Monday, June 27, 2011


I have read the stories of Narnia and of Middle Earth and have found them enjoyable ways to waste time.

Reading fiction and playing games is often called a waste of time and I cannot find any real counter argument to that idea.

There are many who claim that we must relax or play occasionally to give ourselves a chance to recuperate from our labors. There are others who claim games are useless and wasteful. Others deride specific games “mouse click” games which require no development of skills.

In reality the mind never stops working we can only change the tasks we set the mind on. Some of these tasks are “productive”, they contribute something of “value”.

The idea of “value” is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. At first glance the Narnia books seem like an entertaining fantasy series. Studied further Narnia becomes a metaphorical introduction to mono-theism and intelligent design. As with any literary work a dedicated opponent to either the author or ideas can argue that the writings are offensive and ridiculous at best and propagandistic at worst.

This is because people define the idea of “value” differently. All people base the decisions that they make on their system of values. When the values or ideology that they base their lives on conflict with the values or ideology that others base their lives on there is a reaction.

Depending on the importance of the values people have developed in their lives their reactions to conflicting values can be interesting, violent or subdued.

For example, suppose you are a Muslim raised from birth to believe that dogs are unclean animals useful only as scavengers to clean away the filth of the world. You may react strongly, even violently to someone with a dog.

On the other hand suppose you are raised to go along and get along with people. You may shrug and accept people who behave in ways you believe are inappropriate because you place a higher value on people than you do a particular behavior.

There are those who believe they have the right to impose their values on others. These “imposers” do everything they can to impose their values on others by suppressing ideas that they place little if any value on.

At one time people imposed the teaching of creation through a creator and suppressed other ideologies. In the Industrialized West it has become popular to impose the teaching of evolution and suppress the teaching of creation.

The world often goes like this, first imposing one idea and then imposing another contradictory ideology.

This is because many people place a high value on their ideology and a low value on the ideas of others. When an ideology or a group of proponents of an ideology become popular they suppress other ideas, often through torture, imprisonment, censorship, ridicule and other methods which at one time were used to suppress the current popular ideology.

To make it simple, ideas are fashionable or not and people behave the same way today that they have over the last several thousand years.

The people who suppress unfashionable ideas today are the same people who would gladly have suppressed unfashionable ideas yesterday and the day before.

The people who censor ideas today are the same people who censored ideas a year ago.

The people who suppress the words of those they disagree with today are the same people who suppressed the words of people they disagreed with a hundred years ago.

The people who ridicule and denigrate those with opposing ideologies are the same people who were happy to ridicule and denigrate opposing ideologies a thousand years ago.

These self styled “guardians of truth” who attack and censor and suppress and ridicule and torture and kill and murder and hate ideas that they oppose are every bit as dangerous to a free society as the “guardians of truth” who lived ten, twenty, fifty, a hundred and even a thousand years ago.

These “guardians of truth” killed Christ. These “guardians of truth” suppressed Galileo. These “guardians of truth” murdered 6 million Jews. These “guardians of truth” publish millions of top secret government documents causing death and destruction. These “guardians of truth” ridicule intelligent design. These “guardians of truth” beat homosexuals to death. These “guardians of truth” beat Christians to death. These “guardians of truth” kill babies and abortionists.

The only thing these “guardians of truth” all have in common is the confidence that they are right and they have the responsibility to impose their ideology on other people.

In reality they are not “guardians of truth” they are the destroyers of worlds. The ice queen, the white witch, Satan, the boogey man, Freddie Kruger, the wicked witch of the west. The demon suppressing choice and imposing their will upon anyone that can be imposed upon.

There is a bit of that demon in all of us, that confidence we are right and the other person is wrong. The idea we have the responsibility to push our ideology on others and that anyone would care.

Any time you read an article that ridicules an idea, a concept, a belief, a person or a group think about the opposing ideologies. There may be one, or many. You may reject other ideas or you may reject the authors ideology. The important thing is to think and gain some small understanding.

When we are caught up in the humor of a particularly nasty bit of ridicule sometimes we identify with the author and become the demon ourselves.

I used to love the Travis McGee novels by John D. MacDonald. I recently re-read all of them and I find the ridicule and philosophy that the character engages in ridiculous and infantile. Sometimes the character takes his ideas too seriously.

I imagine that we are all like that in some ways, hypocritical, contemptuous of other ideologies as we expound on our own.

Yet, there are some of us who happily accept the idea of live and let live until we see a danger we feel we must warn people about.

Political writers are constantly warning people about things. Gullible Warming. Impending economic disaster.

Lets jump into an example.

I believe that, economically, the United States as gone past the point of no-return.

Big words here, if you review the multi-modality of income in the United States there are 5 specific income ranges. Typically 4 of those income ranges increase at the same amount. In other words the lowest economic class, around 20K in 2009, advanced the same percentage as the next to highest economic class (100K) but the highest economic class (over 180K, top 5%) typically advances in income 1% more than the other 4 classes.

Unfortunately the income of the highest 5% depends on the incomes of the lower classes. Essentially it is a pyramid and as the base of the pyramid erodes the pyramid must collapse.

See what I mean?

I present a fairly complex idea, simplify it and suggest that we impose a solution to a problem.

I argue that you, with me, become an imposer of our ideas on the lives of others.

It does not really matter why we become imposers the fact is that we do.

It does not really matter how we impose our ideas the fact is that we do.

In my writing I attempt to suggest ideas supported by research and ask the reader to think. I believe this is the least imposing method of imposition that there is. Asking another person to think.

Sometimes I use ridicule, sometimes I am the devils advocate. I can argue most sides of any idea I support or reject.

In every case the most important idea I hope to suggest through my writing is that the reader consider the idea and think.

I believe that is the foundation of Narnia, any fantasy, any fiction, any game. Consider an idea and think. I believe thinking has value.

1 comment:

John D. Ayer said...

Just incase you are more interested in studying economic data than you are thinking about how we impose our ideas on each other here is a link:
to poverty data from 1989. On the left side of the page are links to poverty data for other years. In Michigan the population went from 12.1% in poverty 1989 to 16.1% in poverty 2009.