Monday, August 07, 2006

Don't Fight With Yourself

''Don't fight yourself." That certainly looks like it has the potential for being advice of great moment, doesn't it?

I came across this in Edward Teller's memoirs. It was part of a goodnight wish: "Good night. Sleep tight. Don't fight with yourself." The intent was probably something along the lines of don't worry over things, don't toss and turn and keep yourself awake.

Being an insomniac I can appreciate that, for I've spent endless hours battling myself over everything from worries about family to grand ideas about the turning of the wheel and why and how we're here--not to mention why the hell can't I get to sleep?

I also perceive "Don't fight with yourself" as a reference to paying attention to what I like to call "intellectual instinct." Intellectual instinct is that part of us that questions things--stories, votes, rules, statements, conventional wisdom, whatever. Too many people suppress the instinct to question an established order or icon or way of doing things for fear of being criticized, not being "cool," or even out of fear that their own thinking might be faulty.

When your intellectual instinct prods you on an issue, don't suppress it, don't fight with it. Take the time to explore the issue--including the "sides" that don't appeal to you. There's something about the issue that's making you uncomfortable, and you need to find out what it is.

You might want to dismiss this as 1960s counter-cultural wisdom that isn't needed today, since the counter-culture that preached questioning authority is now in charge--but you shouldn't.

Speaking of today's authority group: "We have met the enemy and they are us" is more than a clever statement. The generation in charge today (and I am a part of that generation) doesn't want its policies and rules questioned any more than the gang in charge in 1970, or 1950, or 1860, or any other time. And today's establishment are using the same disinformation and social engineering tactics that have always served to control thought: "If we get enough people saying and thinking such-and-such is bad, then they will pressure the rest into submission." File the media under "people," because the professional media, the hip media, the conservative media, the underground media, and any other media are just as capable of delivering misinformation as ... well, as a blog.
Consider the words of Steppenwolf's "Monster."

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