Closing one’s mind to toxicity


“It has to be dramatic.  It has to be big.  It has to be the Big Lie versus the Big Steal.”
      — Steve Bannon

I only saw this yesterday afternoon.  It was the first time I’d heard the term “Big Lie” used with reference to Donald Trump’s claims of fraud in the 2020 Presidential election.  As I understand it, Trump’s current defense team in the forthcoming second impeachment trial, are disinclined to mention those claims at trial.  I think they’re right; I think this is best both for the country and for their client.

I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with Steve Bannon about what’s best for the country.

Which to believe?  The Big Steal, or the Big Lie?

Peace of mind is paramount.

There are concepts, conceptual systems, and personalities who are so utterly toxic that no good can come from seeking to engage with them.

In “Strategies,” I said:

There are influences and thought systems to which I will not voluntarily expose myself; for the sake of maintaining peace of mind:

  • Noir film or literature:  Scenes of torture, betrayal, and evil schemes I would never have thought of on my own, are not consistent with the way I want to think about people.
  • WERQ:  The only radio station one heard anywhere in Barclay, it was everywhere, spewing forth material produced by and for gangsta wannabes.
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates:  Currently the darling of the American intelligentsia, he seems to champion exactly that values system most prone to keep the black man bankrupt and in jail.  That’s not what I want for the black man.
  • Critical theory, including critical race theory and critical gender theory:  As I am more oriented towards feelings than ideas, these systems seem to me to be all about deconstructing others’ hopes.  I want to create hope, not deconstruct it.

I was raised in a Methodist church.  The Methodist tradition recognizes four bases for teaching and belief; in this order: (1) Scripture, (2) tradition, (3) reason, and (4) experience.  As to that last, as an “experimental religion,” Methodism recognizes that feelings count and deserve to inform one’s belief.

If living according to a given teaching or tenet brings consistent joy and success in one’s projects and relationships, then that teaching or tenet is more likely to deserve belief.  If living according to a given teaching or tenet brings consistent unhappiness, frustration, disappointment and failure — then, that one is one to discard.

The Big Steal, or the Big Lie?  Which one is more deserving of belief?

If I choose to believe in The Big Lie, then really only one person is at fault.  Yes, “we” lost; but the electoral system operated the same way we’ve always trusted it should, and we can still count on the integrity and patriotism of all responsible Americans.

Now, normally, you’d anticipate that half the poll workers, half the poll judges, and half the ballot counters would be Republican.  Not one such person has claimed to have observed or participated in any election fraud.  Yet, if I choose to believe in The Big Steal, then there must have been thousands of such persons complicit in the greatest crime ever perpetrated in an American election.

Which belief feels better?

Your choice.

**********

Related: Podcast – Three Wise Monkeys
Related: We are a diseased nation.
Related: Who or what can we believe?
Related, as to “experimental religion:”
Rationalism cannot save us.
Secrets of the Dead Sea scrolls

1 thought on “Closing one’s mind to toxicity

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