I reserve the right to read, watch, listen, observe, and reflect upon all ideas and concepts.

Other people’s opinions on the validity, credulity, outrageousness, insensitivity, accuracy, believability, worthiness, merit, and so forth of what I explore never precludes my further exploration.

And when others foam at the mouth, stomp their feet, and yell “fire” in a crowded theater at anything I read or watch, it makes me all the more resolute to continue exploration into the content of the material.

“What is it that gets you so worked up? What stirs your soul to move you to pass such angry judgment upon my desire to explore? Well, now I must know,” I conclude and move forward.

What interest is there in exploring topics that no one cares to raise an eyebrow about? Who is passionate about exploring a landscape of mediocrity that is nothing more than a sidewalk to travel upon moving from one spot to the next?

The sense of dogmatic danger is a siren song, and spice for our souls. The strange and different should beckon us at the boundaries of our limited understanding of the universe. One can choose to wallow in the stew of their own dogmatic comfort, and slow cook into blandness along with the herd surrounding them, if they so desire.

If an opinion, discovery, or philosophy inspires nothing more than a yawn, and minimal emotional reactions, truly what interest is it?

The amusement park of the mind should be filled with roller coasters that toss our little worldviews about. Who cares to board a roller coaster that is flat, with no curves, and no drops?

Being at the center of the herd is comforting, for a moment. But being pushed and pulled along with the flow of the masses leads to complicity, flaccid intellect, and sloth of mind.

There are many pervasive behaviors, deployed by the wolves that want to move the herd hither and thither. And the wolves are greatly fewer in number than the herds they steer. Many wolves are extremely adept at steering the herd, even off of cliffs.

Following are two effective and pervasive practices employed by the wolves to keep the herd on a desired, myopic trajectory.

Guilt By Association

Guilt by association is an effective scare tactic that discourages herd members from wandering into new intellectual pastures.

“I can’t believe you read that book. Don’t you know the author is an extremist?” The unspoken message, “you are a spawn of the author’s dogma!”

“I can’t believe you watch that show, don’t you know it’s an extremist organization?” The covert sentence arrives without even uttering the charge, “you are a spawn of the target marketing audience.”

“You are one of THEM! You are not one of US! Traitor!”

The underlying message here is that if one gets caught perusing topics other than those approved or prescribed by select club members, then the offender is in complete collusion with the enemy.

“You are in opposition to us, and an enemy. So, henceforth we label you as such. Guilty!”

Regretfully, even the sciences suffer such collective pressure and repercussions for so-labeled heretical dissenters.

A guilt complex is stitched into the fabric of the collective herd-mind. It is one reason so many web site commentaries are often peppered with bizarre, comments from the most outrageously extreme positions; this is often a purposeful propaganda technique of the 21st century.

If an article or topic on a web site challenges the approved collective dogma, one  must expect the paid agents of guilt-by-association to circle like buzzards over carrion deploying their craft. The goal is thwarting others from reading the fare.

“You are judged by the company you keep! Look at the extremists hanging out here!”

We must ignore the bogus charges. Read on!

The more controversial or distracting a topic, the greater the exerted effort becomes to frighten away readers through guilt by association. One only needs to watch for the absolute lunatic fringe to arrive when a message strongly challenges the centralized dogma.

Do not be discouraged and thwarted from reading all flavors of opinions. It is a healthy intellectual diet, good mental exercise, and as beneficial as learning about different cultures from talking to different people.

All or Nothing Fallacy (aka – With Us or Against Us)

“You read it, watched it, or attended it, so you must wholly believe, accept, or support it!”

The herd is inoculated with this faulty logic from early days of indoctrination.  Many of us are conditioned to deploy this tactic, with little understanding of its purpose. The wolves train us to bleat aspersions at each other, so they can sit back and sharpen their fangs in the meanwhile and enjoy the show.

We all enjoy a good tale, fable, myth, legend, exaggeration, fictional account, and imaginary romp to fantasy locations. The all-or-nothing judgment is not so harsh among the herd when our fellow creatures are enjoying a tale of pure fiction, if so-labeled.

But as soon as our brethren wander into entertainment, news, and commentary that neglects to stamp “fiction” boldly across its cover, a dichotomous-driven lashing from the herd arrives.

“You read that stuff? Then you are obviously a (insert club affiliation here).” “You watch that show? Then you believe (insert dogma stereotype here).”

The logic underlying such foolish assumption is that when we consume something, we accept it as wholly true or even become what we observe. So we learn to reject unapproved content as wholly false, and thus must not to touch unholy relic. The premise is then that all information resides in the bogus reality of all true or all false.

Good or evil. Right or wrong. Us or them. Pick your camp!

Does anyone believe that because one consumes television season after television season of “Walking Dead” episodes, that they believe zombies are real? Or perhaps the viewers of such fare are actually zombie club members? Poppycock.

The moment one ventures from fiction, or hints at a modicum of accuracy in material they consume, the label police congeal, and the busy-bodies prepare to push potential offenders into the oppositional camp.

“It’s all or nothing. Accept or reject. Confess, heretic,” the herd bleats in unison.

Don’t fall for this trick. Read on! And read on with great fervor!

In fact, if the label police pounce, you are probably reviewing a piece of information that may contain just a tiny nugget of accuracy or enlightenment beneficial for expanding knowledge.

The next time someone accuses you of being a “cult” or club member because you read, watch, or listen to a particular message, ask them to send you their written list of approved books, websites, TV shows, public speakers, and venues so as not to offend their particular dogmatic universe moving forward. If they actually produce such a list, post it to your website, blog, or Facebook page, so we can share a good laugh.

Be bold! Read on! Frighten your own paradigms regularly.

Boldly go where no herd member cares to saunter!

Yours truly,

“Doc” Dad

Copyright © 23JUL17 by Steven A. Schwab