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Brian Evankovich

Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out: The Perils of Modern Enlightenment
By Brian Evankovich
May 28, 2004 - 4:55:00 AM

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While out with the guys last night somebody happened to bring up Sept. 11th and, and the individual opined that the CIA and President Bush knew what was going to happen and when and how, yet let thousands of people die anyway because it suited Bush's political purpose. My jaw hit the floor.

You have to be a pretty cynical dude to take such an idea seriously, but it is in no way uncommon. My first instinct in discussing this issue with the individual involved was to really make him back up his statements. A simple, "What did Bush have to gain?" was answered by "I don't know," which wasn't a surprise at all. There was nothing to gain.

In order to prevent an argument and/or strangulation, the discussion as to whom let 9-11-01 happen ceased, but it lingered in my mind on the drive home, and I found myself asking just how somebody of reasonable intelligence could fall for something so outrageous. The answer hit me like the proverbial piano falling out of a ten story window - because that's exactly where the answer lies.

The idea that we as sovereign individuals have total control over everything in our lives isn't "enlightenment", as some would have you believe, it is the height of ignorance. At the same time, for most people, such a belief is the only thing that gets them through the day; otherwise they'd die from the shock of having to live with the responsibility of watching out for falling pianos because life is unpredictable.

The Enlightened Individual needs Ordered Space, the place where He can live and work and not face the risk of everyday dangers. Ordered Space is an illusion propagated by so-called Educated Minds and Tradition, which tells us that if we settle down with the house behind the white picket fence and the 2.5 kids and his-and-hers SUVs, we'll live a long and happy life working for The Man until it's time to collect social security and buy a motor home with which to tour the country before retiring to Florida where we will die fat and happy.

9-11 showed us that an Outside Force can intrude on the Ordered Space without a second thought and utterly destroy it.

The Enlightened Individual cannot accept the existence of an Outside Force, so somebody else must be responsible, either by negligence, or on purpose. Hence the idea that the CIA and President Bush knew the how and the when of 9-11 but did nothing to stop it.

This idea frees the Enlightened Individual from admitting that those who are supposed to "protect" us aren't super-human. That mistakes can be made. That the bad guys can actually win sometimes. This idea makes it okay for the Enlightened Individual not to ride with the waves of life's unpredictability.

In other words, they want to smell the roses without first having to check for bees and thorns.

Think about those who have died in automobile accidents. They had one hell of a surprise in the last second of their lives, brought on by.... Fate? The whimsy of God looking for a laugh? No, such events are brought on by a chain reaction beginning with somebody else's recklessness, the Outside Force. Automobile accidents are preventable if you pay attention to what's going on around you, keep a safe distance from other cars, move away from anybody who looks like they may be driving irresponsibly, and follow the speed limit. In other words, take responsibility for life's unpredictability by admitting that such a factor exists. For you PhDs out there, it means stuff happens (you know the kind). Deal with it.

We're seeing more denial with the latest warning of a terror strike in the U.S., complete with pictures and names of alleged terrorist operatives. Some believe that there is no threat at all, that instead Bush is making it all up to deal with his falling poll numbers and the prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq. They don't want to acknowledge the Outside Force even though it's staring them right in the face.

Looking for thorns takes work, and most people arenít up to it. It's easier to believe the illusion.

Brian Evankovich lives in California where his motto is: "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy." Write Ė heís ready to believe you.

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