• Posted: Dec 18, 2016 11:25:48
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I have a friend who loves pop music. She doesn’t sing, but she dances. She loves it when the music gets her juices flowing and she feels like prancing, spinning, and wriggling around. I’ve watched her, though. She has absolutely no sense of rhythm. None of her movements fit or coordinate with anything in the music she’s dancing to. Adorable she may be, but a dancer she is not.
I have spent a great deal of time over the past couple of weeks listening to media interviews of people who voted for or are in some way associated with or hope to be associated with our new President-elect. And, I get the same feeling listening to them as when I watch my friend dance. What they are saying just doesn’t match up with external reality in any substantive meaningful way. Rather, it’s like they are dogmatically reading from a script but have no sense of the meaning of the words they are saying or of who they are talking to and what those listening may or may not be understanding from their words. Even parrots seem to demonstrate more comprehension as to what they are saying and its meaning to those who are listening.
The thing about communication is that meaning has to be conveyed and acknowledged, at least in part, or it isn’t communication. It’s just noise. When questioned about what they were saying, those people, more often than not, seemed puzzled as to why anyone would even ask such a question. They then answered by simply repeating what they had already said, as if maybe the interviewer didn’t hear them the first time. Is that communication? I don’t think so.
If the people taking over our government believe saying things over and over again that don’t make sense or correspond to reality in any meaningful way is what being elected to govern is all about, then democracy as it was originally designed back in ancient Greece and practiced up until now in the US is dead, dead dead dead.
Democracy has always been about meaningful discussion of issues affecting all of us, wherein differing points of view are fully presented and thoroughly examined until reasoned and universally understood consensus as to what would seem to be best for most, if not all involved, is arrived at. Democracy has never been about one group of citizens gaining power over another group of citizens. But, in order to have meaningful discussion, speakers need to be able to understand both what they are saying with respect to the reality we all share and how what they propose is being understood by those listening. These new folks seem to possess no such facility for doing any such thing.
In discussion and communication’s place, it would seem these new folks believe democracy to be a power game, something similar to American football, wherein the objective is to overpower and annihilate one’s opponent, to not include them in any beneficial way in any finalized policy proposal. Sort of reminiscent of capitalism, don’t you think? Because in capitalism, the objective is to dominate the market, gather all the spoils to one’s self, rape the environment, and exploit workers and talent to absolute exhaustion.
But, capitalism played that way is a fool’s game. Suck up all the currency from an economy and you have no economy. People will just leave you to your winnings and start another game, a different economy with a different currency. All the so called riches you will have accumulated will be worthless. An economy requires mutually advantageous exchange, or there is no economy. Capitalism played as a zero-sum game is merely exploitation and asymmetrical gain eventually resulting in societal collapse.
A healthy economy requires a healthy democracy to manage its directions, its objectives. We all need to hear, understand, appreciate, and work toward achieving those objectives. Otherwise, we might as well all be tone-deaf, lousy dancers, or autistic, with no sense of how to communicate with each other in a way that achieves shared understanding and willingness to cooperate for mutual benefit. Living within a fantasy that denies or ignores the music of physics, ecology, and what it takes to maintain health, individually, as a community, and as a species, is a prescription for extinction.
One last thing. When people all hear the same music and decide to dance with each other, trust is born, because everyone just has to look around them to see, like I could tell by watching my friend, if we are all dancing to the same music, not in monolithic regimented lock-step, as those who would poo-poo democratic government might presume, but in multifaceted ballet that makes good use of all our individual differences and inventiveness without leaving anyone out or tripping each other up.
May we all find within ourselves improved facility to communicate during this holiday season and into the new year.
Sunday, December 23rd, 2012
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