People With Opinions And Pooh Bear

A circle of friends can discuss truths upon which they are largely agreed -- or welcome to the campfire travelers who bring strange tales. On hearing these they hesitate to slap another on the back shouting, "ain't it so",  for lack of information to hand. And it turns out that some of these visitors exhibit signs of mal-intent: gossips who sow dissent for the sake of their ego and deceivers with an agenda - but also worthy souls of burnished argument.

No different to a day at the office, really, except we office drones have already been filtered for our compliance so that the range of acceptable opinion has been narrowed before we open our mouths.

If the concept of the Big Lie is real, how do we shatter it? By constructing a Big Story that sounds, on first hearing, just as preposterous? Or by chipping away at the foundations of the Big Lie, picking at the floor plans, the construction specifications, the casualty lists, the combustion calculations and the residue on the walls?

This approach has its own risk. We encounter obsessional people who just want to argue forever about the number of bullet cases on the Grassy Knoll or draw endless lines-of-sight from windows and culverts. Yet they in turn avoid the Big Questions like looking closely at the line of succession or whose policies triumphed. Did the War change us and how? Why did so many thousands of the enemy's leadership move to the U.S. after the War... and how did that influence our government, or ethics, our imperium?

See how softly I tread these stairs, wanting to give pause not fright: only hinting at what we might discover by the time we reach the next landing? 
"Gowaan, why don't you just race up there and tell us who it is !¿?¡... ... ... Ha, ha... see, I knew it. You're a conspiracy theorist! You believe the Nazis landed on the landing."

It would make life easier if we knew in advance who the loonies are and who the trusties - if only people were identified with labels. Perhaps badges like the little colored stars like we got in school. Maybe not. Instead we must learn for ourselves. And watch not only what they say but also what they do. As a famous wartime propagandist who worked for British Security Coordination once wrote:

"Buzz, buzz, buzz. I wonder why he does?" Then he climbed a little further . . . and a little further... and then just a little further. By that time he had thought of another song. 
"It’s a very funny thought that, if Bears were Bees, they’d build their nests at the bottom of trees. And that being so (if the Bees were Bears), we shouldn’t have to climb up all these stairs".

A.A. Milne, Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming, spies: http://www.welovedc.com/2009/09/23/scribblings-jennet-conant/

1 comment:

mpsk said...

Be careful whom you conquer. Their ethos may become yours.