UWAGA PIES

Harry Drabik

Entering the season for tart apple and sweet pumpkin pie most but not all readers will reasonably see the title and then think along the lines of a recipe for an autumnal treat called UWAGA PIE they’ve not encountered. Maybe it’s served farm kitchen style in a bowl with half full of fresh cream from your own herd of registered milk producers. (The nearby non farmer might settle for whole milk. City folk gussy their pie warming it first in the microwave and putting a scoop of posh name ice cream and adding the “a la mode” to make the presentation extra good.) But rather than play around the edges of the seeming obvious I’ll go forward by saying I know of no desert called UWAGA, not even at the SZARA GES where the signature desert is as much (or more) a work of art as it is food. 

The two word combo is a warning. I have one in noticeable red on my garage door where along with the words in BOLD there’s a guard dog image. Translated, UWAGA PIES says Beware the Dog. For those fond of certain notions UWAGA PIES is a demonstration of diversity in useful communications. I make much the same argument about diversity theory as I do for competition as a principle. These things are much more about cooperation and conventionality than they are the things they say. A case can easily be made that when pushed as ideals or end goals either of these (competition or diversity) can make society considerably more arrogant, brutish, divisive, and objectionable. Society and community are torn when it’s fair game to push your way to the front of the gasoline or grocery line, pay in an unfamiliar currency or scrip, and then likely as not complain bitterly at any inconvenience to u\yourself that likely results. We don’t much like to hear or face the unpopular or unwanted consequences of much-loved pet beliefs. We hold this, that, or the other to be wholly (play on words) true. Why? Because it is upsetting to think other and annoyingly time consuming to backtrack and review the what and why of things we assume are so

As example, take evolution. (Entering that as a topic does not mean creationism any more than questioning immigration means racism and not pro-labor. The expedient assumptions we all make often trip us on our own laces.) Studies and review (there’s been plenty of that since Darwin’s day) generally agree evolution theory is a brilliant explanation for development in a plant or animal group. What’s less clear and much more difficult to work out are the mechanics of origination. Can we explain what in nature prompted the ever more daunting moves from single cell to highly complex multi-cell/specialty cell creatures as we are with guts relying on the presence of other microbial organisms for our survival. Evolutionary competition in a species has a component of cross species symbiotic cooperation as difficult to functionally explain as it is for us to lay out what caused periods of (try the Pre Cambrian example) biologic explosion of forms. The Chinese, not as wedded to Darwinism as the West, don’t offer an explanation, either, but their researchers have found some startlingly complex forms of life that seem to appear suddenly with no evolutionary background or predecessor. Darwinism helps explain the eventual demise of those creatures, but not their initiation. Even a very good theory isn’t enough to summarize the vastness of biologic realities. To be strong any belief whether economic, scientific, religious, etc. needs to be questioned and face challenge. It is by far easier to run on faith, but the shoelaces will trip us before we know it.

As I do, you probably know numbers of people who are energized or born-anew by finding inspiration and purpose in a cause. Causes, so-to-speak, select their carriers much as wands choose their wizards. We settle to what fits and feels right. And you’ve possibly noticed a degree (small or quite pronounced) of arrogant superiority in the new-true believer. (Eric Hoffer is an interesting read.) Finding truth also conveys purpose, a feature of great importance in a society where there is less and less visible agreement (aka competition, diversity, etc) providing societal glue. If society and culture are wracked there’s refuge in a firm belief. We see the fracture in many ways, not least of which put the darkest of the dark horses in the Oval Office. But truly, not to worry. A good upset (if viewed constructively) might be for the best. Maybe not the leader we looked for or expected but possibly the one needed to bring focus. In order for a society to function well it needs to someway accommodate opposing views. I think this is done through understanding opposing views. For that to work (as it should in classic debate) understanding must be respectful. A solid argument requires knowing the other side’s values well as you know your own. Yelling, accusation, slaps in the face are not discourse. We seem to forget that far too often, considering the stakes and the result of half-thought policies.

Ill-considered and incomplete consideration is not limited to one view more than another. It’s a problem whether they’re aware or not for whoever is doing it. I don’t know how you make or find peace amid cacophony, but I find it a little easier to sort out by making it a point NOT to give free passes to any view, especially one I might favor. Positions must be able to stand scrutiny and hard questioning. Fact is, I think, political faith can be just as crazily unrealistic as any religious fanaticism I know. Is belief in an all-powerful deity who sees human as obedient slaves all that different from faith there is an all-good society where humans are dependents? The distinction between slave and dependent is what exactly? People can be as dangerously wrong interpreting revealed scripture as they are when defending revealed political truth. “Danger Will Robinson” is where it might least be expected.

NOTE: I don’t have a dog. The sign has another purpose.