Preparedness – Popping the American Bubble of Denial

This blog is in no way bad-mouthing Americans. I am an American myself. It is simply pointing out an observation. 

When I’m in a restaurant or some other place, my wife will frequently tell me to stop staring at people. When I’m waiting somewhere for one thing or another, I like to spend my time people-watching. I really enjoy studying how people live and reasons why they live that way. People fascinate me – both the good and the bad characteristics. One of the characteristics I’ve noticed the most about the average American is a constant denial that bad things can happen to them or untruths they’re been conditioned to believing. This has manifested itself in many different forms. These are just a few of them I’ve personally noticed.

Form of denial #1: America is the greatest country in the world. 

America's the greatest country on earth? Please tell me more about how perfect it is and how every other country in this world sucks!

Most Americans would agree that America is by far the greatest country in the world to the extent that many would say that America is God’s gift to Earth. Many would say this not only without any knowledge of many of other countries, but also after not having visited many other countries. Many would say that America is great for it’s freedom and strength, but still haven’t researched what freedoms other countries and have no unit for measuring “strength.” Is national debt taken into account when measuring a country’s strength? I’m not necessarily debunking this myth that America is the greatest country, but simply asking the question to those who make this statement: how do you know?

Form of denial #2: All is well with our governmental system. We are not being lied to. 

Mother, should I trust the government? Pink Floyd, The Wall graffiti

While most Americans will yell at the politician on the television over something they said, many believe that the government is an all-around good thing and at the end of the day, wants what’s best for you. Most people will believe that all wars America takes part in, it takes part in for an extremely honest and straight-forward reason. Most will say that taxes are necessary for the building of roads and other infrastructure and that no politician takes office because they have a fascination with power or prestige. 

Form of denial #3: Our financial system is sound. My cash is worth something. 

When most people look at inflation, they just see it as things simply costing more than they used to. Most people do not really care to take a look at the nuts and bolts of the way our money works in comparison to how much it’s worth. Before the Federal Reserve was set up in 1913, the dollar in your pocket lined up to a value of precious metals. Cash was just a series of notes that said “this is a note that represents some cash somewhere”, somewhat acting as the deed to your gold or silver. When the Federal Reserve Bank – not a governmental entity – was put in charge the U.S. monetary system, the “value” of those dollars was determined by a group of economists who would decide how much American currency should be worth in order help the economy run more smoothly. Many people also know that this entity, the Federal Reserve Bank, has no governmental oversight and is under no obligation to report who it has been lending money to or how they came to the conclusion of how much money is worth. This has caused tremendous hyperinflation. Belgium went through a period  of hyperinflation when their currency lost it’s value and basically came trash: 
Belgium inflation - money in the streets.

It can’t happen here, though, right?

Form of denial #4: Guns kill people. 

Gun-free zone.
Whenever a report of a new shooting occurs, people are quick to show support for advanced gun restrictions. The common belief is that guns are dangerous objects and their mere existence is dangerous to the public. Still whenever someone bludgeons or stabs someone to death, the person is immediately blamed for their behavior. Why is this? Primarily, some a misunderstanding of guns. 

A gun cannot fire a bullet unless the trigger is pulled or the firing pun somehow makes contact with the car
tridge in some forceful way – such as being dropped or mishandled. In such a case of a misfire, safety precautions have not been maintained much in the same way that someone can be killed in a car crash because they do not wear their seat belt. More people die on the highways each year than at firing range or while in the proximity of people with firearms. The difference is that people do not think about the likelihood of being killed in a car than being shot to death with a gun. We are all dramatically more likely to be killed in a car wreck than shot with a gun. Also, it takes little more effort to stab someone in the throat than to shoot them in the throat, but we also see no ban on kitchen knives.

Form of denial #5: I will never have to actually experience death. 

The body of Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin has been on display since his death in 1924.
The body of Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin has been on display since his death in 1924.

Yes, we all know we are going to die one day, but do we all really accept this? If you’ve ever ridden in a car, you should understand that there is a possibility of not making it to your destination alive. Still, thanks to modern Christian theology from present-day teachers along with the funeral industry, death is something few people actually have to face until they are on it’s doorstep. Modern Christian theology states that when your body dies, your soul immediately leaves you body and ascends to heaven. Though there is little actual evidence of this scientifically or Scripturally, it sounds really nice so most people readily accept this interpretation. Most accept this because they don’t want to actually face the reality that one day, they’re going to die and they’re body will either be burned or placed in the ground for decomposition to take place. In Judaism, not much about heaven is taught other than it’s somewhere other than here. There is little mention of at what time a soul goes there or if the person actually experiences their own death. Still, if one subscribes to the notion that they will immediately be beamed into immortality forever, death is something someone can unconsciously forgo ever having to face until they are moments from it and they may not be ready.

