The following is the converse of the post from a couple of days ago. In that one, I proposed that we believe what we believe because believing what we believe makes us feel better. The “flip side” of that theoretical coin: We do not believe what we do not believe because believing what we do not believe would make us feel worse.
This one came to me yesterday, so it’s coming to you hot off the griddle (as opposed to when I talk about movies that have stopped playing everywhere. What can I tell you? The ideas come to me when they come to me. Though you would think they could come to me on time. “How horribly ungrateful”, I just realized. It’s a miracle ideas come to me at all. Ending these bracketed comments, hoping they will keep coming to me… whenever they want to.)
I am watching C-SPAN “Non-Fiction Weekend.” (Note: Every weekend, the three C-SPAN channels stop broadcasting Congressional sessions and hearings and transmogrify into airing interviews and book tour events featuring non-fiction author’s promoting their latest publications. It’s like a complete televisional “makeover.”
(Paralleling Side-Note: I am reminded of how, at camp, we stopped wearing any sloppy thing we wanted and dressed instead in mandatory “whites” for “Shabbat (Friday night) Dinner.” Providing a graphic opportunity for us to see who the messiest eaters in camp were, as “Shabbat Dinner” involved grape juice. “Hey, is that a white shirt with purple grape juice stains on it, or is it a grape juice-stained shirt with patches of white?”… I recall hearing, though not about me. Okay, sometimes about me. Though it was more chicken-grease stains because I didn’t like grape juice. End of “Paralleling Side-Note.” And now, back to the story.)
An author appears on C-SPAN 3, having written a book about the “Warren Commission” – whose final report on the Kennedy assassination concluded that shooter Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone) – the author’s provocative thesis proclaiming that pertinent information had been deliberately withheld from the “Warren Commission”, specifically that the Kennedy White House had made numerous attempts to knock off Cuba’s president Fidel Castro. Insinuating Implication: Retaliating Cubans had conspired to kill Kennedy, a line of investigation the “Warren Commission” never pursued because pertinent information had been deliberately withheld.
The historical accuracy of the author’s claims, for these purposes, is not important. What’s important is how I reacted to the program, which was this:
I almost immediately changed the channel.
Why? (A preliminary hypothesis):
Because I do not want to believe what I do not want to believe because if I believed what I do not want to believe it would make me feel worse.
(Note: Before I almost immediately changed the channel, I heard the book’s author quote a statistic – which, if I knew I’d be writing this I’d have remembered but since I didn’t, I don’t – asserting that something like three times as many people today – it might even be four times as many people today – do not believe the final conclusions of the “Warren Report”, compared to the number who believed them when the “Warren Commission’s” final conclusions were originally announced. And yet no one has substantially done anything about it. So it’s not just me who swept the Kennedy assassination issue dismissingly under the rug. A substantial majority of people, faced with newly unearthed, conflicting information about the Kennedy assassination have gone, “Not interested in that.”)
Why would disrupting information about the Kennedy assassination make them feels worse? (Another hypothesis): Because they initiate loose ends, and nobody likes loose ends. Or at least a substantial majority of us don’t, including the provocative C-SPAN 3 author himself. He just doesn’t want those loose ends neatly tied in a bow using an inaccurately colored ribbon. He instead insists on the truth.
Here’s the thing, the “thing” being the reason this concern rose to mind in the first place.
As a longstanding “Seeker of Truth”, one might expect that, eschewing the shrugging proclivities of the “substantial majority”, I might have sided with, the intentions of not the specific conclusions, of the C-SPAN 3 author instead. But, tellingly demonstrated by my almost immediately changing the channel, I, startlingly disinterestedly, “took a quick left.”
Raising the question:
What the heck happened to me?
Yes, there’s the practical “If the author is right, what do we do now?” consideration.
I mean, what are the options? Bomb Cuba?
CUBA: “Hey! Why’d you do that?”
US: “Because you assassinated our president.”
“That was fifty-four years ago. And besides, you tried to assassinate Presidente Castro numerous times.”
“But we didn’t.”
“Forgive us, but something is terribly wrong with that reasoning.”
Okay, bombing Cuba’s a “non-starter.” (For one thing, we’d be deprived of some wonderful baseball talent. Not to mention some world-class cigar rollers. On top of that, it is just a horrible idea.)
So what’s left? I am actually not wondering about “What’s left?” (Tying up a dangling loose end, because the reasonable response to “So what’s left?” is “Nothing.”) What I am wondering about is why a longstanding “Seeker of Truth” such as myself does not care who really killed Kennedy. Seems like a big deal “Who really killed Kennedy?” And yet there I am, switching over to a Dodgers game.
Am I maybe just a longstanding “Seeker of Some Truth”, and the rest, I leave disinterestedly by the wayside?
A “pick-and-choose” searcher for answers.
What kind of longstanding “Seeker of Truth” is that?