WHERE’S YOUR POWER?


WHAT EMPOWERS YOU?

When you’re worried, frightened. When you’ve lost your way and have no idea what to do, what’s your game changer? Is it a hug from a loved one? Encouragement from peers or colleagues? A visit to the doctor where he or she assures you that all is well, not to worry?

Information empowers me. Knowledge. Facts. You can hug me, praise me, love me, talk to me, but if I don’t understand what’s going on, I’m lost and miserable. You cannot comfort me unless I have information with which to process current events. For me, the mind rules and always has. This is how I have survived and how I continue to live in a world full of danger.

This is a fundamental issue facing us today. If you are knowledge-based and depend on science, history, knowledge … how do you survive in a world where facts are rare and truth has become as elusive as … white rhinoceroses? As we assassinate our wild species, we are also assassinating our ability to think. Collectively, we seem to be growing ever dimmer.

“Decades” is a show on “MeTV.” It’s for people our age who like remembering things that really happened in a world we recognize as ours.

Last night, they were discussing cults. I have written about the Jonestown massacre and it’s probably my most popular post over the past five years. Last night’s show included, among other cults, “Heavens Gate.” That’s where several dozen people killed themselves so they could arise and be lifted into the UFO following in the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet. Maybe it’s just as well that people this foolish never lived to create more children. I know it sounds cruel, but really? They believed that? Clearly these are not people for whom knowledge was the critical issue.

What makes you feel free? Secure?

Are you satisfied with “Everything looks great” as an answer? How about “It’ll be huge!” No details. No explanation of what it means, if it means anything. Our new, improved medical care will take care of everyone — except we’ll be lucky if it takes care of anyone.

It’s not that we aren’t asking questions. We ask and we ask again. We can keep asking until we are blue in the face. We aren’t getting answers and probably, never will.  But don’t worry. Whatever comes, it will be huge. Magnificent. We’ll get tired of winning. Really! The future is all great stuff for everyone all the time.

If you are a believer, that is.  For the rest of us, it looks pretty creepy.

Yet, we can look to the skies. Maybe we’ll see another comet coming our way with a UFO tied to its tail. One of its reclining seats has your name on it. Maybe mine, too. And then, we will have all the health care any of us will ever need.


What empowers me? Information. Knowledge. Facts. Truth.
The more I know, the stronger I feel.
The rest is gibberish.

18 thoughts on “WHERE’S YOUR POWER?

  1. Nice post Marilyn and i appreciate what is being said and can only roll my eyes with a heavy sense of disappointment in some of mankind for the stupidity and foolishness of those who swallow the BS of such cults as you mention, which to a lesser degree (??) can be seen amongst many who blindly trust in and follow a religion or guru. (Am not saying that putting trust in or having faith in those is altogether a bad thing – just that some self-styled experts are not to be fully, blindly trusted in such matters – we need to keep our own wits about us all the time).

    Knowing a little of your background i’m sure you are familiar with the concept of GIGO.
    Information can be empowering but that largely depends upon what the information (or it’s source) is. There is a heck of a lot of dubious, deceitful or just unproven information out there at the moment making it too hard for some to think for themselves.

    There are those (maybe even your current President?) who are adept at making statements that the less discerning, or just desperate for something worthy of believing in, will find appealing enough to put their trust in and in doing so trust the ones who make the statements. I believe they are called ‘Followers’.

    I try (big emphasis on TRY) hard not to be dependent upon others for my thinking or support for my beliefs, be they of a spiritual/religious nature or of scientific ‘belief’ but rather try to work things out for myself. However this can only get me so far and sometimes i have to put my faith in other human beings explanations for things or reasons that i know little about at the time.

    Example? I have to trust that science is right when it tells me what the speed of light is as there is no way i can work that out by myself. Same for a whole bunch of ‘constants’ that science says are facts. The problem is that sometimes science will open up a new area of thought that proves what was once a fact is no longer so in all or maybe even in any cases. There’s the idea that an atom was the smallest possible bit of anything for example.

    The point i’m trying to make (poorly) is that people (all people) believe according to their own abilities to invest effort in determining what facts they want to believe. Some of us choose to invest more of our time and effort in seeking facts to prove our beliefs stand up to investigation, while others are content to believe something that ‘sounds right’ or is ‘common sense’ – at least until they find it no longer gives them the security or benefits they thought it would.

    Our common confirmation biases work hard to make sure we don’t give up our chosen belief systems very easily, if we ever do, partly because it is very distressing to one day find that everything you believed so strongly in and relied upon for a sense of security or comfort is a load of crap and you need to rely upon something entirely different to what you always have.

    I see empowerment as largely that which reinforces your primary belief – it does not have to make you any more right than you were, just make you feel like you are being or doing the right thing by you. Some of us humans find it preferable to feel comfortable rather than being factually ‘correct’! 😉 DT and some of those around him seem quite happy to do all they can to gather such folk to their (stated, not necessarily believed) cause.

    love.

