Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Our world has gone to the dogs (part II)

In my last post I suggested that our world has gone to the dogs. Nu, what's so bad about that? After all, isn't a dog man's best friend?

Well, that's actually the point.

Dogs love us unconditionally, which is why we love them. Even when you arrive home in a foul mood, your loyal mutt will bound over, wag its tail and deposit a slobbery "hello" all over your face. Besides, Rover doesn't hold grudges, even don't take him walkies every day. He'll continue to love you after you grip the leash and stop him chasing the pigeons.

Canine loyalty isn't a cerebral thing. They don't love your for your talents or achievements. Dogs are loving and loyal because dogs are loving and loyal.

In Hebrew, a dog is called a kelev, which hints at kol-lev (all heart). Dogs are heart-creatures, emotion-driven not intellect driven.

Modern trends and opinions are also heart-driven. People make sentimental lifestyle choices, not always rational ones. You buy what you like- or think others will like- more often than you buy what you need or can afford. The credit crunch is thanks to kelevesque investment decisions taken impulsively, not rationally.

People vote for their leaders with their heart, not their minds. Obama's policies didn't steal the vote, his "Yes we can!" and "Change" rhetoric did. He spoke so successfully to people's hearts that he didn't need to appeal to their minds.

Kelev mentality.

More sinister is the way people's prejudices are shaped by emotive nonsense rather than hard facts.

Israel has lagged hopelessly in the media war for a long time. Yet, during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, they seemed to rally. Tzippi Livni, Bibi Netanyahu and Mark Regev argued Israel's case eloquently on CNN, Sky and BBC. The IDF splashed out video footage of booby-trapped schools, missile stockpiles in mosques and IAF precision bombings, including pilots redirecting their missiles from terrorist targets when they entered civilian areas.

The world replied: "Don't confuse us with the facts".

And the facts are glaring: Close to 9000 missiles fired at Israel, Palestinian civilians used as human shields and Israel fighting the most moral war the world has ever seen. Still, nobody's interested.

Israel's pushing facts. Pallywood's pushing sensationalism. "Yes we can!" ignites the American heart, but so does "civilian victims". "War crimes" and "disprapotionate force", mixed with horrifying images of Palestinians parading their dead and wounded for the camera push the emotional buttons hard.

Here in South Africa they simply use a one-word emotive hook: "Apartheid". That's it, everyone now knows Israel is wrong.

It is so frustrating.

It is also so expected. You cannot reason with a world that thinks with its heart- not the deep intuitive heart, but the fickle emotive heart.

After all, our world has gone to the dogs...

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