October 20, 2019

Platitudinously Speaking

PlatitudeSeveral years ago I read a book I didn’t like. It was easy to figure out why I didn’t care for the book – I couldn’t understand it. Unlike most things written today (I’m sure I am guilty too), this book contained words and phrases the author placed together all on his own. In other words, it was original thoughts. Because our educational institutions have failed us, independent thought is missing from our culture. Note: I say our schools have failed because I see the failure as being the destruction through allowing and creating an atmosphere in which humans cannot question and draw conclusions on their own. It is not a failure if the intent is to create non-thinking robots echoing the cliches created specifically for them.

I doubt any field of interest is exempt from the bromide. I think the worst kind of platitude is one delivered from a position of moral superiority. Just today I received an email that had been forwarded several times before cluttering up my email box. The original message was from a fish and game organization, whose website states that: “It’s time for sportsmen to stand together.” This epitomizes an over-used cliche that achieves the lower boundaries of boredom. Because the organization is promoting their own membership with platitudes of self-perceived grandeur, the moral impact of this comes from the simple fact that the “stand[ing] together” must happen on their terms because of superiority of thoughts and actions. This, in and of itself, is terribly unoriginal.

But, I shouldn’t pick on just one organization. It’s everywhere: “we need to reach across the aisle;” “we need to get something done;” “it’s important to compromise on issues in order to get something done;” “it’s been done this way since the beginning of time;” “It’s for National Security;” “Think of the children.”

It’s enough to make one’s stomach roll. But I have my doubts as to how many can see and recognize the boring, meaningless words and phrases that they’ve had drummed into their heads since childhood.

Earlier today, I was also following a discussion about how, “there needs to be a law” in order to deal with people who are doing things somebody else doesn’t like. This is what has become of our thoughtless society. It matters not whether one person is being lawful or not. If another doesn’t like it, “there ought to be a law to stop it.” After all, it would be “getting something done.” Is that what is meant by that statement? If so, then should we then, “stand together” and “think of the children” as we “reach across the aisle?”

Even before the moment we reached an age that we began speaking words, our minds have been bombarded with cliches and boring, meaningless, truism – catch phrases that tickle our feel good buttons. We are clueless as to what the actual meaning is but how wrong can it be to state: “It’s time for sportsmen to stand together?”

I am reminded of when the German people, after years of deprogramming, were convinced they needed to stand together. Somebody forget to question what it was that they were going to stand together for.

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