Thursday, February 24, 2011

Infused With Fear or Brand New Eyes

My previous post was about doing a "media fast" as suggested by one of my favorite websites -- Daily OM. That means that you skip watching TV, movies, skip the daily newspaper, turn off the cell phone, step away from the internet, etc. for a period time. It could be one day then maybe the following week would be two days, the next week would be three days, until you can successfully move about life without NEEDING the internet. I am totally guilty of needing the internet. I stepped away from browsing Facebook significantly. I just don't feel the draw to it anymore however I am still quite attached to my blog, this blog. I also have a fondness for my World of Warcraft game. I am amazed at how much time I spend on WoW. I have also walked away from my Blackberry. I'm tired of being totally accessible to everyone at anytime. Irritating. Misplacing the phone contributed to our gentle break-up.

Anyway, the point of this post is to tie my last two posts together and why stepping away from the media is important to how I formed my opinion about TSA as a whole. Of course this post is entirely philosophical in nature.

Let us imagine a child that grows up in a bubble. Let us call him Emile. (Bonus points if you recognize who or what Emile is.) Emile, having grown up in a bubble with two instructors -- his own curiosity and a tutor -- is given an airplane ticket to Hawai'i. Let's pretend that the bubble is located in Seattle, Washington (site of my recent TSA incident).

Emile is not aware of the existence of television, the internet, newspapers, or any other media outlet. He is fed a healthy dose of religious texts, from the Upanishads, the Holy Bible, to the K'oran, and the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and is allowed to interpret the information as he sees fit. Emile is allowed to explore every avenue that his natural curiosity leads him to. If, for instance, he reads about Jesus Christ in the Bible and would like further texts that mention him, he may request from the tutor any text that is similar to or mentions Jesus Christ. He has lived his entire life in this manner having access to any topic that piques his interest.

Let us imagine he approaches the Seattle-Tacoma airport. He is in awe of the highways and the automobiles that, up until this point, were non-existent to him. Perhaps he had read about highway systems in books about the Roman Empire or the Silk Road throughout Asia but actually seeing the road system exceeded his imagination.

Upon Emile's arrival at the Sea-Tac Airport, he checks his bag along with the tutor and makes haste to the security checkpoint, the TSA. This is a critical juncture. This, for me, is the most important part to this mini-parable. TSA screening is something that Emile has not experienced before. If you and I looked at the situation with new eyes, having no clue what the screening is about, what would it appear to be?
  • Emile's possessions are inspected and sent through a machine for further investigation.
  • Emile is required to remove his shoes, his belt, and all metal objects on his person.
  • Emile must empty his pockets.
Emile is reminded of the United State Constitution -- Amendment #4 -- the one about illegal search and seizure. Sure, he had emerged from a bubble but in the bubble, he had studied the Constitution in depth and was well-versed of the philosophical beliefs that influenced the Constitution; people like John Locke, Hume, of course Rousseau, and Imanuel Kant, amongst others. Emile thought, "Are we still in the United States?"

As Emile makes his way through the security check point, the tutor explains to him the reasoning for the invasion of privacy.

"Emile, the United States government implemented this security check point because they fear that terrorists will climb aboard a plane with explosives."

It is this exact piece of information/ story that Emile (all of us) must accept to justify the "search and seizure".

So I ask you, the general public:
Who is telling the story? Who tells us the story that would make us accept any information under the guise of public safety?

Though none of us live in a bubble, who creates your reality?

If I tell you that people in Hawai'i are cannibals, would that change your behavior or desire to come to Hawai'i?

If the government implements a National Threat Advisory, does that make you feel safer? Or does one have to accept the "story" that is told about terrorism. Remember the movie by M. Night Shyamalan, The Village? If you have not seen the movie and would like to see it, fair warning, SPOILER ALERT. A group of psychologists get together and create this 19th century village in the middle of nowhere. They are known as The Council of Elders. The Villagers and the creatures in the forest maintain a pact that keeps the villagers away from the forest and the creatures away from the village. All the young people tell stories about a world beyond the village. Whenever the young people begin to get riled up about going beyond the borders of the village, some kind of omen shows up in the village and the Council of Elders change the flags around the village from red to yellow or vice versa to signify that an attack from the woods is imminent. Very, very similar to our National Threat Advisory. In one explosive scene, the creatures actually do emerge from the forest and frightens the entire town into their cellars. Eventually, the story unravels and what is discovered is that the Council of Elders (the Village's government) is also the creatures from the forest.

Why would the government be the solution and the problem?
What benefits are associated with being both?
For me, there can only be one reason and that is:

I don't know where this quote is from but I think of it often whenever I feel like my God-given rights are being stripped from me.

Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.

This is all food for thought. The media and the government tell us a story. We accept it because of some terrible tragedy. But what if, just as The Village, the government is the problem and the solution? What if we looked at the TSA with new eyes like Emile and reject the "story" the media tells us?

Who manufactures your reality? <---Click the link and read the article. Trust me, if they're doing it in China then it has already successfully been done in the U.S. For some, fear is a great motivator. For me, fear is the absence of love. In the New Testament of the Holy Bible, one of my most favorite scriptures reads:
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind.
~2 Timothy 1:7

Just remember we choose to either be "infused with fear" or seeing the world as Emile, with "brand new eyes".

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