The ease of our collective delusions

Have you ever wondered how the population of a country can be blind to the horrors it is perpetrating.  How did Germans not see?  How did the Japanese not see?  How did the Americans not see?

WHAT?!  Many an American is bristling right now.  “WE ARE THE GOOD GUYS, SARA.  You take that back!” is being shouted at the computer screen.

But yeah.  NOPE.  Not taking it back.  Because we aren’t the good guys.  But the general patriotic rhetoric and feeling about the U.S. by Americans is “We are the heros, the good guys, the knights in shining armor.”

I was 40 before it occurred to me that We Aren’t the Good Guys.  And I knew all the bad things before that.  But still, it was the unconsidered simplified assumption I had about America so I just reinterpreted the bad stuff, as bad but not really changing the basics – America: Good Guy.

I never challenged Good Guy America because that assumption is fed by lots and lots of rhetoric to make me feel that way.  Heck it’s part of the school curriculum.  America, we are willing to blow innocent people up with Atomic Weapons but only because WE ARE THE GOOD GUYS.  That is the gist of how Hiroshima and Nagasaki were taught to me in school.  In fact, right now, someone is thinking about writing a comment about how many lives America saved by doing it.  AMERICA, GOOD GUY!

This country has an ugly internal history of violent and horrific bigotry.  Consider Slavery, the entire Native American Population, (Trail of Tears is just a high point), Segregation, Immigrant Treatment, and Suffrage.  Just to name the big ones.  A full 25 volume encyclopedia would be necessary to summarize the various points of injustices done inside this country by its government to the people and the land and the wildlife.  But we still internalize the fact that we are a good nation.

The U.S. has spent most of it’s young life being  self satisfied at how marvelous we are.  Or if we are having a bad hair day we relish how marvelous we WERE and imagine how we can recreate this fantasy land of greatness which we once were.

The human brain is fully capable of seeing a fact and reorganizing it inside the brain to be a good thing.  To prop it up against beautiful ideas and honestly believe that despite evidence this viewpoint is reality.  It’s the same way people use religion.

If you take a clean objective look at the bible, for example, it’s hard to find a Good Guy God.  But you won’t catch Christian Religions calling God anything but Love.  Because they believe God is Love, they just re-work all the stories inside their brain to be stories about how much God Loves Us.  Our brains work really well at switching that.

Our monkey brains are not clever.  They can be easily manipulated to remember things that never happened, to see things that aren’t there, to re-interpret the view to one that fits our current worldview.

We are complacent in our belief that our brains will not be wrong, when in fact they are wrong regularly.  And we just ignore it.  Like a glitch in the matrix.

Right now Republicans are reworking Trump in their brain.  He’s the Republican so he must be worthy is how it’s going to come out for most of them.  Because they have the unconsidered assumption that Republicans are Good.  Therefore the brain switches to Trump is Good.

We fail when we don’t look carefully at our assumptions.  So very many are hidden from us, but they are worthy of a good stare.  Because our monkey brains don’t just make assumptions, they make SIMPLIFIED assumptions.   So something like being a Republican, which obviously is a complex mess of ideas and concepts, is drilled down to REPUBLICAN.  This removes all the nuance and lets our brain make those unwarranted brain switches on someone like Trump.




10 thoughts on “The ease of our collective delusions

  1. We are complacent in our belief that our brains will not be wrong, when in fact they are wrong regularly. And we just ignore it. Like a glitch in the matrix.

    Ain’t that the truth.

  2. Man’s inhumanity to man is evident in all societies, all cultures, all colors, and has been a global phenomenon for time in memorial. Power corrupts.

    I’m a Republican. I don’t think Trump is good. But, I don’t think he’s as bad as any of the life long politicians of any party would be. At least he’s actually been successful at something in the private sector? This is a really good case for Term LIMITS for the elected sector across the board.

    The primary process has to change, it’s so rigged on both sides, it just makes me sick. Ironic, that Bernie Sanders, the self proclaimed socialist, is not winning on a equal delegate count. He wins the state, and Hilary gets the delegates. I feel really bad for the guy. Talk about losing according to your own philosophy?
    There are no good choices for anyone this go round. But what great TV the debate between Sanders and Trump is going to be.

    I like what Thomas Jefferson said: “We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.
    Thomas Jefferson
    When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.
    Thomas Jefferson”
    The protestors are showing the government that they have something to fear. That is the only good that the mob can accomplish.

    I guess I’d rather live in the one Country that consistently flies to our neighbor’s aid, and stands for some kind of freedom than in all the others that don’t. We may have had our issues as a nation as we grew and conquered the territory that is now the US. But that is how every nation was ever made, Russia, China, Japan, Mexico, Persia, The Ottoman Empire, you name em, that’s the way of the conquerer, and that’s how nations were built. American was not unique, better or worse then anybody else in that area.

    At least, for now, we have a platform to vote, and a say in the process, that’s more than you can say for China, Venezuela, or N. Korea. No one is crossing illegally into their country to make a better life.


    1. Yeah, the primaries are rigged and you have to give Trump full points for hacking their rigged system. Despite their best efforts he got the nomination.

      Bernie is giving it his best shot, but you have to have a knack for Reality TV to win the election anymore and he’s not quite got it. Although still, in my opinion, a better candidate than Clinton. But Clinton has the rigging pulled in tight and she’s not letting go of it.

      I’m always so surprised that Clinton isn’t doing better. But she’s got a lot more baggage to haul and she definitely doesn’t have that knack for baiting a crowd that Trump does. He is good at this election stuff in a way that she isn’t.

