Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

More guns! or No Guns! will make us safe. we suffer from Anosognosia.

More guns will NOT make us safe!  But, Outlawing guns won’t either! 

We Americans suffer from a medical condition called ‘Anosognosia’.  This medical term best explains the American gun violence problem as well most other problem we fail to respond to between people and nations of the world.   Simply defined, Anosognosia is a human mental condition where one who suffers from a mental disability -- is unaware of that disability.   Another way of saying this is ‘one who suffers from a lack of insight or awareness.’

In every published article or news interview one side points to the amount of guns Americans own compared to other nations.  And only the US has this level of violence.  There are however, other groupings of people with a higher level of gun per person, with significantly lower gun violence. Military bases even restrict access to firearms and ammunition except during war time.  And, rarely are these weapons turned against their fellow American.  Gun training could account for this, but I’m guessing something else is at play…responsible gun ownership and behavior.  In the military there is also a mental belief that soldiers are dependent upon one another for their own survival.  The key word being ‘dependent’.  In this context, it should be clear what contributes most to gun violence in America.  We believe we are independent of one another. This belief extends to our propensity for military engagements abroad. This human invented concept of ‘independence’ is our greatest mental flaw.

In real life ‘independence’ is an illusion – a lethal illusion that disconnects us from reality both as individuals and as a nation. 

Our national worship of ‘Independence’ is not new, and it is certainly not limited to Americans.  But it is profoundly etched into the American psyche starting with our federal system of government.  How this simple but flawed mental concept relates to gun violence and mass murders will become clear soon if you keep reading. And, so will the cause of many other problems Americans face (immigration, income inequality, drug abuse, obesity, dropout and divorce rates).   This simple answer is documented by science AND  consistent with the beliefs of every major religion.  Here’s the science.

It is an irrevocable fact that our health, thoughts, prosperity and survival are irreversibly dependent on so many factors it would take hours to list them all. But our learned mental disconnect from the most important factors can be listed. And they are painfully self-evident to anyone not suffering from Anosognosia.

Our greatest disconnects include (but are not limited to):
#1. The Environment: Few things have been more damaging to humanities long term survival than our belief that we must conquer nature. Nature can make life short, brutish and uncomfortable. But so does war and poverty, and we haven’t taken the necessary steps to conquer these. The environment is our life support system. It consists of a very thin and fragile biofilm covering our planet that is protected by a number of non-biofilm factors (gravity, earth’s polarization, our ionosphere, and don’t forget the life giving energy from the sun and the gravitational influence of the Moon). Within our biofilm every drop of seawater, speck of soil and liter of air contains thousands if not millions of life forms. Some may cause human illness and death but 99.9% play a vital role in our survival or contribute positively to the chain of life that makes up our planetary life support system.  We rightly see our homes/houses as our refuge from nature but then turn the outside of our property (the yard) into an unnatural environment to improve our homes appearance. We rely on harmful chemicals and non-native species to create the appearance someone ‘lives’ there.

2. Our bodies: While we may be ‘spiritual beings’ our existence for now depends upon a relatively complicated but well organized lump of organic matter that requires specific constant inputs and expulsions to survive. Until we find the means to move beyond this ‘lump’ form we should probably take care of it. We seldom do. Overconsumption and malconsumption sickens us, debilitates us, and too often kills us prematurely. And increasingly we demonstrate little interest in boosting the physical capacity of our adaptable, auto-repairing organic lump.  This degenerative capacity slowly accelerates its usefulness, usually so slowly we fail to perceive it until it’s too late. This lump depends on many things.  Kept healthy, it can be an incredible tool for building a better world and even our capacity to form constructive mental concepts that sustain and nurture nature all life - like the concept of ‘interdependence’.

3. Our loved ones: Time commitments to work and the time we commit to the gadgets we use for transportation (cars and trucks), communication and entertainment (cell phones, TVs and computers…) is time we don’t spend face to face or hand in hand with those we love, and others who need love, who may someday come into our schools, our places of worship or our place of employment. 

4. Our community: Our homes are seen as not only an escape from nature, but from an increasingly unfriendly, sometimes hostile, social environment we perceive largely from listening to the news and interacting with others close to us who may have points of view that make us annoyed, angry, indifferent or uncomfortable. We prefer being with others like us, instead of learning from and enjoying the company of others who are not.

5. Our Government: At best we believe that government is inefficient. At worst, it’s dysfunctional or conspiratorial. We have forgotten that ours is a government of “We the People”. It is not some ‘thing’ or cabal in Washington DC, the state capitol, or city hall. It is an institution that we have chosen by place of residence, and by voting (AND not voting –which is a vote for the status quo) to be responsible for things around us. Rarely are we active citizens between elections.

6. Our Politicians: Because their mouths are moving, we assume they are lying. And, if they have the courage to tell us what we need to hear, we won’t vote for them. We rarely feel connected enough to them, even though they ‘represent’ us, to tell them what we want, need, or value most. Usually our closest connection to them is during elections when they ask us for donations or during troubled times when we protest against them.

7. Science and facts: Our minds look for patterns and find ‘evidence’ that may or may not be real. We pray in hope that a higher force will save us from ourselves. And some make up other beliefs to explain random events or their previous prejudiced views.

8. The heavens: Both physical and spiritual. For as long as humans have existed humans look up in the darkness and saw the majesty of billions of stars, many concentrated in a dense path across the sky and, occasionally, a few that streak across the heaven. And we wondered, ‘how did we get here?’ and ‘why are we here?’ Now we look up and consider ourselves fortunate to see electric lights or the calm sky muted by smog or light pollution. We are now even nonchalant that our species actually landed on and returned safely from the moon.

9. Other peoples: We separate ourselves from nearly seven billion other people by divisions of sex, race, religion, ethnic group, age, political party or country.  But, in fact, we are all essentially the same children of nature or nature’s God. We all have the same needs and human vulnerabilities. But we devise different customs, looks, preferences, rules and ideas that divide us even further.

And then!  And then we wonder why we feel like ‘something’ is missing in our lives.  And then marshal the audacity to wonder why some people grab a gun and mass murder other sentient beings claiming they felt “disconnected” or were visibly and physically unloved by anyone within reach or sight.

It’s not a tragedy that we have seen a spike in mass killings in the last twenty years. It’s a miracle that far more people haven’t done it. Now, with increasing access of all humans to means of mass murder previously restricted to national governments, perhaps its time to grasp and act on the concept of our local and global interdependence. 

Nearly 70 years ago most people in the world realized this reality. They created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  A paper document intended to list most of the human needs essential to reducing violence between peoples and nations.

There is plenty evidence and even reason NOT to be is reason optimistic. Research shows that optimists are less likely to achieve their goals because they are less likely to analyze the barriers to be overcome. And, pessimists are less likely to act. What’s missing is commitment. A commitment to analyze the barriers, the devise and implement plans of action, to overcome them.  To do this effectively we must first recognize our interdependence… and while we can strive to be less dependent on others and other things, we will never be independent.  

And, in today’s modern world of increasingly powerful and affordable technology all people are becoming increasingly connected. In economics, environment, Infectious diseases (nature’s or man-made), computers (information, communication, cyber-crime…) Transportation (people, goods and services) -- all of which carry the potential for great global good or catastrophic global harm.
Independence is a debilitating and increasingly lethal myth.  The sooner we abandon it, the sooner we can build a just, sustainable and fulfilling heaven on earth, were gun violence is a rarity instead of a predictable daily expectation. Without this transformation of belief the highly desired concept of security will continue to be just an illusion.