Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

One Thought on “Inoculation Through Creating Common Wisdom Narratives

  1. Donald Wilton on Monday April 19, 2010 at 17:21 +0000 said:

    I suspect that Common Wisdom narratives owe some of their impact to fairy tales and to mythology. These stories reinforce ideas that are firmly held in childhood before the full development of reasoning ability, or the adult version. In fairy tales the True lover always wins, or we substitute something that we feel is an acceptable alternative.

    All of us lack for true love. Very few find that soul mate that we would prefer. We learn to prefer what we can get and the extra-marital affairs that result are part of the attempt to make the system work. Fairy tales come from a time when we tell children that perfect partners are possible because we would prefer that to be the case.

    Common wisdom might derive from an alternative to the fairy tale of true love. Many of the older versions of such tales include a means for somebody to win in the end, often by being ruthless and exploiting others. Better that somebody wins than nobody at all. We would prefer good to win , but I think that we are also willing to stretch the meaning of fairy tale good to provide ourselves with a winner.

    This connects to the right left debate in that we haven’t had the left long enough to create basic stores that we teach to children that emphasize a story structure, a definition of winning and the end result that falls outside of the right winner position. Somebody has to lose in the stories. We have to define the loser as evil rather than talking about the inherent worth of the loser when we teach to children. Common wisdom derives in part from these stories and the right has an unwritten benefit in being the good that cuts corners, that the left doesn’t start with. This means that they have to play along and accept the status of the “Party of Peace,” whether or not it is true, once the Common Wisdom has been stated, the battle lines drawn.

    Conservative religion exists to provide answers, whether they are simple or complex. I think that providing answers rather than offering questions as we do is flawed as a model for defining the debate. If you adhere to the simple debate style of the answer modality, there has to be a loser who is the bad guy. Common Wisdom derives much of its power from this simplistic way of looking at the world. As long as people choose to play by those rules, then Democratic losses in the Common Wisdom trap are inevitable.

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