Many people laugh when I suggest that people connected to the government lied to the public about the events of 9/11.
But when I say politicians lie, or members of the Supreme Court lie, or that public officials lie about other matters, the same people nod their heads and agree enthusiastically.
Why is that?
It has to do with needs. If one determines that they need something, they tend to hold on to it more tightly than something they could do without. This attitude is simple human nature.
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (see picture), a person’s first set of needs are the most basic: we all need to breathe, drink water, eat food, etc. If we are dependent (or believe we are dependent) upon someone else to provide these necessities, we would not likely question that person or antagonize them. We could be saying goodbye to our lives!
Once a person achieves this first set of needs, this theory tells us, they are able to handle the next set, which is about the security of: one’s person, employment, health, etc. If one does not feel secure about themselves and about their position in society, they will not be able to move up the “ladder” of the hierarchy and make friends or feel self-confidence.
“Rocking the boat” and questioning those who provide security, such as agents of our government, jeopardizes one’s ability to become a confident and social person. It may not be the same as being deprived of water, but one who openly doubts those charged with providing security risks social suicide!
No wonder a majority of people still trust our government with the responsibility of protecting us from attack, despite overwhelming evidence that the events of 9/11 were a hoax! It is far safer to “settle” for accusing politicians of lying and cheating because there is no fear of retaliation or alienation for espousing these views.
Yes, we all understand the advantage of safety: one does not have to lift a finger.
Imagine the possibility of afterlife. This idea goes beyond one’s security on the temporary home of Planet Earth. It goes to eternal life.
Imagine a deity who records your every thought and action. Imagine your destination after life going favorably in one direction and horribly in another direction. Imagine this deity having control over which way you go.
Many of those who are willing to speak out against the actions of those charged with running our government are unwilling to speak up about certain religions that threaten eternal insecurity to those that question the deity.
There is something missing in the Maslow’s theory. Somewhere after we get our water and our food, we need to grasp the right to ask questions and to obtain answers. The idea of either trusting our leaders blindly to protect us or to face alienation is not sufficient for any of us to function in a world of deception and lies.
That’s my theory. We need choices that reflect our needs, not our fears.
There was a time in my life I especially remember that in which I should have said something.
I was in high school and in my English class, one of my classmates (I will call him Tex) made comments about his Christian beliefs on an almost daily basis. We were in a public school and most of the students had the patience to listen to what came off as religious dogmatism.
Others in the class hounded him, told him to shut up and jeered whenever he would start to say something. I sat there in an emotional straightjacket until one day, after class, I started crying.
I felt bad for the fact he was being picked on but did not know quite what to say in class. It took me years, but now I have constructed an imaginary dialogue which I could have started to get the class to understand Tex’s background:
Me: Tex, where are you from?
Me: Are you Baptist or Methodist? (Sorry for the stereotype, but it is close to the truth)
Me: Did you attend church every Sunday?
Me: Did everyone else in your neighborhood go?
Me: Did anyone ever challenge the doctrines of the church?
Tex: I never heard of anyone doing that.
With my background of having spent several summers in Texas visiting my grandparents, I had an understanding of how most people raised in the South (and especially those who still live there) think about religious and political matters.
I could have told my classmates that people in the South devoutly believe as they do just as much as non-religious people believe. Attacking a person’s beliefs will get us nowhere. It is better to simply ask a few questions and create a dialogue. No one should be made to feel left out.
An experience I had at work may have provided me with an answer.I work for a city as a public employee and served as an alternate representative for the existing union. A faction of the union wanted to bring in an outside union to replace the existing one and made motions at an official meeting to that effect.
Displeased with the manner in which the existing union management attempted to stop the motions by declaring them illegal, I voted with the faction (and on behalf of my regular representative, who bolted from the meeting with several others to try to stop the quorum).
Early on, I felt as though the battle lines were clearly drawn. Even though I contended from the beginning that I simply wanted a vote to be held among all employees in my class to allow choice between the two unions, I was “typecast” by those siding with the existing union as one of “those people.”
I wrote out and sent messages to all voting members of the union explaining my point of view, discussing ways the two sides could compromise and responding to various bits of what I believed to be misinformation by the other side. (Neither side behaved especially professionally in this mess).
What did the other side typically say? They would correct me and insult me if I so much as forgot to identify myself as an alternate. Neither side trusted one another and no one gave an inch.
Throughout this time, each side sent assertions of fact back and forth on the emails and also posted messages on bulletin boards in break rooms. But no member of either side publicly announced that they were convinced of the correctness of the other side's point of view. Why was that?
Because once the lines are drawn and “shots” are fired, people tend to “duck for cover” and line up with their allies. Does anyone really change sides? All we need do to answer that question is to answer this one: Who is the greater villain in United States history – Jefferson Davis or Benedict Arnold?
I could have pounded away at those who opposed a vote with sound arguments on many grounds. In fact, I did. I sent messages of my arguments to the union president, vice president and counsel. In the end, the union management got its way, I left the union and I hear things are back to normal.