Theoretically Speaking….

Wandering through the chasms of unending chaos that are my mind I am constantly in search of the reasons for things and just maybe a hint of the meaning of life. That’s in between my new workout regimen and redesigning my golf swing for the 439th time. Now don’t laugh. There is method to my madness. You see all of the above and more rely heavily on theories. A theory is simply an idea or set of ideas that is intended to explain facts or events. Simple enough.

As I think of my life and yours we are chock a block with these little nuggets that someone has dreamed up. We have black hole theories to explain our universe, evolution to justify our existence and climate change to demonstrate how we have supposedly screwed everything up. There are whacky conspiracy theories to fill the pages of the Enquirer and highly respected ones found in a scientific journal. The latter are above my pay grade.

It is mystifying how we rely on these to dictate our day and manner of dealing with society. From the get go as infants we were subjected to either Watson or Sock as a way to be reared. Watson had little or no regard for one’s psychological well being, as kids were subjected to a very strict routine with no room for any sort of emotion. Benjamin Spock was more of a free spirit where one relied on their gut instincts and natural parenting tendencies to make Johnnie or Sue a contributing member of society.

Education is fraught with theories.Some good.Some bad but either way having an enormous effect on our lives. I have told you all of my experience as an eighth grader in the basement of Saint Mary’s church with 53 kids and Sister Mary Tabernacle to whatever. Point being we all graduated and passed the New York State Regents exams in English, Math and Social Studies.According to current theory that shouldn’t have happened.

When in New Jersey I worked with the Tri County Scholarship program in Paterson, NJ. The city was a stone’s throw from Newark and shared the same failures in public education. At Paterson Catholic we had kids with no entrance exam who excelled. At the time Paterson was spending $11,000 per kid and we were spending $2500. Their success rate was 35% and ours was !00%. I am not so much an apologist for Catholic education as saying there is a different way to achieve success in teaching that transcends religion.

The charter school is emblematic of a way to work within the system but comes under fire for a variety of reasons. If theory is based on fact then the results speak for themselves. They work. Phonics as a concept of educating can be deemed a success or failure but the future of millions of kids based on one mode of teaching or another places the responsibility of the process clearly at the feet of the proponents. The jury is still out.

We as a country and a world serve as lab rats of a sort. Socialism, capitalism, public housing projects of Jacob Riis. Social Security, welfare, desegregation, zero interest rates, the domino theory of Communism and nuclear detente are all theories of one sort or another. Vaccinations cause autism. Quackery or fact? Each of us has an opinion and its probity is often based on our credentials and authenticity. Whether it is the gravitas of the source or just a convincing and thoughtful presentation we are open to be won over or seduced as the case may be. Hey, the Rockies or Cubbies might be contenders this year.

This greatly affects our power to question and discuss. An opinion is a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. Unless you are Einstein, St Thomas Aquinas or Leonardo I will doubt the veracity of your argument. Nothing personal but I do have my standards. However I will listen. I will absorb as long as we both agree there is something to be sorted as opposed to your unconditional fiat.

Interestingly we have grown up as a highly egalitarian but more importantly independent country. We to this point have craved our individualism and creativity. Entrepreneurship and arrogance of a sort have been our bellwether. And yet today we look to everyone for help. There are coaching, meditating and self improvement gurus. The biggest selling books on Amazon are self help ones. We have consultants of every sort to tell us where we are going wrong instead of capitalizing on what we have done right. We have in essence ceded every part of our persona to someone else to tell me how I should look, dress, act and perform. I am totally subservient to their theories and not my own gut. Is this where you want to be? I don’t.

I have theories and I espouse them to you all the time. That doesn’t mean they are gospel or even coherent. It is just some schmuck throwing out his view of the world. It is neither valid nor to be ignored. It is to be considered in the overall thing we call life. The goal I most desire is to be part of your conversation not the center of it. You have so much much knowledge and wisdom in your soul that I would hope you would shout it to the rooftops and maybe somebody, somewhere will find small piece to call their own. That’s all any of us should ask.

Theories are wonderful but until they have seen the proof of time they are just conjecture. Don’t put them down but don’t blindly obey. Question everything for therein is where we will all find knowledge. You know my Jesuit training. Be wary of everything because it is when we ponder and meditate that we can really see something as worthy to be part of our lives or just another crazy theory.

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:
Crazy Theories.
The world is flat.
Alchemy
Astrology
Numerology.
The Donald is Presidential

Conspiracy Theories
Elvis is still alive.
Area 51 was invaded by ETS and an autopsy was done on one of the crew.
We did not land on the moon. It was all put contrived on a movie set.
The real killers of JFK got away.
Jane Fonda is the empress of an evil empire…I believe that one

Life’s enigmas
What is life?
What is happiness?
Why do we have evil?
Are things inherently evil?
Is a fetus living being
What’s your theory?
Does Trickle Down Economics Work?

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