- Image by atconc via Flickr
Coots are normal people.
We put our pants on one leg at a time (even f email coots- when was the last time you saw a woman in a skirt). We get fired up from time to time. We get dragged down. We get excited and we get depressed. We have our share of problems and sometimes we even win. Life is like a box of chocolates and coots can be just as clueless as Forrest Gump.
We get our direction from the media
We all get messages from the media around us. These days it is pretty hard to miss the messages because of all the new and old media connections going on. We still have radio and television and a few hard core troglodytes among us still read newspapers. But there is also the new media. Despite our reputation, coots are into the trendy new social media like Facebook and Twitter and, of course, blogs. With all these media peppering our minds, it is hard to have an independent thought. It is even harder to notice that what you thought was your idea was planted there, first with a soft landing and later reinforcement by pile driver. It is easy to develop confidence in your cognition and judgment and conclude that you are one smart cookie.
“Yep.” you tell yourself. “Those guys on the radio are right. They’ve come to the same conclusion as me. They are pretty smart.”
But the truth is somewhat different.
This coot discovered that the truth is a another story altogether; maybe I am not the smart one after all.
The truth is that my mind was a big echo chamber. Years of education in our country’s finest institutions and even more stuck as a cog in the corporate machinery has left it empty and flabby. It has been purged of content and conditioned to lie on the couch waiting to be fed. What is left is a sounding board for any idea that penetrates. It is hard to notice this after so many years of conditioning because of the quantity of bad ideas bouncing around in there. They make a lot of noise. It is especially hard because I discovered that those ideas have taken root and claimed me. I believed they were mine. It is very hard to accept that reality because it meant that I was nothing more than a mouthpiece for somebody else’s ideas. I hadn’t used my mind for any independent thought for years and I didn’t know how to think anymore.
What to do about getting your head straight?
It has been a tough struggle, turning off all that noise rattling around my empty head. First I had to stop listening so that no more bad ideas could penetrate. That was the hardest step because all those bad ideas were telling me that I should listen. “ I needed information,” they told me again and again. “Or else I would be uninformed and stupid.” My conditioning told me that they were right but something inside me said no and I continued to shut our the media. Slowly, the noise in my head quieted. Without reinforcement, those ideas stopped bouncing and began to fall in a puddle and drain away. Then, one day, it was quiet. I didn’t have a thought in my head – mine or anyone else s. What now?
I had work to do. I had to learn how to think.