    Like

    • I believe in comprehensible truth. Science with explanation. That science tells us things we can’t figure out on our own doesn’t make it less meaningful to me. There are many things — hell, MOST thinks in this world for which I need help from others to understand.

      In any case, I’m not worried about the speed of light or the passage of ships into other galaxies or universes. I’m looking for ways to make sense of the things I see and feel around me. I’m not going to blow my mind on trying to do my own calculation of the speed of light. Someone better with numbers can do it and I’m good with that.

      I also know that if I could sit still and listen long enough, I COULD understand it. That IS science and that’s the point of it. We have specialists who spend their lives learning highly complex skill sets and we believe that what they do has value. I believe in knowledge because if I don’t, my life slips into a personal la-la-land. If the things I know — because I was there and I saw — are no longer counted as truth, then I have no reason to bother to move on with life.

      I do not believe that the science deniers and bashers have anything worthwhile to say to me or anyone else. That all they are doing is opening a door into a chaos from lost to truth.

      I want to know WHY my heart is failing. I want to know what kind of cancer I had and what I may have next time around. I want to know what I can actually DO TO HELP myself and others. Platitudes and prayers don’t do it for me. They never have. My experiences with other worldly events are personal and for me, are another kind of truth which does NOT interfere with science facts, or knowledge.

      I don’t really know get what you are talking about. To me, it seems … puffy, fluffy, fragile, and meaningless.
      I also know that all the possible “belief systems” on earth won’t not save me from reality and truth, I do not have a faith-based life. I don’t want one.

      And finally, I believe that KNOWLEDGE EXISTS. In its own right and NOT based on what someone believes. I know what happened to me in MY life. I know WHY it happened. I do not believe that my understanding is limited by faith. I don’t BELIEVE my heart failed. I KNOW it failed. I don’t believe I had cancer: I know I had it. Twice.

      Theories are facts in progress. This is how we MAKE progress in science. Not faith, Not at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Were i in my 20’s or early 30’s we would be far more closely alike in our thinking here. (Not that we believe so much differently in reality- i feel you are seeing more in some of my comments than are factually correct regarding what i ‘believe’). Then science was the only ‘right’ way of thinking to me – that was the point i viewed everything from/through. I could not understand those who did not see things the way i saw them and thought they must be in the wrong.

        i see two kinds of truth: subjective and objective – and even they have kind of shaky foundations: they can be very hard to nail down exactly as to what exists and what is just being constructed in our brain representation of our personal world versus the so-called real world. Most people cannot see any difference between their own personal representation of reality and an ‘external, independent’ reality.

        I believe most of our understanding of reality comes down to our personal perspective and my post “What’s Wrong With Taking A Stand” from last week explains this better.

        What each human sees for themselves as real depends to a very large degree on their own personal perspective. External reality is largely what you think/believe it to be. (By ‘believe’ i do NOT mean you can simply ‘think’ you are cured of Cancer or that Hillary will get elected but rather everything you felt or experienced in your past determines how you ‘filter’ the things you see in your present and maybe on into your future).

        If this still isn’t making much sense to you it probably never will just by reading what i type, exactly because of what i’m trying to express in the above paragraph and the post i mentioned. Sometimes the written English language is not so useful in expressing big ideas or philosophy’s as it can too easily be read with pre-conceived ideas that are different to the ones of the person writing them. 😦

        Last thought: When you say knowledge exists in it’s own right, does God then exist because so many humans say they know God? Knowledge exists ONLY in so far as it can be verified in some form that is indisputable to the person(s) sharing that knowledge. I know that the only thing i know is that all that i do know fundamentally relies upon unreliable, or at best poorly provable (but i that currently tentatively accept as solid) evidence. Personally selected evidences that best fit with long held beliefs, at that.

        Unless i can provide evidence of that, that is acceptable to you, you won’t believe my knowledge exists or is valid in it’s own right.

        And there’s the problem – the evidence has to be acceptable – personal choice. Trump followers don’t accept the same things you accept but you have to live in the same country as them, and they as you.

        I understand the stress that causes and wish i could help relieve that somehow.

        love.

        Like

          • Thank you Marilyn, 🙂

            Very easy to say, easy to believe, very hard to actually prove (to every observer’s satisfaction).

            Reality and Objectivity, if they exist at all (and it is a very big ‘if’) can ONLY be viewed by any one person subjectively. We as a group are at best able to combine/compromise our separate subjectivities so that we in some cases all agree upon what we are seeing or thinking, but even that agreed compromise is not a perfect representation of what might actually exist outside of our own consciousnesses. There are some representations (we might categorise loosely as being based in ‘science’) that turn out to be more immediately useful to us as a person or as a society in order to function effectively and possibly to learn from so as to improve the accuracy of future representations or functions we perform, but to say these are fixed and are 100% accurate, with regards to what is outside of us and our perceptions, is not correct or factual.

