Friday, 09 December 2022

What we know about words

Recently I submitted an article about genetic engineering to the newspaper, but the paper balked at publishing it, (nicely) insisting that I insert a paragraph assuring readers that my article represented the result of extensive research or was my own opinion. The concern was that the readers might be too easily swayed by the definitive way I express myself.


Now I’ve been subjecting the Lake County public to my opinions for more than a decade and I’ve always considered readers to be intelligent enough to understand that anything in print should be subject to skepticism and rebuttal.


So what is it that has changed? Why is it that nationally, our publishers and editors seem consumed with vetting articles and information that is, in essence, unverifiable? Our society has been overrun with “experts” – the word parts “ex” and “pert” meaning “a drip under pressure.”


I will venture my opinion for your consideration. It is because we have come so far from being able to verify the glut of information we are inundated with through our own personal experiences and perceptions – “what we know.”


We are bombarded with information we are forced to blindly accept – opinions, conjectures, statistical studies, scientific studies, news reports, etc. etc. Science has strayed so far from pure unbiased studies that even Nobel Prize winners have complained that most of today’s science is agenda driven toward verifying pre-determined results.


Journalism has strayed even further from impartial and objective news, being purposely designed to lead us toward pre-determined conclusions. What we really know is easily defined as what we personally experience in our immediate relationships and environment. Beyond that, we are primarily forced to accept a myriad of perceptions, opinions, and ideas regarding history and current events with relatively little assurance in our facts or conclusions.


What may appear to be true today may be exposed as a hoax, misunderstanding or outright lie tomorrow. Science is constantly rearranging its facts and theories, and accepted history is often shown to be a concoction of fantasy, myth, and mass delusion. Some people insist that we must “trust” experts to gain a faithful perspective of the facts that surround us, but which of our sources do we consider innately trustworthy?


I know the Holocaust happened not because I read it in a book or saw a documentary but because of anecdotal evidence (despised by scientists and historians), from people who were there, and a father that was one of the first Americans to enter Dachau after the Germans fled.


To pretend that any of us have an undeniable grasp of what is happening far from our own reality is innately foolhardy and ultimately dangerous. Those that would insist otherwise are either a part of the manipulated masses or are themselves a part of the machine that attempts to keep us distracted from what we truly “know,” replacing our true knowledge with manufactured perceptions of ourselves and the world around us. They want us to believe, inundating us with a glut of seemingly unrelated information, entertainment and distraction, that our civilization is moving forward in an orderly, progressive fashion toward a wonderful and more perfectly controlled future.


To insure a free and responsible dialogue we should not be arbitrarily pretending any authority in the opinions presented in books, newspapers and media, yet neither should anyone offering an opinion be required to be an “expert” in what they speak of. That concept of simple acceptance of expertise is inherently more dangerous than the admission of ignorance. It is the responsibility of the public, and all readers, to vigilantly compare anything we see, hear, read, or watch, to our own reality our own experiences our own histories.


The advent of writing, hailed by some as the great preserver of knowledge and intellect is also the great preserver of myth, falsehood and deception. The abandonment of constantly vetted oral histories reflects a feeble attempt to assure ourselves that the written word is always faithful to the truth when we know otherwise. The attempts of humanity to assure ourselves that what we think we know, we know, and that what we believe is incontrovertible fact, is further proof of the immaturity of our species.


Take the thoughts and assertions of the progeny and prophets that have attempted to define and clarify, through writing, the attributes and intentions of our deities. Have the results of those attempts manifested themselves in a more peaceful, prosperous, and humane world? No, disagreements between men regarding the interpretation and veracity of those documents have been the underlying source of countless tragedies, wars, and strife worldwide since they were first composed. Indeed, our world aligns itself socially, politically and even racially within the separate and divisive influences of those documents.


Adult humans and their beliefs are like petulant children, demanding the pretense of knowing the unknowable, arrogantly pointing to a page to justify our competence and existence. But if we were to ask, of all that we are so vehemently concerned with today, what will be important and remain important in 10,000 years? We will not have an answer.


The earth and our natural world will prune, cull, and quantify our experience in ways we cannot predict, so that all these so-called matters of import may be rendered meaningless. For this civilization, the pretense of knowing appears to be more important than the actuality of being.


Readers aren’t stupid they do not need assurances to remind them of the fanciful nature of words the primary element of the universe is still mystery. To pretend otherwise is simple arrogance.

 

James BlueWolf lives in Lakeport.

Upcoming Calendar

9Dec
12.09.2022 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Hometown Christmas in Lower Lake
10Dec
12.10.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
10Dec
12.10.2022 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
10Dec
12.10.2022 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Weekly writing workshop
10Dec
12.10.2022 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Clear Lake State Park Christmas open house
13Dec
12.13.2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
14Dec
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Bucket Brigade Blood Drive Challenge
15Dec
12.15.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
17Dec
12.17.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
17Dec
12.17.2022 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Weekly writing workshop

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