Make America

I agree with Donald Trump. It’s time to

“Make America Great Again.”

To get that done, I suggest we get rid of Republicans and Democrats. If our citizens are going to have a chance to know and love America, the Democrats and the Republicans have to go –  along with their un-American ideas.

America (1)

This might take some work. The America I know is not described by partisan talking points. My America can’t be explained by elephants and asses. What I see is an America that is being passed back and forth by two hateful, divorced parents, who offer very little explanations for the changes in lifestyle we must endure when someone wins.

Let’s be clear, neither Republicans nor Democrats deserve my country, and if you are planning to give her to either side, then in my opinion, you will be a traitor and we will be enemies. I hope that’s clear to you talking point spitters and un-American followers of elephants and asses. If you identify as a Democrat or Republican, you don’t deserve America either.

I challenge the readers to take a minute and list your ideas about America, then compare them to your party’s platform. Compare what you write to the following quotes:

“If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” — Founding Father Samuel Adams

He didn’t say America needs Republicans or Democrats, he said Our Country will need experienced patriots.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” — President Ronald Reagan

What kind of country are we about to vote for? What will we tell our children when America loses because of our choices?

“Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.” — Mark Twain

Who are we loyal to when we promise to vote for whatever candidate our party throws at us?

“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.” — Edward Abbey

Will a patriot create a government or allow a government that will work against our country? How can we define our Congress other than a Parliament of whores and traitors. Will a patriot allow a political party to usurp our Constitution and abridge our agreed upon rights and privileges? Will a patriot put someone into the highest office in the land who promises to do exactly that? What patriots will elect an admitted usurper of our Constitution?

I think it’s time for us to make a decision. I realize we are expected to talk about Republican things and Democrat things, because those appear to be our choices. But, our country is suffering because of the things Republicans and Democrats are doing to us. Do we really want to join those clans?

I believe we can actually navigate around those political parties and be Americans again. We can take the best ideas our country has produced from our Constitution and from people in every political party, and use those ideas to simply be Americans. Granted we will have to leave the comfort of being told what to think by the people we are praying will actually fix our problems, but our national problems have only grown in my lifetime and I don’t expect Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to be the first Republicans or Democrats to save us. We are all in this together, and I would like to be surrounded by Americans. The Democrats and the Republicans appear to be playing to win, not to build my country.

I will ask the readers again, to make your list about what America really stands for and compare your list to what the Republicans and the Democrats are telling you. I think it’s time for us to come together and be bigger than Republicans and Democrats.

I think we can make America.

Our Choices

“I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed— because ‘Thou mayest.’” –John Steinbeck

timshel

John Steinbeck wrote East of Eden in 1952. He wanted his two young sons to share his love for the beauty and the people of the Salinas Valley in California. When he was finished with his masterpiece he thought, “…everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this.” He explained, “It has everything in it I have been able to learn about my craft or profession in all these years.”

East of Eden pretends to tell us the story of two families and their confrontations with evil. It is really the story of Genesis, chapter 4. More precisely, it is a book about a single, equivocal word that has been given jurisdiction over mankind’s participation with existence. The book is ultimately a challenge for us to decide how we shall live.

If we look at the book of Genesis 4 in the King James translation of the bible, we will be a part of the conversation between God and Cain. In chapter 7, the focus of this writing, God tells Cain the following: If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. This is our promise from God that mankind Shall eventually rule over evil.

If we were to look at that same passage in the American Standard bible, Genesis 4:7 would read: If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door: and unto thee shall be its desire, but do thou rule over it.

In this version God tells us and Cain that we must rule over evil.

These two passages are very different. The first is a promise from God that we, all of us, will eventually rule over evil. Do good works, don’t let evil in the door, keep our heads down so evil doesn’t get a good look at us, and God will provide our everlasting salvation from evil. The second is an order from god to get out there and fight. Evil will not defeat itself, God needs and expects us to seek evil out and destroy it.

This equivocation about a very important idea in our lives, what exactly can and should be done about evil, has been created in our lives by two curious definitions of the word timshel.

