The current outbreak of measles in a Texas community unfortunately illustrates where group-think based in ignorance, power over children to the detriment of those children, and ridicule of non-believers that keeps members in check can lead. I wrote about this yesterday in conjunction with Shot@Life, an international campaign to vaccinate and immunize the world’s children. Today I rant about some of the issues behind the self-imposed ignorance and blindness that is a type of medical child abuse.
Cycles and patterns intrigue me. If we don’t know what is likely to occur, how can we know when something truly different emerges. Scientific knowledge comes about through the understanding of cycles and patterns and the ability to replicate what we understand.
Ignorance, and all things superficial, may be hot commodities, as per reality TV and conspiracy theory politics, but the market for them will bottom out as the value of knowledge gains respect again. Respect is nearly always tied to the realization of the need for something. Respect for parents comes about eventually with the realization that home, food, education and clothing are not guaranteed in all situations. Respect for community comes about when a cultural support system is needed and not present. Many people I know stay in communities with which they have major disagreements and value differences because they cannot imagine life without a ready-made support net. I was different, I left the support structures of family and small town community before I was even 20 years old because the cost of conformity was just too high to pay. Curse or gift, I cannot block out all the things I see around me. Politics, religion, sexuality, these were all things to which people just don’t give much thought. Like all things in life we have to have to strike a balance.
But me, I had to know why the Republicans of the middle 19th Century had more in common with the Democrats of the mid-20th Century than 20th Century Republicans. I wanted to know how and why people allowed a radical woman-inclusive, egalitarian, peace-oriented, religious movement that began 2000 years ago among the poor, landless underclass to become hierarchical, steeped in ritual celebration that showcases wealth and prestige, and linked to the imperial military aspirations of Constantine. I had to figure out how, if not why, women had been imprisoned by cultural roles that allowed only two states of being: mother or whore, when the eons had allowed for the intricate linkage of pleasure and creation for both sexes. The status quo was built on lies.
I have found that most people will admit that the status quo is a made up of at least some bogus constructs to some degree when I speak with them in a one to one setting. But put everyone together out in public and we get mob mentality with the most animalistic attributes celebrated:
- Ignorance (lack of and scorn of a complete education)
- Aggression (the overpowering of those at a disadvantage in particular situations)
- Derision (contemptuous ridicule based on mockery and not a logical critique)
When I see any of these characteristics in people or movements, I take it as a warning to stay the hell away.
The most I could do is provoke or wound someone. A wounded person is a dangerous animal and when cornered, that wounded person will attack to save him or herself just as would a wild animal. We ARE animals; we are made of flesh, have emotions that motivate our actions, and have a tendency to guard our territories through violent actions.
I believe that through collective action we move toward goals. Attempts to force change or compliance will eventually fail. We cannot create exactly what we envision, but we can move toward that ideal.
It is only through logic, knowledge, and love that we can overcome our animalistic tendencies. For me, and for those many I have met in life and recognized as kindred spirits, in churches, at protests, at conferences and recognized, sometimes with no more than a flash of recognition in our eyes acknowledged with a smile across some random room or street, we choose to define ourselves with positive states such as learning, kindness, and compliment; but when society breaks down we sometimes have to step back and check our own actions to see if we are open to learning or are cloaking ourselves in ignorance, if we are overpowering others when we can, or if we ridicule others rather than commenting upon our sameness.
Live your faith, your beliefs, I have certainly have mine that I try to have guide my actions, but use every bit of knowledge to which we humans have access, and for God’s sake do not deny your children access to the knowledge and wisdom we have accumulated over the eons. Have the grace to grant every person the right to live as an educated, respected member of your community. Allow them to act in love based on information through the free will that “the great organizing principle in the sky” gave them.
Tomorrow I retreat from ranting and get back to facts about measles and immunizations.