Regressive Thinking

I covered a Corpus Christi city council proceeding recently for a local newspaper and a grassroots community organization. The experience seemed to me a microcosm for a regressive political trend evident in American politics. The council debated what to do about the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) finding dangerously low disinfectant levels in the city water mains for the second time in as many years. The mayor and two council members utilized all of their time attempting to target the TCEQ for allegedly overreacting to Corpus’ repeated failures to measure up to state water standards.  A fourth council member began her like-minded comments as follows, “I am not trusting of government.”

Think about that for a moment. In essence, she said to voters, “I, your elected government official do not trust the process you entrusted me to direct on your behalf.”  It is a common sentiment often expressed in myriad, if covert, ways at all levels of politics in Texas and the United States. It got me to thinking about where we are heading collectively and the kind of thinking that is leading the way.

Government is the act of governing.  Govern is defined as follows by Merriam Webster: “to control or guide the actions of (someone or something).”  You obviously govern your own body.  When you share space and resources with another or others, you establish agreements as to how that space and those resources will be shared. Roles, duties and responsibilities are assumed or assigned as means of assuring those agreements are kept. It applies to families. It applies to clans. It applies to tribes. It applies to interaction between tribes that share space and resources.

Quite obviously the more people occupying a given space and sharing a given amount of resources, the more agreements – read, governing – is required in order to maintain peace and order. Any fool – even an inbred hillbilly confined to interacting with his growing clan on an acre of land – understands that natural equation. The more people and the consequent less space and resources, the more agreement is required and the less self-centeredness is afforded. Or, the more people occupying a given space, naturally the less individual freedom of choice to ‘do as thou wilt.’

It has been observed and thoroughly documented clinically that early stages of infantile thinking begin with the assumption that the child is the center of the universe. Developing awareness of others and the fact that they share space and resources – and cooperating with others in that regard – is incident to the process of maturation. The math becomes intuitive as intelligence evolves.

It is an interesting and potentially enlightening exercise to contemplate the above-offered equation against one’s own experience and values. Think about the political ideas you have accepted or synthesized against that equation. Do some of your cherished ideas make an awful lot of sense after all? Think about the role models, ideals, and dreams you look to and harbor and how you came to accept them and where they are leading you. Do they make you – and those you share space and resources with – feel happier or more fulfilled? Were they influenced by interests, factions or ideologues working at odds to the simple, natural math? What were the purposes of those (educators, politicians, film makers, media, employers, mentors, etc.) seeding such ideation?

Think about the firmly-set ideas you may have developed over the years about certain classes of people (political, social, philosophical, religious, national, racial). Are they fair? Or are they expedient? Are they healthy for you and those with whom you share space and resources?  Have they led to evolution or have they had a regressive effect?

This essay is not a promotion for nor condemnation of any particular political faction. If you engage in the suggested exercise above earnestly, and follow up with some objective homework, I think it will become evident that political extremes – on either side of the aisle – fueled by greed are the most abundant feeders of the sort of regressive thinking addressed.

 

58 responses to “Regressive Thinking

  1. chuckbeatty77

    The anti government propaganda serves the immoral short sighted money bottom line major business interests and their lobbyists and fake think tanks spew out the anti government mentality.

    Government jobs ought to be respected and weed out the corrupt lazy government job holders incapable of serving the whole community long range.

    Hollywood hasn’t done any hero government worker job stories and ought to.

    One thing Scientology celebrities I had hoped when I was a Scientologist wishful thinking Sea Org staffer as my life’s career, I thought and hoped that “our” Scientology celebrities would “do” some human history exemplary hero roles or stories movie entertainment that really would shift societal respect BACK onto government jobs/workers who really do some humanity saving high principled behavior. (I had even hoped celebs like Paul Haggis would do something truly earth/global moral high principled.)

    That wishful thinking just could never happen, for so many reasons.

    I think a big human world trend ought to be for government jobs persons to regain respect.

    I appreciate your observations, I hope you do well in your future Marty.

  2. “…political extremes – on either side of the aisle – fueled by greed are the most abundant feeders of the sort of regressive thinking addressed.”

