Sunday, July 08, 2007

On Thinking

I'm not naming names....

I have come under criticism for accusing people of "drinking the Kool-Aid". The criticism comes, obviously, from those who, in my estimation, are swimming in the stuff.

As I was sitting in a lovely first class seat on a flight home I mused about the concept. The origins of the phrase. Why it is used. Ultimately, I mused on why people are so willing to consume what is given to them without thinking if it is the best for them or not.

Maybe it's in religion. I can't begin to count the number of times I've been told that "the Bible does/doesn't say that". Of course it leaves me wondering what Bible those folks are reading. I find it ironic that some of the best Bible scholars I know are Atheists. They know the Bible. The strict Bible Literalists all too often (although not always) cite what they've been told from the pulpit. Their pastor knows more than they do and so they trust in what he (it's always "he") tells them. They do little if any independent study. They don't do any independent thinking on what is being preached.

Maybe it's in politics. We all know how I feel about the current administration. But it still boggles my mind that the President can loudly proclaim "Mission Accomplished" in 2003 and there are people who don't see the problem with us still being "in the mission" FOUR years later with no end in sight. How can they reconcile these two contradictory messages? Alone. Forget the rest of the bull.... He said we were done. Why are we still there? If I pose the question "was he lying then or lying now?", well... that's just unpatriotic (still) and unsupportive of the troops. But whatever is said by The Government is believed without question.

Maybe it's at work. All signs point to fiscal problems that could very well bankrupt the company. Enron is the poster child for this. Warning signs ignored. Whistleblowers punished. But I'm watching some dots being connected at a couple of different companies. (not naming names....) I see their PR problems. Do they? Maybe they do. Maybe they are ok with it. Maybe they don't. I see decisions that were bad decisions two years ago coming back to haunt them. I see daily decisions being made that portends a really expensive implosion. I also see those same people who have been told "Danger Will Robinson" feeling (and very possibly truly being) completely blindsided when it's above the fold news. No one told us. How did this happen? What went wrong?

It makes me crazy.

I have a hard time believing that I have some sort of special power to see around the corner, to connect the dots and see the Big Picture. I don't actually possess a crystal ball.

My mother never let us have Kool-Aid. Maybe that's it? I don't know. I don't actually enjoy being right. At least not all the time. If I'm right about some of the situations I see brewing, it's not going to be fun being right. It's going to be sad.

I just don't understand the unwillingness to think for oneself even when (and maybe especially when) authority speaks.

But for now... I'm just handing out the Kool-Aid.

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