If you’ve ever been ignorant of a subject and make a gallant effort to cure it, Darkness Falls… And a light shines on the horizon. It doesn’t mean you won’t be met with objection to what you claim to know. In fact, dissenting opinion is a way to contrast and compare your new found knowledge against the knowledge of another.
This is where it gets tricky. Facts vs. opinions. When addressing the Facts of any given subject, what you believe to be a Fact may actually be an informed opinion (and sometimes misinformed).
The disambiguation of Facts, aren’t so cut and dry. At best, we can consider a Fact something that has occurred, and is actually the case. Clear as mud right?
The ambiguity of Facts, is often the cause for much confusion when attempting to learn something.
For simplicity’s sake, I’ll use a common archaic Fact that you may be familiar with.
“The Earth is Flat”
This was an accepted Fact, in pre-Scientific eras and a belief held by many cultures until about the 17th century.
During the Hellenistic Period, Greek Astronomy spread to other cultures and widely disputed the claim that the Earth was either a flat square or disk. The Hellenistic Period is a term coined in the mid-19th century to describe a spread of Greek notions and culture into other nations. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the Greeks inter-mingled with the peoples that resided in their own respective countries. This era is generally accepted to fall between 323 BC to about 30 BC.
You may be asking yourself, then how in the world did the notion of Flat Earth survive long into the 17th century, and why?
This directly addresses what we call ‘The Myth of Flat Earth’. It had been propagated into the modern era from about late 19th century on-ward, which is why many people believe that educated Europeans believed the Earth was flat when Columbus set out to find the Orient.
It doesn’t mean, that other nations didn’t still believe this. The Myth of Flat Earth, only addresses the beliefs of Europeans.
The fact is, (see what I did there?) that starting with early Mesopotamian cultures, there is plenty of evidence to directly address whether the people living along the Fertile Crescent thought the Earth was a flat, or a sphere.
For example, the Imago Mundi map, dated to about 6th century from Babylon demonstrates the Earth as a flat sphere surrounded by water. Lest we forget the early Egyptian writings (23rd – 24th BC) what we call the Pyramid and Coffin Texts, also describe the earth as a flat disk. It is later modeled by Homer (8th-9th century BC) and Hesiod (7th century BC), in poetic epics, taking cues from earlier writings and artifacts. While both Greeks, they lived during different time periods, which further confuses the matter when trying to sort out what Europeans believed, when they believed it, and why. These are merely just a few examples.
Follow the time-line I’ve provided in just a few examples:
Hellenistic Period 323-30 BC
Egyptian 23-24 BC
Homer (Greek) 8-9 BC
Hesiod (Greek) 7 BC
Babylonian 6 BC
The belief that the earth was flat persisted in India and China, until it went challenged with Greek Astronomy in the 17th century.
So, when people address the question: ”Did people really believe the Earth was flat?” The answer is YES. Who believed it, when, where and why needs to be addressed very specifically.
Some folks having a quick read, or Google search may answer: “NO. It’s a myth perpetuated since the 19th century…”
While that may be partially true, it’s considered a False statement. When addressing the Facts, there is plenty of archaeological evidence to support that many cultures did in fact believe the Earth was flat, and that was considered aFACT at that time it was believed.
Even if the facts seemed to have changed in a subjective view of the Cosmos, the actual facts about the Earth remain unchanged. i.e. Subjective Reality vs. Objective Reality. Whether or not man conceives a notion about the Earth, it is quite irrelevant to the Facts about the Earth.
Facts are Facts; however it’s not so black and white when people begin to Opine the facts.
In this case, a person may hold an opinion that the Flat Earth notion is entirely a myth. The facts however are rather different than holding an opinion about the facts.
I can’t say I blame you. Many people are, and often cause further confusion for others when all they really want to do is cure their own ignorance about any given subject. It may be a source of great frustration, and as such a shadow is cast over the mind. In order to pull back its veil, and illuminate the Truth, it will take an unwavering hunger for it.
What is considered TRUE, is considered to be in accordance with the actual state or reality of, it may be confused with a logical necessity to make something subjectively true. In cases like these, many rely on the Litmus Test to pass judgment on whether or not something should be regarded as a Fact. The thing is, the LitmusModus Operandi often relies heavily on opinion, vs. the facts to discern something to be a fact.
