by Jon Rappoport
January 6, 2017
These days, I’m coming across a phenomenon I call The Disconnected Mind more frequently.
In its most extreme form, it goes this way. I write a piece on the American Republic, and someone sends me an email that begins: “Yes, limited government is the foundation of the Republic. The oil spill is on the news all the time. I live in Michigan. I wish I had a dog. The government can’t afford to fix the potholes…”
What? Excuse me? Time out!
There are other forms of The Disconnected Mind. The most pervasive type stems from high school and college education. The student steps out into the world and quickly realizes he doesn’t have a clue about the way things work. All that education, and it seems to vanish behind him like vapor.
In this shaky situation, a young person gropes around for something to cling to. He encounters all sorts of quasi-philosophy and political propaganda—delivered by people who appear quite sure of themselves.
How does a newly minted adult assemble his attitude toward his own future? How does he fend off propaganda?
He’s missing one great asset. He can’t analyze information and separate the wheat from the chaff.
He thought he could back in school, but that turned out to be an illusion.
Part of the fault can be laid at the door of political correctness. The material he dealt with in school was sanitized and scrubbed. Any sentence that might have remotely offended some group was eliminated from text books.
He was operating in a pleasant abstract vacuum and he didn’t really know it. Now he pays the price.
It turns out that information comes in all shapes and sizes. Some of it drifts in on the breeze and some of it is launched from propaganda guns at high velocity.
A lot of it is disjointed. It contains holes that reflect the state of mind of the author. No one can really make sense out of it, because it wasn’t written to make sense. It was written to persuade.
In the end, most people surrender. They stagger under a particular umbrella of information, and they stop thinking. They consider themselves lucky because they’ve gotten out of the rain.
In retrospect, their prized education was almost worthless. It was, at best, a huge waste of time.
All in all, I would say the most egregious problem people have with information is this: they can’t follow a train of thought. They can’t see there is “connective tissue” between several sequential ideas. They believe it’s all right to plug into an article at any point and see if they agree with what’s being said.
To grasp this state of affairs, imagine a person who gets on a train while it’s moving. He isn’t aware that the train started somewhere, will make certain stops, and end up at a terminal destination. He just jumps on.
The consequence? He winds up at a place he didn’t intend to. He comes to believe this is the journey of life. You arrive at a place and you get used to it. Other people say it’s a good place, so you buy into that.
There is another way.
It starts with a thorough course in logic. The student learns he can analyze information and see the flaws. He can dig into the logic and illogic of an argument its author is trying to make. He can follow a train of thought—or if there isn’t one, he can recognize its absence.
He’s strong. He doesn’t wilt in front of propaganda and PR.
A long time ago, our society lost its moorings. It’s now floating on open water, and it’s being invaded by polemic. Polemic is argument whose total intent is to convince the audience to agree to something. It doesn’t matter how. Quite often, the strategy involves stimulating fear. Fear sells. It stirs people up. It makes them buy an idea they’d never entertain under normal circumstances.
Logic is polemic protection. It’s a type of insurance policy that yields long-term benefits. Logic confers immunity from intimidation tactics and intentionally garbled reasoning.
It also delivers immunity from the cult of personality, where the charisma of the speaker puts people in a trance. (When I was a child, Senator Hubert Humphrey spoke in our town. My parents took me to see him. Those were the days when Hubert was at the top of his game. He lectured for close to two hours, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. The man was a spellbinder. I walked out of there agreeing with everything he said, and, curiously, I remembered very little of what he said.)
Education can produce strong, independent, and courageous minds. A thorough grounding in logic is essential to arriving at that place.