Disinformation and partial truths are running rampant these days, and are easily accessed at that, that it won’t be surprising anymore how we’ll lose our ability to recognize statements of truth as a nation. But just because this is happening doesn’t mean we allow it. In this episode, Bill Stierle and Tom take you into a special series that taps into the fossilization of thought. Here, they talk about how this fossilization is happening among statesmen and government officials and how we can overcome it and start speaking with the truth. Bill and Tom then figure out how to find the balance between being compassionate to what others say and experience and recognizing that what they have are partial truths. Join in as they dive deeper into the discussion.
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The Fossilization Of Thought, Part 1: Learning To Recognize Statements Of Truth
I have some concerns, which may not surprise you. Although, I hope we know who the president is but there’s a chance we may not know but regardless of who wins, whether it’s Joe Biden or Donald Trump. I’m finding so much disinformation, many partial truths out that are being propagated all over the place, mainstream media, social media, everything, I’m concerned that we’ve lost our compass as a nation about even recognizing statements of truth.
Recognizing statements of truth is one of the things that is difficult because when something comes in and it validates a belief bias that has been the magical word here is fossilized. The belief bias that has been codified in our consciousness for various different reasons. One is it could be true or one is it’s been a thing called propagandized true. This is bipartisan all the way down the line is that if I have a belief that unions protect people, jobs and they protect them, then I look at the police unions that are protecting police officers. Immediately, my truth is moved from the left to the right and the right to the left. It can be moved quickly to both sides of us. There are problems with all these different systems that we need to allow truth to come to us.
We need to work on the process of truth and lean on the evidence and the research to say, “I’ve read this article. What’s the right saying about this. What’s the left saying about this?” You and I have often discussed, when somebody tries to play the middle and tries to move back towards the center Chris Wallace is a good example of this and saying, “I’m a conservative guy. I thought my values were over here, but now all of a sudden, I’m noticing that there’s this other set of people that are now hammering me from this side and I’m getting hammered from this side. All I’m trying to do is to stay objective here and research the truth.” They go like, “You said this, do I hold you to that, or do I not hold you to that?”
All of a sudden, he’s getting, “No, don’t hold them to that.” It’s like, “As a news reporter, I got to hold him to what he said.” The need for truth is unsettling in the processes is that how do we become both compassionate and empathetic to the things that people say and both celebrate their experience, but also recognize that the only have a partial truth that they’re working off of. That’s the way we got to start breathing into this a little bit more as having some tolerance and some recognition that they’re only working off of a partial truth.
It seems like it’s going to be difficult to do because whenever somebody hears some information, a statement if they don’t agree with it, many people quick to throw up the comment fake news without going through any process, without doing any research or even considering, is there truth to this statement? That’s a dangerous place for us to be. You said the fossilization of truth or thoughts and that must be based on beliefs.
A belief is something I don’t want to rethink. I’m in an agreement that this is the belief about something. I don’t want to rethink it. I don’t have enough time in my life. I don’t want to deal with the instability. It would take for me to rethink and redevelop a new belief. This is when it gets unsettling because there are times in the life of a human being that there’s no more time to rethink things. As somebody that, “My parents died a couple of years ago,” that towards the end of the life, they weren’t rethinking things. They weren’t rewriting their beliefs. They’re trying to enjoy whatever moments that they had with their kids, as their memories started to fall off about their kids all the way into their passing.
For somebody that’s a 30 or 40-year-old, to be codified on a belief this early, without double-checking or checking in with that belief, there’s a danger in a democracy when you cannot have a safe conversation about differing opinions, politicians are supposed to transition to statesmen after they get elected. It’s been gradually getting worse over the last many years. We don’t have the statesman going like, “Here’s the conservative way to think about it, and here’s the democratic way to think about it.” What we do have is have political people looking for the got you moment to then say, “There’s a got you moment.” Let me give you an example. A statesman says, “The numbers don’t look good for Social Security. We need to move the retirement age from 65 to 75.”We need a stable elderly population. We don't need death and dying in the streets. Click To Tweet
Gets hammered because he does it, because the numbers don’t look good and people are living longer when it was written, it was 65 and we need to move it to 75. We could do it over a series of years because the numbers will work out. It’s an insurance policy for old people. That’s what Social Security is, it’s an insurance policy is like, “Can we trickle money in so people don’t run out of money in their lives.” People are paying into Social Security, which is an insurance policy. I wish the Democrats would start talking about it. This is one of the best insurances that we provide to people. You and I expanding flexibility, notice how me even calling it an insurance policy has brought in the truth about what that function is. Here’s a person that’s working. The government takes some money. They put it into an insurance policy. It’s called Social Security and it pays them back later. Why? It’s because we need a stable elderly population. We don’t need death and dying in the streets, elderly population.
