July 16, 2020

Fear, Complexity, Environmental Management: Only “Insiders” Can Predict

I was sent a link today to a 2005 lecture given by the author Michael Crichton to the Washington Center for Complexity and Public Policy. If you want a medium to long read on how our minds are manipulated, go take a look. It’s quite good, especially if you are susceptible to having your mind manipulated.

Suppose you were sitting outside on your deck at your very country/rural home, when you decided perhaps you would turn on the radio and tune in to some soft, relaxing music to assist in wiling away the hours doing basically nothing. And then, while searching for the right station, you happen on to “breaking news.” What catches your attention is that you hear the name of the town and exact road that you live on. You listen closer and hear an excited reporter telling listeners that at the very address you live at, the forests and all surrounding vegetation has been completely destroyed due to Climate Change. The world is going to end if we don’t do something NOW.

You pause and look around. Nothing has changed. You can see with your own eyes. All the trees are still there. There’s understory vegetation, flowers, birds, bees, your lawn is green and needs to be mowed. The lettuce is up in the garden and all seems just fine. What the hell is this person talking about?

While perhaps an exaggeration, and I’ll admit probably not the best analogy in the world, don’t miss the point I’m going to give a shot at making.

Crichton’s lecture is “spot on” as they say. Who are they? What is “spot on?” I don’t know. I’m still looking. I find the author of over 200 million copies of books mostly “spot on” because he tells of several things I want to believe. Are the things Crichton shares truth? I think he might believe them to be. He is a very brilliant man.

The short of the lecture is mostly about how we live in a complex world and yet think (I use the term very loosely) linearly. As such, issues too complex for 99% of people to grasp, become dealt with only in ways in which we are capable of making sense out of, i.e. linear thinking (more accurately defined as what the media tells us).

Crichton uses many examples to explain his theory, such as “management” of animals and the general environment of Yellowstone National Park. It was when I began reading everything about Yellowstone that the lecturer spoke of, did I realize, here’s a brilliant man, the author of so many books, and the best he could do was echo what he had read or had been told about wildlife in Yellowstone and the history of the region. Had he been there? Did he have hands on experience and vast knowledge of the history and all the things he shared? I don’t think so. In other words, he became the reporter on the radio telling people my trees and vegetation had all died due to Climate Change. No difference…NONE!

Mind you the lecture was brilliant. I found myself becoming engrossed in each example of how the “media” (let’s not be fooled as to who might be the biggest media mogul in this discussion) gets sucked into current events, including those concerning the environment. This “linear” approach is, just about always, and Crichton gives examples, laced with brilliant choices of terminology designed to not just sell copies, but to purposefully scare the be-jeepers out of all of us. It works. Fear controls the masses.

If, let’s say, all reports that attempt to fill us with fear about such things as Climate Change, is the normal, then isn’t it honest to assume that Crichton’s attempt at telling us that exaggerated and embellished actions and reactions never pan out and we shouldn’t fear such things, the antithesis, or HIS normal?

If we shouldn’t get caught up in the media’s fear-mongering about climate, environment, wildlife, etc., because, as Crichton says, what is being reported is most always wrong, is soon forgotten, and history shows nothing predicted and expressed through fear-mongering ever materializes, then why should we believe what he is telling us? Why should you believe what I’m telling you?

The premise of what Crichton expresses is quite accurate and shouldn’t be lost in this point and counterpoint. Fear is a powerful tool and it is one that has been used since the beginning of time to effect change and desired responses.

We are a society nurtured on Media, and I believe the majority of the world is the same; some more than others. We have become incapable of self-education and self-study, yielding self expression and thought. Any desire for such has been basically bred out of our existence. We are actually demonized and mocked for doing so.

If we are willing to accept the analogy of the radio announcer telling a completely different story than what you can see with your own eyes, are we willing to take that notion to an even higher level of understanding and consider there is little reason to also believe those who offer counter explanations, based as well on reports and data/information published by other men? The Media is an echo chamber. To rebut the Media with Media is a false premise. It can be argued that what constitutes an accurate premise, or logical validity in those things being presented, is consistency in what you speak of, not necessarily the truth. Think about that for a moment and then consider this.

I believe that I have many years of self-learned knowledge of what Crichton used in supporting his premises about Yellowstone National Park and wildlife management, to know that he was guilty of using false and embellished media accounts, and unproven claims of fact, in his own supposition. While much of what he presents I would agree as good argument, it is incomplete and so, presents itself as no better than the topic of his lecture.

Aren’t we honestly at a point where we can only believe what we see with our own eyes? I will have to also question whether or not what we see is what is real or whether it is what we want to see. How bad off are we?

I have expressed often the dangers wildlife biologists and managers are embroiled in while attempting to do their work under the false pretenses of Climate Change. If, as Crichton points out, the emotional clap-trap and fear huckstering readily on display, shows in the end that all the media clatter from the beginning was not even worthy of the effort, what does this have to say about the time and money being spent by wildlife managers who are hamstrung by the inaccurate proposition of Climate Change? As victims, we have abandoned tried and true management practices; convinced ourselves that what we see with our own eyes and has been passed down, is less believable than the radio announcer.

For me, there were two very important take aways from Crichton’s lecture. The first was when he was discussing how businesses, such as those involved in the financial market places, cannot predict what is going to happen, but it doesn’t stop them from offering “speculation” (fear) in order to artificially and dishonestly alter things for personal gain.

Crichton writes that nobody can predict the financial markets, “…except insider traders.” This slightly off-the-cuff comment is, perhaps, the basis for the entire concept that the Media influences everything in our lives to the point that regardless of whether proof is provided or not that the Media lies, embellishes stories, and causes us to do things an independent thinker would never dream of, we continue to turn to the same source for our food.

The Media, the ones seemingly responsible for “linear” thinking in a complex existence, are not stand-alone enterprises – somebody owns them and somebody controls them. If you are considering the explanation that all media are lies, then it’s even more important to understand who manipulates the Media and for what purposes.

The second take away involves what Crichton says at the end of his lecture. I will attempt to paraphrase. He said that all of this media hype and carrying on is akin to the years that people have repeatedly said the end of the world is coming, and yet it hasn’t. And yet he says nothing has changed. Hurricanes, storms, floods, earthquakes are all just a normal part of being here on earth. He ends his lecture by saying, “Is this the end of the world?  No: this is the world. It’s time we knew it.”

I’ll leave you with some parting thoughts. If all the commotion about things around us, i.e. environment, wildlife, politics, science, etc., is much ado about nothing, and ALL media, including Michael Crichton, is controlled manipulation, then is it safe to say that Crichton’s attempt at telling us all that nothing is changing and nothing will change, the work of someone who doesn’t believe in the Holy Scriptures? How are his claims any different than those of the Media he pokes fun at?

We are in a boiling frog syndrome. We cannot see the changes before us because we have been subjected to them over a long gradual period of time. Perhaps not the hurricanes, storms, earthquakes…yet, but there will come a point when things will begin spinning out of control. Then what? Will you still be saying, this IS the world? Or this is the END of the world?

Somewhere out there, there is a smart aleck who will comment that if what I write I believe, then why should anyone believe what I write? My answer is simple – you shouldn’t. If it stimulates independent thought and most importantly prompts you to seek GOD, the only source of truth, then I have done my job.

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