do we really know about
an alleged plot to blow up 10 airliners in flight over the
Atlantic? Not much -- only what government authorities tell us. Maybe
the threat was real. Maybe not.
Do you trust the sources of these news
stories? What is their track record for truth-telling? As we read the
story, did we think, "oh my God, here we go again," or "oh my God, here
they go again?"
Were you sucked into the vortex of fear generated by the story? Was your
fear legitimate or a conditioned response calculated for maximum impact?
Are you, am I, being manipulated, or just being informed?
Was it time to
re-inoculate airline passengers with fear, that horrible
desperate fear of strangers, of the unknown; fear of the
peculiar-looking passenger sitting next to you bearing, what, water
bottles of some strange liquid? Was this another peculiarly manufactured
blow up the Sears tower in Chicago? The sinister conspiracy
was allegedly unraveled with
the invaluable assistance of the Pakistani intelligence service?
Pardon me, but
Was the story overblown, whipped into a hysterical frenzy? Or was the
story a hoax designed, once more, to agitate and manipulate us? Who
knows? The story broke just as the Iraq War was again gaining traction
as an election issue, just as the AmerIsraeli invasion of Lebanon was
turning world public opinion against the aggressors, just when Bush's
favorite Democrat, Joe Lieberman, had been tossed out on his
war-mongering ear, just when the Administration had
offered a hand to get him re-elected as an “independent” Republican,
just as the
Democratic Leadership Council had bemoaned the “leftward”
slide of the Party back into “McGovern” territory. Was this “plot”
uncovered just in time to sidetrack everyone again, to distract us from
the horrors committed by US soldiers in Iraq, to distract us from our
economic and energy woes, to avert our eyes from climatic changes, to
manipulate our politics and our elections, to
luff our sails once again, for the umpteenth
time. Are they all crazy... or are we?
I will never know the truth and neither will you. We will live and we
will die in uncertainty.
We are now in a surreal age where you cannot be sure of anything your
hear or read about, except that which happens right in front of your own
face. Even then, in the face of social pressure, you, standing all
alone, will also start to doubt your own knowledge.
Two plus two equals five. How to you know otherwise, Winston
Smith, if everyone else says it's so?
Some anthropologists suggest that what distinguishes homo sapiens
sapiens from the “lower animals” is the human animal's ability to
deceive. Hunting, fishing, and even finding a mate, are, to a
greater or lesser degree, all exercises in deception. For certain,
deception is the signature of our times. This is not the Nuclear Age or
the Industrial Age or the Age of Petroleum. This is the Age of Deceit.
Indeed, deception is the currency of all modern civilization. From
religion to money, from industry to nationalism, from capitalism to
diplomacy to war, from Enron to Exxon, from Congress to Wall Street, the
name of the game is getting the most people to believe wholly and
unquestionably in the deception perpetrated by those who know better. If
we are to be harangued into becoming a “faith-based” community, it is
because the population must be trained to become “believers.” This is
because we live in times when no rational person can believe in
anything. They who will blindly accept religion as a matter of faith,
those who will reject evolution and imagine that they, the hairy,
war-mongering apes, were made in the image of an almighty and righteous
deity (what sacrilege, conceit and temerity!), are also likely,
as a matter of faith, to blindly believe in authority figures such as
presidents and politicians and generals and business executives. Like
eternal children dependent on their benevolent parents for solace,
nourishment and protection, those who can be made accustomed to believe
in fairies, ghosts and angels will also believe in witches, monsters and
These are hard times to be a skeptic. These are hard times to be a
disbeliever. In Europe, during the Dark Ages, for fear of being burned
to death for heresy, the rationalist would not dare to doubt out loud
that Earth was the center of the Universe and Heaven ten feet above his
head. Galileo knew better, but he was bullied into
recanting the truth by authorities who also knew better. It
was for the “good of the people” that the Church forced Galileo to
confess the “errors” of his science. It is for “the good” of a stable
society that a people learn to believe in the few who would deceive the
Lebanon. Iraq. Cuba. Vietnam. Gaza. Venezuela. Bosnia. Iran.
Afghanistan. Puerto Rico. China. 911.
I do not know what to believe but, until proved otherwise, I chose to
disbelieve what I am told. I challenge the orthodoxy. I declare myself
unwilling to accept anything on faith alone. I declare myself a
rationalist. I declare myself unfaithful. I declare myself free from
fear and hysteria.
Provide me with your proofs; convince me with your evidence! The Earth
is not flat. I do not believe in fairy tales. I believe in Evolution if
only in the hope that there is time sufficient for Nature to evolve some
better dominant species. I hear no angels twanging lyres above my head;
I hear only liars ranting on the television.
Prepare your stakes and fires; I declare myself skeptical and free.
can be reached at: Zbig@ersarts.com.
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