Timshel is the word we would find in Genesis 4:7 if we were reading a Hebrew Bible. Timshel is not translated into “thou shalt” and it is not translated into, “do thou”. Timshel means, “thou mayest”. Thou mayest rule over evil.

We get a choice. We are not really commanded to rule over evil like slave warriors of a vengeful god and we are not sheep who, if we are quiet enough and afraid enough and stay in our caves, God will provide and we will be free from evil. Timshel means we can participate in our world. We can choose. We can be the architects and the pilots of our lives because we can choose or not choose evil. We can be god-like.

How can this matter to us? It can free us from the bonds of servitude and it can bring us out of our caves. We can exercise the free will we have been promised and we can make changes in our world because we are free to think.

We, in America, are right in the middle of our every four-year frenzy. We are privileged to be able to vote for the people to lead us. We have responsibilities in this process because our votes will influence other people’s lives. We should choose well and wisely for ourselves and others.

How we think about ourselves and others cannot be separated from this process. Politics is a child of ethics. Every time we vote we make decisions about what is the best way of life and what is the best way to live with other people. The decisions we make in the voting booth are a statement of us and they linger on in the ways our votes have changed our society over time.

We take some comfort in blaming the people we elect for not making the changes we expected them to make. We assault them for being as self-interested as we are, as though they must be different than we are, better, smarter, able to see farther, and able to fix problems that have plagued mankind since we crawled out of caves. They are a constant disappointment to us, because they are us and we don’t like what we are seeing in them.

To divert our failures as decent and reasonable people, we blame others for the failures of a country built for the people by the people. We say those politicians are ruining our country. We say this while we reelect Congress members more than 90% of the time.

If America is not what we expect it to be, whose fault is that. Why are we spending out time pointing fingers at the people we put into office? We are America. What is wrong with America is our fault. It is our fault the second we say it is someone else’s fault.

There is beauty in our great people and our great institutions. We should never forget that, especially when we are whipping ourselves up for political fights against our countrymen.

We are the people Steinbeck was trying to describe in the last scene of “The Grapes of Wrath”. Broken, without a future, hungry, a past so sad and full of the ugliness of mankind that all hope is only a dim memory obscured by the fog of need. A young mother gives birth to a still born child in a boxcar somewhere just outside of fields of food. In her pain she chooses to suckle an old dying man with her unneeded milk. She, it is written, in the middle of her pain chose to be life for another. Simply because she realized “Tho mayest”.

We, as Steinbeck probably meant, also have the chance to decide to do good or evil. We should honor that chance when we vote.

 

 

The Art is in the Questions.

 

We are in the beginnings of the Information Age. Knowledge, or what passes for knowledge, is an everyday concern for most of us. “Are we being lied to again”, is a common question – the answer is all important.

The people who know how to ask the right questions will find the answers. Those who cannot pierce the wall of self-interest and lies are always left wondering and vulnerable.

Knowledge is possible, truth can be found, but it’s all in the questions.

The following article is another installment of MarksNotes public service announcements for individual freedom:

The Socratic Method

“But those gardens made up of letters, it is by way of play, it seems, that he will sow and write them; and each time he writes, building up a treasure of recollection against the forgetfulness of old age, for him if he ever reaches it, and for all those who follow in his footsteps, he will find pleasure in watching the growth of these tender shoots. And when other men will indulge in other kinds of plays, drinking-parties and the like, he, on the contrary, will likely spend his time playing the way I said. ” (Phædrus, 276d)

 

How Google works

https://www.google.com/insidesearch/howsearchworks/thestory/

The Socratic Method

http://www.friesian.com/method.htm

http://www.socraticmethod.net/

https://sites.google.com/site/entelequiafilosofiapratica/aconselhamento-filosofico-1/the-structure-and-function-of-a-socratic-dialogue-by-lou-marinoff

https://www.criticalthinking.org/TGS_files/SocraticQuestioning2006.pdf

http://courses.cs.vt.edu/~cs2104/Spring14McQuain/Notes/SocraticQ.pdf

http://www.umich.edu/~elements/5e/probsolv/strategy/cthinking.htm

Persuasion

http://changingminds.org/techniques/questioning/socratic_questions.htm

The method used by Business:

http://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/program/education/us/en/documents/project-design/strategies/dep-question-socratic.pdf

Plato’s Dialogues

http://plato-dialogues.org/works.htm

 

I’m Sorry, Did You Say Something?

