The 2011 film Limitless is about a guy, played by Bradley Cooper, who discovers a drug that allows him to access and utilize his entire brain; making him far more intelligent than those around him. The premise is that the average person only has access to about 17% of their brains cognitive abilities, and through a drug known as NZT-48 Cooper is able to access the remaining 83% of his previously untapped brain function. Unfortunately for Eddie Morro, (Cooper’s character), there are some serious and unwanted side effects.
The reason I bring this up is because I believe, thanks in large part to our public education system, that people today don’t even come close to accessing, or at least utilizing, the 17% mentioned in the film. I think it’s quite possible, in some instances anyway, that people are utilizing less than 10% of their brains thinking ability.
The human brain is an amazing organ, it is basically the size of two fists side by side and consists of an almost gelatinous substance; yet it is capable of storing memories, processing complex calculations, and operating as the motor control center for all your bodies functions. Although the brain cannot grow larger, it, like any other muscle, requires exercise to stay sharp.
The ability of a brain to think, to process information, is totally dependent upon what is inputted into it – and as the old saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.” If all your time is spent doing things that fill your mind with useless information, then the things you think and believe will be based more upon emotional reactions to issues than an actual critical analysis of the information which leads to a fact based decision.
I have been told that some of my commentaries are too complex to understand, or that I use words that people do not understand. When I first began studying the history of this country and the effort to establish a system of government for it, I ran into many words that I did not understand. Yet did I stop studying simply because I didn’t know the meaning of the words I was reading? No, I kept a dictionary handy so that I could learn to understand what I was reading; to further my vocabulary.
There is a quote I would like for you to read, and it comes from British actor Stephen Fry’s book the Fry Chronicles, “There are young men and women up and down the land who happily (or unhappily) tell anyone who will listen that they don’t have an academic turn of mind, or that they aren’t lucky enough to have been blessed with a good memory, and yet can recite hundreds of pop lyrics and reel off any amount of information about footballers. Why? Because they are interested in those things. They are curious. If you are hungry for food, you are prepared to hunt high and low for it. If you are hungry for information it is the same. Information is all around us, now more than ever before in human history. You barely have to stir or incommode yourself to find things out. The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know. They are incurious. Incuriosity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is.”
Just as I’m certain that I am sitting in a chair in front of this computer screen, I’m certain that when I go to work this afternoon that a majority of the people at work will be talking about the big game yesterday; the Super Bowl. I did not watch the game, and the only reason I know that the New England Patriots won is because someone posted it on Facebook. Instead I made a pot of chili, washed clothes, I had an enlightening and uplifting phone conversation with my friend Michael Gaddy and I read from two books; The Essential Debate on the Constitution and Such Troops as These, a biographical look at the military genius of Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson.
You see, I made a conscious decision to input information that broadened my knowledge rather than to entertain me; and that right there is the biggest obstacle America faces when it comes to why our country is so screwed up – instead of seeking out the truth people are content to believe half truths and outright lies.
To compound matters, there are many in this country that simply don’t give a damn about learning how their system of government was designed to create an entity that eroded the liberty America was established to secure for the people living within it. They believe that government is good, and the only reason things are screwed up is because of the policies of the opposing political party.
Believe me, I was there at one point in my life. Twenty years ago I was a staunch Republican; believing the Democrats were wrong in their beliefs and ideology, and that if we could only elect more Republicans we could, to quote from Donald Trump, make America great again. Had I not sought out knowledge…the truth…I would still be thinking that right now.
I honestly do not know what it is that sets those who actively seek out the truth from those who passively accept what they are told, but there has to be something that causes such a divergence. I only know that the search for the truth has become the driving force in my life; and the closer I get to it the more I realize that I find myself in an ever shrinking circle of like minded individuals.
I remember when I joined the Air Force back in 1979 and went off to basic training in Texas. After I completed my basic training I was then sent to another base, still in Texas, to attend my technical training as a power production specialist. After I completed both sets of training I was given a 30 day leave before I was to report for my first duty assignment.
When I got home I found that many of my old friends were still doing the very same things that we used to do while in high school; sitting around drinking beer and smoking marijuana. I tried to break them free of that and tried to get them to go somewhere and see things we had never seen. They looked at me as if I was nuts; like I was asking them to jump out of an airplane without a parachute. I could not break them free of their old habits, their old lifestyle – their old way of THINKING.
I think it is human nature for most people to become attached to a particular lifestyle, to a particular way of thinking; and that anyone or anything that threatens that comfort zone is to be resisted and opposed. Yet had not people questioned the status quo man would never have broken the chains which bound them to planet Earth and learned to fly. Had our Founders not questioned the authority of the British to tax them without their having a say in those taxes being levied against them there would have been no American Revolution.
