Having recently survived an election season, one thing has become alarmingly clear, our generation has forgotten how to think for themselves. Sure, we are still thinking, but how much are we thinking for ourselves? Lest you get defensive, allow me to explain what I mean. With the advent of the media machine, social networking and 350 cable television channels, we are told what to think for the majority of our waking lives. And, since we cannot seem to detach ourselves from the electronic information flow, we unknowingly succumb to ideas we don’t agree with and beliefs that are not our own. Someone “in authority” says something and we quickly, without hesitation accept it as true. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a good passive television watcher. I just can’t seem to let things go that strike against my beliefs and so I make comments; annoying comments, much to my wife’s dismay (haha God bless her!). Politics is an excellent example of what I mean (I know, I know, it’s just politics…or is it?). The President makes a statement about something such as finding a way to control the gun violence that plagues America. The news media interprets that as a ploy to rid the American people of weapons; Facebook gets on board and before you know it, a million frightened people start stock piling assault rifles; posting insanely slanted slogans about the President taking away our constitutional rights and so on. My point however, isn’t that everything our President says is true necessarily, but rather, “what do you think about what is going on?” …You, yes you personally! Not Fox News, not Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh etc., etc. That, of course doesn’t mean that you cannot totally agree with what someone says, but have you really given the subject any thought? (Maybe you have, right?) You see most of the time, if not all of the time, the media just scares the hell out of you and thus you start making decisions based on fear or mass hysteria. I mean really, some states seriously entertained seceding from the union. (Oh my lanta!)
Maybe that political topic is just too heated for you to hear what I’m saying here, so I will use another example. What is your personal belief system? I mean really, what do you believe? When people ask me what “religion” I am, I hesitate to even answer because the words even used to describe a belief are so emotionally charged. Personally, I loathe religion because it represents the ultimate in “non-thinking” activity! (Yeah loathe is a strong word!) If I say I’m a Christian, off go the minds to images of crackpots burning abortion clinics or picketing funerals; attributing evil to God by “somehow” concluding that God “hates” such and such and thus brought about catastrophe…(????) As if… Do you see what I’m saying? No thought, just assumption and generalization. When I ask people what they believe, they can scarcely even answer the question. Not because they don’t know necessarily, but rather because what they say might not be the right answer… Yet, your right answer would be your honest answer to the question, don’t you think? And let’s not even talk about using logic in this scenario. Religion is fraught with illogic, yet maintained as truth. Again, I don’t know about you, but I can’t get with illogic, especially when it comes to God. Hmm..let’s see, He makes me sick to heal me? He can without warning or reason kill off entire families in terrible accidents because it was their time; or because He called them home? Have you noticed that even when people pray they say things like, “please let me get this job or please don’t let my children get hurt” as if God is working from the other side and we are beseeching Him “NOT” to do something. Illogical wouldn’t you say? Now I get it, most often people don’t understand and thus accept what others say as truth, but wouldn’t you want to understand? Or at minimum wouldn’t you want to say that it just doesn’t make sense, at least? I believe that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all (Because that’s what He says about Himself!). I also believe that He is pure love. So call me a zealot, but I can’t get with the idea that He does evil sometimes for some reasons. Yes, that’s what I think! (haha) You may disagree entirely, but you cannot argue with the logic. Most times logic is explained away with catch phrases such as, “you gotta have faith brotha” which is code for I don’t understand either! You can’t believe in things you cannot understand. How could you? You have to have at least some understanding in order to believe anything.
So there, I successfully discussed politics and religion! Hey, maybe that’s why people say you cannot discuss either topic because neither one is generally based on any logic! But lest (yes I used lest again) you miss the point of this blog, we as a generation need to recognize how this old world is seducing our minds over to the land of Nod. We have so much information available at our finger tips, that we tend to think less and parrot more. So I say, why not think for yourself and say what you think? If you don’t agree, say so! Don’t you admire that rare, select breed of people who tell you they disagree and why? (I know I do!) However, I don’t always admire those folks who tell you what they think and then fail to have a “why…” (That’s why they invented the delete option on Facebook…I digress) So, we need to get back to good old-fashioned thinking.
And finally, if you will indulge me, these days we have so much division when it comes to race, or at least that division has been brought to the forefront. Race relations or the lack thereof can also be a product of the non-thinking masses. Here’s a fascinating fun-fact! A black person’s needs, wants and desires are generally the same as a white person’s needs, wants and desires, just as black labs tend to behave like white labs (haha). To conclude that black people are lazy and love getting welfare means you have turned off your thinker somewhere. People are people folks with the only real differentiating quality being skin color and hair styles. Sure we have cultural differences, but to feel like you have to shake someone’s hand a certain way or speak with a high-pitched voice and mention Hennessy a lot is justifiably nutso. Do you, be you and you will be able to relate. Do the stereotype and expect annoyance. And, if you must post that emotionally charged Facebook postcard that you thought was so funny, just be sure it represents what you really think because that’s how it will be taken. I have often said that a down side to Facebook is that it lets you know how people “really” think and sometimes that aint so good! The same logic rightfully applies to “Mexicans” “Polys” and every other group folks are quick to negatively characterize.
The solution? Slow down a bit and give things a little thought. Don’t get swept away in rhetoric or manipulated public opinion. Be a person that considers and be willing to admit when you may have gotten something wrong. Lord knows I’ve lived long enough to admit being wrong more than I’ve been right, but at least I’ve tried to employ a certain level of thought. Have a “why” behind your belief or at least be able to say you are undecided. Democrats aren’t always right; Republicans aren’t always right; Black folks aren’t always right; White folks aren’t always right. Only God is ALWAYS right and He wants us to think! Afterall, we are the only species with that capability!
Let’s wake up to the beauty that is this life and ‘think’ how we can make it that much better! 🙂
Just some good thoughts…