Just in case you think anyone is listening, read this:

“The conditions which surround us best justify our cooperation: we meet in the midst of a nation brought to the verge of moral, political, and material ruin. Corruption dominates the ballot-box, the legislatures, the Congress, and touches even the ermine of the bench. The people are demoralized; most of the States have been compelled to isolate the voters at the polling-places to prevent universal intimidation or bribery. The newspapers are largely subsidized or muzzled; public opinion silenced; business prostrated; our homes covered with mortgages; labor impoverished; and the land concentrating in the hands of the capitalists. The urban workmen are denied the right of organization for self-protection; imported pauperized labor beats down their wages; a hireling standing army, unrecognized by our laws, is established to shoot them down, and they are rapidly degenerating into European conditions. The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind; and the possessors of these, in turn, despise the republic and endanger liberty. From the same prolific womb of governmental injustice we breed the two great classes—tramps and millionaires.” — From the Populist Party platform, issued at its convention in Omaha in 1892, written by Minnesota lawyer, farmer, politician, novelist and patriot, Ignatius Donnelly.

donnally

 

If you are interested in learning why nothing is changing, read this:

“THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet. They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons—a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million—who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.” ― Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda, 1928

edward bernays

Or

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” — Edmund Burke

ed burke

 

Persuasion

persuasionFor the purposes of this article I’d like to make some assumptions:

  1. The reason many people write on social media sites is to persuade other people.
  2. There is a big difference between knowing something and being able to effectively communicate that knowledge.
  3. There are effective methods of communication to help transfer information from one person to another. [other than yelling, cussing and insults]
  4. The better we learn how to communicate the better chance we will have to persuade others.
  5. It’s not what we say, it’s how we say it that matters.

If we can agree on these points, the following information can be the foundation for effective persuasion.pers tech

Persuasive Techniques

http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/K12ELA7-7.2.2-PersuasiveTechniquesHandout-BY-SA1.pdf

Four steps to writing persuasive commentary

http://jenamiller.com/notes-from-a-hired-pen/three-steps-to-writing-persuasive-commentary/

Essay Outlines & The Claim, Evidence, Warrant Model

http://rhsweb.org/assignments/Blaber/Essay%20Exposition/Brave%20New%20World/Essay%20Outline%20and%20Claim%20Evidence%20Warrant%20Model.pdf

Using Rhetorical Strategies for Persuasion

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/04/

USC research and writing guides

http://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/methodology

How to site your sources in a research paper

http://library.csudh.edu/citesrc.pdf

Templates for research and outlines

https://bgamstuds.wikispaces.com/file/view/CLAIM+EVIDENCE+TEMPLATE.pdf

https://www.sbcc.edu/clrc/files/wl/downloads/StructureofaGeneralExpositoryEssay.pdf

aristotle triangle

Strategies for Gathering Reliable Information

http://jsmith.cis.byuh.edu/books/successful-writing/s15-04-strategies-for-gathering-relia.html

http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/evidence/

https://www.roanestate.edu/owl/Research.html

Analyzing Commercials: Recognizing Methods of Persuasion and Becoming a Critical Consumer

http://www.cas.udel.edu/dti/curriculum-units/Documents/curriculum/units/2011/02/11.02.01.pdf

This is funny. I don’t know if it’s facts:

http://www.someecards.com/news/politics/presidenti…

 

#MarksNotes.info

 

Applied Equivocation

The purpose of this article is to expose and discuss Applied Equivocation and to offer resources for further study. I think this is an important discussion because, if we cannot clearly identify the meanings from what we are told, we are at risk for believing anything.