Evidence of American denial of death can be seen in the “traditional” method of burial – which is quite unique to America. When someone dies, their body is preserved for optimal viewing for loved ones – embalmed so as to remove the evidence of death. They are often placed in a “sealed” coffin which is places in a concrete burial vault, which prevents the casket from leaking or decomposing within the ground. Many like this idea, as no one wants to think about their loved one actually being dead, in the ground, decomposing. It’s altogether too much to handle. 

Let’s pop the bubble of denial. 

Once people are allowed to pop the bubble of denial, they can begin to face their own fate and prepare for the truths on the other side. 
If someone could happier in another country, why not move there? 
If someone is being lied to by their government, why not call them out on it and attempt to change things for the better?
If your money may or may not be worth anything, instead of losing money or being the victim of a possible economic collapse, why not invest in gold or silver in order to help maintain the value of your savings? 
If guns are nothing more than tools, why put any more restrictions on them anymore than drugs, knives, or automobiles?
If you accept that you’re actually going to die one day, why not take a more active role in planning for a burial that is more financially and environmentally responsible as well as treat people with kindness as though you may not have the opportunity to do so tomorrow? 

Living in the denial is simply postponing important decisions that need to be made now instead of later. Today, think about a few things you may be in denial about and see if there’s anything you need to question or accept before it’s too late. There are few things we are absolutely immune to. The sooner we realize this, the better. 

The Statement of Faith Vs. The Quest for Truth

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to belittle any specific faith or denomination of religion, but instead act as instrument of mind stretching and heart testing. 

A week or two ago, I was talking with my mother-in-law about religious individuals. She was sharing a story with me about a conversation she had been engaged in with a religious young man who had started the conversation in hopes of winning her over to his religious viewpoint. As she is very learned in Torah, the conversation quickly tilted and she ended up as the one imparting spiritual knowledge and the man was then the listener. Overtime, another religious man who was supposed to be supervising the younger man came over in attempts to inhibit the conversation and take the younger man away from the situation before she imparted some bit of knowledge that caused the younger man to possibly re-think his religious beliefs. 

I was perplexed by this scenario. I began to scratch my head about why the older, more experienced man hadn’t let the younger man ask his questions and receive knowledge. My mother-in-law’s reply to this question hit me right between the eyes. 

“Some people are truly seekers of truth and others are not.” 

She went on to explain that she sensed that the younger man, who was not as experienced within his religion, was a genuine seeker of truth and the old man who broke up the conversation was more concerned with the convenience and comfort his specific organization currently enjoyed. He could see that his student was starting to “stray from the path” of their specific religion even though everything my mother-in-law was saying was straight from the same Bible. The reason why the older man was growing concerned was because what he believed to be true based on his religious sect’s pillars of faith did not align with the texts they claimed to base their faith on. 

We live in a world where religious people have lifted other’s interpretations of their sacred texts above the very simple meanings of their sacred texts. The “statement of faith” on the congregational website has grown to be more powerful than the holy text itself. This “don’t go there” mindset has completely removed the possibility for growth and hindered the quest for ultimate truth within a movement for the sake of convenience. The most detrimental outcome of this strict unquestioning devotion to any specific sect’s interpretation of their source of truth is that the source of truth is then truly shifted elsewhere and any new quest for truth outside of those guidelines is not tolerated. It is for this reason that I am very proud of my spiritual community’s distaste for the “statement of faith” which has allowed for us to truly dissect holy texts and question their true meaning and implications. Is there a possibility of two people disagreeing on a subject in the text? I would hope to God that there would be or else I would highly doubt our ability to have any progress towards seeking truth. 

Here is my challenge to you this day: 
Completely turn off all outside influences, all commentaries, and all interpretations of your faith’s ultimate source and study the words completely for yourself. Make your “statement of faith” the text itself and no other man-made condensed versions. Take your sect’s “statement of faith” out and as you find concepts the in “statement” that have no foundation in the text or are outright untruths, feel free to mark them out. There is nothing blasphemous or wicked about this if you are using the text that your denomination says is the source of holy truth. As you discover new truths, feel free to make note of them; but not on the paper – make them in your heart. Feel free to update the list as you study and if a concept doesn’t feel right, restudy it to make sure that’s what the text says.

Your statement of faith should only be a true dedication to a quest for ultimate truth. If your internal statement of faith changes, there’s no need to shun those with a different statement of faith because yours may not be the same as anyone else’s. Instead, commune with those who have the same hunger for truth that you have. It may be uncomfortable at first, but true comfort will come once you are completely honest with yourself and with God. 

– Ken