June 5, 2009

Musings on Warnings

A recent posting on probably the best ‘open’ forum on the Net had some heartfelt comments encouraging readers to pay heed to the contemporary warning signs (unspecified) and stated: “If you wait to hear it on the news, it will be too late!”
Most people do not heed warnings until it is absolutely clear they are applicable!
There are warnings (stark ones, too) printed on the packages for cigarettes; yet most smokers continue to smoke. That’s understandable, since habitual users become addicted and cannot easily stop. What’s more puzzling is that the warnings fail to deter many new, young consumers from starting the habit. Similarly, we have warning messages to wear the seat-belt when traveling in a car; to slow down when driving in inclement weather; to pull over and stop when using a phone in a vehicle. There are warnings posted at unsupervised beaches and other public places considered dangerous, yet some people simply ignore them and do their own thing. We’ve had warnings for years that our rivers, lakes, and now, even oceans are being polluted to levels that are toxic for both aquatic animals and humans. We’ve known for years that air pollution caused by vehicle and industrial emissions are causing a great number of premature deaths and medical problems, yet take only half-hearted measures in response. And so it goes.

It seems to be a hard-wired feature of the human psyche that, for a majority of people, warnings are only taken seriously when the situation is already dire.
What does it take for warnings to be heeded by the majority? It’s not impossible to reverse the proportions of those who pay attention to warnings versus those who don’t. Usually, it begins with recognition by credible sources-- e.g. a professional researcher, an academic institution, etc. Once someone regarded as believable has acknowledged a danger, the next step is usually interest by the news media. Some media agency gets wind of the ‘story,’ considers it news-worthy, and presents it. If the story ‘develops legs,’ has staying power-- not easy in today’s hyper-active world-- then it gets the attention of the public, and from there, the interest of the politicians. At that stage, we know that the apprehended risk is being taken seriously-- but there are no guarantees that anything substantial will be done. If the politicians perceive some political benefit from pursuing the issue, they will engage the process of drafting legislation, sending it to committees, and eventually introducing it for a vote. All of which takes time; time in which the situation usually gets worse, and possibly bad enough that the legislated measures are now quite inadequate. This is the normal cycle by which most societies deal with an apprehended problem or hazard.

When the normal process is inverted, there is reason for suspicion. When the politicians tell the public that there’s some problem so dire that it requires immediate legislation to address, then something is awry, I’d say. In the aftermath of ‘9-11,’ governments in the primarily English-speaking countries all introduced laws addressed at ‘fighting terrorism,’ while having the real effect of restricting, and even removing, personal liberties acquired with much bloodshed over many centuries. And the same thing is happening in the economic sphere: using the threat of bankruptcy of king-pin businesses (like GM and Chrysler) the workers are being forced to give up benefits gained over decades of hard-fought bargaining. When the politicians discover a ‘danger’ that needs immediate action, you can bet that something’s afoot; they are moving us toward some desired objective. This inverted process, then, is itself, a warning sign to those who know how to read the signs.

That probably is the key to the effectiveness of warnings: they are heeded by those who are knowledgeable in interpreting the signals. Jesus chided his listeners: “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times” (Matt 16:3). I suppose there are always a number of ‘filters’ on our interpretation of what our senses relay to our brains. We have a huge tendency to want things to be stable, and warnings are always about things that have the potential to unsettle our routine. We also want to believe that those who are in authority have our best interests at heart, and will provide warnings when necessary, and conversely, we are safe if they haven’t warned us. In an earlier essay, I wrote about the human aversion for bad news, and the lengths we go to avoid facing it. All these factors explain why the worst job in the world is to be a prophet, a look-out with a warning message.

From our distant past, such individuals have had a tough career. From merely being ignored or rejected, to ridicule and derision, to persecution and even murder, such were the fates of those with an unwanted warning message. Today, there are two looming disasters careening towards human society on this planet, like a runaway freight train rushing at a level crossing being approached by a speeding tractor-trailer. The truck is being driven by madmen on the road to their New World Order. The train is a cosmic catastrophe on a date with destiny; that destiny being the end of the present age of human existence. To those of us who have removed the main filters, those dominant themes are obvious. Our deeper implanted filters may prevent us, however, from seeing the details of the dangers before us, and also prevent us from agreeing with others who have their own, partial view.

