Morning Constitutional

Encouraging thought for the day

“We the People” don’t think

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Is there a phrase more disingenuous in political dialog than “We the people” being the opening statement by a group of politicians who knew the problems of democracies and factions?  (See Federalist #9 and Federalist #10.)  “We” don’t really know who “we” are as individuals, let alone as groups, let alone as a single group defining the United States.  And “we the people” certainly don’t think.  A corporation doesn’t think, a nation doesn’t think, only individuals think.  Sometimes.

You, for example, gentle reader, don’t think very much.  That’s not a dig at you — my own intellect is up in the 1-in-100000 range, in just about any way you can define intellect, and I don’t think very much. One of the main functions of the human brain is to filter out information.  Humans are generally unobservant in the here and now:  without looking, for example, try to describe each item of clothing in your closet and the order in which they are placed.  You probably saw those clothes this morning, you may have put all of those clothes in the closet yourself, but unless you’re on the far end of the bell curve for noticing clothes your brain, at some point, has filtered that information out without any conscious decision on your part.  I can tell you what I had for lunch today.  And, given that my consciousness is paying attention to what I’m writing, I may be able to remember a brief description of the meal for quite some time.  I cannot recall each bite of the lunch, nor exactly what was going on during each bite, but remembering it at all is special, since if you asked me what I had for lunch on any random day in the last year I almost certainly wouldn’t even be able to tell you what I ate, let alone any specifics.

We humans are made to ignore most things.  Thinking about something is difficult.  As Heinlein wrote in a set of quotes from one of his characters, “Most people can’t think, most of the remainder won’t think, the small fraction who do think mostly can’t do it very well.”

What Morning Constitutional hopes to do is to provide you with a bit of something to think about during your day.  We filter so very, very much information in our lives, perhaps more so today than in the 18th century since the flood of information available to be filtered as grown far faster than our ability to take it all in.

Looking at the divisions of “we the people” in 2009, I think it safe to say that our filters, our inability to step back and think about ourselves and our relations to each other, is polarizing us in unpleasant ways.  For most of my life I wouldn’t really care about that, but now I have a three year old little girl, and I’d consider it a favor if each and every one of us does as much as possible to make sure that she doesn’t have to endure through the collapse of our nation, our civilization or our world.


Written by Bill O'Rights

August 15, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Posted in Introduction

Tagged with , ,

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