Understanding vs. Action

I was feeling sick last night, and I ended up falling asleep on the couch.

That’s my excuse for not posting. Sick Day.

I feel a little better after a good night’s sleep, and I imagine I’ll miss the nasty bug that’s going around. I sure hope so, anyway.


To continue the thread I started. I’ve been using personal journals from 3 years ago to talk about the ideas of Understanding Vs. Action.

But journals are necessarily personal, and the ideas I expressed were from a very individual or psychological standpoint. About decisions that were under my control.

But when it comes to broader action, I have to think in terms of groups of people, sociological. That takes organization, and a structure. At least, it does if you want to sustain the action.

As I write, I’m thinking that mob action does not require organization. Actually, that’s a really interesting thought. I may have to return to that later, after I’ve found out more about it.

Anyway, for sustained action, we need organization and a structure. Political action requires organization. Of course, when I think of politics, I think of people. Of the charismatic leaders who work everyone up into a froth about some issue. Sometimes the leader will even get a group of people to buy into a more fully developed platform.

People seem to want a leader. Many people really want someone to tell them what’s going on, and what they should do. People see a problem, but we are not certain what to do. We don’t understand it. If a person comes along, who convinces us that he or she understands the problem and has a solution, we’re happy! Good! Take care of that problem. Fabulous.

We know that we don’t everything. Larger problems, of societal significance, are usually complicated and take more effort to understand than most people are willing to give. So it is like scratching an itch to buy into the party solution of a charismatic leader. It feels good to feel that we are doing something about a situation.

Now, here is my moment of glory, where is get to tie two threads together!

How do we decide that the leader/platform/party is right? What criteria do we use?

“He’s an older white man in a pin-striped suit. He must be knowledgeable”
“She holds herself confidently, and pauses thoughtfully before answering questions”
”They use the word eco-friendly”

Are these good criteria? Does this really tell us what we need to know about the quality or effectiveness of the action proposed?

What gives these folks the right to be right?

I really think that many times, we give leaders the right to be right, the right to convince us, because we want to be convinced by someone They are just the first someone that comes along talking about it.