    I think “feeders” is the right word, because most people have already been indoctrinated into their worldview by their upbringing – including family life and education in the broadest sense by their schools and overall culture, which is often an “us vs, them” mentality.

    A campaign to raise awareness – political and spiritual – seems like the only solution, all the way up to planetary issues. And Marty is contributing to that campaign. Kudos!

  3. I agree with your conclusion 100%. Barry Goldwater had it wrong when he said “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” Look where it has gotten us with W, Obama, the Clintons and now Drumpf.

    • I get what you’re saying, but in all fairness to ol’ Barry, he changed and moderated his viewpoint quite a bit toward the end of his life. I think that in the 1960s he genuinely felt the need to express the “extremism in defense” viewpoint in the context of being in the midst of the Cold War. I do remember that in the late 80s and early 90s before he died he warned people about the extremist right wing evangelicals who were taking over the GOP. In fact after Bill Clinton won in 92 he and Hillary visited Barry at his home and he told then that they were going to “get a lot of shit thrown at them” by the religious right. If he were alive today he would have no use for either Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. (He wouldn’t have liked George W. either. His son said as much). I think he was quite put out with Reagan even for embracing that element as he did when he was President.

      • Mark C. Rathbun

        Interesting. I heard a similar rundown from somebody who was there and politically active in the early sixties.

        • I’ll always have respect and a high regard for Barry Goldwater. I came to really admire him when I read his Autobiography written in 1988, which was the year after he retired from the Senate. I think I read it that same year. It’s called simply “Goldwater”. Very good read.

          Here are a few snippets from his Wikipedia page…a few made me laugh again. He was really a live wire and truly spoke his mind. But unlike Trump he actually knew what he was talking about…

          –By the 1980s, with Ronald Reagan as president and the growing involvement of the religious right in conservative politics, Goldwater’s libertarian views on personal issues were revealed; he believed that they were an integral part of true conservatism. Goldwater viewed abortion as a matter of personal choice and supported as such abortion rights.[72]

          –As a passionate defender of personal liberty, he saw the religious right’s views as an encroachment on personal privacy and individual liberties.[73] In his 1980 Senate reelection campaign, Goldwater won support from religious conservatives but in his final term voted consistently to uphold legalized abortion and, in 1981, gave a speech on how he was angry about the bullying of American politicians by religious organizations, and would “fight them every step of the way”.[74][75][76]

          –After his retirement in 1987, Goldwater described the Arizona Governor Evan Mecham as “hardheaded” and called on him to resign, and two years later stated that the Republican party had been taken over by a “bunch of kooks”.[77]

          –In a 1994 interview with the Washington Post, the retired senator said,

          When you say “radical right” today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican party and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.[79]

          –In response to Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell’s opposition to the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court, of which Falwell had said, “Every good Christian should be concerned”, Goldwater retorted: “Every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.”[80][81] (According to John Dean, Goldwater actually suggested that good Christians ought to kick Falwell in the “nuts”, but the news media “changed the anatomical reference.”

          –Some of Goldwater’s statements in the 1990s alienated many social conservatives. He endorsed Democrat Karan English in an Arizona congressional race, urged Republicans to lay off Bill Clinton over the Whitewater scandal, and criticized the military’s ban on homosexuals:[79] “Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar.”[86] He also said, “You don’t need to be ‘straight’ to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.”[87] A few years before his death he addressed establishment Republicans by saying, “Do not associate my name with anything you do. You are extremists, and you’ve hurt the Republican party much more than the Democrats have.”[88]

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Goldwater

          • Wow, those excerpts are very relevant today. Thanks for posting.
            i will be more open to considering the actual Republican point of view,

            • You’re more than welcome. I’m always happy to help folks know Barry Goldwater a little better.
              One thing that many don’t know is that he and JFK had a very good relationship. They had both agreed to travel the country together in 1964 and do a series of genuine townhall debates on the issues for the Presidential campaign. These would’ve been real debates too. Not the bullshit, reality TV that passes for Presidential debates today. What a great service this would’ve been to the voters because both JFK and Goldwater were very intelligent men who respected each other and were deeply patriotic. But….it wasn’t to be sadly.

