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- Ebenezer Christian and the Three Christmas Spirits...
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- The Fox Fairy of Kanifay Island
Monday, July 1, 2013
A Paradigmaclastic View of Parisian Painters and other Popular Images
Now enter your imagination. In your mind’s eye, try to envision a painter in
. You probably imagine this person as an
artist. He may be standing before an
easel, holding a thin brush. Paris
Oh, no, I don’t mean
. I mean Paris, France . All of a sudden, the image you have of that
painter changes. His brush has suddenly
gotten considerably wider. Instead of
looking like the painter on the left (below), he looks more like the painter on
the right. Ha! You fooled yourself, didn't you? Paris,
Ha! You fooled yourself again. The painter on the left (above) is Cathie Tyler, an artist and art teacher at
Paris Junior College
in . The one on the right is an anonymous house
painter in Paris, Texas . Paris, France
Let’s look at some things you already knew but chose to ignore, so as to adjust widely known facts to suit widely practiced habits of thought.
You already knew that many people in
have houses even if
it hadn't occurred to you that the houses sometimes need to be painted. The reality, however, doesn't fit the
habitually practiced image of Parisian painters. Paris
Elsewhere on this page you will see other photos of
You also knew that there were black people living in
but you ignored that fact because it didn't fit your customary image of
Parisian artists being white. What would
you bet that Paris doesn't have any black artists? You
tricked yourself again, didn't you? Paris
More than 90% of the things we say and do arise from habit and habitual assumptions, and we rarely question those assumptions. It’s not always because we’re lazy. It’s just that we deal with so much information each day, that we come to rely on reference points and trigger words (such as Parisian painter) to help us to make decisions quickly.
The trouble starts when our assumptions are mistaken. The trouble worsens when authority figures acting the part of opinion molders use our assumptions against us.
A perfect example of a trigger word being used against us is then-president George W. Bush’s remark, “Americans don’t torture.” For Americans, American is a trigger word that causes us to have positive feelings. It’s hard to think negatively about something that causes us to have positive feelings.
Conspiracy theory is a well-known trigger. Literally, it means only a belief that two or more people devised a secret plan to do something that was illegal. As a trigger, it signals the listener that the topic lies outside acceptable discourse.
Consider that fact in the light of Josef Stalin’s remark about propaganda. Though this isn't an exact quote, Stalin said something like, “The purpose of propaganda is not to convince people that it is true, but to define the parameters of acceptable discourse.”
Let’s add to that a quote from George Orwell, “Words are sometimes deliberately misused to defend the indefensible.”
I’m not suggesting that we should try to do away with habitual thought patterns in our daily lives. We need them to avoid information gridlock. We should, however, make ourselves aware of how opinion molders use trigger words and popular images to circumvent—or even short circuit—our logical processes.
In short, we should spend more of our time questioning authority and thinking for ourselves.
Posted by Paradigmaclast at 12:22 PM