            Humans are subjective beings, not objective ones. However hard some might try, or might wish it were otherwise. (and i can assure you there have been many, many times i wished it were otherwise – subjectivity causes humans a great deal of pain, even when they believed it brought comfort). We are unable to fully separate ourselves from our subjectivity. Some might have a degree of success in reducing the grosser forms of subjectiveness (those using the ‘Scientific Method’ mostly) with regards to specific topics or observations, most don’t, and the ones that do are unable to do it totally so as to actually be purely ‘objective’.

            Quick questions: The sky is blue. – is that a fact? Are facts always true or only true in certain cases? So are facts simply facts or statements that may be true or may not be true dependent upon circumstances? How can/do/should we define a fact? Can we all agree on the same definition of ‘a fact’?

            Conclusion: facts are subjective as the are subject to certain conditions.

            I blame Donald Trump and those who voted for him (and similar people in my own country) for re-awakening such ideas in my consciousness. Basically, i’m also trying to make something like sense of it all.

            love.

            Like

            • I disagree. Facts are reproducible and/or supported by actual EVIDENCE. You want to say that only sometimes under certain conditions and I don’t agree and I’m not going to agree no matter how many more times you say the same thing. I understand you are trying to make sense, but it isn’t working. So, can we finish this now, please? You aren’t going to change my mind by repeating the same thing again. Really. You won’t. You’ve done your best. Now, let it GO.

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  2. Belief in anything is nothing more or less than someone’s opinion backed up by hope and wishful thinking.

    Facts come with photographs, personal observation, and deductive reasoning. Most times we accept the idea of planets, of gravity, of water and darkness because someone else figured out the why and the how a long time ago.

    I dislike confrontational situations. Most times I will just go quiet and back away. As an only child with two very aggressive and ego-driven parents, it was the wisest choice, in almost every instance. It has carried me into approaching old age, and I suspect that by the time someone tries to blow us all up I will be far beyond it.

    One of the facts of this life is that we have managed to elect (and I use the word carefully, here) an utter buffoon to run this country. He appears to be trying to run this as a CEO and not a ‘servant of the people” and consequently is getting his chin clipped and his ears pinned back regularly. One can dream. It saddens me, and frightens me, because the potential for disaster is huge. But, and this is important, there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it, (which is, of course, frustrating as hell).

    I have a garden. We live literally in the middle of the woods. When the world out there threatens the world in here, I go dig a hole, or go for a walk at dawn, or put on the kind of music that rises above all this. Maybe dance, if no one is watching, and refuse to take it personally when theDonald does another dumbass thing. My one and only consolation is, I never liked him, never voted for him.

    And watching the news, fake, fabricated, or otherwise, helps me not at all. Understanding THAT, and avoiding all occasions of News keeps me sane.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are also in the middle of the woods, or as Tom says, “we live in Hobbiton.” I’m not sure why, but it helps. If we were in Boston, I’m pretty sure this would be much worse. This way, there are the trees and the green and the flowers beginning to finally bloom. How long is this horror show going to continue? We can only wonder. A lot longer than we wish. After a hundred days, I feel a lot older than I used to feel.

      A big part of me simply cannot understand “cult followers.” I don’t understand how people allow it to happen to them. What part of them is so — discontented — in real life that they feel a need to march behind some bozo because they can’t think for themselves? I don’t get it.

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  3. Yes, scary times, and I have always said to all of the “Lets Make America Great Again” fans, It’s all talk, no action. What has he actually done, and what is it that he is going to do? What are his specific plans? Has he any idea what is involved? Does he choose his team mates knowing who,what types of skills/education/background/morals/ethics/ will be necessary on his team for America’s future to be great? And what exactly will make “us” America great…again? I think we were/are great, even now, except we may NOT be if it continues in the current direction. Certainly due to many of the things that are going on since Trump became the President…..I worry, and really believe these are troubled times, America is in trouble. I support our President, whoever is elected, we have to stand together now, I feel he is breaking us apart.

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    • You pretty much summed it up. But Trump’s followers are not looking for “real things” to happen. They just want a leader, someone to tell them what they want to hear and don’t care if what they are hearing has no bearing on any kind of reality.

      We are — so far — hanging together. But there’s a long time to go. I hope we are still hanging in another 1000 days and more.

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  4. Bill Maher did an interesting commentary a few days ago where he said we will not sway Trump supporters with facts. They don’t care. Their tie to him is emotional and they want to believe. I guess that is like other cult figures.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I agree with you that knowledge is a big comfort and a game changer, however, truth is becoming hard to discern. That’s probably why there is so much angst.
    Leslie

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