It’s interesting as you talked about the statesman versus the politician and how maybe it used to be and it seems like they’re always politicians. I think we can thank television, C-SPAN, and the 24-hour news media that needs to be fed every day for a lot of this. I’m realizing the word fossilization to indicate how hard it is to move people off of their beliefs, it’s embedded in stone. It’s deep in the earth. There are all metaphors here, but the one that’s coming to mind now is I’m hoping that politicians that have their beliefs fossilized that they’re not working together as a statesman might become dinosaurs if we can vote them out and get new people in that will work together.
I appreciate the narratives because what’s happening is that there is funding money that goes into fossilized viewpoints of a person that says, “I don’t want the money that I would like to go to my kids or grandkids or great-grandkids or great-great-grandkids, the government to take that money because it’s my money.” What they need to be saying is, “How do I build the internal characters of my sibling, child, family, so that they can cultivate and move the process of wealth from generation to generation on their own?” Whether the government has the money or not, that’s irrelevant because they have the mindset to generate their own money.
It’s valuable to talk about an open process between what a balance of some social elements that are taking place inside society and some capitalist elements that take place in society and how they can work off each other to collaborate and cooperate, not one versus other, “This is better than this.” Capitalism can out-market socialism easy because socialism is a collective piece. The marketing, branding, and the hammering that socialist and socialist ideas have taken a hammering on is been extraordinary. The easiest way to do it is that if it’s for the good of society, you want it to be dealt with as a social service that, “You don’t want this to be done as a capitalist way because of it is done in a capitalist way.”
It causes all other problems. Prisons are a great example of that. You get to keep building prisons because if you’re doing it as a capitalism marketplace, then all of a sudden, you’re looking for any small reason, true story, to lock up somebody because they broke some rule that we have written so it helps put more people in jail. All of a sudden, you’ve got these two systems not working in a healthy way with each other. We want to make sure that we’re languages in things more in a collaborative cooperative way to reduce the impact of the partial truth, repeated lie, messages that are being promoted as a form of distraction. In the last episode we talked about the hypnotism part of it, is that as soon as you hear a message over and over again, and it fossilizes, all it does is it pours more cement on the fossil, and then you got to dig it out under another 100 feet of rock. That’s not helpful.
This is my concern going forward in America after this election is people do not speak with each other in the right ways to have a healthy, reasonable or empathetic conversation. I don’t know what the right path here is.
You and I have been in pre-COVID in settings and group discussions where there might be 1 or 2 people that are more from the conservative mindset and they would start down a narrative of, “I liked these things about Donald Trump and about Republicans.” You watched me turn on a dime and go, “I hear that you liked the stability in the consistency of the value that self-determination makes as a part of the Republican Party.” “Yes.” I’m empathizing with it and I’m going to like, “Not self-determination when 1/3 of the population is living below a line of a living wage. You’re not even giving them a shot at self-determination. They can’t even dig themselves out because they’re scrapping it on trying to meet a house payment and put food on the table and then sacrifice medicine, because that happens to be the third thing on the list. There’s not enough money to get there. That’s not allowing self-determination to take place, which is where the honest discussion needs to take place. If you want to provide them healthcare, I’ll be glad to talk about self-determination.”
I remember having one of those conversations until 2:00 in the morning a few years ago when we were still traveling to events. The thing that struck me is what one of those conservative thinkers expressed as something that was true. It was at best a partial truth and worst was a belief that had no basis in truth. That’s the tough part.
People can’t tell whether I’m a Donald Trump supporter or not. From time to time when I am talking in a neutral setting, they’ll hear that I don’t agree with several needs of mine that are not met by his narrative. Especially, the ones called inclusion, equity, and the honoring of diversity, which is a hot topic in the business world. It’s a DENI training, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion. There’s a whole marketplace. There are several consulting companies that come into companies and help them with that piece.
