Thursday, January 11, 2007

Foolish thoughts for a hundred dollars, Alex

I’m the wrong man in the wrong time, the wrong place, and not smart enough to be able to ignore that fact.

Let’s talk about that word that everyone seems to have latched onto recently- ideology.

Let me start with just a few definitions. I won’t even dare look it up in my OED.

An ideology is an organized collection of ideas.

An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things

A set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society.

I’ll stick with those. Any more and the waters would get so deep and so muddy that quicksand might be preferable.

An organized collection of ideas. OK. I guess some might say that the Ten Commandments would fit this definition. I might propose Buddhist precepts. Of course musdlims would pick the whole Quaran. Some Americans might be tempted to suggest the Constitution. And so there are many “documents” that might be thought of as ideology.

I guess to the same degree those same “documents” could be construed as examples of the second definition. Are you still with me?

Which brings us to definition number three and the overtones of “problems right here in River City.”

Its that idea that a dominant part of society gets the notion that not only can they propose a set of ideas but that everyone else must buy into them.

Now we are getting closer. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Christians, Jews,Muslims, Communists, Gays, Straights, Fundamentalists (of all types) and just about any other segment of our societies have those who suggest that “their ideology” is the only one that is valid; everyone else be damned.

Now some would suggest that man’s free will is the root of all of this. Some might be tempted to say that Adam and Eve eating fruit is the first Domino to fall. You’ll note that when someone takes this tactic they are blaming (demonizing might be to strong a word here) others because they are “outside” their ideology.

That is the first error. We are propping up an ideology by immediately finding a fault with someone else. It’s easy to blame someone else, most of us have been doing that (in one way or another) since early childhood.

My problem (one of many) is how to understand WHY others latch onto their ideology and why they are so gung ho to force it down the throats of others. Maybe that goes back to my days of hitch-hiking or before.

Maybe it is my limited world view. There is some grandiose german term for this. Look it up if you want to but I’m just going to throw my thought out.

I illustrated this entry with a graphic of Maslow’s Hierachy. Why? Because I think we need to look at that to understand why we attach ourselves to an ideology, what we get from that attachment, and how to “dissuade” others that perhaps their ideology is “right for them” but not right “for everyone else.

So think about it. We are getting ready to send another twenty thousand troops to Iraq. Can we fight an ideological war with guns and bullets? I might suggest that we can only win with this course of action if we kill everyone who holds the “other” ideology. I don’t think that is possible.

So how do we win?

I know! Let’s have a game show hosted by Regis called “Change that ideology.” It could pit our world and religious leaders against each other until no one is left standing.

“Is that your final answer?”

It might be.