Speaking Truth To Powerlessness

There was once a couple that were Barb and my best friends.  That we lost them is entirely my fault, and like so many stories from my life, I find lessons in the loss.  If only I could see the lessons in advance. Maybe I could find a way that would both make the losses less likely and fulfill the Mission as well.

Roger and I were probably the linchpin of the two couples in that Roger and I started as friends from our mutual membership in Kiwanis and drew that forward to the couple front.  But it was close all around and the women quickly became the social directors. We were virtually inseparable.  Since Barb and I have separated, she has succeeded in keeping contact with them, although my efforts of late have fallen almost totally on non-responsive ears.

Here’s how the falling out came about, as I saw it:  Barb and I had  already been living separately for several years, but Roger, Kristine, and I went to breakfast once a week at a restaurant conveniently located for breakfast.

As always, since 2001, my single obsession was getting my iideas accepted  and understrood. At the time, I had finished The Call and was having nothing but trouble wiith finding a publisher.  Kristine and Roger, of course, knew about as much as anyone about my ideas and my unusual solution to the environmental crisis  a frequent topic of our conversations.

I was still in amazement at how strrong the resistance to the Message was.  The main points that seemed crucial to me in people’s resistance were anthropomorphism and the belief that space was not the answer.

Perhaps the denial of the danger  we are in came from elsewhere, but I thought it was driven by these two perceptions more than anything else.  Whether rightly or wrongly, the biggest manifestation of resistance I saw was over whether humanity’s effects could wind up killing all life on the planet.

One morning I severely hurt Kristine’s feelings by using the “head in the sand” phrase when she pressed me too hard in trying to get admission that environmental problems weren’t as dire as I think.  The context may have involved the legacy we’re leaving our grandchildren and, since she has at least five, there’s plenty of fodder for emotionality in the topic.  I should have been more careful.  Obviously she was having nothing of my points.

She has since refused to see me, or more to the point, has refused to allow Roger and I to continue our friendship.  Or at least that’s my reading of it.  From the outside, it’s only a guess.

The dynamics of the relationships are complicated, but I think that is a fair summary of the situiation.  It’s  been over a year now, and there is little doubt that the relationships, once so close, are now defunct.

I still  think about it a lot, though, and have tried several times to kick-start some sort of revitalization, but to no avail.  The other day while showering it occurred to me that refusal to accept my basic understanding of how dire the situation is the  natural reaction most people have to the consonant dissonance that comes from seeing the problem as bad as it is but not believing in the solution I’m proposing as a real possibility.  The heart of Kristine’s reaction may have been as much in her feeling powerless to stop the destructive forces from destroying as anything.

If the problem has only one solution and that seems impossible to achieve, then to avoid the dissonance, you simply don’t accept that the problem is as bad as it might be.

It’s the easiest–perhaps the only–way you can tolerate the situation.

Perhaps I am trying too hard to convince you that the environmental problems are as potentially devastating as I’m saying they are.  Perhaps what I really need do is put forward the reasons I see that make the solution viable, and the power to  bring that solution to the forefront.

Margret Mead is famously quoted as having said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  What I must do is remind those who already understand the possibilities of space of this truth, and inform the rest of you of those possibilities.

I think there are actually two tasks: the first to make you aware of the possibiities, the second to  make you aware of your ability to change the focus of the public discussion from that which it has long been to that which it must become.

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5 Responses to Speaking Truth To Powerlessness

  1. Dallas Smith says:

    George, Your concluding thoughts are a nonjudgmental non-emotion-laden presentation of your beliefs. Obviously, in the relationship breakdown you describe, the emotional expression caused a strong negative reaction. I trust you will be more mindful in the future of the potential of the means of expression to undermine the desired persuasive outcome.

  2. Fred Drake says:

    Perhaps people would be somewhat more likely to listen to your beliefs if you admit there is even a remote possibility you are wrong.

    • George says:

      So, I wonder, how am I supposed to respond to that. It feels a bit like it did with Kristine. Should I simply let it pass, in the hope that time will move you to realize what a totally inadequate comment that was–if your intent was to solicit an admission of wrongness or get me to argue the opposing position for the person in opposition, I need more information in the case of the former, and see no obligation in the case of the latter

      To wit: wrong about what? I am certainly wrong about many things, but I doubt that is what you are looking for an admission to. I also doubt that you want me to admit to being wrong about everything, for we hold many common values, few indeed that you would appreciate my rejection of.

      That leaves two areas in which I can imagine you might be looking for an admission of some sort. The first is in general philosophy, where we differ probably most. But philosophy seems to me to be pretty far removed from an arena in which one can definitively say one is right, and another wrong. You may think one way and I just the opposite. But these are matters of opinion, and I personally don’t expect we are ever going to resolve the issues to a simple right or wrong. The other is more fact based, and herein lies my biggest quandary,

      Am I wrong about climate change or, more importantly, the overall impact of mankind’s success on Gaia? Well, here opinion depends greatly upon who we listen to and who we believe. None of us has the ability to verify or, in most cases, to even be aware of all the data relevant to such matters, so we have to trust better informed individuals or we simply have to withhold judgment. Most of us have some form of resistance to lacking an opinion on such big issues, so we instinctively rely on our trusted sources. Can we be wrong? Certainly. Either of us.

      Maybe that is what you want me to admit to.

      Admitted to,

      But my major point is to look at the consequences of each of us being wrong and judge which is the greatest error, and to take action accordingly.

      Is my thinking Earth is doomed and being wrong, demand action of any kind? What would be the consequence of not taking the indicated action?

      Or does your thinking either that Earth is not doomed and being wrong, or thinking that god created the universe for us and the end of Earth would mean only a transition to the next episode in our journey toward where ever it is that we are going, and being wrong (I can only think of these two options-sorry, that is one of the risks with such brief comments as yours–you leave it up to me to speculate) demand action of any kind? What would be the consequence of not taking the indicated action?

      I might be wrong, but what actions should be followed if I am, and whether we must take those actions just in case, seems to me to be the purview of those who disagree with me. I invite you–no, I urge you– to take up the challenge of answering those questions. But I don’t agree it is my responsibility to do so.

      As for what must be done if you are wrong, I think the answer is obvious. If the Earth is merely a dead planet spinning, as one of my readers once called it, I think getting off is imperative. If we don’t start that process very soon, I don’t think we will be able to do it at all. That’s what I’m trying to get people to do.

      One of the greatest challenges I face is getting people to consider the possibility that I might be right.

      Do you admit to that possibility?

  3. Fred Drake says:

    my comment was only to give you some insight into why you have difficulty in dealing with people. Your response makes my point. You may indeed be right but you or I will never know. You may also be wrong. Either way most people are not going to care and don’t want to hear you tell them how stupid they are to not understand you were anointed to save the world.

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