We do not send our children off to school thinking that by the end of their first year in kindergarten they will be able to perform complex algebra equations; we know that they must first learn to count, then to add and subtract, then the multiply and divide, then to learn fractions and decimal points; and only after they have learned these things can they begin to learn algebra.
The same process must occur when one seeks out the truth as it pertains to our system of government. If your beliefs are restricted by the artificial constructs of whatever political party ideology you adhere to, then you are in a cage of your own making; completely unaware of the larger world that lies beyond your walls of confinement.
The first step towards learning the truth is in learning that your government was one which was established to have very few powers; with most of those powers to be exercised upon the States as political entities; not to benefit or affect the people in general.
The next step is learning the changes that occurred in our American political system when they went from a government established by the Articles of Confederation to a government under the present Constitution. This is where the real learning begins; for while those who opposed the ratification of the Constitution may have been vilified back in 1788, their fears over what the Constitution would do have proven to be well founded.
The final step in your learning process would be to learn that this transformation of a group of sovereign and independent States under a weak central government with few powers to a nation of States under a government of almost unlimited power was intentional; that those who wrote the Constitution knew what they were doing, and that once their system of government was put into operation they immediately began to find hidden, or implied powers within the few specifically enumerated powers listed in the document itself.
It is also at this stage where you will learn that there were men who sought to keep government within the confines of the few specifically enumerated powers delegated to it, but who were opposed by a majority who sought to increase the powers held by government and use it for things which would have doomed it had those who ratified it known it would begin exercising after they voted in favor of its adoption.
And if you have made it this far in your learning you would also know that the Civil War was not about slavery, it was a war for independence from an oppressive government; which was instigated by oppressive policies implemented by the big business and banking interest representing Republicans of the North. At this stage you would realize that there would have been no war had Lincoln not chosen to force the South into remaining a part of the Union with the threat of invasion, and at the end of a bayonet.
What you might also come to realize, if you have made it this far, is that it would have been impossible to have a Civil War had they not first adopted the system of government which allowed it to happen in the first place. Had they remained under the government established by the Articles of Confederation none of the laws, or taxes that led the South to secede could have been enacted; for under the Articles of Confederation, for anything to become law it had to be agreed to by a unanimous vote of each and every State Legislature.
That’s why I frequently quote Lysander Spooner, who accurately states, “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”
Yet to most people my words sound dangerously close to treason; therefore they shy away from them, or hurl insults at me. Yet just as if you were to ask a kindergartener to explain complex algebra, I am speaking from a position where I am in possession of facts that they do not have – their learning process stagnated after they graduated from high school; with what little they were taught in history and civics as their only reference point.
Well, what I have learned is that most of what I was taught in high school was incomplete, or an outright lie. But that’s only because I made the conscious effort to expand my knowledge – to seek out the truth.
Most people are familiar with Patrick Henry only because of his words, “Give me liberty or give me death.” But, in the same speech Henry also said something that defines me, and the majority of those living in America today, “Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.”
Any farm animal, be it cattle or sheep, are mindless beasts who are led around – herded – by the ranchers who own them…and eventually lead them to slaughter. Whether you believe God created man, or if you believe man evolved, it does not matter; we are where we are today as a species due to one reason only; our ability to think, to reason.
If we do not use our brains to their fullest potential, if we continue to believe half truths and lies without seeking out the truth, are we any better than the animals we herd around for our sustenance? Knowledge is the key that sets us free from bondage, but if we do not seek out that knowledge then Patrick Henry was right, the siren song of hope turns us all into beasts. If we keep hoping that we can elect just enough of the right people, without knowing why our system of government was established, we only repeat the same mistakes that created all our problems to begin with.
Getting people to accept that, and change their way of thinking has been the toughest thing I have ever attempted to do. I sometimes think I’d have a better chance of swimming across the Pacific Ocean than I would in getting people to think. This has, at times, caused me to lash out in frustration and anger; but that is only because I realize the importance of knowledge, and the consequences of ignorance.
If I have insulted any of you, or offended you, I’m truly sorry. But, as Patrick Henry also said, “Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.”
Although James Madison was among the scheming bastards who devised this deplorable Constitution, he did once say that “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both.”
Knowledge is out there, although it is becoming increasingly difficult to find amidst an ocean of lies and deception. But if you value your freedom, if you love your country, you’ll turn off your TV’s and your iPhones and get busy looking for it.
Otherwise I’ll leave you with the thoughts of Samuel Adams, “If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”