What those companies are doing is helping these people with their belief and bias mindsets, trying to extract the fallacies that are running inside the person’s consciousness so that the company can be one that allows these different points of views, and then gets back to what the company is supposed to do. If these equities aren’t dealt with, talent leaves the company whatever colored skin or gender they are, they’re going through this, “I’m leaving this company.” I’m thinking about one executive I’m helping with the transition. She’s going to like, “This is not my journey. Where they’re going, I am not going there.” I’m going like, “This organization has lost their primary talent, historical talent.” They’re not handing the ship off that they’ve been steering well because they’ve got a mutiny on the ship.
They’re going like, “Why am I on a ship with mutiny?” I could take a rowboat over to this other ship over here and go in like, “I’m good next port. Anytime I can get the handoff to take place, I’m gone.” The organization doesn’t even know it. They’re not even seeing that that’s what’s taking place. They’re not dealing with a collaborative cooperative experience. You got about 3 out of 20 trying to get the ship to seal over here and they’re going, “There are rocks over there.” The captain knows it and saying, “Keep it over here.” The fossilization of belief has to do with, “I believe my way is right. I believe that this is the best course of things. I am going to do this as an authoritarian or as the head chief. I’m not interested in the wreckage that takes place after I leave. That is up to them. This is the easiest way my belief structure works.”
This is one of the things that we need to tell a story that leads us to freedom, collaboration, cooperation as a unified nation. Numerically, California is one of the top three revenue generators in the world and there’s a good reason why it is. There’s a good reason why Germany and Japan has been successful for all the years because at the end of World War II, they were rebuilt in a way to have a healthy relationship between social values and capitalist values. It doesn’t mean they don’t have problems, nor they’re not specific challenges or battles between those different things. It doesn’t mean the old belief structures of Japanese culture and German culture from World War II aren’t trying to rear their ugly heads back up again because they are. That’s called scary honesty. It doesn’t mean that our problems from the Civil War have went away. They haven’t. It seems like the fossilization of beliefs.
One might say in the South, “I used to feel proud driving by the statue of a name the general from the South. I used to feel proud because when I was in school, I was taught this belief about that person. I was taught about the sacrifice, how his family lost the farm. After the North one, this is what happened and he came back to his house and his farm was destroyed.” I can empathize with that pain. The only missing part of that equation is that slaves happened to be involved in the process of that wealth and that system. That’s what was available to them in their belief structure back there. It’s not like we’re not doing that to other countries. There are people in other countries working slave labor to make t-shirts for our country. I’m going to shrug my shoulders and why don’t we talk about that humanity, that suffering? The answer is that country is not ours. It’s over there. We don’t have to talk about the difficult issues of equity, inclusion, and diversity because it’s over there. It’s a t-shirt we import it. It’s that country’s problem.
It’s complicated, Bill. I went from problems speaking to our fellow citizens, to problems internationally, dealing with other countries, and equity. Our issues as people get complex.Self-determination is where honest discussion needs to take place. Click To Tweet
The visionary part of me that takes us to the bigger picture can also come back into the specific moment is like we need to have a healthy discussion about healing and restoration with people that don’t agree with us, and that is fossilized in their belief structure. We have to have a healthier way to do that. Regrettably, our adversarial nature in the media and between each other doesn’t allow us to sit at the same table is saying, “I think this value is this way.” Having a healthy discussion is, what would it be like if post-election Joe Biden by himself has a discussion with the top twenty remaining Republican leaders in a round table? “We’ve got to do something because we’ve got to work together as a nation and televise it.” Do you think ten Republicans will show up in the room with Joe Biden by himself?
Sure, they would.
No, they won’t.
They won’t show up for that free media? He’ll invite them and they’ll snub him. That’s disappointing.
They aren’t showing. They rather nitpick, work on the margins and try to keep the narrative that they’ve been fostering in place because they don’t want to be known as another Lincoln Project and as a collaborative body. The people from the Lincoln Project will get in the room with Joe Biden and have that discussion.
Who would show up? Mitt Romney maybe would show up because he sees a path forward?
That’s it. It’s a discussion with him and Mitt Romney. Totally, he’s going to show.
