Friday, June 02, 2006

Who wakes the sleeping giant?

We now have a whole culture based on the assumption that people know nothing and so anything can be said to them.
- Stephen Vizinczey

While the truth of this quotation is unimpeachable, this has always been true of humans. It's not just a characteristic of today. History is replete with examples of people who did things they didn't want to do because their leaders told them to do it.

When a factory closes in a town that had only one primary employer, its leaders warn that the town will never recover and its people will be poor. Sure enough, the town never recovers because no one can figure out anything for the people to do to earn a living. Somehow they believe that jobs will materialize elsewhere, but never in their own town.

When people are told that some foreign country is their enemy, they eagerly support their leader who pushes them into one war after another, with "enemies" that seem to pop up on demand.

When people see their marriage falling apart, rather than trying to fix it they complain to others about how impossible their mate is to live with. They don't know how to repair what they had no knowledge of how to build in the first place. "Love is all we need" didn't work.

When people lose their jobs, most have no idea how to begin the search for another, or how to present themselves, their skills and experience to prospective employers to make themselves attractive prospects. Even when they know ahead of time that their job will end, few make preparations, other than to worry, to blame others and to complain bitterly that someone screwed them over.

When farmers experience a glut in the market for the primary crop(s) or animals they have been growing, they seem unable to switch to some more lucrative use for their land. Blaming their government is easier than changing the strategy of their agricultural business.

People who are genuinely creative, innovative or inventive are treated as oddities by most in their communities. Yet these are the very people who could drag the rest (albeit kicking and screaming) out of their problems and into new and productive lives.

Each community should hire one or more full time staff members who sole job it is to figure out new kinds of work that need to be done in their community, then advise employment services and educational institutions who could adapt to the needs. In every community there are many jobs that need to be filled, many needs unfulfilled, many people who need to hire someone to do a job, while people who are unemployed or underemployed never hear about them. There is no connection.

Each community should hire or or more people whose job it is to direct people with problems to others who could likely provide answers. Every community has an abundance of people with problems they have no idea what to do about. They have no idea who to turn to. They have no idea what resources are available.

These people were not taught to be resourceful. They were taught to be dependent on others to provide opportunites to find mates, jobs, hobbies, work to be done, industrial leaders who would tell them everything they need to know.

If we have communities filled with people who don't know enough to get by, we need to preempt the possibility that they will be led astray by those with unsavoury personal interests by providing resourceful people who will give them guidance, who will give them answers, who will give them direction when they need it.

No culture survives for long in a healthy state when its people remain stuck in ignorance, with no way and no hope of a way out.

Ignorant people are a sleeping giant. What matters is who wakes the giant.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to make you aware of the possibilities in the world around you.
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