Inquiry: It would be better if Americans were less stupid.

 

It would be better if Americans were less stupid. (Came up for me most recently in reading about Obama in Muslim outfit, which apparently – in the minds of some Americans – is supposed to incriminate him!)

  1. True?
    Yes, certainly seems that way quite often, especially in looking at the public discourse on health care, climate change, foreign policies, science vs. religion, their reactions following 911, Obama in Muslim clothes, and much more. The debate suggests a level of stupidity and misinformation that is just amazing. Are these really adult human beings?
  2. Sure?
    No.
  3. What happens when I believe that thought?
    • I go into stories – as above – on how stupid Americans are, especially in the public discourse.
    • I tell myself they get what they deserve. A lousy health care system. Corruption at all levels. Resources drained through a war started on a lie. People manipulated through fear and lies. Panic and stupidity in the wake of 911. Political leaders aligned with big business. Idiotic debates on science and religion. Muslims cast as the new evil. And much more.
    • I go into stories about the fall of the US empire, possibly happening within a decade or two, and see it as a good thing. How can I help? (But when it crumbles, who knows what will take its place?)
    • I don’t even bother with engaging in these debates. There is just too much misinformation. I follow the public debates in Norway instead, and get my news from there, because it seems much more sane, balanced, well informed, intelligent, something you would expect from adult human beings.
    • I tell myself that people are at different developmental levels, which is fine. Don’t have any problem with that. But it is the misinformation and stupidity that gets to me. (They shouldn’t be so stupid. It is better without misinformation.)
    • I collect examples of how Americans are stupid and run it through my mind over and over. I filter away any data that differs. I create a skewed image in my own mind. And this is stressful. It feels precarious. There is a sense of something, a position, to protect. And I cannot defend it, because I know it is not (entirely) true. I act as if this position is correct and true, and at the same time I know it is not.
    • I see that I am going into beliefs around all this, reactivity, act in stupid ways myself.
    • How do I treat myself? As someone who is right. Who gets it. Who is better informed. Who is above it all, so I don’t have to engage with it. Who in his mind is in Norway, while physically in the US.
    • How do I treat others when I have that thought? I treat Americans as stupid, and then feel ashamed because I know it is a terrible over-generalization. There are lots of smart well informed people here, acting from intelligence and heart as well. I see how I over generalize, and am just as stupid as I tell myself they are.
    • What do I get from holding onto that belief? I get to be right, everything they are not. I get to not have to question my familiar beliefs and views.
    • When did I first have that thought? When I first came to the US, and was shocked by the abysmal state of the news and public discourse.
    • What am I not able to appreciate when I have that thought? The diversity of the people in the US. Where people are coming from.
    • What types of feelings do I get to avoid when I hold onto that belief? I get to avoid feeling sadness for so much going on in the US, especially in terms of health care, wars, corporations acting in ways destructive to people/communities/ecosystems, and the non-productive public debate on so many important areas. I get to close down my heart.
  4. Who would I be without it?
    • Receptive. An open heart to them, myself, life. Curious. Interested. Engaged. Interested in finding my way through it, learn, explore how to engage. Nonreactive.
  5. Turnarounds.
    • It is better if Americans were more stupid.
      • Hm. Well, at least if they acknowledged more not knowing. Had some sincerity and humility in their views. The debate would likely be more fruitful then.
      • It would bring up my own beliefs around it even more, so I can see them and take them to inquiry.
      • If they were stupid in certain ways, it would certainly make the US global empire crumble faster. G. W. Bush is a good example.
      • I also see that it is better when I make Americans more stupid in my mind. The more outrageous it gets in my mind, the easier I notice that I am in a belief, and the more I am encouraged to take it to inquiry.
    • It is better if Americans were less smart.
      • Same as above.
    • It is better if I am less stupid.
      • Yes, much more true. When I go into that initial belief, I am as stupid as anything I see in them. I go into reactivity. Self-righteousness. Don’t question my beliefs and views and don’t see any reason to. I act in quite stupid ways.
      • Whenever I go into a belief, I become stupid. I identify with only one view, one perspective, one identity, and don’t see the bigger picture. I act from reactivity. I close my heart. All of that is a quick way into stupidity.
    • It is better if I am more stupid.
      • Yes, as above. It is better when I acknowledge that I don’t really know. When I admit that any story I use, whether I believe in it or not, is “stupid” in that it is very partial and limited. Doesn’t make sense to put too much stock in it, to take it too seriously.
      • Also, it is better when I go fully into a belief, take it to an extreme, follow it to its outrageous consequences, so I see I am in the grips of a belief and can take it to inquiry.
    • It is better if I am less smart.
      • Yes, less smart in my own mind. When I believe a story, I see myself as very smart. I am right. I get it. It is better to see that I am not so smart. That these are just stories of limited value and truth. And that I get pretty stupid when I believe them, identify with the limited view on the world they offer.

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One thought to “Inquiry: It would be better if Americans were less stupid.”

  1. Hello,

    I have recently discovered your blog and find it very interesting. I’m a huge fan of ‘The Work.’ Thank you for your inquires, and in particular for this:
    ‘What types of feelings do I get to avoid when I hold onto that belief? I get to avoid feeling sadness for so much going on in the US, especially in terms of health care, wars, corporations acting in ways destructive to people/communities/ecosystems, and the non-productive public debate on so many important areas. I get to close down my heart.’
    I recognise in this something I often do myself, and hadn’t understood why till I read your words.
    thank you
    Yvonne

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