This eliminates that the administration needs Bill Stierle to help mediate conflicts.
I would be glad to facilitate that discussion. It is something to do and a newscaster can’t get there because they can’t facilitate it. They can shoot it. The newscaster can give comments on it after. I’ll be glad to take it to hear that, but I’d be happy to facilitate, and it doesn’t have to be ten. It could be five. It can be meet and for other people that want to move back to the center, see if they can salvage and restore the Republican party back to respect and integrity and things like that. You got a shot at it with that group.
It seems to me that if the Republicans that are left in the wake of this election do not come to the table and work together with the Democrats that are there, then the Democrats are going to be pushed more into a place of extreme behavior and choices they make. Like, eliminating the filibuster, so they can get things done, and things like this that are going to move us further apart.
The needed action that’s going to take place is that the squabbling, infighting, and the stuff that’s happening at the federal level, people will stop watching it. What needs to be watched is what is going to take place at the local level. The Democrats, if they win, keep moving, and build collaboration, cooperation at the local level and start voting on things that are in the best interest of the community with growth and business development, or we want to keep our town Main Street versus Wall Street. What do you do with the big-box stores and what do you do with these things?
The dance between Main Street and Wall Street is that narrative at the local level you’ve got a shot at, everybody’s looking at the answer from coming from above, but it needs come from the grassroots up. The foothold that has taken place with Black Lives Matter is going to be valuable for police reform and justice reform. Those are the two that they stay with, but there are other things that Black Lives Matter can’t and doesn’t have the bandwidth to handle it. Can’t be done under that brand. If they do those two things well, things will go better for all of us but what about wage equality? There’s got to be some form of restoration around that.
There’s going to be sone respiration talk about equity in terms of taxation and making that a little more proportional instead of these big tax cuts for the wealthy who don’t need it and that hurt our budget deficit among many other things. There’s a whole discussion about that too.
That’s a whole economy too. I’ve talked about these economies before. What is the economy of healthcare? It occupies 1/6 of our economy and you’re trying to rewrite it. The 1/6 of the economy that doesn’t want to be rerun wants to take apart the Obamacare piece, which is saying, “1/6 of this economy is not healthy for us, and it’s not healthy for the citizens. We need to swoop in and do something about this part of the economy that’s crippling us and it’s affecting other parts of the economy.” What parts of the economy? It affects real estate. If healthcare is taken care of in a different way, people will buy better houses and they’ll remodel things.
It occurs to me that I think Donald Trump focuses far too much on the economy of real estate in some ways and doesn’t pay attention to other things. It’s why there’s never been a comprehensive plan put out by the White House for what to do to replace Obamacare if you feel it’s that bad.We need to have a healthy discussion about healing and restoration with people that don't agree with us. Click To Tweet
Let’s pick up our next episode on fossilization part two. We can take a look at how different parts of our economy have been fossilized with certain beliefs that makes it a little difficult for us to reimagine a different part of the economy. The one that I’d like to break through is the energizing of entrepreneurialism and see if we can get that out of a fossilization place because it needs this next level of imagination because that’s a little bit more of the path forward. We need to provide support to people to think and develop new businesses in order to reimagine, reinvigorate new products, new services. In order to leave us with an optimistic place, there is a way to chip away and discover, “Here are the bones of what’s been fossilized.”
What can we recultivate out of this? It’s if we want to have a little bit of fun with this. It’s like, “We found some mammoth DNA. Do we want to bring a mammoth back or not?” The answer might be, Yes. One of those systems might be things. What would be an example of a mammoth that I would like to come back? I would like the antitrust laws to come back and be applied. I would like to regrow that mammoth because then all of a sudden, some of these big systems will not be able to take advantage of the entire system.
I got one too that is sorely needed and a mammoth of infrastructure.
Infrastructure is a great example of a mammoth needs to bring back alive.
Which you can put many people to work and everybody’s needs for bridges, roads, and energy.
There’s a lot of Main Street and Wall Street stuff that can go back and forth there, and there are ways to position it that way so that people don’t gobble up the big contracts and not let anybody take advantage. You and I setting the bigger intention to move things forward. Thanks, Tom. It’s a great discussion.
I appreciate it. I look forward to part two of fossilization.
Take care. Bye.
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