How the U.S. Lost Its Mind — The Atlantic

What do we call people who don’t deal with reality? Crazy! Insane! Mad! Because they are! Reality is there to keep us on the straight and narrow. The degree of detail of our perception of it is the minimum necessary to allow us to survive. For example, if we needed to perceive the ultraviolet wave lengths of the light spectrum to survive, like a bird does, then we would! We all know ultraviolet light waves are out there, but we don’t perceive them. We react strongly to sudden changes in our environment because to ignore them or dither over them took the ditherer’s genes out of the gene pool, i.e. they died! They equivocated when the cheetah was charging; everyone else ran just far enough; and the waffler got et with or without maple syrup.

Reality is out there. We don’t perceive all of it. And, those of us who choose to ignore it will eventually pay an awful price for it.

I love this bit from Stephen Colbert’s very first show way back in 2005 where he introduces his concept of truthiness.

“Now, I’m sure some of the ‘word police,’ the ‘wordinistas’ over at Webster’s, are gonna say, ‘Hey, that’s not a word!’ Well, anybody who knows me knows that I’m no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They’re elitist. Constantly telling us what is or isn’t true. Or what did or didn’t happen. Who’s Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was finished in 1914? If I wanna say it happened in 1941, that’s my right. I don’t trust books—they’re all fact, no heart … Face it, folks, we are a divided nation … divided between those who think with their head and those who know with their heart … Because that’s where the truth comes from, ladies and gentlemen—the gut.”

I love his explanation of truthiness because it has the veneer of truth needed for illusory explanation. It seems right. It hits all the right notes: trust your gut, gut instinct, follow your heart, do your dreams, and all the other new agey bullshit that we’ve let the hippie dippie sorts con us out of our money with. You who else did his dreams? Yeah, him. We need just a bit more than a dream to pursue if we’re going to avoid mass murder, serial sexual assault, or plunging the world into a megalomaniacal fascist war!

Are vaccine deniers any different than climate change deniers or creationists? No. They are all cut from the same cloth. Anywho, great article, y’all, even if it isn’t up to the snarky, sarcasticky, and profaney standards of one of my originals.

How America Lost Its Mind

The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history.


Kurt Andersen  September 2017 Issue

When did America become untethered from reality?

I first noticed our national lurch toward fantasy in 2004, after President George W. Bush’s political mastermind, Karl Rove, came up with the remarkable phrase reality-based community. People in “the reality-based community,” he told a reporter, “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality … That’s not the way the world really works anymore.”


Whoa, yes, I thought: exactly. America had changed since I was young, when truthiness and reality-based community wouldn’t have made any sense as jokes. For all the fun, and all the many salutary effects of the 1960s—the main decade of my childhood—I saw that those years had also been the big-bang moment for truthiness. And if the ’60s amounted to a national nervous breakdown, we are probably mistaken to consider ourselves over it.


Continue reading at The Atlantic: How the U.S. Lost Its Mind

5 replies »

  1. Howdy Bob!

    Dick is looking very prescient. However, now, I question there motives. I think then, the intoxicating power of creating an alternate reality and getting people to willingly live in it hadn’t quite arisen. Then, they were still wondering if it could be done and what steps would be needed to get there and how effective it would be. It’s like I never really thought that anyone, besides maybe Reagan, actually believed in trickle down economics, but now we have an entire generation of politicians who have drunk that kool-aide and actually think it does work. They were raised in this budding alternate reality. That’s a real problem.



  2. Thanks for that link – bookmarked for later full reading. I’m reminded of some wise words:

    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” ― Philip K. Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon
    “The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.” – Philip K. Dick

    So, I think that if you destroy the very idea that words have stable meaning, only madness remains and rational thought and discourse become impossible. Only emotional reaction in confusion remains.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Man, Bob, I wish I had known that before I wrote my little intro to the article! That Philip K. Dick, in addition to having a middle school worthy name, had some first class insight. I’m afraid we are headed in the direction of national madness, though. It’s bad when developing nations go down that path, but when the world’s superpower does, I think it is time to be more than a bit concerned.


      Liked by 1 person

      • In case you aren’t aware (unlikely as I think that would be) Dick was the author of “The Man In The High Castle” and “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep”, the book on which “Blade Runner” was based. Here’s another one:
        “Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups… So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.” – Philip K. Dick

        Liked by 1 person

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