Let’s define our terms; the death knell for equivocation:

e·quiv·o·ca·tion

iˌkwivəˈkāSH(ə)n/

noun

  1. the use of ambiguous language to conceal the truth or to avoid committing oneself; prevarication.

The following is an example of Applied Equivocation with an attached analysis:

From: http://www.politico.com/staff/nolan-d-mccaskill

Donald Trump says:

“I think it’s a disgrace that he’s allowed to do it. I think it’s a disgrace that he’s allowed to say it,”

“You look at so many of the ministers that are backing me, and they’re backing me more so than they’re backing Cruz, and I’m winning the evangelical vote,” Trump continued. “It’s disgraceful that his father can go out and do that. And just — and so many people are angry about it. And the evangelicals are angry about it, the way he does that.”

“But I think it’s horrible,” he added. “I think it’s absolutely horrible that a man can go and do that, what he’s saying there.”

What truth can we hope to find out about Donald Trump or the worthiness of a presidential candidate from this quote?

Question: Isn’t the truth of the whole quote dependent on the definitions for what The Donald is talking about?

What is the disgrace in question?

Why does The Donald think it is a disgrace?

Is whatever was done, actually disgraceful?

Should whatever was done, have been allowed to be done?

If no, why not?

What was said?

Was whatever was said, disgraceful to be said?

Why?

That pretty much covers the first two sentences above.

Let’s take this quote apart, line by line. There is a lot being implied here, but nothing is being said. The Donald is taking the listener for a ride through the wonderful world of Applied Equivocation. Whatever the listener thinks the Donald is saying, is mostly coming from inside the listener.

Donald Trump says:

“I think it’s a disgrace that he’s allowed to do it. I think it’s a disgrace that he’s allowed to say it,”

Whatever “it” is, whatever the listeners believe “disgrace” means, whatever it was, he clearly shouldn’t be allowed to do that.

“You look at so many of the ministers that are backing me,”

How many ministers would that be? Is that so many ministers it is just unbelievable? Is that some of the ministers that are backing him but not backing him in the way that other ministers are backing him?

“… and they’re backing me more so than they’re backing Cruz,”

By the word backing, should I understand that to mean some ministers are backing Donald Trump and some are backing Cruz? Or is it still true that if a minister backs Donald Trump that minister cannot back Ted Cruz?

“…and I’m winning the evangelical vote,”

Can a vote actually be evangelical? Are these heavenly votes? How many evangelical votes is he winning? He is making it sound like he is winning all of the evangelical votes, when in fact it is highly likely that some evangelicals would vote for someone else.

Trump continued.

“It’s disgraceful that his father can go out and do that.”

Here he is simply repeating himself. See above.

“And just — and so many people are angry about it.”

Still not real clear about what was done. Not real clear about how many people are angry. Not real clear if people should actually be angry about whatever happened.

“And the evangelicals are angry about it,”

Either the evangelicals are not people like the previously mentioned people, or evangelicals needed to be mentioned more than once. Why would a politician want to mention evangelicals, who are reported to be supporting Donald Trump more than once, when he is talking about an evangelical? That’s a hard one.

“…the way he does that.”

See above.

“But I think it’s horrible,” he added. “I think it’s absolutely horrible that a man can go and do that, what he’s saying there.”

Aside from the absolutely horrible diction, in the honored tradition of Bush Jr, I ask, with all due respect, what on earth is that man talking about?

I challenge the reader to make sense of this quote without filling in a personal definition for the terms: disgraceful, it, what was said, horrible, the way he does that, and just who and how many people are angry about whatever was done and whatever was said.

It actually might have been easier if the Donald would’ve let the readers make up the story themselves. In the end, that is exactly what we must do so we can define what Donald Trump is talking about. He doesn’t appear to be interested in doing that for us. The theory here is that you can’t actually get in trouble for saying something if you don’t, in fact, say something.

That is an effective use of Applied Equivocation by Donald Trump.

Man does not understand how what is at variance agrees with itself. It is the attunement of opposite tensions like that of the bow and the Lyre. — Heraclitus

The greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor; it is the one thing that cannot be learnt from others; and it is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in the dissimilar. – Aristotle

Applied Equivocation studies discourse theory, cognitive science, and the delivery system, metaphors.

