FACT AND TRUTH, OR FAKE, AND FANTASY

In this media-driven world reporting every assertion, claim and utterance, truth seems impossible to determine or accept. This circumstance has existed a while, since the the Iraq War, or I-did-not-have-sex-with-that-woman (If it wasn’t sex, what was it?), or before. This circumstance has accelerated and intensified under Don Trump.

Having run across the good description of results of this circumstance in Harold Schonberg, The Great Pianists, provides a time to amplify. Vladimir Ashkenazy, the Soviet pianist, left the Soviet Union and lived in London. He said, “I would call Russia a country of lies….By the time you are a grown-up person you’re so utterly brainwashed that you don’t know anymore what you like and what you don’t like.” (page 472)

Note the sort of brainwashing being described. It is not a planned program, enforced by laws and threats. It is a passive, random presentation of dissimulations fed to the public all the time to destroy individuality, thought, criticism and judgment. It creates confusion and misunderstanding. In the end no one knows what is actually fact and truth, including the persons promulgating the lies. 

The means to overcome a passive presentation of distortion is not in social or broadcast media – one side or another edge, the third fringe, the fourth abyss, the fifth dimension, or the sixth amoeba. It is incumbent for individuals to educate themselves, reason and evaluate on their own, hear and listen, and to continue to educate themselves. Determination by the individual what is fact and truth and what is fake or fantasy can lead to a sense of control, involvement and self. Repeat the process. Instead many people seem satisfied to withdraw sometimes into drugs, or other physical distractions, and hear the media. The individual efforts are better than the results of fake fantasies, coming from brainwashing, being presented to Americans every day  

It is necessary and fitting for Americans to read everything. An example from history: Vietnam. How many Americans could have found that country on a map in 1955? How many Americans could find Vietnam on a map in 1973, after 58,000 Americans had been killed, hundreds of billions of dollars spent, depletion of military will and assets, and a reckless abandonment to a policy to contain communism? Obviously, the Vietnamese were not into expanding communism. For them it a nationalistic war: After the Americans left Indochina the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia and got rid of the evil that had killed millions of Cambodians. The Vietnamese left Cambodia to itself. It did not take over parts of Laos which had been part of the Ho Chi Minh trail.

Yet, a silhouette of Vietnam in 2005 evoked no recognition from an educated American. Every American should not never remember. No American should forget to forego learning and education.

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CHARACTER: Crime Four

Last year I presented three lists describing crimes and criminal activities, derived from TV crime shows. Issues in this article arise from a crime show: Woman has wonderlust. She moves from place to place but no stop is perfect and satisfies her. She needs satisfaction not contentment or acceptability. She continues to look for the perfect location with perfect people. She meets different and more people. There are chemistry and magic someplace.

A person seeking something from the environment or from society has a tough row to hoe. Everything is life predicated on experience: Wise men learn by others’ harms; fools by their own. Or, Experience keeps a dear school, yet Fools will learn in no other. Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack. Our person relies on impulse, instinct and intuition, freely for the way forward but frequently is hurt or offended if someone is rude, questioning or dismissive. Yet ask whether our person is capable of love, or recognizes love apart from fondness, affection and attention.

Our person from the show was murdered in the same manner her mother was 25 years before. Picked up in a bar, taken into a forest, assaulted and killed. The murderers were easily caught. However, our person did not learn from experience, and there appeared no memory to let our person ponder, reflect or consider. This was a sorry, pathetic, weak and uneducated human being. What may be worse, our person may be lying to herself about herself.

How to breach the cycle relying in impulse, instinct and intuition? One ay, put something of substance into the person’s head. If she loves nature, educate her about forest lore, not the tripe James Fenimore Cooper recited but real things from education to survival skills. That education will change activities, the life, behavior, goals and aspirations.

NO KNOWLEDGE

This morning’s report about Osama Bin Ladin visiting William Shakespeare’s birth place in and around Stratford on Avon seems typical: A 13 year old boy sees the village and makes notes in his diary. (I do not remember the birth house. I remember Anne Hathaway’s house where Shakespeare lived after he returned from London in 1607 and died in 1616.)

By sixteenth century standards the house is nice but not big; it is not a palace. It was likely not much changed from the time Shakespeare left Stratford and went to London. (Artists, writers and musicians did not make much money at that time, but each could use their talent.) Hathaway was older and the more prosperous of the two. I do not know how much Shakespeare, himself, contributed to the estate in Stratford. However, William Shakespeare was like many other men, marrying a richer older woman and living in her house. Men have married well like that for millennia – equally so women.

Could Bin Laden’s disgust and turning away form Shakespeare and the Western World for surfacey reasons be true? For a 13 year-old boy they could. Shakespeare had gained nothing from his work. He was living in a shack; he was the same peon as he was when he left Stratford; he died poor. But Bin Laden was simply ignorant and unknowledgeable. Arabs like Russians praise their languages for their poetic aspects. Shakespeare wrote poetry. Do Arabs dislike stories about human beings and issues each character has and must overcome or handle, as is seen in plays? (I would suspect that after 700 A.D. the Arabs were familiar with Greek plays and liked them.)

Bin Laden’s youthful rejection was directed to the mountain range of learning, the foundations and foothills supplied and supported by Islam, its rulers and societies from 700 to 1258, the fall of Baghdad – later in Spain. Islamic culture was destroyed by invaders from Central and East Asia. The Mamluk Turks of Egypt who stopped the Mongol invasion were foreign to Arabic culture. The Crusaders from Western Europe beginning in the Twelfth Century were mostly unsuccessful militarily, but greatly enhanced communication East and West and increased learning.

Bin Laden rejected this learning about men, societies and religion. Almost every Muslim today will say, Islam is a religion of peace, or Islam means peace. The Holy Koran is not a militant manifesto. Bin Ladin did not take this road, but one alluring to the righteousness of youth. For him Islam became a propaganda tool to use on his way to establish dominance and political power and material wealth over all human beings on earth.