      I don’t think he will be good at being President. He scares me. I would have been annoyed for a day or two after election if Romney or McCain had won, but I would not have been afraid of what they would do. I’m a bit afraid of Trump.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There was no good in Romney or McCain either. I held my nose while voting. This election has “popped the pimple” of the nastiness in politics. There are so many disgruntled Americans. I hope to God they wake up and take the political process back and start demanding “more” integrity, honesty, transparency, from their local, state, and federally elected officials. We could do a whole lot better, but the body American has been asleep while creepy politicians and big money both Soros and the Big Banks started steering things from the back. Enough is enough. It’s time for us to be back to By the People and For The People.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hear you. I’ve just run into too many people who are willing to lend their voices, both Reps and Dems. We have so much more in common than we are different. If we focus on what we have in common, our desire to work, be recognized, have a good life, be a good neighbor, rely on the assistance of our public servants like police, fire dept., public works, be able to walk our streets without fear, or go to sleep in our homes without worry of war breaking out around us.
        We take a lot for granted here in the US. We enjoy a great prosperity as a whole. The poorest person in the US, lives like a King compared to what the citizens in most countries live like.

        Your post made me sad. We have so much here in the US. We aren’t perfect, no way. But I am still proud to be an American.

        We are celebrating Memorial Day this weekend. I think of my family members who have given their lives for this country. The sacrifices we have made to make this country the best place on the planet to live seem to mean nothing anymore. They were the men who gave their very blood for our 1st Amendment freedom we get to express here.

        I sincerely hope that you can understand that I respect you. And I sincerely hope I can share the hope that I have for our country that hasn’t been perfect, but still has a great future regardless of the politics. It’s the individuals of our nation that make it great. People like you, people like me, who are willing to push forward to make it so.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I mean no disrespect for veterans. I don’t think their sacrifice is meaningless. We live in a comfortable place because of those sacrifices. I also do not mistake the choices, sacrifices and heroism of individuals with larger choices of our government as a whole. I can hold the choices that politicians make in contempt without holding the service men and women who must fight for those choices in contempt.

        I also think that the U.S is NOT perfect. But until we are unwilling to check our desire to paint it all as rosy we do nothing to avoid redoing those same mistakes.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Maybe if you look more closely at the facts as related to our peers in history, you might not feel so terrible about where you live or your neighbors. And you may be able to see that we don’t always look at our nation in a rosy light, but we are willing to celebrate what we do well, like helping all of our neighbor’s in their time of need, and being the largest charitable nation ever known….EVER. We have given more as a nation in goods, services, money and lives without asking for anything in return except for a place to bury our dead in the last 120 years. If that’s being “rosy”, well….just call me “factual, realistic, and righteously, rosy”.


      5. I’m afraid I do think you have painted the facts a bit rosily.

        “like helping all of our neighbor’s in their time of need,” – this is true in so far as indivual charitable donations. Its NOT true in regards to the current Syrian Refugee Crisis, is it? I’m not talking about what we do as individuals, but what we do collectively as a country.

        And we do ask for things in return for our military help. We have military bases all over the world on foreign soil. We got those because we helped and pretty well forced the point.

        We only interfere with the terrible things that happen in other countries when we have a monetary or security stake in the fight. We aren’t doing it out of benevolence. We do it out of self interest.

        We also do a great deal of harm in our supreme belief that our way is the best way. We have armed dictators and created larger problems in the belief that we had a grand plan that would make things better. Not the good guys.

        We invaded a country on BAD intel. Then proceeded to trash the area and botch the clean up. Many of our military men and women died or were maimed in this mistake. NOT the good guys.

        Nuclear weapons proliferate. Do you know why? Because WE started a race of one upmanship with the USSR. WE started it. Not them. Us.

        We are not benevolent. We are NOT the good guys. We are self interested bullies.

        Our current task of blotting out terrorism is a grand example of this. You and I are less likely to be attacked by a terrorist than be hit by a car or die moving furniture. It is NOT a threat to our lives. We have magnified it to be that but the reality of FACT is it’s not. But we are killing people, often innocent bystanders to protect ourselves from a nearly non-existent threat. And we are spending BILLIONS of dollars and extinguishing our own rights to do it. We are doing that because Banks and Weapons Manufacturers have a stake in keeping us at War. We ended the Cold War. But then 9/11 happened and gave them a new bogey to focus on. No doubt to their profound relief.

        Men and women died to protect certain freedoms that we now have legislators trying their best to delete.

        There is a man running for President who has quite openly stated that he would limit entry into the country based on religion. A founding principle of this country is Freedom of Religion.

        You can congratulate yourself on the safety of your drive to pick up the kids, but that is related primarily to your economic status. Lots of people die running errands because they don’t live in quite the same neighborhood.

        Their lives are not good. Their education is worse, their children’s prospects are worse and their access to healthcare is worse, their chances of ending up the prison system based on skin color is high. Their lives have not been improved by the sacrifices of any veterans of the last 150 years. And indeed since the military is often the only viable way out of the neighborhood many of them choose military service and die for a government that routinely ignores their entire situation. NOT good guys.

        The U.S. is founded on a lovely ideal. But it has foundered and all we have now is rhetoric. We are comfortable and so we don’t want to see that things aren’t quite so simple or easy. We are willing to sacrifice the rights and basic freedoms we had. We are rapidly becoming no longer worthy of them.

        I like living in the U.S. But the idea that we should cheer just because ‘USA’ rather than take a long hard look at what we do and why we do it is repugnant to me and does a dis-service to the sacrifices made by people in the military.

        Tomorrow I will greet and thank every Veteran I meet. But I will NOT pretend that the USA is wonderful because that sounds nice to say. I will say – let’s make it work better. Because it’s not working right now.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Evangelical Christians could not support Trump early on because of his blatant racism and bigotry mixed with an antagonistic mean streak. The man has not changed only lying more. And, now many evangelicals support this narcissist.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s