          • Lone Star, I know Barry’s son and knew Barry. Don’t take the Wiki quotes as anything like he approved of the Dem party or it’s platform. He didn’t and knew it was ANTI human rights FAR more than the Repubs at the time. Using wiki to get a feel for a pol that isn’t a lib is a futile endevor.

            • Yes I know that Barry didn’t approve of the Dem party’s platform. How could a true blue Libertarian do such a thing? I posted those quotes to show his anger and frustration with where the GOP was going in the 90s. He was obviously very concerned about the Evangelical element.

              I didn’t know him personally, but I read his books. I also heard him speak on various talk shows in the early 90s while he still had his health to do so. I don’t need wiki to get a feel for Barry Goldwater. I just pasted those quotes because I particularly liked them and found a few to be quite humorous.

              That’s all.

    • Path of Buddha

      I always liked Barry Goldwater after this statement:

      “I certainly believe in aliens in space. They may not look like us, but I have very strong feelings that they have advanced beyond our mental capabilities… I think some highly secret government UFO investigations are going on that we don’t know about—and probably never will unless the Air Force discloses them.”

      GMW

      • interesting…im not sure that would make me like him more. the comment is a “belief” based on his “strong feelings.” many people believe many things, and i guess we like those whose beliefs are in accord with our own. it points to his beliefs in a secret government conspiracy and agenda, And the existence of unverified (and so far unverifiable) aliens. is that really healthy thinking? Paranormal belief trends have changed from actual physical beings from out there, to interdimensional beings. have you ever read Diatonic Realities by patrick harpur? interesting discussion of the history of paranormal reports and the development of the “little green man aliens” construct.

        • sorry typo…”Diamonic Realities”

        • Path of Buddha

          I never read Diatonic Realities. Thanks – I took a brief look at it and put it on my “to do” list.
          Stephen Hawking has been talking about space travel and I follow him when he makes headlines.
          Madame Blavatsky wrote a lot about these neo-platonic realms and I have read quite a bit of her work. But Blavatsky is difficult to read so it goes on and on.
          It took a lot of courage for Goldwater to talk about space aliens. I admire him for that reason. There are numerous references to space type beings in ancient texts. For example, the legend of the Titans is common in Buddhism and some others.
          There are a lot of people who believe in aliens. Perhaps Scientology, by specifically naming Marcabs, lost a lot of its credibility. Like Goldwater, it is easy to say “space alien”. It is much harder to go the Marcab route and write detailed fiction. Looking back, I actually like the Xenu story. It is now great fun to read. It actually is to me regressive thinking in its essence.
          GMW

        • jimjam916, His “beliefs” were based on conversations & data gleaned from Air Force personnel he worked with over the years. It wasn’t a “belief” as in a belief in God or the devil.

          Use the word “conclusion” instead. He was a Major General in the Air Force.

          • Yes you beat me to it. Barry was certainly hooked in with the Air Force. He has a building, or a training center at the Air Force Academy in Colorado named after him. He knew at least some of the scuttlebutt about alien investigations which were largely headed by the Air Force. He heard enough from fellow high ranking officers to know that there was probably more to the story than what was being revealed to the public, or ever would be revealed.

          • I dont know, i still think its a belief unless it can be verified. And talking to people who also have the same beliefs doesnt verify the truth of ufo existenance. It just supports possibly inhealthy or mistaken beliefs. The xenu story is an ugly attenuated excessive and repugnant tale. It attempts to be a ripping yarn but ends up, for me at least to show the ugliness that the author sees in the world. Which is really the ugliness in himself spread out over creation like vegemite. Theres a word im looking for to describe it…cornball? Florid? Overbearing?

      • It would take the entire resources of an inhabited planet to engage in interstellar travel. Only an impending stellar or other natural disaster would be impetus to do so. Krypton did it so I guess it’s possible.
        Maybe it’s just our lot to learn astral projection to tour “The Uni” while embodied.

    • Dan, W, Obamao & Clinton were NEVER fighting for liberty. That was a cover. So, what Barry said IS true. BUT, only if ACTUALLY done when defending liberty. NOT, when pretending to.

