The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Politics isn't Rocket Science!

A reader writes:

"but because i'm not yet making the amount of money i want , not yet at what i consider a decent fitness level where i'm running five miles in less than 30 minutes , and not yet in a committed relationship with a gorgeous exotic dancer/nasa scientist , and oprah and hallie berry STILL won't answer my calls--i should doubt my ability to look out the window and see what's coming down ???

the mechanic who fixed my car has a gut that rivals a junior sumo wrestler making small talk the guy jokes about his divorce and complains he can't charge what he'd really like to---but he's got more cars lined up to fix than he has room for on his lot
--but i shouldn't trust him to check the brakes ?

this politics stuff isn't rocket science , it's not even as complicated as auto repair --there's a ton of information out there --but it does requires a degree of patience to sort through it all and common sense and comparisons with historical and present day reality to determine the wheat from the chaff..."

You're setting up a straw man argument, taking an extreme (which I never recommended) and then suggesting that if you're not at the extreme, then I'm saying that your most basic perceptions must be inaccurate.  That's freshman debate tactics, guy.  Not being able to run five miles in thirty minutes is different from, say, not exercising at all, or being seriously overweight.  Not making "all the money I want" is very different from a history of business failures, or a constant griping about how you don't have enough money, or the inability to face your checkbook.  And not being married to a combination of Halle Berry and a NASA scientist is simply too absurd to believe--and very, very different from having a string of failed relationships leading to bitterness and belief that women are alien creatures.
The garage mechanic can almost certainly be trusted to fix your car--but I'd be cautious about his advice on the nature of relationships and body-mind issues.  And success in both of those arenas is a matter of value clarity, goals, priorities, daily actions, honesty, and other things.  When I see someone "blown out" in two arenas, I am certainly more cautious about them--they tend to say that the world is responsible for their body, and their partner for the divorce.  Tend to.  Not always.  When someone is blown out in all three arenas, I very rarely see any real personal responsibility--there would be too much pain in admitting that it is their own actions that created the life they are living.
As for "this poitical stuff not being rocket science" you are absolutely right.  It is infinitely more complex than rocket science, which is a matter of mathmatics, in other way, the way our minds manipulate the images we have ofthe material world.  Not the ultimate realities themselves, but the agreed-upon shell we culturally place over chaos.  We're manipulating our symbols, and that is incredibly easier than dealign with the nature of human consciousness.  Politics is psychology, spirituality, and deals, in other words, with the true nature of human existence.  I know intelligent, educated, honest, caring people on both sides of the political spectrum, with real, serious disagreement on political issues...far more than disagree about whether Newton or Einstein were correct.  Rocket science is child's play in comparison.  And those on both sides, like you, think "the truth is obvious to anyone who opens their eyes."  If you really believe that, then if someone disagrees with you, that person must be a knave or a fool.  After all...the answer is obvious!
You know what's obvious to me?  That we can have a healthy, loving relationship, a satisfying career, a healthy body.  That stuff is below rocket science in complexity.  And after talkking to thousands of people about these issues, I've yet to meet someone "blown out" in these three arenas (note that I'm not saying: "who isn't in the top 1/10 of 1% in these arenas") who doesn't seem to have some serious flaws in their understanding , or some serious perceptual filters created by pain and fear.  Those same flawed goggles get angry at our government's monetary waste when the person can't balance their own checkbook.  Get angry at our bad relationships with other nations when they can't hold a relationship together to save their lives.  Gets angry at the state of our infrastructure, when their own bodies are a disaster...and in each case, they blame their genetics, or their childhood poverty, or those horrible men/women (or say 'there aren't any good men/women out there...") not realizing that the precise same self-rationalizations, carried to the macro level, create all of the stress and strife in the world.
Want to understand why the world is where it is?  Clean up your act in these three arenas.  On the way to doing that, you will learn lessons that cannot be put into words, and you'll start seeing right through the b.s. that people offer to disguise their pain, fear, sloth, and confusion.  WE are responsible for our lives as individuals.  And if we're not, isn't it rediculous to expect our nations to run any better than our lives?  And if any of this stuff was "easy" wouldn't we have it better together by now?
So no, Politics isn't rocket science.  I wish to hell it was.

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