Friday, August 8, 2014

Just politics

Perhaps the reason I've stayed away from this blog for so long is that I just don't follow politics the way I once did.  But, I went back to Evernote and found a few things I've saved of late that struck my fancy... I share below with a few comments:

  • Kinda of buried the lead, didn't you? - in the link a conservative realizes that his brethren have jumped the shark and writes a pitifully weak piece about it - but here's what should have been the lead:
            "In the age of Barack Obama, who would have been considered a moderate conservative a generation ago, it is easily forgotten that there was a radical left..." 

          Help me Rhonda, and then he butchers the "radical left" piece... but, he was dead freakin on about Obama being a moderate conservative.
  •  Have truer words ever been spoken?: US author Joe Bageant wrote in 2007 that "one of the slickest things the Right ever did was to label necessary social costs as entitlements. Through 30 years of repetition the Republicans have managed to associate the term with laziness in American minds."
  •  Obviously Mr. Paul doesn't want the R's nomination if he's challenging the myth of Reagan: from Rand Paul - "Some say, well that's fine, but there were good old days. We did at one time ... When we had Reagan, we were fiscal conservatives. Well, unfortunately, even that wasn't true. When Reagan was elected in 1980, the first bill they passed was called the Gramm-Latta bill of 1981, and Republicans pegged it as this great step forward. Well, Jimmy Carter's last budget was about $34 or $36 billion in debt. Well, it turns out, Reagan's first budget turned out to be $110 billion dollars in debt. And each successive year, the deficit rose throughout Reagan's two terms."

Lizard Brain

Seth Godin and others talk about "the lizard brain"... (Carl Sagan called it the 'reptilian brain) and the argument is that we all have this piece of our brain interested in our survival - eating, drinking, sex.  It's where our fight or flight response comes from.

We all talk to ourselves in our head, and we assume that person that is talking is us, but that voice is most often one of two things - the lizard brain or cultural programming, i.e., people pulling our strings.

It's an interesting question to ask how susceptible we are to the lizard brain or the programming.  We've all heard that we are, or become, the 5 people we hang around with the most.  And we all clearly do this on some level.  Yet, I've known people who seem to absorb themselves into the actions, thoughts, ideas, of others more than most.  They talk like their boss, laugh like their buddies, think like their neighbors.

When I was in sales it was easier to see.  I made more sales if I could adapt to the people I was talking with, and on a weekly basis I was in contact with sales reps from companies hawking their wares, trying to convince me, similar to how I was trying to convince my customers, that they knew the path to their righteousness and salvation.  O.k., that's a stretch, my sales career consisted of selling cell phones or golf clubs, but the point, I hope, is made. Who do you listen to?  Who are your "experts" of knowledge?  How often to you step back and wonder if they have a fuckin' clue what they're talking about?

Sadly, most don't.  Thus, we see a large percentage of the population led around by people they think are 'cool', doesn't matter if they think the fox news crew are cool or the msnbc crew are cool (I've written about this countless times, but if you don't understand that that margin of difference in fox and msnbc is remarkably closer than ,most think, we seriously don't have much to talk about...). And this trickles down to our personal lives.  If you get all of your information from a small group, well hell... read the Wisdom of Crowds, frankly read lots of stuff that argues against everything you think you believe. Consider whether you in fact need to quit your job, buy an estate, or take a piss, just think for a moment "is this what I believe or is this what my lizard brain or my spouse/friends/co-workers have taught me to believe?"

How do we as a culture figure out, as Seth charges us to, to "quiet the lizard brain", and as I would argue, quiet the cultural programming, that directs much of our behavior and that causes many of the worlds problems and conflicts?