      We used extremism (driving something to the limit, to the extreme or the quality or state of being extreme, advocacy of extreme measures or views.) to defeat the Axis powers. It worked well as we were REALLY defending liberty.

  4. The wide-open spaces of the rural West allow one to ignore, or disbelieve, that relationship between density and agreement. Here in Oregon the eastern desert part of the state is Republican to the core, and was recently the scene of an armed takeover of a Federal wildlife refuge. However, the Willamette Valley in the western portion, with most of the state’s large population centers, is among the most liberal areas of the nation. For most people it is necessary to experience crowding before the need for governing becomes intuitive. And then there is Texas, which adds its own brand of crazy to this and many other issues.

    • A bit of a buzzkill, but it needs to be said. As overpopulation along with industrialization of third world countries accelerates global warming, even the rural west will have water wars. Politics change fast when the faucets run dry. Once fertile areas in the Mediterranean are now barren since the aquifers are drained dry. So much for defunding Planned Parenthood or universal free birth control. “Be fruitful and multiply” needs to land in the trash can where it belongs.

      On a lighter note, Ronald Reagan on government:

      If it moves, tax it
      If it keeps moving, regulate it
      If it stops moving, subsidize it

  5. What a timely post because recently I’ve been giving a lot of thought to my “cherished ideas” recently. I’m finding more and more that I’ve been full of shit. Lol… (I’ve tended to be of the “less government ilk”)

    But yes, collectively we have got to get away from polarized, rigid ideologies. With regards to what you’ve recently witnessed with the Corpus Christi city council….Did they not learn anything from the Flint, Michigan lead in the water supply tragedy? God we humans can be so short sighted and stupid!

    It may just boil down to “If you can’t see me I can’t see you”…..

  6. Michael Fairman

    There is also a heavy irony reeking from those advocates of “small government” or “no government”. They insist on “privatizing” those functions of government which provide services to the commonweal – education, the prison system, – social safety net programs, the military (Blackwater), etc. and eliminating completely other functions – the EPA, the FDA, the Consumer Protection Agency, etc. Placing the former functions in the hands of private corporations serve only those corporations and not the people at large. And the elimination of the protection agencies, they say, will protect the people because competition in the free market will sustain only those corporations that will supply safe drugs, safe cars, protect the environment, and protect the investor and home buyer, etc. Those who cry small or no government really do understand the concept of governing a large number of diverse people,(as you so aptly explain in your post) or, and most likely, are interested in only profit.

    • Mark C. Rathbun

      Thanks Michael. Here’s the scam. They get folks worked up about government crimping’competition’, while they manipulate government to create monopoly (subsidized in many cases) which of course is ‘no competition’.

      • The problem that I have noticed is that a Bureaucracy is started with a reasonable reason to serve the public, and starts to grow. It’s reason for existence quickly becomes “get a bigger budget”, but continue the original justification as the ongoing reason. Over time, it just gets bigger, with a bigger budget. Serving the public becomes being served by the public.
        Now the problem with government (all of them), is that they are a Bureaucracy of Bureaucracies.
        The constitution is there to block / limit this moldy growth, but the population must continue to insist on this solution.

  7. Govern. Control, direct, promote, limit.
    Guide.
    All these words can apply to every side of human interaction. Good, bad, evil, progressive, self serving, altruistic.
    It basically means to DO something. Every time you do anything, you control, or govern, something. Those who are the Doers, exercise a great deal of control on their environ. and their fellows. But that’s a little too deep for handling the tasks at hand.
    One who can control nothing is either catatonic or insane. One who must control everything is equally disturbed. One who will allow no outside control, or who depends utterly on enforced order, again, will have great difficulty.
    A classic example of the extremes, the fringes.

    But there is a particular danger which has been going on for a long time. Those who seek control and governance for the purpose of being in control. Social government becomes a magnet for such. They (I hate that word, there are so many gradients among any group) they will then ally and manipulate those who desire for their own lives to be directed by others. For most, the desire for control is not entirely conscious. “I know better, I’m a bit smarter than average, It’s for their own good, I can things better for all.” For a few, actually the worst of them, they know exactly what they are doing.