The following websites were chosen to give the reader a better understanding of each of these concepts.

Some insight into The Donald’s skills:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/12/07/is-our-out-of-control-political-rhetoric-really-all-that-extraordinary/?tid=sm_tw

http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2015/09/15/3701215/donald-trump-talks-funny-2/

Discourse Theory:

http://www.politicseastasia.com/studying/getting-the-hang-of-discourse-theory/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/12/07/is-our-out-of-control-political-rhetoric-really-all-that-extraordinary/?tid=sm_tw

Some great American speakers.

Letters from a Birmingham Jail — Rev. Martin Luther King:

http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/kingweb/popular_requests/frequentdocs/birmingham.pdf

Lincoln’s Gettysburg address:

http://historytools.davidjvoelker.com/sources/lincoln-gettysburg.pdf

Supreme Court superstars: the 10 greatest justices:

http://digitalcommons.law.utulsa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2025&context=tlr

Fallacy files:

http://www.fallacyfiles.org/equivoqu.htmlhttp://www.fallacyfiles.org/equivoqu.html

The developing Cognitive Science:

10 classics from cognitive science:

http://www.cognitivesciencesociety.org/journal_csj_classics.html

The Contemporary Theory of Metaphor — George Lakoff

http://comphacker.org/comp/engl338/files/2014/02/A9R913D.pdf

U.C. Berkeley course list for degree in cognitive science:

http://cogsci.berkeley.edu/courses-0

U.C. Los Angeles course list for degree in cognitive science:

https://www.psych.ucla.edu/undergraduate/undergraduate-student-services/majors-minors/cognitive-science-major-for-students-who-entered-ucla-as-freshmen

 

The Picture of Change

There have been recent discussions on these pages that have worked to find the reasons for the uncontrolled violence in urban and inner-city areas that are defined by high unemployment, low education and low participation in society, and high crime. Some blame Democrat ideologies and policies and some blame Republicans. In truth, these problems are American problems that arise from combinations of history and beliefs – they have existed since the first ships hit our shores and no one political party is responsible for the current condition.

Why we even think a big problem can easily be answered is part psychology, with pieces of American individualism and manifest destiny. We tend to narrow views and quick answers, and we truly believe we are right to do so.

Many of the conversations about reasons were accusatory in nature and focused directly on the current administration as the reason for inner city conflict. Some people clearly implied that skin color alone can create that degree of social collapse. That path to answers is represented by the circle. The whole answer is summed up short and sweet — “The President did it.”

O

There are clearly additional reasons for the problems in Chicago, as an example, than what President Obama may or may not have done during his Presidency. The purpose of this article is to discuss the importance of stepping back to take in the view of a bigger picture.

For the sake of this discussion, lets imagine the problems of America can be broken down into 5 categories:

Family

Community

Education

Commerce

Government

Each category has its own problems and America’s problems are caused by some combination of all five categories. At the least, these are the areas we can do something about. There are other categories such as religion and media concerns, and more, but 5 will do to prove this point.

This changes our little circle of blame considerably. Any problem America is having can’t be discussed and it certainly can’t be solved without factoring in these 5 parts of America. What degree each plays in the whole depends on the problem, but the answer is never going to be found by changing only one variable. The unit changes together, or not at all.

It would be easier if this picture was the adequate representation of how we should see problems:

concentric circles

Each concentric circle can be seen to be a greater ring of understanding about the point under discussion. In this example, the point in the middle will become clearer and more correct as our knowledge and understanding transport us farther out into the rings of knowledge.

That isn’t even close.

Our only attempts at problem solving at a national level come wrapped in the interdependent and sometimes indistinguishable package of variables that follows:

venn

The answers are found in the interdependence and the natural interactions of the things we are asking about. This is a complicated nation. The Republicans didn’t mess it all up. Neither did the Democrats. It can’t work that way. Get to a larger view, the farther rings, and that will be obvious.

