceived genius among the masses.
When we look at the Bronze Age, the era where today’s terrorists live emotionally and intellectually, we can easily see how stupid mankind is capable of being. So, the question becomes “How do we protect ourselves from stupid?”
The anger that we see in today’s culture may be well deserved, but the solutions are not simply one person solutions. Unwinding corrupt practices can only occur if we can get to the root of the WIFM equation (What’s in it for me?) It requires finding out who the puppeteer is, and what indeed is in it for him?
If this seemed slanted toward one candidate or the other, I apologize. It is my sincere desire to encourage all of us to try to make a positive difference in our own and other peoples’ lives. I’m just asking that we think about it and not vote with our amygdala. I’m hoping that our better selves take a few minutes to really contemplate the words that are being thrown around because some of them are deadly.