Forgetting

I was watching Bill O'Reilly the other evening. (Briefly, let me add! My tolerance limit for enduring this guy is usually at best about three minutes). He was lamenting the ignorance of Americans. His man "Watters" had been interviewing folks on the street--obviously the most nerdy he could spot--and finding, predictably perhaps, just how uninformed we really are. Nobody could name the vice-president, identify our enemies in World War II, that sort of thing. Next he moved onto the subject of the Internet. Facebook, he in essence alleged, was creating a private fantasy world for us morons, wherein which we get to create ourselves all over again, as though our trivial lives really mattered. Jerks like me, for instance, even get to spout off on Facebook, whereas calling into his show requires a close identification. "Name and town, name and town, if you want to opine..." One suspects--does one not?--he's miffed that he has little control (as yet) over the Internet. Those "Far Left pinheads" hiding behind their computers can seem pretty bold, right? And he doesn't even know where they live... Good thing for them, BTW.

Even so, does Mr O have a point? Certainly the Internet has provided a forum for many commoners to parade their stupidity: most notably, most ironically, those who watch Fox News and the "Factor." But no matter. Not to worry. Even a broken clock, as the cliche has it, is right twice a day. Many of us have blown ourselves up on Facebook, for instance, created our own websites, twittered away as though we were real people, equal in fact with O'Reilly, fit to chat with congressmen and rock stars, all the while subsisting on Food Stamps and Medicare! Oh the shame of it all, the audacity! Socialists! Pinheads! Far Left loons! What do we know? How dare we spout off? Or vote, even vote "Democrat," at that?


But then I remembered my Remembering... It was not only the Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas (look it up on the Internet, O'Reilly) who had encouraged my "wallowing" in myself ("he who knows the All but does not know himself is in poverty...") but no less a figure than Plato. Seems some of the old Greek thinkers had a theory of education that insisted that it was all about remembering. Genuine learning is recalling what we already know, deep inside, but have long ago forgotten. A good teacher draws (or drags!) it out of us, but it was there all the time.


Maybe we should let people alone. Let them have their Internet, their Facebook. Given enough time, they may get on to themselves. The O'Reillys of the world want you to remember all right, but only their commonly agreed-upon corpus of "tradition." They like TRADITION. The essence of the "conservative" mentality. They want to monitor what you're remembering. And stick with THEM. If you get off on your own, you might become a Gnostic or a "pagan," some kind of "liberal." And then they won't be able to bullshit you anymore... Can't have that.


Forget it, O'Reilly.

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