Category Archives: Belief Systems

I’ve been programmed, how about you?

I’ve been programmed, how about you?

I am reminded of the lyrics from a song by one of my favorite musical groups, Pink Floyd. Another Brick in the Wall (part II) written by Roger Waters:

“We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.
………………………………….Wrong, Do it again!
If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you
have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?”

My programming was gained initially through participation in a military family, parents that grew up in the South, exposure to a maternal grandfather that was a staunch racist, a paternal grandmother that was not and 10 years of Catholic school education complete with required catechism classes. My programming was further enhanced via two years of “public” high school and five years of social (and sometime academic) exposure at University. Programming continued through four years as an Air Force Officer, twenty years in senior management with several firms and finally a decade plus in the accommodation industry both in the US and in New Zealand. More recently my programming has been modified through participation with a variety of community volunteer groups.

In retrospect I question how much wisdom was gained despite the massive amount of information exposure that occurred? In my “formative” years “I liked Ike” and a bit later I wanted to “ask what I could do for my country”. During University I moved a bit further to the left in my thinking. While in the Air Force I reversed course moving back in the “right” direction. As a senior manager, then executive and accommodation entrepreneur I continued to proceed further to the right. During the last decade, via my volunteer participation, my views have moderated and moved back closer to the political center.

What I now realize is that most of my view has been “influenced” by both others and by the responsibility of the various money producing positions that I held. I wonder if I really have any views that are truly my own? I find that doing my own research on a variety of topics has been very satisfying. It has been extremely difficult to set my past programming aside and I find it an ongoing struggle. My key is to ask myself what is the basis of my current view. What is the source of my information? Is it backed up by other sources? Can I say for certain that I am in touch with the facts? How much of my view is based on a belief system? Am I just another brick in the wall?

Belief systems revisited

Belief systems revisited

 In a prior post I explored the good and not so good issues regarding beliefs. My personal view is to attempt not to judge any belief system as long as the “golden rule” is a “core” tenant. In my opinion, the details beyond treating others as you would like to be treated are not as important.

There are many thousands of belief systems with ardent supporters. If I had been raised in a different environment of indoctrination I am convinced that I would be a subscriber to that belief system, at least for a time. Based on my personal experience I am convinced there is not only “true path”. There may be thousands?

I raised as a Roman Catholic throughout my formative years. Mom was Catholic and Dad was Methodist. Mom’s mother was raised a Baptist, but converted to Catholic when my mom was 12. Converts are often the staunches believers and mom is no exception. She took control of the kids’ education. As a result, I attended Catholic School through grade 10. My indoctrination was intense. I served as an alter boy and sang in the children’s choir. I was VP of my 9th & 10th grade class in an all-boys Catholic high school. Religion class was mandatory for all ten years. We studied both the bible and Catholic Dogma. We were convinced that the path we were one was the one and only true path to salvation. While I did not really enjoy all of the church activities, I was a believer.

Over time & travels I started to question my faith. Could my path be the only one allowed? Why were so many others convinced otherwise? What about the abuses of the Church (Popes operating as kings and ignoring celibacy)? What about the Inquisition and the purge of the South American natives?

Don’t get me wrong, there are thousands of dedicated, well meaning, priests and nuns that personify the golden rule. I absolutely admire their efforts. I also recognize that there are numerous other belief systems that provide important moral and ethical paths. My view is that if a “faith” has the golden rule at its “core” and it is working for you, then I fully support your path. If you do not subscribe to an organized belief system, but strive to live a moral and ethical life then again, you have my admiration. I like to believe that I fall into this last category, albeit with much room for improvement.

More on Moore

More on Moore

My prediction was that Roy Moore would win the Alabama Senate Election with a 4% margin. Like my prediction on the outcome of the Presidential Election it was just flat wrong. While Moore has never been extremely popular among Alabama conservatives I really thought the state’s massive Republican majority would carry the day. I suspect that the untimely sexual misconduct allegations tipped the scales in Jones favor. In my opinion that is unfortunate. Allegations, as such, should never be a factor in the voting decision process. It is easy to make accusations.

In our country we are deemed innocent until “proven” guilty. That is the rule of law. As an Alabama voter if you did not vote for Judge Moore simply on the basis of the allegations then shame on you. Since Roy lost he will not have the opportunity to face his accusers via a Senate Ethics committee investigation. If he is truly not guilty then he would be advised (and justified) to pursue defamation suits against his accusers. I do wonder how this will play out?

Make no mistake, I am not a fan of Judge Roy Moore. In my opinion he stands on the fringe of ultra-conservative politics. He does not represent the average Republican Conservative, much less the average citizen. His belief system flies in the face of established facts and rational thinking. He has made frequent racist statements on multiple levels and ignores the separation between church (his version of Christianity) and state. Regardless, he deserves his day in court and I hope he chooses to pursue it.