We're All Just Part of a Massive Soap Opera...
I was watching a local politician seeking re-election the other day. He was expounding about the crisis we are facing as our climate deteriorates and laying out the actions he would take to correct the problem if only he was elected. Now, I've never known this person to be linked to the societal movement that is rabid about correcting our climate and I began wondering how he could put so much passion into his speech. I had to conclude that he was lying. That didn't really bother me as we've come to accept this behaviour from our politicians but what did bother me it that he was probabaly lying to himself.
Or was he? An interesting question comes up as to whether politicians can manage to make themselves believe their bullshit and by doing so become more persuasive when they try to make us believe it too.
I've read a whole bunch of books about how human beings adapt themselves to their situations in order to be accepted and kept safe from the threats poised by our tumultuous world. I know about hierarchy of needs, tribal affiliations, mental metanoic processes that lead to acceptance of doctrines, manipulation of political narratives to join people together into a common goal, use of higher authority to give credence to societal narratives etc. I've read books like "The Dictator's Handbook" that describe in detail how politicians manipulate the system to gain power. In spite of all of this, I've somehow retained the ridiculous notion that I was somehow above all of that and that I had retained the ability to be an independent person.
But I'm not. I'm pushed and pulled in a thousand different ways to take action or believe in the actions of others so as to give them my support. The abiliity to manipulate me has increased a thousandfold over the past few decades as instantaneous communications have appeared on the scene and the number of opinions that require consideration has also increased a thousandfold. I'm also in competition with far more people today than I was back in 1950 when there were only half of us when it seemed as though space and opportunity spread out endlessly in front of us. I'm now threatened with armageddon daily through the onslaught of media and my acquaintances' arguments and I'm given a thousand solutions by a thousand persons on how to avoid or reverse the path to our own destruction.
Then there's trolling and shaming. When I develop an opinion on any particular concern I am forced to keep it to myself to avoid the derision and counter pressure by others who don't share my beliefs. It's never a fair fight - arguing a problem or concept with data, information and logic but rather a clash of wills and emotions vying for strength to overcome the other in bullying fashion and forcing them to stop their threatening actions.
I've run into this myself, recently. Since I've become interested the science of global climate I've discovered a lot of interesting data and information. Naturally, I've wanted to share what I've learned. Big mistake. My first mistake was going too far with a friend and facing a long period (weeks) of stony silence, with never a reference to anything related to climate change again.
My second mistake was communicating my research to a local politician who proudly declares he is a university trained climate scientist. I was excited to see his response to my ideas as he was not a "lay person", but really he just came back at me with derision and a "why would you question an expert like me?" response. His use of scientific terms and "biochemical" name dropping would easily dissuade most people and apparently he had used this elite approach before, but I'd heard the impressive terms the threw about, wasn't impressed and didn't back down. I still couldn't get him to answer my questions with anything but derision and vague references to armies of experts who agreed with him and not me. He eventually told us (there were two of us) to go away and not talk to him again.
Third mistake was communicating on facebook with a person who had responded to a post that said it would be nice if we were to find out that all our so called climate problems were just natural cycles. His response was just plain abusive, even though I tried to give an even argument and persuade him to look at alternatives to the "party line" he was vociferously espousing. No use. He just kept up the abuse of anyone who didn't believe the things he did and so I bid him good bye.
All three cases where one naively thinks that one could have a discussion and pass back and forth useful information that would help correct our mistakes or affirm our thoughts. No way. It was simply a hunkering down by opponents who defended their views by any method possible when they were threatened with logic. My take from the experiences was to think that I should just not bother getting involved in this type of argument again. I would instead carefully check to see if my discussion partners were "on my side" first and then venture to share my ideas from then on.
But why should we argue our case? Why should be continue to make our voices known, even when it seems that everyone is on the opposite side, and especially to our politicians who make policy and spend our tax dollars? They, in particular have a duty to listen to all sides of an argument and not to shut down dissent because they are annoyed to be hearing it.
We all try to make our way through the morass and we all succeed or fail to various degrees. It's simply about survival. There are countless examples in history of how humans have been manipulated by others with consequences ranging from minor annoyance to "being marched into the ovens". Although there are many pretenders there are no white knights who will truly protect us from others' agendas that we wish to avoid. Also, although we may choose to align ourselves with various saviours there is always baggage that comes along with those commitments and in accepting one aspect of their presentations to us we automatically accept the other elements of the associations as well.
The messages thrown at us daily are Constant. Unending. Determined. Upsetting. Dangerous. Threatening. Fearful. Stressful. Confusing. Alway changing. It's the "days of our lives" in real life situations but we can't turn off the TV to get away from them. Failure to be aware means others determine your path forward. Your choice.
EXAMPLES OF 21ST CENTURY CLIMATE MEDIA MANIPULATION
1. The ice is melting.
2. The seas are rising.
3. Our cities are sinking.
4. Heat waves are to be common and are caused by global warming.
5. Droughts in greater numbers and severity can be expected with massive upheavals.
6. Tornadoes are more frequent and stronger.
7. Hurricanes are more frequent and stronger.
8. Forest fires are more frequent and stronger.
9. The oceans are getting warmer and destroying reefs and sea life.
10. The oceans are acidifying due to CO2 dissolution.
11. Atmospheric CO2 is rising and causing climate change through the Greenhouse Effect.
12. The Amazon is the "lungs of the Planet".
13. Brazil is burning the Amazon and will create a "tipping point" due to water and oxygen disturbance.
14. Fires are at a record high in Brazil. (imply they are virgin forest).
15. The Sun has no effect on Earth's climate.
16. Water vapour is a greenhouse gas, not a climate "cooler". Clouds are insignificant.
17. Hot air doesn't rise (apparently). It stays low and overheats the Earth.
18. We must stop burning immediately and switch everything to electricity.
19. The past three or four years have been the hottest ever measured.
20. Species are dying off at an unprecedented rate due to climate change.
21. Politicians have the answer to climate change and it is taxes.
22. 97% of scientists agree that anthropogenic CO2 driven climate change is occurring and man is to blame.
23. The science on global warming is settled and no more debate is required or to be tolerated.
24. A 16 year old Autistic / Aspergers High School dropout has a place at the UN to discuss climate change.
25. Nobody is lying, fudging or just plain manipulating the numbers. It's Science, that doesn't happen.
26. The implementation of the Green New Deal will save the world.
27. Teachers at all levels must indoctrinate students on Climate change.
28. Climate analysis is linear and all cyclical analysis must be disregarded.
Please note: these images and the discussions surrounding them are easily found on Google. I'm not even going to attempt to make a bibliography because this isn't a scientific paper, it's an opinion piece. If you doubt me go search them out. The exercise is quite revealing.