What will also become obvious is that the colored picture above lives and changes while we are working on the last imbalance we thought we saw. Not only does understanding require a picture of the whole, an understanding of its parts, and how those parts bounce off of each other, but it is time sensitive, because the problem lives and it is ever fed. It isn’t an accident that the Venn Diagram above resembles a simple idea of the living atom.

There is no way out of learning. Granted there is something to be said for the people who can fix their attention to one very small detail, but they are not the people we need to fix national problems. We need intellectual jugglers with a good sense for time. Our problems are getting bigger by the day and those folks who stare into our first small circle, they resemble the Ostrich– when their head is buried in a hole, the last thing they know is that they are about to be eaten.

Shelter From the Storm

“Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood

When blackness was a virtue the road was full of mud

I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form

Come in, she said, I’ll give ya

shelter from the storm” – Bob Dylan

I live in the country. I notice when people come to visit, they tend to want to stay outside. A common discussion we have is about how quiet it is where I live. We can hear the wind through the wings of birds as they fly overhead and Hummingbirds aren’t afraid of people. Still, something doesn’t feel right about my place to the visitors. It’s the lack of noise.

People who move into the country from cities notice an uneasy feeling that’s hard to put a finger on. It took my family about two months to detox. We had a hole that was created by a lack of background noise. We also had feelings that persisted that weren’t needed to live in our new environment.

By background noise I mean the sounds of sirens and helicopters, horns and loud voices — and gun shots. We rarely hear a siren, always in the distance. Helicopters either carry water from the aqueduct to a mountain fire or they are in formation from a local Air Base.

The strange feeling was safety. We are safe. We aren’t surrounded by people to the degree that the simple math involved in crazy-per-capita is a real number to us. We go to town; we are not in a town.  There is a big difference in attitude that is worth discussing.

There’s an attitude in the towns that is more urgent and afraid, more serious about survival than we understand in the country. Towns are actually closer to a state of nature than we are, who live close to nature.

Many people have said interesting things about humans in a state of nature. Here are just a few of those ideas. I see similar ideas today by people on social media.

The likely first conversation about the state of nature in the Western Tradition.

“… now listen to what I said would be the first topic—the nature and origin of justice. By nature, they say, to commit injustice is a good and to suffer it is an evil, but that the excess of evil in being wronged is greater than the excess of good in doing wrong. So that when men do wrong and are wronged by one another and taste of both, those who lack the power.” – Plato’s Republic [358e].

The American Founding Fathers were familiar with these ideas:

“The right of nature… is the liberty each man hath to use his own power, as he will himself, for the preservation of his own nature; that is to say, of his own life.” — Thomas Hobbes

“During the time [state of nature] men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that conditions called war; and such a war, as if of every man, against every man.” – Thomas Hobbes

“The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which […] teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.” – John Locke

“I was burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail

Poisoned in the bushes an’ blown out on the trail

Hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn

Come in, she said, I’ll give ya

shelter from the storm” – Bob Dylan

In many ways, Social Media is in a state of nature.

Let’s assume there was an actual state of nature where nothing could be owned that could not be taken away by the unrestrained and stronger. For that period of time, the stronger – in every way – ruled. Self-interest was the law and death was the reward for opposition.

How is this supposedly mythical but likely factual state of nature any different than what we have seen in every nation building or wilderness conquering event in history? The strongest and the most willing to revert back to a brutal state of nature, conquer lands and peoples. This fact of human nature is also seen on social media.

The violent personas on social media are the background noise and the uncomfortable and frustrating reason why social media struggles to be anything more than a shouting match in black and white.

We should value time and ability more than the people who hijack or obstruct our work. This might still be the wilderness in need of taming and the Trolls and angry people are still carving out their homesteads. There might be better, more civilized places for our better work.

Social media is still the wild west and many of its citizens are still wild.

Some people want to hold back the waves, for the good of communication and “Social Dialogue” They are the voices in a hostile and yet untamed wilderness. They take the brunt of the destruction that goes for, “Getting my rights” in the “Land of the free without responsibility”.

