These are the minutes of The September Second Society, a league of engineers, scientists, artists, philosophers, and others who meet in defiance of the Council of Quiet, Deadly Gentlemen (and some ladies) to take back ownership of the world for the individual.
“Some people just won’t listen, so you accept that and move on.”
It was advice given to a member who had observed that many people in his circle are victims of beliefs.
Beliefs that offend logic.
Beliefs with no rationale or origin.
Beliefs they do not wish to explain, even to themselves.
Beliefs that have THEM, rather than the other way around.
That they are protected by a divine wind from Candy Mountain, that they are entitled to live in complete safety and at the expense of others, with free health care, free education, free food, free housing, a new car, money to waste, position, respect, whatever anyone else has, right now.
It does not help that students are inoculated against reason in public school, and in many private and parochial schools as well. A social experiment by a member of College Republicans at the University of California Merced (Oliver Darcy, a recent graduate) proposed redistribution of grade points, which “A” students were against because they worked for their grades. However, the students were unable to make the connection between that and the redistribution of wealth, saying they are different things. With a shudder, I recall reading in the opening chapters of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich Adolph Hitler’s message to German parents, 1933: “We already have your children.”
Someone suggested that affluence creates indifference to the idea of freedom (individuality, self-determination, and related concepts). Maybe, but a mechanism for that is difficult to imagine. It is likely that many people simply value affluence above freedom of action, or mistakenly believe they are the same thing.
Another one posed the question, “What can I do right now, today?”
When it comes to delivering a message over the noise and urgent concerns of day-to-day existence, that message must be as penetrating and directed as a rifle shot, “one person at a time”, as someone said. You cannot get a crowd to think. Only the individual matters.
Governments trend to corruption. You can’t rely on them. And everything seems to devolve into politics. It’s like “heat death” in astrophysics, the state in which the universe must end.
“It only takes a minority to turn things around,” said one, proposing politics as a solution. “Christians are on our side.” (The enemy of my enemy is my friend.) Otherwise reasonable people believe the earth can be sustained indefinitely and made free by politics alone.
But none of that is DOING something.
We try to derive some use from social psychology using laboratory animals, especially John B. Calhoun’s experiments with rats, but hit a snag when one of us says that psychological studies with animals mean nothing because animals do not have free will. Why not? It seems unlikely that animals, who are so like humans genetically, should not have everything humans have in some degree. Animals I know seem to have plenty of free will. In any case, it is clear that rats an other living things do not do well when escaping their environment, whether enclosed by city streets or by gravity, is an impossibility.
Conclusions about DOING something:
Do not abandon your principles. Act on them always. For example, if you think that politics is a road to anything, sell bumper stickers and tee shirts. Another way of saying that has celebrated origins (JFK in Thirteen Days): “There is something immoral about abandoning your own judgment.”
Think, but not about your enemies. It’s a waste of time.
Convince one person at a time when you can. Don’t worry too much about the masses.
With exceptions, people are unmoved by logic. However, they are highly responsive to emotional stimuli. No one believes a true thing unless their heart believes it first. If you can, use art to convey your thoughts (write, draw, film, sing).
Identify peers and mentors when you can, and cahootanize with them on experiments that tend to actualize your mutual philosophy. Try Burning Man, a desert art trip that creates a venue for actualization.
Eventually, set your sights on an objective that you think represents a solution, and do what you can, when you can, to advance toward your goal. Stay the course. Don’t concern yourself too much with the end game. Just take the next step, and “go confidently in the direction of your dreams; live the life you’ve imagined” (Henry David Thoreau).