We gain, what we loosely call knowledge, by one of two paths; experience and study. It has been repeated that experience is the best teacher. I find no argument with that.
Study invokes an attribute we call belief. Study can be as little as believing one tale told by a single person. It could also be a large set of tales told by several people. It is this latter environment which, when formalized, becomes what we know as schooling. No matter what the setting, our knowledge remains little other than a belief that what we are listening to, or reading, represents an accurate rendition of someone else's experience.
Consider Prof. Snortov for a moment. He teaches history and tells us that Genghis Khan always ate steak with smashed grapes as a dressing. Is it true and if so, how did Snortov come to know about it? He wasn't around, at the time, taking notes concerning the activities of that Mongol horde. Snortov learned this from another historian who wasn't at the Khan's side either. In fact, this "fact" has a dusty lineage going back over dozens of generations. Somewhere along that lengthy trail, misinterpretations more than likely occurred. Thus, we are left with little more than a "fact" which not only cannot be substantiated, but probably is false to boot. The older a tale is, the more likely it is to be false.
Prof. Snortov is not in the business of teaching facts. He teaches what are believed to be facts and if you disregard the supernatural, history then resembles a religion. In any event, it remains little more than opinion. You either believe that Genghis ate smashed grapes and steak, or you don't. (Actually, it was recorded that this was Attila's favorite dish.) Idiots argue opinions and love to call the disagreeable opinions of others, lies or to shout that it is wrong and false. It is in this context that debates are born. Debates, like revisionist squabbles, are merely games with a certain set of rules. A gentlemanly debater remains cool, collected, and smirks when he thinks he "stuck it" to his opponent. A successful debater is the one who has the last word. (This is why debates appear to be endless.) If one loses a debate then he can always set fire to his opponent's house or belt him in the face with a ball bat. With the final satisfaction of violence, all leave the debate still convinced that they are right and that their opponent is an imbecile. It's little more than treading water.
Grandfather always grew the best crops in the country. The blue ribbons he garnered at the county fairs was some proof of that. He watched the caterpillars, birds, worms, pigs, and so on, plus listening to the sounds in the distance. From all of this, he gathered information and tuned his chores to the best approach dictated by experience.
Down the road, lived a pretentious jackass -- a conservative Republican -- who gathered up tax-payers money by putting his swamps into the "soil bank" and generally sucking the teat of government for every legal freebie he could grab. He sent his bone-head of a son to Cornell using appropriate influence and money. Bobby, as the son was called, went to those ivory halls to learn scientific farming. They farmed scientifically while my grandfather farmed according to intelligence and experience. The proof of the pudding -- they say.
How does one learn about the smell of cow manure by reading books?
Recently I was listening to a raving blightwinger who went on and on about "the jews." Typically, this fellow never bothered to define what he meant by jew and so the palaver was little more than wind. He made the statement that the jews comprise about 2 percent of our population. I found that particularly laughable since I grew up in a rural area and my high school graduating class contained about 4 percent readily identifiable jews and probably an equal number of "hidden" jews. I could never understand where this supposedly intelligent man received his information. One day he revealed it. It was the encyclopedia Britannica! It's here in the book, let's fight. Books, and this includes the Bible, are merely the works of men, not gods, and we should all be skeptical of anything which is supposed to be the work of rational beings.
I have spent about 22 years of my life in schools of one sort or the other. There is one thing I have learned: book learning has a strong tendency to short circuit one's common sense and often permanently damage one's capacity for reason. I believe this to be the ego factor. After all, if one invests so much of his time and money into education, then, axiomatically, he'd have to believe that his mind was better off. A jewish friend of mine, who was a salesman, often told me, "It's easier to bullshit the educated than it is the working man."
The ego factor is present every time you hear some Ph.D. snort down his nose at those without such a degree even though the facts might be that he cannot even urinate without getting his feet wet. Ph.D.s do lie, and often.
Human cattle seem to have a need to be led, whether by "experts," bullies, religious, or what have you. Independent thinking is very rare and one must not confuse obstinacy with independence. Most of the reason the blight-wing has been, and will continue to be, such a dismal failure is because each believes his piece of the shattered mirror to be the whole. All have a god complex and thus feel that they have nothing to learn from each other. Revisionists, for example, love to babble about the unprovable. The glans-heads do little other than attempt to prove how bad and ugly they are. Then there are those who invent bizarre religious cults as if any god ever gave two cents what happened to we foolish mortals.
Julius Streicher had his own political party, swastika and all. When it became obvious that Adolf Hitler was a better leader, Streicher joined Hitler's ranks. This is what one could naturally expect from people who were cause oriented. America's bone-heads, skin-heads, freak-heads, Nazis, true-jews, Thor hammerites, kooky klanners, and so on and so forth, are only ego driven and hence perpetually immune from cooperation of any kind. Ernst Zündel summed it up best, "I am the cause!" (If I were a jew, I'd oppose none of them for they all are on the path of self-destruction. It's perhaps an inner necessity born of their general uselessness.)
I used to put up on the chalkboard, during some of my math classes, a string of digits which I claimed was an decimal approximation of Pi (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter). The first 12 digits were correct but the remaining 100, or so, were merely random picks. The students were then asked to accept this number or reject it. It would be an article of faith on their part and I emphasized that. One either believed my number was true, or he did not. It was all a matter of faith except for those precious rare souls who would spend the time and energy to verify what I had written.
We need to increase the number of rare souls.
28 December 1998