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Stalking the Average Man

-But it was one you would make nine times out of ten. It‘s the tenth variation of the same
thing that creates your misconception about free will. | She closed the distance between us. Still
catching her breath, she said, -Otis came into this world without ulterior motives. He has no
abstractions to ponder, or images to maintain, so everything that‘s not a potential adversary in his
world is a potential mate, food, a scent to explore, or a circumstance of play. It doesn‘t occur to
him to become nasty in new situations, or when he has to work, because his faith has been focused
on inevitable success. He‘s happy! | she said, mimicking a dog chasing a bouncing ball.
Five paces ahead of me, Bonnie stopped as if she had hit an electronic fence. -Some dogs are
trained through cruelty, | she said, catching her breath, -which appears to work because the
animal‘s choices are basically limited to survival, pleasure, or pain. |
-I‘m not advocating cruelty, | I said, coming alongside her, -but you get the same result. |
-You can‘t use inappropriate methods to create appropriate behavior with any creature.
Obedience based on fear is submission, and that will always emerge in rebellion. Free will is like
truth—like a falcon on prey—it will always present itself, and unexpectedly. |
-Doggie Uprising Ends Leash Laws! | I jested.
-The point I‘m trying to have you entertain, | she said wryly, -is that Otis sees the world in the
way he was conformed to it, no different than normal people can become hooligans under the right
conditions, and conditioning. Obeying his owner is not about hunger, power, or sanctuary. It‘s a
pleasurable game he‘ll play with everyone, because his actions faithfully generate circumstances in
keeping with his focus of play. This constantly validates his conditioning, and creates a positive
cycle of play. | Bonnie circled her finger as she spoke. -Kindly train a dog and it may corner a
trespasser, and bark as a greeting, for attention, or to warn his pack, but his conditioning tells him
that he‘s safe; there‘s no need to protect anything. A cruelly trained animal will take a piece out of a
stranger, because the animal has learned that its safest place in the world is still hazardous. You‘ve
seen this kind of thing often enough. |
-I have? |
Thinking I was being sarcastic, Bonnie gave me a sharp look, only to realize I was
legitimately clueless.
Touching my hand in apology, she said, -You=ve worked with artists who believed their own
press, politicians who indulged personal goals ahead of representing their constituents, and
religious leaders absorbed by their status, haven‘t you? |
-All of the above, sure. |
-The underlying threat is that none of them could act like that, and maintain their status,
unless the public shared their assumptions. |
-You‘re saying that everywhere, | I waved my arm to cover all that we could see, -the tail is
wagging the dog? |
-I‘m saying our tales are wagging our dogmas, and that good people derive beliefs from
harmfully acceptable practices, which they evolve into personal convictions that camouflage the
essence of their actions. Our society is at the point where even clearly outrageous practices fly over
our heads, or confuse us if they manage to get our attention. |
-An example of that would be helpful, | I said, thinking it would be about me. Still…
-You‘ve been tracking acceptable scientific, religious, and cultural beliefs to the grave for
years, and I‘ll bet you lunch and a beer that you‘re still mystified when spectators celebrate a
victory by destroying other people‘s property. |
-You‘re not? |