Most mornings I walk three or four miles. As I walk I like to listen to podcasts or books on tape (or whatever they are now called). This morning it was episode 257 of the Kunstler Cast, an interview with Piero SanGiorgio, author of Survive the Coming Economic Collapse, a practical guide. Fascinating stuff, especially in light of the different approaches Americans take (lone wolf survival, a la Jeremiah Johnson) vs. European approaches, which do not involve turning your back on society and manning big guns. The great thing about being alive today is the ability we have to go further, track down books we hear about, and even download first chapters on Kindle to read. That’s what I did. And .. even though I will probably not read the book in its entirety, I read enough to be inspired. I love the quotes which open each chapter. Here’s one from Einstein: “Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.” And also this:
“To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.”
― Jules H. Poincare
Yes. Yes .. it works on so many levels, from the unthinking, uncritical fundamentalist, to the whack jobs who populate the far right – the birthers, the truthers, the deniers and the assholes who throw sand in the face of truth, for whatever benighted or greedy reasons. What, I ask you, can you do with people who refuse to believe in climate change, despite overwhelming evidence, but who are more than ready to believe that ISIS is at the Mexican border, spreading Ebola. For the former there is evidence – ample, sound, mainstream evidence. For the latter there is none – just naked, ignorant fear. Imminent “threats” trump long term problems. Cranks and crackpots get listened to, while mainstream expertise is ‘elitist” .. or whatever. Fear does this, fear and denial.
To doubt everything is no different to believing everything – it all amounts to the same lack of thinking. And my oh my, that makes life convenient, doesn’t it?