Friday, June 19, 2009


Loose ends, here.

Thursday was SUCH a good day! Started off a bit rocky, but it turned out the power was out in most of my house because one of the 110 lines to the house was out utterly. Fortunately, the line running to my new fridge was just fine. Anyhoo, the electric company got it all squared away and I came home after work to a surprisingly cool abode - a relief in these near 100 degree temperatures.

Still cleaning and working on the house here-- there's a lot to do and I've been so busy. My dad gave me a shop-vac and he told me it would pull the nails out of the floorboards. He was right. Thanks Pop- I think I un-dustbowled this entire county in one swell foop!


Reading stuff for work, I chased a link to wikipedia and followed through more links and terms and saw something which really stuck in my craw: learned helplessness. I find that very pairing of words offensive. This made me think of the woman who said Obama was going to pay her mortgage and car payment. Of course, she had no possibility of resolving the financial crisis she engineered for herself - some uber-mensch needed to come along and fix it.

Good golly - this is anathema to the very spirit of the folks who were daring and bold enough to risk greater odds to come here than any dangers you or I will likely ever face. Many of our ancestors fought and lost loved ones along the way in hopes they'd someday live a life of their own choosing. They didn't sit back and say "this is the way it is, we can't change it, so let's just get along." They also didn't aspire to i-pods or BMWs or running a 3 minute mile. They had a thirst for something much more simple yet more nourishing to the soul. I think we need to not back down just because the odds seem incontrovertible. Just because this or that one is content to sit back passively latched onto the governmental teat doesn't mean a majority of us do.

Sorry for not remembering more clearly, but there was another wiki entry that was Abilene something - not syndrome or effect, but something of that nature, the idea being that a lot of people will go along with something because they perceive-- wrongly-- that everyone else wants that thing they find so repugnant. The example was a Texas family of four on a hot weekend afternoon were sitting around and one suggested everyone might want to drive into Abilene. They made the long, hot, dusty drive to Abilene and found there an even more unpleasant meal in a restaurant. When they returned home, they discussed the discomfiture of the whole outing, only to learn that every person had wished only to stay put and sit around home but thought they'd disappoint the others by saying so.

I know this is a bit of a ramble, but my thought is that we often perceive that everyone else must be blind, but I think it's more a case of people going along to get along.

I'm sick of that crap. There's more than one way to skin a cat, and the fact is if you are in a mess, it's a puzzle and you need to sort it out rather than waiting for a bailout. Likewise, no one deserves to mortgage your or my future for their own avaricious ends. That, and if you sit passively as atrocities are wrought on our very Constitution in the name of helping people but in what is so obviously the most naked power-grab in history, well, you're a fool for keeping your mouth shut.


Anonymous said...

Preach it, sister!

Captain Tightpants said...

It's called "The Abilene Paradox" - they use it for leadership courses and such as a great example. Here's a link for you miss:

Enjoy the day's house jobs!

Vinogirl said...

Hope you didn't lose a couple of small dogs to that shopvac!!!

Jon said...

I could bitch for hours about the mindset you describe. There is a solution, but it requires the removal of many entitlements and a substantial reduction in taxes.

LabRat said...

Learned helplessness is a phenomenon with pretty deep neurological roots- it'll happen to a dog, a rat, any animal that experiences a long enough complete disconnect between its environment and its ability to control its environment. I know dealing with certain areas of my life *cough* MY STEPMOTHER *cough* was pretty deeply infected with this, and it was only once a psych-nerd friend bluntly pointed this out to me that I was able to understand what was going on in my head and actively move toward fixing it.

It's a pathology, but some people seem to want to cultivate it like a fucking hothouse flower.

Anonymous said...

Sean beat me to it - the Abilene Paradox. It's an oldie but a serious goodie :-)

TOTWTYTR said...

"Victim Nation" is the term I've heard used. It's everyone else's fault that the "victims" life sucks.