As if it wasn’t confusing enough, right?
It’s no real mystery as to why so many people are crawling around in the dark, and can’t seem to find the light to find their way out.
I’m reminded of a recent political debate about the role of JIHAD in Islam. When U.S. legislators are in a position to make an informed decision, but especially when penning new laws, some are utterly lost in darkness.
They often get caught up in Left-wing vs. Right-wing dichotomies, and become so overly concerned with being viewed as too far Left or Right, that they’ve forgotten that their job is to discern the necessity of adding more laws to the ever growing plethora of socio-political jargon.
Some people choose to pick sides and close their minds off to all points of view. If say, you identify as a LIBERAL would you be open to listening to a CONSERVATIVE view point?
What are the differences specifically?
Many Conservatives want to shrink Government, and ensure the role of Governing is being fulfilled. Liberals are usually viewed as being too willing to accept growth of the Government because it somehow guards their freedoms and rights. Would you consider that the FACTS about the Conservative and Liberal view or merely an opinion?
In the case of the JIHAD, the issue is often fought on the legislative floor but you add to the mix yet another Dichotomy REPUBLICAN vs. DEMOCRAT (setting aside other political parties for the moment).
What is being fought specifically?
Whether or not a JIHAD is an essential and important part of ISLAM, and how it’s specifically defined.
How it’s defined, makes a world of difference when addressing advancing legislation that deals directly with hostile nations and/or peoples.
Some Speakers of the House, choose to discern the difference between ISLAM and RADICAL ISLAM. Although, the distinction can be quite cloudy when they are on their proverbial soap-box addressing the legislation on the house floor.
Many make missteps, in defining a JIHAD in an absolute as ‘A Holy War’. The issue then becomes who or what source is the authority to refer to clearly define a JIHAD?
3. Muslim Scholars
4. The Qur’an
5. Islamist Organizations
These are merely a few examples provided during political debates.
Thereby making OPINIONS presented as FACTS. How then, can House Representatives make any reasonable decision on House Bills?
The Congressional Research Service makes a go of it: HERE, prepared by Jerome P. Bjelopera, “Specialist in Organized Crime & Terrorism”. In a January 23, 2013 document he defines Jihadist as follows:
“The term “jihadist” describes radicalized individuals using Islam as an ideological and/or religious justification for their belief in the establishment of a global caliphate, or jurisdiction governed by a Muslim civil and religious leader known as a caliph. The term “violent jihadist” characterizes jihadists who have made the jump to illegally supporting, plotting, or directly engaging in violent terrorist activity.”
Post-9/11, Americans have a tendency to accept this definition, even if they haven’t discerned the FACTS about what actually occurred on September 11, 2001. I’m sure we can all agree that there’s a fair bit of conspiracy-theory, and its because many Americans are simply not convinced that what the U.S. Government asserts as the facts, are actually facts.
Added to this, is the trending of Anti-Islam movements and as a direct result of Government perpetuated incidents in tandem with media reporting of ‘events’ that have been categorized as ‘Jihadist Activity’.
The United States has been on a downslide for the better part of 100 years (if not more), and it doesn’t exactly have the best track record for delivering its promises when it decides to engage in WAR. In fact, the U.S. has often hindered progress of other nations, and even intervened in Diplomatic Relations that could better produce alliances without it involved in the first place. Any effort to secure ‘Democracy & Freedom’ has been nothing more than a veil of Darkness pulled over the eyes of the people.
So what gives America?
The population is far more powerful than this rinky dink ‘Government’ gives it credit for; however it’s very much aware of American complacency and Slave Morality.
There are far too many people in the Dark, and many have no interest in politics at all, they prefer the Bliss of Ignorance! Even when it’s robbing them of rights, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. I suppose, that in order for people to stay happy its easier to hide under the bed, hoping that the sun will rise to chase the boogeyman away.
Ever ask yourself, “What if I’m the Boogey Man?”
When Darkness Falls…
Tune in Saturday Night, 8pm Eastern, to Poison Apple Radio. I’ll be covering the subject of Opinions.