My Dad Lives in a Bubble and it Pisses Me off.

I'm venting. Straight up. But I need somewhere to share my anger and ... disappointment. You see, my dad is a pretty smart guy. He's an electrical engineer. He likes to think things through and is fairly methodical, except when it comes to bullshit like religion, or the climate "debate" or his ultra-conservative political leanings, or thinking that some crazy conspiracy theories are actually true (The President is a MUSLIM COMMUNIST BORN IN KENYA AND COME TO DESTROY AMERICA)!

It's all connected. I realize that. The same processes that allows you to suspend your view of reality and believe in a loving god that answers prayers and yet allows your only daughter to be killed (my sister) is the same process that allows you to believe anything. When you take one thing on faith, where does that end. You start taking on all things by faith and ignoring facts, or outright dismissing them as purposefully harmful, that are contrary to your faith-held, non-factual beliefs. Seriously, I posted something on face book about climate change, and he puts up this, "Any 'science' post that says humans cause 'climate change' is bogus. It's been proven that most real scientist agree that the science of the climate change has been manipulated to work for socialist agendas and the humans have little affect over what the SUN does to this Earth." That's the kind of willful blindness I have to deal with. I just put up a handful of links and information saying how wrong he is, but he'll probably just say that I've been snookered by the Establishment, whatever that's supposed to refer to, and express incredulity at how his intelligent son could be so unaware of how he has been deceived. How do I combat that type of thinking? How can I help pop that bubble?

I suppose if he wasn't so stubborn or convicted in his ideas, he could probably work his way out of it. He won't though. Because that's the way he is. I hate it that I can't do anything about it, and I'm disappointed that the reality is that he will never change. It's just the way his brain works. I understand this, but it still sucks. Ultimately, he's got to be the one to overcome himself. I'll keep trying to show him the evidence and attempting to help him glance reality through the haze with which faith has clouded his mind.

I'm disappointed for many reasons. First of which being that I wish he could see life as the incredible and wonderful experience for what it is. I'd like him to be able to marvel at the complexities of life and intelligence and the circumstances that allowed everything to turn out this way, because I know he has the faculty to appreciate it. I want him to have this insatiable optimism about life that I've found instead of this focus on the afterlife and illusions of paradise. I want him to be able to see himself as a master of his life rather than a servant of it. The disappointment sets in when I realize he may never see things in this way.

Secondly and also important in its own way, my father is the kind of person that stands in the way of having a more rational, fact-based society. He is exactly the kind of person who has become an obstacle in American society towards our progress as a better country, a better civilization for that matter. There is so much we could accomplish if people like my father could just get out of the way. I'd say join us, but he'd have to change a lot first on a personal level as I suspect anyone of similar views would need to before I'd want them to join. The fact that my father is an obstacle to what I want to see most for my community, my country, and civilization as a whole is also incredibly disappointing to me.

I'll keep trying, though. I'll keep trying.

Views: 414

Comment by Tom Holm on July 24, 2012 at 11:22am
Im with Heather on the whole global warming thing. We cant deny that it happens but im having a hard time believing that we humans caused it or can prevent it.
Comment by Heather Spoonheim on July 24, 2012 at 11:29am

Don't get me wrong - if the peer reviewed studies day we're significant contributors then I'm not questioning that for a second.  All I'm disillusioned with is the growing movement that seems to think belief equals absolution.

Comment by Denise W on July 24, 2012 at 11:46am

Hmmm. I look at it a couple of different ways. 1. The peer-reviewed studies speak for themselves. We are not the sole contributors, but we contribute disproportionately compared with, say, bovine flatulence. 2. Our greedy exploitation of our natural (and in the case of fossil fuels, finite) resources has contributed a LOT more than cow farts. 3. Can we reverse it? No, but we can take reasonable steps to try to slow down the process. We have been very poor stewards of our planet, and this is not new. 4. The geese are a HUGE indicator, in various parts of the country. 5. If you live in a place that is particularly green (as in lush, not as in the movement), then you don't really have a complete perspective. Travel the backroads of middle America for a few days ... we did that this summer, and it was startling. Put to rest ANY doubts I had, and I'm from frecking Arizona originally, I should know better. 

On the topic of the climate *movement* (either side) me, that is a profiteering machine, so I'm with Heather on that topic. I don't contribute time or energy to either the full-scale deniers (they tend to also be political/religious regressives) or the EVERYONE GO GREEN NOW people, because they are on the flipside of the coin, and tend to be extreme environmentalists (the type who believe that human beings, including themselves) are no better than cockroaches. Either extreme is dangerous. I do what *I* can do, in my small way, which was how I was raised. Is it a big deal? Nope. Will it fill any of the holes in the ozone layer? Nope. But it's my small contribution.

Getting back to the actual topic on the table, brought up by the author...which is what I was initially commenting to and made a sidebar sarcastic comment...the point is, for certain folks (my parents, too), there is no discussion to be had. At all. Unless they change their views...which in all likelihood, they won't. And we can't change their views.

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on July 24, 2012 at 12:02pm

Yes, it seems that with religious faith there comes the walling off of an entire section of the mind. "Oh, scientists just think they knew everything but they are wrong all the time," said the person who stepped on a jet plain with full confidence in the science that allowed for such wonderful technology. "I don't care how much evidence you have - I KNOW for a fact that Obama is a Kenyan born Muslim infiltrator of our government," from another person who doesn't begin to question the loyalty of Romney whose father was born in Mexico to parents who renounced their U.S. citizenship in defiance of polygamy laws. And on and on it goes.

Comment by Georgie Kiely on July 24, 2012 at 3:57pm

Hawk- You have to just let it go.  My parents are similarly steadfast in their religious beliefs so I am not going to bang my head against their belief wall because I will be the only one with a headache.  Just love them as your parents and enjoy this short experience we call life.

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on July 24, 2012 at 7:10pm

The entire point here, however, is that magical thinkers don't care about facts - they can simultaneously think that some new technology is just going to fix everything for us and scientists have no idea what the hell they are raving about.

Comment by James Cox on July 24, 2012 at 8:38pm

Sadly, many of us will face the effects of global warming with hardly more than a surprised look on their face. Wraping one's mind around a whole planet, the biosphere, mass extinctions, lose of top soil, extreame weather, and the possible dislocation of billions of people in responce to changing sea level, is almost more than 'normal' folks can handle. Humans have been trained, many times, with doggy and horsy mental constructs about the world. Many that might have a firmer grasp of details, will just as likely suffer the effects as the nieve.

My family is surrounded by forest, and has a long term relationship with preservation. Over the last few years we have had very wet springs which delayed our growing season. This year it seems that our growing season was nearly two months latter than normal, making some of our garden crop seed to rot in the ground before it ever germinated. While the forest is lush and green now, the increase of fuel on the ground scares me as the dry part of the season approaches. If we have a few very dry springs/summers I fear a conflagration that could strip square mile after square mile of hill side here. Two years ago we cut a fire line around our house, to offer some protection, which might be mostly symbolic at best.

We blank out the details because it scares us to death. Better to hide behind a fake ideological fire line?   

Comment by Logicallunatic on July 25, 2012 at 12:24am

@Denise. "I don't contribute time or energy to either the full-scale deniers (they tend to also be political/religious regressives) or the EVERYONE GO GREEN NOW people, "

Not to derail this thread but I think that is a false dichotomy. There is a realistic position in between where a reasonable balance can be found. I think both of those groups you mention tend to throw the baby out with the bathwater. They fail to realise it is not about saving the planet but realistically following the science, weighting up risks and taking steps to cut down CO2 emissions on a gradual, realistic, political, economic and cultural level. 


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