Connecting the dots

When the dots are random, the pattern and meaning only become clear when the right path is chosen.

Political discourse often rages and ranges from the ridiculous to the sublime. Speeches and promises make the choice of path obscure, obtuse and purposely misleading with intended consequences.

That said, here are a couple of mazes to wander through. Since there is only one writer responsible for the first, there is no explanation or apology for what is meant.

In the second maze, the writer was incarcerated and eventually executed for his involvement in the prevailing political situation. In this one, the right path may be less direct but worth searching to determine.

Maze # 1  (posted on July 24, 2016)

There is a new single response test designed to measure and assess IQ, psycho-social-emotional health, analytical reasoning, verbal-linguistic intelligence, social anxiety, values, self-esteem and integrity. This test is being administered by the Federal Government and is more generally known as the United States of America political process.

As with all measurement instruments or devices of this sort the results will only become public after the test has been administered. Since it is impossible to alter or in anyway change the selection of the answer, extreme caution is advised.

History will reveal the consequences of the choices made by those tested and may be available and operational for at least four years.


Maze # 2  This was excerpted from letters from prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Theologian. Born February 4, 1906, he was executed by hanging April 9, 1945, after being held for two years in prison at Flossenburg Concentration Camp for his opposition to Adolf Hitler.

“One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed–in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical–and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for when dealing with a stupid person than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.

If we want to know how to get the better of stupidity, we must seek to understand its nature. This much is certain, that it is in essence not an intellectual defect but a human one. There are human beings who are of remarkably agile intellect yet stupid, and others who are intellectually quite dull yet anything but stupid. We discover this to our surprise in particular situations. The impression one gains is not so much that stupidity is a congenital defect but that, under certain circumstances, people are made stupid or that they allow this to happen to them. We note further that people who have isolated themselves from others or who live in solitude manifest this defect less frequently than individuals or groups of people inclined or condemned to sociability. And so it would seem that stupidity is perhaps less a psychological than a sociological problem. It is a particular form of the impact of historical circumstances on human beings, a psychological concomitant of certain external conditions. Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere be it of a political or a religious nature infects a large part of humankind with stupidity. It would even seem that this is virtually a sociological-psychological law. The power of one needs the stupidity of the other. The process at work here is not that particular human capacities, for instance, the intellect, suddenly atrophy or fail. Instead, it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances. The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, One virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings.

Yet at this very point it becomes quite clear that only an act of liberation, not instruction, can overcome stupidity. Here we must come to terms with the fact that in most cases a genuine internal liberation becomes possible only when external liberation has preceded it. Until then we must abandon all attempts to convince the stupid person. This state of affairs explains why in such circumstances our attempts to know what “the people” really think are in vain and why, under these circumstances, this question is so irrelevant for the person who is thinking and acting responsibly.

But these thoughts about stupidity also offer consolation in that they utterly forbid us to consider the majority of people to be stupid in every circumstance. It really will depend on whether those in power expect more from peoples’ stupidity than from their inner independence and wisdom.”

Postlude  (It has been reported that Dietrich Bonhoeffer went to his hanging without concern and trusting in his belief system. However, any reference to a specific belief system has been judiciously removed from his writing so as to not to cloud or confuse.)

In the grand scheme of things, known and unknown, knowing the right question to ask will ultimately add more to the body of knowledge than all the answers previously found.

Most likely none of the paths chosen after reading these pieces will provide an answer, so what’s next now?


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