Allegrini: Culture controlled by emotionsWritten by Scott Allegrini | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Our culture has become controlled by emotions: anger, fear, lust and pride, etc. We no longer look at situations and use our minds and our God given ability to reason. Instead, we react emotionally. The ruling class and the media ring a bell, and we begin to drool. Reason is the one thing that separates us from animals but when that bell sounds, we allow ourselves to respond using only our animal instincts.
Look at the tragic shooting in Tuscan as an example. Within hours of the shooting, before we even knew the congresswoman’s name or political party, the media and ruling class were blaming “words” and “rhetoric” for the shooting. The fault was with “Rush Limbaugh’s opinion,” or “Keith Olbermann’s hate” or “Sarah Palin’s choice of ‘target graphics‘or Van Jones’ “controversial speeches.” The truth was irrelevant and political spin was all that mattered. Emotion ruled the day:
Anger: Those evil hatemongers caused him to pull the trigger
Fear: Anyone who owns a gun could have done this
Lust (for power): Don’t let a good crisis go to waste: “ban Guns, ban vitriolic rhetoric”
Pride: If only we did not use such rhetoric, this would not have happened
Folks, if we continue down this road of emotions, it leads to death: the death of our economy, our culture, our personal relationships, our Republic and our ability to work together to solve the monumental problems facing us.
Regarding our Republic, John Adam’s, our second president wrote: “Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate to the government of any other”
Part of being moral is being a responsible citizen. This requires that we educate ourselves, not only on the events of the day, but also the history that lead to these events.
Adam’s also wrote, “let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.”
Writing about “reason”, Thomas Jefferson wrote:
“Fix reason firmly in her seat and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God: for if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”
We have unseated reason and chained her in the basement and we have replaced her with the animal instinct of emotion. We no longer teach kids how to think, we teach them what to think.
We are losing our ability to think critically. Heck, we are on the road to losing our ability to think. According to a study from the book, Academically Adrift:
“many of the students graduate without knowing how to sift fact from opinion, make a clear written argument or objectively review conflicting reports of a situation or event” “The students, for example, couldn’t determine the cause of an increase in neighborhood crime or how best to respond without being swayed by emotional testimony and political spin”
The author is referring to college students, but it does not start in college. A lack of critical thinking skills begins much earlier in life.
A perfect example of emotion trumping reason was the controversy involving Toledo Public Schools and “monkeys.” The powers that be tried to divert the conversation into the emotional realm of political spin, instead of having an honest and reasonable conversation about the problem. Political spin will not win over the truth because the truth has no agenda. The truth is that we are teaching our kids to be puppets. We put words and thoughts into them, but when the time comes to make a decision, and the puppet master is not there, what happens? The study I mentioned earlier shows what happens, “(they did not know)… how best to respond without being swayed by emotional testimony and political spin”
We need a new Age of Enlightenment or perhaps a Re-Enlightenment. Where are today’s Bacon, Locke, Burke and even Marx? These men could critically think and thought outside the box. The problems we face today demand the ability to think critically, to be willing to face our problems head on. We can no longer pretend that our problems will just go away, that some superman will save us.
The truth is that superman does exist, he is in the mirror. We must recognize the hero that lies within each and every individual. WE THE PEOPLE are our last hope. We must fix reason in her seat and bring before her every fact and opinion.
We have a choice to make, we can re-enlighten ourselves, or we can wait for direction from the puppet master of emotion and political spin. Until we stop reacting and start to use reason, nothing will change. We must begin to discern fact from opinion; truth from spin.