Monday, July 06, 2015

Ask Not

Questions can be dangerous things. They can easily disrupt the flow of one’s day and/or one’s life. Questions can be like an endless row of upended dominoes: the answer to one can lead to the asking of another, just as looking up a word in the dictionary leads one to find, in the definition sought, another word worth looking up, and so on. It is much better never to ask questions on anything, and just accept anything you are told.

Thought provokes questions, which is why so many people never seem to either think or ask. It is much easier to be told than to have to actually think and ask, which is why politicians and pundits and religious zealots have such huge followings…and gather so much power and money in the process.

There is nothing more threatening to politicians and religious zealots than people who think, which is why certain politicians do everything in their considerable power to weaken our educational system. Education encourages questions, and we can’t have that! An under-educated populace is one far more easily manipulated. 

Perhaps the bulk of social media relies on the overwhelming willingness of people to simply accept what they are told and not ask questions. The most egregiously, patently false and illogical information flows without challenge through the broad channels of social media. We’ve grown so accustomed to these things that we don’t even notice them—a case of stupidity through osmosis. Even good, decent people who do not stop to think “does this really make sense?” go along…and forward to others as gospel stories whose purpose is solely and obviously inflammatory, intent only on inciting anger and planting the seeds of prejudice and bigotry.

Commercials offer a wealth of evidence of the lack of both thinking and question. I love, for example the one that says “tell your doctor if you’ve been to an area where certain fungal infections are common.” Ok. What infections? And how the hell am I supposed to know what fungal infections are common in any specific area?

“Zero percent financing for the first month for well-qualified buyers.” What the hell is a “well-qualified” buyer?

“…and 6 is greater than 3! This changes everything!” Really? Changes what? And how, exactly?

I broke with organized religion at about the age of 8 or 9. My mother insisted that a good dose of religion would be good for me, and I attended an evangelical Sunday school…for a time. But even at that early age, I had a fairly good grasp of what was logical and what was not, and what I was hearing from the “Amen, Brother” minister was most definitely not logical. My questions were at first received with condescension and then wrapped in obfuscation. And finally, after being told that heaven was a place where everyone was happy all the time, I asked the following: “If I am good and go to heaven, and my best friend does something bad and goes to hell, won’t I miss him?” That was the end of my religious education.

Listening to the astoundingly stupid (which far surpasseth ignorance), hateful, mean-spirited garbage spewed by those who presume to be the leaders of their party absolutely dumbfounds me. That their followers cheer and stomp their feet and pump their fists in the air in wild agreement and never, ever have even a single question, leaves me dizzy in disbelief. That they so eagerly lap up each regurgitated chunk of bile they’re given, leaves me with only one general question which applies equally to each mind-numbingly illogical statement: “What the hell are you talking about?”

But there I go again, asking questions.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (, which is also available as an audiobook (

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

And yet would you believe some of the best articles I've read about the lies a politician tells are ones posted on FB? It's a bizarre mix. People will believe just about anything without even looking up to see if it's true or not, yet others will share articles explaining how untrue something is that someone went and spouted off. Perhaps like X-Files, the truth is out there.