Friday, May 4, 2012

The Little Man's Crack


Our story will start with the competition of two men: one smart and one dumb which is where we will begin.

Holding a clump of dirt, the dumb thinks, “Here is earth and I am man, surely I can crush it in my hand.”

So he does and says to the smarter, “Ha!  I highly doubt you can do something harder!”

With a grin above his chin and the twirling of his hand, he says to the dumb, “Surely you have underestimated me my good man.”

“With one fell swoop I can crack the planet in two, but first I want to see what else you will do.”

The dumb one says, “Easy as pie, all I have to do is climb up high.”  And in a single second he’s up in a tree saying to the smarter, “I’ll crack the planet in two, just wait and see.”

Out of the tree he jumps, landing and hurting his foots, crying in agony and giving the smarter the fiercest of looks.

Chuckling triumphantly and with the grin of grins, the smarter one’s rant begins.  “What a fool!  A tree’s not it.  A tree’s not high enough you see.  Just wait one minute and I’ll show you, making you wish you were me.”

As quick as he can, the smarter is up in a plane and high above the land and without a doubt in his mind, he thinks in his head, “That moron will soon see my power and wish he were dead.”

And with that, the smarter is out.  He has jumped and as he falls, he triumphantly shouts, “The planet is mine, it’ll soon be in two.  No one will be able to mimic what I can do!”

The smarter one hits the earth and is instantly dead.  The dumber one smiles and thinks in his head, “I was just a dumb fool is what the smarter one said.”

-Mikey D. B.-

I could be paraphrasing or possibly quoting directly based on my notes from my American Heritage course, but Aristotle is in my notebook as saying something along the lines of “Everything we participate in life has a political root”.  Politics, as my professor defined, is “The Master Science” because it deals with the relations between people living in society.   I know that when we hear the word ‘politics’, or at least when I do, our minds tend to jump to Obama or George Bush or Regan and how much they have screwed America.  Our minds may even relay the word to the close-minded conservatives and the ever so accepting liberals and how they are never in accordance with the rights of animals, women, humans, guns, buildings, or even insects, but the word politics is much, much more.  It can refer to the hierarchy on the playground at recess or in the office at work, determining which position you get and whether or not you have been deemed worthy of that 25 cent raise.

If there is one thing that I have learned and seen in my short 22 years of life, it’s that humans, both in societies and as individuals, go through this repetitive cycle of success and failure.  We Mormons call it The Pride Cycle, my American Heritage professor taught it as The Human Predicament and I’m sure there are a few other titles that we could call this circle.  As defined by the Human Predicament, a society has a tyrant or someone that rules by will and that leads to revolution or political change because the people are tired of being oppressed.  The people fight and once the fighting is over, depending on the success of the revolution, anarchy, or the rule of chaos begins until a new government is established, giving society a new leader to follow.  The reformation in 1517 is a perfect example of this.  The Catholic Church was a huge political force then and Martin Luther felt that they were indulging themselves too much in the things of the world and were diverting their focus from what was sacred as a result.  So, Martin Luther came up with 95 theses or complaints which acted as a protest against the Church, which is where the Protestant religion comes from.  Martin Luther Revolted and demanded for reformation in the political system, and chaos ensued where thousands of Protestants and Catholics were killed in the fight for this change.  Out of this reformation came John Calvin/Calvinism, which lead to Puritans and their ideas which then lead to settling in the Americas and voila, another revolution began when on July 4, 1776 George Washington and 55 others signed the Declaration of Independence demanding freedom from the Kingdom of Great Britain.  Even after the American Revolution there was chaos in forming a new government when the Articles of Confederation were written and it wasn’t until the Constitution of the United States of America came around when a new government began.

For the individual, it is the exact same cycle, just on a much smaller scale where our conscience is one of the things that acts as the tyrant, revolution, chaos, and new leader.  Another individual may act as the revolution in our lives by suggesting an idea contrary to our original thinking.  We contend with the idea and if we humble ourselves or accept the idea, the revolution was a success, but chaos works within us because we don’t know how to accept the new idea that our friend gave us.  However, when we do finally apply the idea, a new leader or way of life begins.  RenĂ© Descartes in his Discourse of Method said (and this time I am quoting for sure): “Good sense is, of all things among men, the most equally distributed; for every one thinks himself so abundantly provided with it, that those even who are the most difficult to satisfy in everything else, do not usually desire a larger measure of this quality than they already possess.”  In other words, human beings know everything there is to know about everything and we are so awesome that there isn’t anything that we don’t already know.  He said this as he walked the halls and studied “in one of the most celebrated schools in Europe.”  Descartes discovered that every professor he had knew EVERYTHING, however, he felt that the more he learned the less he knew (RenĂ© Descartes, Discourse on Method Part I).  It is my opinion that Descartes saw through the logical fallacies of those crazy professors who knew, without a doubt, what was best.  In today’s society, how often to we see this on political television or listen to it on talk radio?  There are constant bashing sessions on these programs because the host knows what is best despite the opinions or phone calls of others.  People Tweet and post all sorts of opinions on Facebook about how things should be, and in the perfect world it would be exactly like what they are saying: “Well if he would’ve just listened to me that woman wouldn’t have stolen from him”, “You know what you need to do to lose weight?  Chew gum”, “I told you so but you never listen to me” and I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. 

We have all met the individual who is The Little Man or who has a God-complex or what I like to call A One-Upper. Nothing you ever do is ever good enough because they have already done that and more.  They are so insecure and have placed themselves on an exalted alter.  They have to pee on your parade from that alter and when they have finished relieving themselves, they jump down to guide you by the hand so you can see that what you have done actually isn’t that much of an accomplishment at all.  This happens all the time in school and work and all it does is frustrate the political systems there, especially in the business field.  I’ve talked with my dad about this concept of The Little Man in the work field.  He works with businesses by making them better and more efficient and has studied this concept a lot.  The Little Man hordes knowledge to feed their insecurity; they keep the knowledge to give them a sense of power because they are the only one that knows what they know.  This in turn leads to a Tribal Knowledge System where when that Little Man leaves, so does his knowledge which hinders progress because the company now has to relearn what The Little Man knew.  This Tribal Knowledge System is very apparent in young and immature businesses and even individuals.  Politics is everywhere, not just in the government.

It is inevitable to avoid this Human Predicament or Pride Cycle or whatever you want to call it, and we will all experience the circle either voluntarily or against our will.   At one point we will all be The Dumber Man breaking a dirt clod in our hand, believing we have actually discovered how to clone a human.  At other points in life we will try to attempt the impossible to crack the Earth in two, and because we are in fact The Smarter Man, jumping out of a plane is the most logical choice to make, despite common sense.  It’s been said that “Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it” but even then we all know where history went wrong and if they just had our enlightened knowledge, life would’ve been better; if they just knew the werd we know, tragedy never would have been apart of their lives.

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