Saturday, March 31, 2012
It has been said, throughout history, and by some pretty smart people, that "knowledge is power". While I've always believed this to be true, it's never been more true, or timely, than it is today.
I've left 50 behind me, have nothing more than a high school diploma, and a few certificates to prove my mettle, so to speak, but I've ever been the student. I figured it out once a while back, conservatively, I've read somewhere in excess of 4,000 books in my lifetime. I've purchased and read 141 books on my Kindle alone since Christmas '10. A very large number of those being fiction.
One thing I've always understood though, is that the fiction writer has to do extensive background on his subject of choice prior to the book. A lot can be learned about current technologies by reading yesterdays sci-fi. The westerns of my youth gave extensive insight into the plight of the American Indian (a soft spot having strong Cherokee heritage), and political thrillers give great cause for concern with regards to current Geo-political affairs.
Having been a Marine (still am!!!) in my youth, I can relate to military thrillers, novels on clandestine activities, Navy Seals, honor, duty, and war. I've read a bazillion technical, strategic, instructional, mythical, satirical, comical, and biblical books. I've read the Bible, (several times, still fascinated by new revelation each time), as well as a cluster of supporting pieces.
Five years chasing bail bond skips, studying police publications, reading and sitting through court cases gives me a feel for law enforcement tactics, books and procedures.
I've read Sun Tzu's Art of War, books on tactics to be learned from operations in Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, Poland, France, Fits, Farts, and Freckles.
I know that "Knowledge Is Power". And I know how we get it. We get it by reading. I know that there is a lot to be said for pictures...."A picture tells a thousand words", and all that. And I believe that to be true, to some extent. But there is a reason that God gave us the capacity to develop language, and the written word. He passes His wisdom to us through that Written Word. It is how we assimilate knowledge into biological cells clustered into our "brain housing group", as my Drill Instructor would say.
We're going to remember a scene, a sound, or a smell, but by and large, we recall these all in words. Try going through a medical, legal, technical course of study with nothing but pictures, video's and lectures. Without being able to read, we simply don't retain.
And that, my friends, has always been the bane of the poor man. If knowledge is power, he is weak without it. And keeping the common man weak has always been the endeavor of the tyrannical. "History shouts out again and again, how nature points out the folly of man, Godzilla!!"....sorry, had to throw that in, the "words" just popped into my head!
Which brings me closer to my point.
In medieval times, the ignorance of the masses lead to famine, sickness, and subjugation. The rich kept the poor barefoot and pregnant, so to speak. As long as the common man was ignorant of his God given equality with all men, proper hygiene, and what was "over the hill", he was easily subjugated.
Tyrants tout that you are common, less than, ignorant, incapable. In other words....OWNED!! And without knowledge, this remains largely true. But then something monumental occurred....the printing press.
Prior to the 14th century, all books were hand scribed. To copy a book took weeks, months, even years. They were vary scarce, certainly expensive, and almost impossible for the common man to acquire. Hence, his ignorance. But with the invention of the printing press, mass quantities of books could be flooded on the market. And then, just like today, more means cheaper. Suddenly, and I mean in the matter of a few weeks from the new publication of a given piece, common man realized that he was equal with the leaders of the world. At least in principle. Aside from the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the realization that God created all man equal was the greatest revelation to the world that has ever been offered.
Men who looked at the skies, nature, the beauty of the world that was presented before their very eyes, and wondered at "What created" it all, now knew! The Spirit of God entered into the heart of man. And not just the rich, and the privileged. The poor sitting before the hearth consuming the effort of their blood, sweat and tears, knew that God loved them as much as any man. This was monumental in the diaspora of the concepts of Freedom, and Equality.
In a few short decades this message was spread throughout the "known world" and revolution had engulfed Europe. From there it was quickly understood that the land just didn't have enough room for "you suppressing me". Innovation in technologies, understanding, and wondering what was "over the horizon" became paramount to shrugging off the tyranny of centuries. The New World came into view.
Our forefathers landed on this soil with thoughts of new beginnings, freedom and the right to pursue their own God given path of life, free from monarchies, tyrannies and prejudice of religion. That blossomed into what we know as these United States Of America. And those freedoms, unfortunately, are again under fire.
Which, again, narrows me down to the specifics of my point.
If knowledge is power, assimilating raw knowledge, with the capacity to sift it on our own is critical. As an educated nation, we have the capacity to hear the truth. We have the strength to bear the burden of that truth, and to judge its effect on our lives. In other words, no man has the right to judge what I am capable of enduring. Censoring, in any form, is unacceptable. If I see it, and I determine I don't want to see any more, I have the capacity to turn my head. I don't need anyone filtering for me.
If you can read what I've written here, and understand it, you have the capacity to comprehend almost anything any politician can throw at you, and that without the assistance of them telling you what it means. We know what it means, and most of that, not good.
I started my Twitter account in late January. Prior to that, and for the last few years, I've had my FaceBook account. Through them, I've been subjected to more "worldly knowledge" in the last few weeks than I've had in the prior 50 years of my life. I've communicated with a broader scope of people, ideals and concerns, and seen more lies exposed, corruption revealed, and understanding of truth gained than could ever have been believed prior to "Social Networking" phenomena (which is by no means a "new" concept).
The Internet, along with the capacity to see "over the hill", that it provides, is in fact this centuries printing press. Through it we have the capacity to understand what our brothers and sisters have concerns over. What fears they have, what strengths they posses, and what collectively we can do about those forces, that once again, attempt to entangle the masses in ignorance.
May God Bless the United States....and open our eyes to the beauty, as well as responsibility of protecting her. May He give us the temerity to continually seek that which is "over the hill", and that which is truth, and then the strength to apply that truth to our lives, in spite of the opposition. And lets offer Him thanks for the tools to achieve these lofty goals.
"Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it".