Deep Thought, the super computer in the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy had one major task. It was to find the meaning of life, the universe and everything. And the answer was… Hahahaaaaaa! you have to actually watch the video to see what the answer was. I’m so mean.
Here’s the thing. I have been reading blogs, and writing blogs, and listening to webinars and speeches and sermons. 9/10 of these have no deeper meaning. They don’t change people’s perspective on life, the universe, or anything. Don’t people want to know that any more? Case in point:
The International Speech Contest in Toastmasters starts in the club. The person with the best speech that either inspires, empowers, or points out an injustice wins based on the best opinions of the club or the judges that the club invites to the contest. This person moves on to Area, Division, and District competitions using the same speech. These speeches are supposed to rouse you to action, to make you stand and cheer, to grab your torches and pitchforks to oust Baron von Frankenstein from his castle and destroy his creation.
One of these speeches, “Take a Leap,” inspired people to take a chance. There has to be a risk of failure if there is to be any growth, and the speaker did a fine job of getting that message across. Some of the other speeches involved pets that had died, injuries and insults endured, a speech revolving around perceptions of a newcomer to a different culture–complete with vacation pictures, and a study on human behavior in comparison to a cow bird (which had completely wrong information by the way.) I may sound incredibly aloof and conceited, but in my opinion, those were very shallow speeches. The points were self evident. The calls to action seemed impotent…”Get up and do something else…” There was no sense of urgency. There was no “Aha” moment. One particularly annoyed me. One of the speakers was accosted concerning the dress code and dark skin and accent by a blonde woman in a white SUV. Because of this rude behavior, the speaker became agoraphobic. What? Can you imagine being afraid to leave your house for fear that another blond lady in a white SUV might attack? Had it only been 7 min, I might have gotten something out of it besides “Poor me, poor me.” But this speaker went on and on and on for an hour with the same message, “Poor me, poor me. This his how to empathize with me: Say these words…” Oh for heaven’s sake.
I’m not going to say I understand how this orator feels– being judged by outward appearance and found to be unacceptable. But then I’ve been bullied most of my life so I am not unaware of unfair behavior. There. I said it. I was bullied. Somehow I was expecting a large weight to be lifted from my shoulders. *shrugs* As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I didn’t give consent until I accepted what they said to me was true and what they did to me was deserved. What the blonde lady did was unacceptable in any culture. It was mean and rude and idiotic. But the speaker reacted as if a whole mob of people had attacked. They didn’t. Then when some heard the story of this event, they said the wrong words and once again the speaker was incensed. You can’t say you feel sorry for someone. You can’t say you know what they feel. You can’t apologize for someone else’s actions. You have to say exactly the words this victim seems to think are appropriate. I’d rather just nod and avoid this person. I will forever see the speaker as a victim, weak and vulnerable. It won’t matter how well I know them or how long I correspond with them, I will be constantly walking on eggs to avoid causing them more damage. It’s not because this person was treated unfairly, but because the whole emphasis of this rant was that the world was unfair. Well, duh. And worse, it was unfair to this one person, and all the people that dressed and spoke and believed like this one person. Except…here, people that speak and dress and believe like that are a minority and that isn’t the case in the speaker’s native country. There, I’d be the minority. If I were to give a speech there complaining how people berate me for my hair, my speech and my dress, they’d think I was wacko.
This is just an example of how shallow the thoughts of people that we see on a daily basis have become. Our preachers who are supposed to delve into the depth of truth are talking about football games and super powers and just be nice to everyone. This is not earth shattering revelation. Our news readers believe that their opinions on the events of the day are more important than the actual events. The producers believe that unless these people are fair of face and manners and have the right kind of voice, they aren’t even in the right pool of applicants. Our social media emphasizes putting forth the “ideal” family…all happy all the time, going on adventures, getting awards and reaching goals. Does ANYONE know a family like that? Our politicians are more worried about pleasing the right people to ensure their re-election. They allow pollsters to dictate the clothes they wear, the words they say and the stands they choose to make on issues chosen for them. They are not concentrating on deep issues. They are focusing on Just the Right Amount of Scuffing on the shoes. Something that shallow. Really folks?
Where are our deep thinkers? Our philosophers? Those people that ponder issues that have a wide range of influence in our communities and in the world? Did you know that Ph.D. stands for Philosophy Doctorate. Yup. It means you have a degree that says you have asked the deep questions and pursued the philosophy of your area of expertise. If you have a Ph.D Ed, it means you have asked the ultimate question: How do people learn and what essential elements should people study to produce a society that is fair and supportive and sustainable? A Ph.D in Physics, Biology, Chemistry… You have asked and still study why things in the physical world work the way they work. Do you see? It’s not course work, it’s brain work. Someone with a Ph.D in Mathematics has wondered how to quantify everything in the universe to find the one equation that describes the meaning of life, the universe and everything. And the answer was…
Do we, the rabble, far from the ivory towers, ever ponder these questions? Do you have to have extensive training and education to even ask these questions? The answer is…
All you need is enough curiosity to keep you engaged in these deep thoughts. Something that will draw you into the field to get more answers will give you just as many questions. It may fire up your curiosity to seek the answers to those new questions and then to relate those answers to questions in other areas. You might invent something new. You might ask the right question and start someone toward a cure for cancer.
Spend some time asking the question “Why?” or “How?” about something you love. Get deeper. So you can know the answer.