    This is an arbitrary. Control is neither bad nor good. It is sometimes necessary, sometimes a suppression. The arbitrary is that a percentage have this as a primary purpose. And it can be deeply ingrained. Call it case, a false purpose, a psychological fault, or Satan playing his game. But it has been a PRIMARY problem on this Earth for thousands of years. It gives governance a bad name, which is unfortunate. It is a joy to work under someone who is truly competent and caring. It is a pleasure to competently and ethically direct the actions and activities of an area or group.
    I’ve written on this before. There is a lot more to be said about it.
    Mark

  8. “The” government consists of many secretaries and departments or ministeries, whichever country you’re in. In the microcosm of scientology, I learned what it’s like to not really ever trust anybody, including my own relatives. That kind of atmosphere is damaging to a society. Now we live in an age where some sections of the intelligence community can (or will, at some point) theoretically know everything about me, without me knowing what they will do with that knowledge. Human rights may need to be re-written to accomodate for this changing environment. Do I trust the government to do this with society’s best in mind? How much safety and security do you have when trust in society is being undermined? Distrust isn’t always well-placed, but trust blindly and I might as well go to the next event and cheer “management” (Miscavige).

    • I don’t want “the government” to know Anything about me. The “data storage unit” or whatever it’s called being built in Utah will have a capacity of five zetabytes. The entire content of the internet is a bit over one half zetabyte.

      • More important than the content of the internet (I presume you’re referring to servers hosting websites and ftp servers providing data) is the content of communications transmitted every day, by phone and email and other means. I’m sure at some point it will be easy to profile people using just a few pieces of data obtained directly from their lives. The question is always, how is this information being used? And how are findings in psychology about priming being used to “guide” society?

        Either way – can you do anything to change it? Awareness campaigns have just served to demonstrate how powerless the population is, and how disinterested.

        On a more optimistic note, perhaps we are being moved toward a hands-off consumerism tyranny. Even dictators have to ensure their society functions, and the US wants to stay at the top of the game. That requires concessions.

        • Well, even if nothing can (seemingly) be done about something, it’s still better to be aware than unaware.

          dossier(s) a collection or file of documents on the same subject, especially a complete file containing detailed information about a person or topic. Dictionary.com This carries a negative spy like connotation.

          profile, verb (used with object) to produce or present a history, description or analysis of: The magazine will profile the candidate in its next issue.
          There are a lot of synonyms like life story, personal narrative, personal record, resume etc.

          Apparently anyone with sufficient computer knowledge can compile a dossier or profile almost anyone. As computers progress toward Artificial Intelligence, eventually an AI with high priority government clearance will be able to assemble everyones life history. Where that leads is speculation. Some of it could be good such as for allocation of resources or exposing terror cells. Big Brother stories are easy to dream up, but just like the internet there are two sides to the coin.

          I don’t understand the reference to hands-off consumerism tyranny.

          • Hands-off consumerism tyranny = You are watched, but not interfered with or influenced except to prod you toward consumption.

            Elsewise I agree, there is certainly more than one side to surveillance. In scientology, personal information is ultimately used against you (buttons obtained from session, guilt and shame from O/Ws). Perhaps developments in technological capabilities, which seem natural and unstoppable, won’t be so bad after all.

  9. Its good, but takes some mental elasticity and humility, to once in a while scan over ones firmly held beliefs and see how they got there.

  10. Mark,

    Hi! Great pic of you, Billy & f-i-l on fb!

    Are you ok with me re-posting this post of 26 June on my fb page?

    Great mind expanding exercise~Thanks!

    Hope life is good for y’all!

    Love, Midge

  11. Excellent post! We (US citizens) are so ingrained with the ideas of personal freedom, that we forget with freedom comes responsibility. Because people live in communities, it is imperative the people recognize the need for guidelines for the “common good”. I know some individuals who believe they are entitled and are the exception. If we want to create a good future for our children, responsibility, cooperation and empathy need to be considered as important as individuality and freedom. Thanks for the interesting article.

