People are like parrots, repeating stories they hear on the news, from history books, or from others without knowing firsthand what they are talking about and because they have been programmed, they feed these stories to others as if the messages they are repeating are known facts.
Programming perpetuates the spread of rumors disguised as fact throughout a population until the truth is irrelevant because the majority have been distracted from seeing the truth.
As an analogy, imagine a sewing needle was the truth and it was laying on the floor. Directing someone's attention to it would make it easy for them to see the truth. Now imagine a big bale of hay thrown on top of it and the hay represents everyone's 'alternative facts'. Finding the truth would be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Scientists, psychiatrists, politicians, governments and authority figures are all making up and selling their version of reality to anyone who will buy it.
Often a simple fact check reveals that many things people say as if it were the gospel truth is bogus. They have been conditioned to believe one version of reality and to exclude any evidence that contradicts the version they have been programmed to believe and they parrot these "facts" as the truth.
The programming starts when you're a kid, programmed into believing the world is a dangerous place filled with fear and the best one could hope for is a roof over their heads, food on the table, a steady paycheck and some protecting authority keeping them safe.
Billions have been spent and earned keeping us safe from everything one could possibly imagine. Safe from criminals, thieves, water, air, food, germs, chemicals, disease, and death itself. Ironically, the safest place on Earth is a maximum security prison. No thanks, I'll take my chances.
People from the United States, in particular, are programmed to believe that their country is the wealthiest, smartest, safest, most advanced country and other countries are corrupt, dangerous, uneducated and poor.
If we are to believe what we are told about the state of the world, someone from the US would hardly want to go anywhere and, in fact, 64% of U.S. citizens have never left the United States and have no desire to ever leave and don't even have valid passports, according to the State Department, making the U.S. the country with the least travel ambition.
Yet the typical American will have an opinion of how things are in other countries that are well formulated in their minds and will confidently voice those opinions like it was a given, without ever questioning their validity.
As just one example, I remember catching a taxi in New York City once and when the driver discovered I lived in Mexico for ten years, he talked the whole ride about how dangerous Mexico is with all the drug cartels and kidnappings.
The driver had never been to Mexico, or anywhere out of the country for that matter. He didn't know anyone who had been to Mexico and as I was telling him my experience, which is far from any feeling of it being a dangerous place, it made no difference in the driver's mind. He was firmly convinced Mexico is dangerous and I was crazy for living there.
Side Note -- my little conspiracy theory:
I have come to believe there is a concerted effort by the US government to perpetuate fear of traveling to other countries, aimed at the 4-million, babyboomer, US citizens retiring every year to keep them from considering retiring outside the US. But that's another story for another time.
Many people from the U.S. stubbornly believe things that are not true at all about other countries and there's nothing you can say or do to convince them otherwise regardless of facts.
Freedom is a powerful force in the United States and so is "Free-dumb". They will defend their ignorance at all costs because it's their god given right to be free. Free-Dumb!
Here's the scary part. Even though we have been indoctrinated with nationalistic propaganda, we still are unaware of the information we have been programmed with and remain ignorant. Don't believe me? Watch this
Regardless of what country you're from, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Mexico, or the United States, we all grew up with the flag waving, the national anthems, and the historic identities that were woven into us from birth to bind us like a thread into the social fabric.
American people from the United States have traditionally been some of the most patriotic people on earth, combined with the majority of its citizens having never left the country, the price has been a skewed perspective of the world as a whole. We do not see ourselves as a nation from the worlds' vantage point.
For example, when I say, "American people from the United States", people from the US will look at me funny like they don't understand what I mean.
You see, there is more to America than just the US. Someone from Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica, or Columbia, thinks of themselves as an American. South America is still American. Only someone from the US thinks that American only applies to people in the United States. We don't even question that. It's embedded into us. A given, but only because we have been programmed that way.
Our programming is so deep that we are completely unaware of it on a conscious level. It's invisible to us like water is to a fish. We are born into a cultural cage and until we escape from it, our view of the world is limited. As we become aware of how programming has skewed our perspective we can shed it like a snake sheds its skin and emerge with a fuller perspective of the world and its interconnections.
Traveling and more exposure to other cultures gives one a wider view of the world and reveals how similar people from different parts of the world truly are. We have much more in common with others around the world than we have differences between us.
Seeing firsthand our commonality melts away prejudice we have been programmed with unknowingly, due to exposure to our own culture, and reinforces an openness to connecting with people from different cultural backgrounds than our own.
New perspectives bring new possibilities, new ways to experience and connect with the world, and new ways to live and interpret your life. From this comes a wider perspective in which to interpret the world and a propensity to see the world as a safe place to explore.
"There are two ways to be fooled."
"One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true."
-- Philosopher and Scholar -- Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
In future generations, I believe nationalistic influences will give way to global identity as the world becomes more interconnected and multicultural, but that's no replacement for the experience of completely immersing yourself in different cultures that traveling offers.
If you're a hopeless couch potato that will never leave the US, at least open your eyes to what other countries are doing that is working for their people and the US can learn from and perhaps adopt as our own. In fact, many of these thing ideas originated from the US, we just didn't run with it.
Want to see how other countries are benefiting from doing things differently than the US is? Watch this movie.
Where to Invade Next
Filmmaker Michael Moore "invades" various countries to examine how Europeans view work, education, health care, sex, equality, and other issues to learn what the USA can learn from those nations.
An interesting thing about the great ideas in this movie is that most of the ideas originated from the Unites States and were adopted by the countries portrayed in the movie. We just didn't implement those ideas ourselves even though they are provably, successful ideas.