Sunday, June 5, 2011

Problem Solving Skills -- Note 3

     Public perceptions have a lot to do with Problem Solving skills.  They bear on how, and even whether civilization makes any advance whatever.  For instance, it was widely seen in the West for some time that the world was flat.  This public perception was equated with Common Sense;  any fool could confirm it by simple observation.  This example demonstrates that public sense can be breathtakingly wide of the mark of Reality, that Common Sense frequently is in fact insensible.  This shows clearly, in turn, the urgent need for different points of view.  The importance of different points of view is further clearly demonstrated, famously proven, by the ancient military concept of 'fields of fire.'  The smallest, simplest military position may only be secured by being certain that attention is focused in each and every sector of one's 'perimeter.'  Thus, vigilant observation is required in all directions for any hope of complete coverage.  Conversely, ignoring any sector would obviously then leave one's position vulnerable from that direction.  It follows, then, that the more different perspectives there are available, the better.  So, it's a really good thing there are more than one of us, and that we're all different.
     Any narrowing of Public Perceptions can and does have tragic consequences for the public at large and on more private, individual levels.  The late, infamous racist apartheid system of South Africa was held by its proponents as an expression of the Natural Order of Things; it amounted even to a Belief System for those who subscribed to it.  The Crying Shame of it was shown not only by the way blacks were treated under apartheid, but by some whites' reactions when that system began to collapse.  The incidence of white mothers killing their children, then themselves in a panic over the dissolving of their perceived 'natural order' jumped by 400%.  I see this as significant.
     As catastrophic as this narrowing of Public Perceptions can be, there are several ways in which this tunneling of our vision can occur.  One of these ways could be called a natural, 'gravity' kind of process, whereby one's views are influenced by the vision of the group.  It is famously troublesome to entertain notions which don't match those of the crowd.  This can also be reinforced by conflicting Belief Systems, leading to differing views being actively discouraged, even prohibited, criminalized.  The mere possibility that this funneling of public sense could be dangerous to society and/or the individual is then rigorously ignored.  Another way in which public perception may be narrowed is by outright manipulation, the engineering of public opinion for specific ends not necessarily in the interests of the public in general.  This fabrication of public perception can be accomplished by the subversion of public servants.  Their sworn loyalties to the public interest are then secretly put at the service of said private ends.  This suborning of public offices can be reinfforced by the seizure of public means of communication, rendering these media also in the illegal service of covert forces.  My point here is that this false manipulation of public perceptions, this engineering of our vision of the world has indeed occured not just once, as an anomaly, but has become the Rule.  We've grown accustomed to it.  We say, 'This is the Way Things Work,' in spite of the obvious facts showing that this is The Way Things Don't Work Worth a Damn, And Never Did!

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