Monday, November 23, 2020

No no it is simpler than that!


No no it's simpler than that!

Break the problem into smaller pieces.

Overthinking and rethinking. Eventually you break it down. You arrive at the lowest common denominator. Why?

In order to be an instrument for change, knowledge is required. You acquire knowledge by being observant. As you observe patterns begin to emerge. Patterns? Yes patterns in behaviour of our species.

I'll begin this discussion quoting one of the very common introduction statements. I reflect back over many decades, this one appears to be very common, a lowest common denominator. Why? More to come about the "why" near the end.

"Howard, you seem to be a nice person?"

Why do I find this a low common denominator?

In past experiences of interactions, this has been the lead in statement. Usually made by those either new to my social circle, or on the fringe areas. I conclude that they have observed my behaviour for some time, and they simply cannot help themselves to interact and find out more. Find out more about you? Yes! The "more" they want to find out, is to determine if you are part of their "camp", "worldview".

The conclusion, or profile, that I have arrived at which is common to all of these interaction is this. They have been observed your knowledge and experience. They highly respect your accomplishments and lifestyle or behaviour. Perhaps to sum it up, "we need people like you". It's part of the recruitment strategy. They need to know if you are already part of their "camp", and if not, I'll desirable recruit.

What has been the common outcome? The common out come is that they soon realize they cannot compete with your knowledge and experience. What I can best describe as "Christian arrogance". Ask them questions, and the most common response will be a biblical reference. The soft pushback? "You have to believe in something." Within a few minutes it can quickly deteriorate to a personal attack. The most common personal attack statement: "I don't like the way you think!" Many times profanity part of this last statement.

Reflecting back to the mid-nineteen eighties, a particular individual. Literally many hundreds of hours spent together, enjoying our adventure with the common interest of playing music. Now more than 30 years have passed. The individual refuses to meet for coffee. Why? Because through all this time he has assumed that I was part of his "worldview". Through those early years of togetherness, he was always the dominant alpha male personality. Continuing to this day I am sure to volunteer with the local "mustard seed" outreach. Over the past five years I have sent him a few email links, and all I have received back from him are scripture quotes. What happened? Perhaps for the past 30 years he has made an assumption that, "Howard you are a good person". Only now within less than five years, perhaps Google searching my name, he found something and could not contain his curiosity. He had found a LinkedIn entry which I had made in my work history. That entry was that I had been a volunteer for "Recovering from Religion". His first contact back to me after many years was to ask me what this was about. I sent him a few links. I realize that this is been a turning point. For three decades he had made the assumption, that I was a "good person", and now he found out that I was an instrument of "evil". I can only imagine his internal anguish with respect to biblical statements about associating with "nonbelievers". His personal dismay at how he could have been wrong all these years. His internal angst that he had collaborated with the nonbeliever all this time. Perhaps best described that his mind is that of an eight or 10-year-old, running to his parents in the middle of the night, because a nightmare woke him up.

I have other instances, this is just one example of my observations of human behaviour. Just one example that I observe of the suppression and obliteration of the natural "inquisitive nature" of our species. The pattern that I observe is that this lifelong personal position is established before the age of 13 to 15. The establishment of critical thinking can continue mental development throughout the lifetime. However the human brain reaches maturity approximately age 30. This being observed, most individuals spend the second half of their intellectual development in echo chambers that cement perceptions permanently. Between ages 15 and 30, many are given adult responsibilities. These adult responsibilities stroke the ego and establish their personal identity. As with this individual that I have used as an example, past the age of 50, there is little chance of change. Perhaps in their later senior years, as memory begins to fade, the early preteen childhood nightmares are remembered and become their true every day reality.

Probably, I could go on for another two or three paragraphs with more detail, I hope that the above is sufficient to demonstrate a pattern.

"Faith is hope masquerading as knowledge." ~Peter Boghossian, Washington State University. 

I now come to realize in my early seventies, that when you start to see this pattern, an interpersonal relationship cannot be derived. The lifelong position of "faith", is firmly entrenched. Reason and logic was hijacked sometime back when they were in their mid-teens. The "inherent truth" as understood by them from their scripture reading trumps everything.

In summation, be a role model, be an instrument for change. Be visible in your path of the logic and reason. The inquisitive nature will find what it's looking for you just by watching you, even if only from a distance. I attended an evangelical Congregational meeting one evening. I was the outsider, I didn't know that I should not have been there. The topic of the evening was "why do 95 percent of our children leave their faith when attending higher education?" As mentioned earlier the human mind completes growth and development about the age of 30. Consider that these children, in spite of their evangelical and homeschooling or private upbringing, 95 percent left the "faith" of their family and community within two years of higher education. The inquisitive mind will continue to develop until about the age 30. Therefore those that continue on to higher education have approximately 10 more years. These 10 years are crucial to disbanding hereditary faith groups and systemic racism. Since the wide acceptance of the Internet, even those that do not continue on to higher education, may all of their own discord, walk away from the understanding of their family and community. Information is now readily available to all those who are curious. The broadest base of common knowledge, available to all regardless of country of origin or nationality, is now available to everyone. 

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