A companion blog, The Metacognition Project, has been created to focus specifically on metacognition and related consciousness processes. Newest essay on TMP: Goals and Problems, part two

Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Old Chevy Pickup

Many years ago I had an acquaintance who drove a Citroen, the big sedan.  There was no Citroen dealership, no Citroen certified mechanic, in the town.  Her solution was to fly in, periodically, a factory mechanic from France , put him up at her (palatial) house and have him do the special “Citroen stuff” to the car in her full shop.  I drove an old Chevy pickup that had hundreds of cousins in mechanic’s lots and, it seemed, every other side yard.  Little boys had inherited in their ‘jeans’ a knowledge of its funky drum brakes and straight six engine.  When something broke I could leave it where it fell and random movement would replace the bad part and tune the engine to boot (I exaggerate slightly!). 

While the analogy is seriously strained, I want a car and a government that is fully supported with knowledge of its functioning and has access to the resources that keep it working.  We humans are not able to fly in the political God to fix the natural wear and tear or the stupid mistreatment of our governing (although it seems some believe that is how it is to work). 

The last 50 years, government in this nation as been in a process of deterioration; I think it actually began in 1789 at the moment we had one of our own.  You know how you pick at a scab!  It’s like that.   As soon as the newness began to wear off, segments of our population began to pick at the structure of order looking for loose threads to pull, for chinks to look through and stick their fingers in to pry.  But the last 50 years have been speeding up with the technologies of communication and power: doubling everything, except our ability to deal with the doubling, every few years. 

As I look back to the analogy, it was the community knowledge of the old Chevy pickup that contributed to its functional reliability – not its individual capacity.  In fact, it broke often enough, but there was always a torque tube around and someone who could “slap it right on in.” 

We are missing that community knowledge, and there are even people who reject the whole idea of a politically aware community in favor of the ideological certainty of the Citroen (they are at present called Republicans and Democrats).  There is something desirable, in a stupid short-term sort of way, to those who define themselves as in charge, about keeping the people out of the deliberations that will ultimately control the major aspects of all our lives.  You know; it’s the best way to screw them over! 

I recommend, first driving an old Chevy straight six pickup (the 1954 three rear window model is especially sweet), and then talk politics, religion, economics, fear, future and certainty with all who will listen.

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