27 February 2010

and, while we're on the subject

[click image, audio, one hour]

I found this interview fascinating and encouraging... and know already that much of it is just plain true. It was spectacular to hear someone mentioning how our mental conditioning cages us for life, and doing it from the perspective completely divorced from anything you would call "Zen". I love how she discusses that there actually is NOT nothing you can do about certain predicaments, healthwise or otherwise, and adored the discussion about how what we frequently mistake for the advance of senility is really much more about feeling we should be able to remember information that did not interest us to begin with. She does a great job of articulating this.

Plus, she gets on the subject of how the too frequently dodgy information on the internet can actually improve our chances of discerning reality from the clues flying up out of this mosh pit world. This was particularly interesting to me, of course, because it was a problem I immediately encountered upon my connection to the internet... which was very late by the standards of many denizens of the tubes. I started to have regular access sometime in early 2005, but did not have my own 'round the clock connection until late 2005. I began being exposed to many alternative news sites and investigative journalism sites that were telling me stuff quite at variance with what I'd been led to believe about just about everything for my entire life, and I had always been comparatively well-informed, already knew the mainstream stuff was bunk... but had not the first part of a clue just how far into complete nonsense it actually was.

I immediately became intensely suspicious. I remember contacting some poor guy who ran a popular leftist site to ask him just who he was, and how on earth could I have faith in the outrageous stuff he was posting. He splutteringly replied as best he could, and as I was reading his response it occurred to me that even though I had not trusted the mainstream media for many years already, I still had some idea that mainstream sources were superior, could be used to rest one's case upon, EVEN after having thoroughly demolished the idea of the citing of authorities as purely delusional in a book I'd written. I sat there reeling over the realization of the depth of this business the Buddhists call "delusion" and wondered if I should bother trying to track down what was going on it the world, or what.

Obviously, I decided to start shooting the tubes and stay mindful of the mental conditioning that both goes into the reportage and opinion and that same problem with the one absorbing this information. I learned not to just take everything I read at face value, or to let my knee jerk up and bash me in the chin when someone came up with something that fought with what I already thought. I learned to check up on people. I learned to gauge the reliability of certain sources and not automatically accept the veracity of even the most trusted sites. I learned that people bragging of their own investigatorial prowess were very weak on investigatorial prowess, and saw with my own two eyes how the constant suggestion of it hypnotized readers into believing the boasts over assessing the content. If it agrees with their world view, they are the most apt to swallow it whole and cease looking further to get at the truth... at reality.

I don't know if I share Dr. Langer's optimism about this wreckage. I think she suffers from a default assumption that most are as intelligent and open-minded and driven to the discernment of the actual as she is. But her insights are very worth your attention.

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