The Gullibility Factor

FTLComm - Tisdale - Tuesday, December 18, 2001
The crisp wit of the bunch we all enjoyed in the 1970s on the BBC television series Monty Python's Flying Circus did a bit in which a fellow playing the part of a "cad" would make inferences to a straight man and then add the phrase "nudge, nudge, wink, wink, a nod's as good as a wink." I loved the bit because here was an in joke that I could understand and they were telling you up front that it was a "put-on".

I think that I was one of those guys who in collage not only looked like a small town hick but definitely acted like one and would blunder into situations with incredible confidence only to come off looking really stupid. I was naive and yes extremely gullible. My main problem was that I could never quite detect what was a joke and what was serious. A lady hands me a plate of Oreo cookies, I had never seen them before and blurted out, these are really something and she shrugs off "I just whipped them up this afternoon" and I respond with "oh really, that's incredible", thinking she really had made them.

When people talk to one another about their world, they develop between them, a common set of meanings for the terms they use and sometimes they assume that everyone else knows what they are talking about. This can get really tricky because they will use their terms with platitudes and mix things into their language that to each other is perfectly comprehensible. To make it even more difficult there are so many things that are taboo subjects.

There is a long list of topics that if you mentioned them in public you would be considered a lunatic, even though almost everyone else shares similar misgivings and lunatic fringe beliefs. It is just that they don't and can't talk about them.

Yesterday, Mario deSantis told us about the intention of the Bush administration planning to break the treaty that forbids the placing of armaments in space, to develop its antimissile project. Now this is a perfect example of the "Gullibility Factor" the defense establishment knows that this is a stupid project it won't and can't work, but they and the administration all work up some plausible arguments for the project knowing full well it is bull. Their problem is that the project, as hapless as it is, depends on a mountain of software to work and they are all faced with some ugly truths.

You see, they have access to information that can not ever be released to the public, through the decades there has been enough serious doubts about human domination of the universe. Are we alone? Well, as it turns out ,as of now, we just don't know. But, what if there are aliens who come calling some day and we have nothing, not a thing, to defend ourselves with, won't we look really stupid. So, though there is no evidence of aliens, only doubts, the Bush administration and had Gore been made president, there would be no difference in this regard, the American government has to get some simple defense in place, "just in case". Without it and we get seriously visited, the whole world's population would condemn their short sightedness completely.

What I am explaining is that George Bush can't tell the world, "we are putting up satellites that we might be able to use to protect the planet from aliens." He knows everyone would consider him even stupider than we already think, yet he also knows that everyone on the planet with half a thought to reality, has nagging doubts about intergalactic invasion. "nudge, nudge, wink, wink, a nod's as good as a wink."

But Bush and his war, political leaders everywhere, spend each and every day dealing with perceptions of reality and attempts to deal with formidable problems which so often are both incredible and ridiculous by every standard there is. This explains some of the complete silliness that is suppose to be news, which often is about as solid in information as what we refer to as commercials.

I will give you one other troubling example of the gullibility factor. Saskatchewan farmers for eons relied upon their own company, the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, to look after their grain and best interests. It in turn developed a good news paper the Western Producer. But now the Wheat Pool is the Wheat Corporation, a private corporation that loses money at a rate that makes believing in UFOs seem plausible and farmers continue to pay money for the Western Producer which is essentially an advertising publication for the positions taken by the dumbest grain company known to man.

The pictures on this page are all just electronic representations of the light seen this morning and this last one is of last night's sunset. But even they are filled with the gullibility factor, each of us needs to be warry of those who claim to be telling the absolute truth, and watch out most for those who do so because of some high moral or religious principle, for only patriots are playing more unevenly with the gullibility factor.