Social media is a free for all that looks a lot like the cities we all are talking about and running from — an untamed land, rich in natural recourses and in a state of nature.

 

How We Tell Our Stories

If we look at how we and our children have been taught to communicate, it gets easier to understand why there is so little effective communication going around. Schools teach people what to think. That is the box they put us in because it is easier to control people when they are confined.

follow rules

Teachers, not gods, are left to control chaos and teach us. They are directed, for egalitarian purposes, to group us into tight, equal little bundles and pour what they think is important all over us. They are told an equal application of the goo also means equal absorption. They are, of course, completely wrong.

They may not want to be wrong, but they are pressed for time, dealing with constant disruptions, marginally educated in fields outside of their areas of teaching, forced to teach to tests, and locked in a system that is not interested in individuals or their messy ways. And because they are usually the product of their present circumstances, teachers are often as challenged as the rest of us when they are forced to write down what they think.

To bring the nightmare to life, let’s review the steps in writing a paper. These are supposed to be the steps we must take to effectively communicate our ideas. Stay with this, you are not required to participate and there will not be a grade. Yawning is expected. But, you can’t get your pudding unless you eat your meat.

According to our educational system, these are the component parts of effective communication and their expected order of presentation.

term-paper

Steps for Writing the Term Paper, or The Way We Communicate

What is the question?

The Introduction:

=The thesis statement

=Statement of relevance

=Introduction to the methods of research

Body:

=Support for the thesis statement

=Examination of counter arguments

=Resolution of counter arguments

Conclusion:

=Restatement of the thesis statement in light of evidence and objections.

=Discussion about what this answer to the question means and how it applies

to the reader.

Notice how we can’t follow the directions unless we learn the meanings of a lot of specialized terms? If we can learn all this, then we’ll have to remember this new language the next time we want to communicate something complicated. Who can do that? Who would?

oral_traditions-379905-edited

A much better way to think about communicating can be seen in the skilled story teller’s presentation.

The story teller says:

I think it’s important to tell a story about: _____.

This story is important because of _____.

I learned about this story by _____.

This is the story: _____.

Some people say this is not the right story because of this: _____.

They are wrong because of this: _____.

I will review my story in light of the objections I found.

I think this story is important for these reasons: _____.

Here’s what you can do to be a part of this story.

What’s the difference between the first method and the second? They both include the necessary parts that make up effective communication. The first is a complicated collection of words and definitions, the second is a common method simple to follow. Both sets of instruction will get the job done. The difference lies in attitude and history.

The attitude of the complicated instructions is really the result of the narcissism of the gatekeepers. The gatekeepers, teachers, school administrators, school boards, college admissions boards, employers, and anyone who thinks they can gain advantage by hiding the facts, keep the doors to knowledge closed until we can prove we are worthy to learn or we can somehow pay for the privilege to know. If they can either keep us ignorant or explain things in such a way that you and I cannot understand, then they can claim to be intellectually superior. If they can make us believe they are intellectually superior, then they can most likely make us afraid not to follow them. At the least, they will be able to argue that because they are intellectual superior, then they are most likely our moral and ethical superiors as a consequence of their intellectual superiority. If our best response is something like, “Oh yeah?” they will probably end up with our money.

slow wit

There is also a difference in perspective about the way to truth. Some people believe the first set of instructions are the only way to go about writing and speaking. Curriculum developers, school administrators, many teachers and some educational elitists fall in this group. They believe in building truths. Follow the steps, construct your truth-vessel just right, and the story will be told in the best way to gain acceptance.

On the other hand, people who we read and listen to most often fall into the group of story tellers. They tell their stories with all the necessary parts, the parts found in the first tedious example, but they know the outline is not the point of the story.

Some may say the first example is the more precisely defined method. That may be true, but does its use mean the story will be better or more factual or more clearly presented?

Both ways, the scholastic method and the story telling method, a much older tradition, teach the same thing: There are ways to tell a story and there are things that must be included that make good communication. The way a story is told and what is included in the telling is the art.

#MarksNotes.info