Taoist mythology, Lanna history, mythology, the nature of time and other considered ramblings

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Location: Chiangrai, Chiangrai, Thailand

Author of many self-published books, including several about Thailand and Chiang Rai, Joel Barlow lived in Bangkok 1964-65, attending 6th grade with the International School of Bangkok's only Thai teacher. He first visited ChiangRai in 1988, and moved there in 1998.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Willful disavowal of critical evidence

Willful disavowal of critical evidence:

Almost every day we’re lied to by figures of authority, similarly as we find some other things contrary to what’s expected. Quite frequently, what’s held to be true in one place (and time) is held as false by those in another.
Authority, one begins to conclude, undermines itself. And not only by this undermining of its own weight through deliberate deception. It has also established a precedent, which has led to people preponderantly choosing self-aggrandizement over community service. The individual can sometimes feel important, but quality of life has suffered.
It seems people can be found willing to believe almost anything – but usually what they are willing to believe is only what works for them: allows them to feel better about themselves, provides the support they need, affords hope. But people are capable of embarrassment too, and resist encountering distain. Few are comfortable being found a fool. Sometimes people sacrifice their lives to avoid this!
Unfortunately, it’s all syndromic. People of great clout as regularly deceive themselves, as those they manipulate. George W. Bush may well believe he “has a year” to create Peace in the Mideast, and that he may well do it. But if he weren’t so delusional, he would be even more dysfunctional, and loose what following he retains.
Those who set themselves up as leaders regularly find sufficient followers, as they’re motivated to not only flatter their followers, and promise them the world (or heaven), but they dress up, beautify themselves and spend major effort fulfilling expectations applicable to the role. People will do a lot to feel hot, important, sexy, vital and desirable! As if nothing but this moment matters…
As Baba Ram Das (and his associate Mere Babble) used to say, “Be here now.” We may, after all, be mis-assessing things, looking at the future with false expectations, and not dealing with a full set of facts. Which, indeed, is quite so. But it’s like the tale of people sitting on a roof in a flood when a boat comes by and offers rescue, and they reply, “Never-mind, we have faith. God will provide.”
Asking for increased democracy instead of better education may be missing the point. I tend to think so, but reality is, that many people have educated themselves, and information, even guidance in intellectual exercise, is out there, fairly readily available. But it’s not often utilized, except by those to whom a better world is something lasting outside the self, and for whom satisfaction in life isn’t a purely personal accomplishment. Those who feel that “Whoever dies with the most toys wins,” or emblazon their motor-homes with “Gleefully spending our children’s inheritance” stickers, are not those who take the effort to better understand the world and our responsibilities in it. No, but they often do like to think that they’re providing a meaningful example, much as “supply-side” theory supporters like to pretend selfishness can create an honest business climate, or even a better, more desirable, world.

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