That fragmented description of the approaching crises again takes away from the impact of the warnings. The public, seeing discord over the details of the warnings, clings to the most attractive conclusion-- that therefore, there is no danger-- rather than focusing on the broad lines of concurrence. Thus, the ‘job’ is always easier for the negative forces to advance their cause, confident in the inertia of human nature taking necessary action when, instead, avoidance is still an available option. Perhaps the best that a prophet can expect to achieve is to present the warning in the hope that the hearers will remember it when the signs are so obvious as to be unavoidable. At least then, listeners may not be completely taken by surprise. As Jesus said, "From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe...” (Jn 13:19).

To those who have eyes to see, the signs are all around in our modern, secular society. The warnings are printed right on the greenback, the US dollar bill, for all to see! You know about the pyramid capped with the ‘eye of Horus,’ the inscription ‘novus ordo seclorum,’ the number 13 embedded in numerous images, and so on. Curiously, other warnings are presented for all to see in popular movies (and many pop songs) that are used as covert vehicles for serious advisory messages. The messages are right in our faces, yet they are hidden because they are put forth as fiction-- hence, it is easy to dismiss them as entertainment. You think it is for mere amusement that movies on ‘2012’ are being released three years before the fated date?

Probably the most convincing argument the prophet of today’s signs can give to the skeptics who cannot stretch their pre-programmed imaginations around the idea of a global conspiracy is to simply ask the scoffer this simple question: if it’s really just a crazy theory, then why do they persecute those who proclaim the warnings? A crazy idea can be dismissed as such, but a theory that gets too close to the truth provokes a nasty response. Alex Jones, to take one example, has regularly been harassed and obstructed by authorities when covering the big, ‘secret conferences.’ David Icke has been denied the use of pre-booked halls on speaking engagements. British MP and critic of Western policy towards Palestine, George Galloway, has been barred from entering Canada. Jeff Rense’s website comes under periodic attack, and his character under constant attack from someone, somewhere. Those who know what’s going on, and speak up about it, are inevitably persecuted. Some, like William Cooper, end up killed by the establishment. If it’s all a load of nonsense, you’ve got to ask yourself why do ‘they’ care? The very fact that the hidden manipulators go after these individuals (through their hired proxies, of course) demonstrates conclusively that there’s fire under the smokescreens, there’s substance to the allegations!

Finally, it’s obvious that no warning is going to have any benefit if no-one knows about it. That is the biggest obstacle now facing today’s prophets-- getting their message out to the masses. You’d think in an age of global, instant communication that it would be easy to inform the public; but of course, that is completely contrary to the reality. It is harder than ever for one person to get a message to a wide audience when every message is a mere droplet in a tidal wave of ‘information’ that sweeps over the world, daily. Compounding that already daunting obstacle is the problem that the hidden puppeteers don’t want ‘unapproved’ warnings to reach the populace; and those people control the major media conglomerates. (A warning is unapproved if it does not emanate from one of their designated sources, and moves their agenda forward-- e.g. 'climate change'). Thus, the powers behind the scenes are the gate-keepers of information, keeping the world ignorant of the most important knowledge, and flooding our minds with an overwhelming tide of tera-bytes of mostly worthless data.

If a meaningful warning is to have any chance at wide dispersal these days, it would likely have to take place on the worldwide web, using a site like YouTube, Twitter, or MySpace. We’ve had examples like the demonstrations that were organized in Moldova, in early 2009, by activists using the Web. Then there was the ‘much-ado’ case of singer Susan Boyle and her flash of fame that was fanned by the video clips posted from her TV appearance. The potential is there for a message from an obscure source to ‘go viral’ on the Net, and thereby-- for the immediate future-- get around the mainstream media gate-keepers to reach a global audience. But it’s still a long-shot, and usually dependent on the ‘MSM’ to some degree (e.g. Ms. Boyle appearing on a major, national talent show). Even on the ‘un-policed’ web, any story with information ‘they’ don’t want us to know comes quickly under attack by ‘dis-information’ agents who attempt to trash it before the message gains any traction. And with web-sites now numbering in the multi millions, it is no easy feat for any single item of information to be anything greater than a fleeting, local point of interest in a galaxy of starry lights.

The bottom line for prophets and their warnings is this: we can expect that no significant warning message will be given widespread attention (let alone credence) until such time as the warned event is already well underway. ‘As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it also be in the day when the Son of Man returns’ (Matt 24:37, Lk 17:26). Even in the last moments before the great Deluge, the masses of people were carrying on life as if all were ‘normal’ and would always be normal. The warnings of Noah were ignored or ridiculed... until it was too late. Yet Jesus assures us that history will repeat. There is nothing much we can do to change the human heart. “Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy" (Rev 22:11).

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