  12. According to LRH there is only 1 optimum solution to a problem, if the wrong solution is selected there are then 2 problems; the original problem and eventually a problem with the incorrect solution. A good example would be drugs used to solve mental health issues, wrong solution to the problem – or amnesty for illegals, just creates more illegals. Gov’t has this fixed idea that we must “compromise”, someone comes up with the correct solution but the other party does not want the other party to get credit so they start to critize and demand a “compromise” to the solution. So the original problem never gets solved and eventually a new problem is created by trying to implement an incorrect solution. And on it goes! Our democracy does not work. A benign dictatorship for a term or so, Governed by an ethical being (not necesarily a Scientologists) with a proven record of good stats may work. All Gov’t postions need to have their “product named and statisized” so we the people can SEE who is doing a good job .. otherwise elected officials will PR and BS their way up the ranks. Also, to all – please word clear pneumonia when discussing OT3 and redo it if you cog and get a chance to do so at an Org. Good stuff!

    • I have no idea what the current post has to do with LRH. I thought the post was an excellent philosophical look at political trends and ideologies may be developed, and how one could evaluate one’s political views and adjust them possibly in light of how they apply to the actual situation one is in, not on one’s preconceived ideas or habitual dogma. I happen to totally disagree with LRH! There are many solutions to a given problem, and each one has a degree of usefulness if applied. This idea that there is only one correct, perfect solution is exactly the type of thinking (regressive) which the post refers to. In my experience, one does the best one can, then evaluates, then tries again, on into an ever changing future. Sometimes the “problem” which one was solving turns out not to be a problem at all, once a little time has past!

      • Looks like OTSW hit a nerve based on your reaction Raylene. Marty was SO for 30 years, so there has to be some room on his blog for LRH, if not, that would be very sad and a wasted life. IMHO.

    • Roger From Switzerland Thought

      Q.E.D

      LOL

      • Quod erat demonstrandum

        not lol:

        Your lack of understanding is key to hoe seriously I will take you

        • QED is what the math proffessors would write on the blackboard (I go back a few years, lol) after solving a ridiculouly complicated calculus equation – Quite Easily Done, they would say

    • Implementation of your ideas= Argentina

    • Are you serious or trolling ?

      “According to LRH there is only 1 optimum solution”

      Yes he getting fat and rich.

      • Cat Daddy – you did not complete the quote, you left the complete concept out …then you just troll slurred me during YOUR perversion. Do you believe that you hold some “special place” on this blog with your mindless insults, possibly believe that you are the gate keeper, possible a St Peter’s complex. Why else would you be so disrespectful to a newcomer??

  13. Study “The Law” by Bastiat to see where/how government goes off the rails. Also see why Socrates was ordered killed and how that influenced the formation of US Constitution & what that shows about idiots who are constantly trying to chip away at the Bill of Rights.

    As far as a similar fiasco, see the Flynn City council who ordered a change of water supplies THEN blamed everyone else for the resultant disaster. 😉

  14. A childs Universe would be gratifification in this moment. Wich obviously describes David Miscavige

    The Emotional State ot a Toddler. nuff said. Music:

  15. “Think about the firmly-set ideas you may have developed over the years about certain classes of people (political, social, philosophical, religious, national, racial). Are they fair? Or are they expedient? Are they healthy for you and those with whom you share space and resources? Have they led to evolution or have they had a regressive effect?”

    Are they fair ?

    • Classification is the normal human computer mind process in the physical objective sense. Male/female, large/small, black/white, etc. Classification on the subjective matter of democrat/republican with judgement leads to gridlock. I got a letter from the Democratic National Commitee or something. All it did was carp about how Everthing republicans say or do is wrong. Period. I used the postage paid envelope to reply telling them to shove it until they came up with something positive.

      • Without classification/categorisation a brain cannot make sense of the world

        Truely free of that is the “fool” Being totally insane is the ultimate freedom.

        About that letter. It almost makes me come over get American citizinship and vote republican.

        • First must come an Understanding of the “other side’s” viewpoint. Only then can there be compromise. That stupid letter begging for funding offered nothing.

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