Some may feel it’s a bit rich coming from an opinionated so-in-so such as myself. Why? You tell me. Symptomatic of the crazy world we live in – opinionated folk often are accused of being opinionated! If open-mindedness leads to becoming opinionated then good. I want to hear what people have to say. Takes five seconds realising if the person you’re talking to has the brains of a rocking horse. What I can’t stand are Humpty-Dumpty merchants who just sit on the fence.



How many times have I explained something, outlining all the necessary points, no bias attached whatsoever only for the person to turn round & say ‘AAHHH THAT’S JUST YOUR OPINION!………… Whenever this occurs I make a point of looking over my shoulder, perfectly aware no one’s behind me & say – ‘I’m sorry but were you talking to someone else or perhaps you were hoping for the Gettysburg Address? OF COURSE IT’S MY OPINION YOU BLITHERING IDIOT!’ 


A while ago I wrote, the moment you possess a fair understanding of what’s really going on, you’re in a world of hurt! Hence the saying ‘ignorance is bliss’. For the individual, remaining unaware, seemingly, has its advantages. There’s lots less to worry about. Does this mean the dense, dim, dumb & dopey fret less than the clued up? Hardly. I’m of the belief understanding how our world works & indeed our ‘impossible’ Universe serves to prioritise our fears. As a result, we worry less about the things uninitiated folk tend to go doolally over.    



Open-mindedness is largely down to having parents with sound judgement, able enough to show right from wrong while allowing the thought process to flourish. Einstein was asked how he solved many of mankind’s deepest philosophical conundrums. He simply replied ‘I like to ask questions.’ Unfortunately this is an exception rather than the rule. Worse still, with certain topics like 9/11 & the Holocaust, the mere sniff of a question can incur a volley of abuse. One can argue lack of education is to blame but what does it take for a person to realise their new-born child is neither a racist or religious?


Religion – but a concoction of man’s imagination! Why is it believers never question how they follow the same religion as their parents? How many ‘belief systems’ are there? Yet, even though one’s positively spoilt for choice, of the 5 billion worshippers, almost all follow the same religion as their parents. All that’s required is a little thought, dare I say it, open-mindedness. Lamentably, the brain shutters don’t just come crashing down; with religion they remain clamped! Bizarre to say the least. Many are intellectuals & those who’ve been taught right from wrong flawlessly. Of course with religion, indoctrination is the way. Parents themselves were forced to believe. it’s easily applied through the installation of fear. Damnation in hell awaits those who fail to succumb!



Fear is a central theme of life. How else could Nature thrive so outlandishly as it does on this planet? Over time creatures developed fear because awareness itself was an attribute. Naturally animals slow to sense danger often ended up as a tasty snack! Those alert to danger were therefore more likely to pass their genes on than those that were slovenly, footloose & fancy free. This most certainly applied to our ancestors. However one particular mammalian branch evolved so spectacularly, one day it would learn to utilise fear as a weapon in order to control others. Minds weren’t just capable of being shut down – they were programmable!



Yet I’ll admit many who know me believe I’m set in my ways; I’ve a closed mind. To some extent I understand why but nothing is further from the truth. Music for me is the language of the Universe & I’m convinced Hendrix, Mozart & Beethoven are the three greatest musicians in history. I know Rachmaninov, Wagner, Tchaikovsksy; I know about the Beatles & Elvis, Gershwin & Porter; I know what amazing pianists & writers Chopin & Liszt were; I know the genius of Segovia & Paganini. Yet however strong the irresistible force is, I stand firm – the immovable object………. except I grant you – the moment someone comes along to seriously challenge my top three I’ll be aware of it. My mind is open to the possibility too that someone who knows far more about music could show just how wrong I am.


Imagine two close friends – one a life-long Democrat, the other a die-hard Republican. All arguments have been squeezed bone dry. Neither can say anything to effect a switch of allegiance. Now another friend who previously supported one of the these parties suddenly declares ‘no. I’ve thought about this & I’ve come to the conclusion the Dems & the Reps are merely both sides of the same coin.’ He then proceeds to explain exactly why. Chances are this will make no difference but if the points are delivered calmly & skilfully, one of them may ponder. He may not convert but at least he’s prepared to think & analyse why his friend had radically altered his views. Therefore a mind slightly ajar is a damn sight better than a closed one. We were, after all, given the right to think!



  • TE Ahrens

    Excellent, piece here. Worth saving and putting away for a read again on another day. The paragraph on fear sounded like something straight out of a Daniel Quinn book and I’m a big fan of his writings. The point you ended this on is great too, reminds me of what a guy named Tim Black (fairly popular YouTube person) often has to say. It’s a point on how with some people it’s best to and often you just “gotta spread some facts on them and get out of there” which he always mentions he took from his favorite comedian Dave Chappelle talking about dirty cops; the “let’s sprinkle some crack on him and get out of here” bit. Sometimes that’s all you can do. Just throw some seeds and hope the shutters get opened just enough for a sprinkle of sunlight.

    • Thanks Thane & I couldn’t agree with you more. The great Mark Twain said – it’s a whole lot easier fooling people than telling them they’ve been fooled.’ This is so true. That’s why for years I’ve been saying, stuff the detail. Just plant a seed. I highlighted this in a 9/11 video – How best to convince people.

  • Jenny

    As always a post so full of truth and common sense, I loved the pictures as well, I am one hundred percent coming from your mindset Michael.
    But in my reality, I hardly know anyone you can honestly discuss these thing with.
    Met an 18 year old recently, who was wide open to knowing and we talked for over 2 hours…such a breath of fresh air..

    • Dear Jenny – do I know how you feel. Sadly awareness through the ability to analyse correctly has the tendency to usher in loneliness. This is a price we have to pay. The more you know, the less people you know because it becomes ever-harder finding folk of common ground. x

  • Buddy Silver


    WILLFUL BLINDNESS: Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril was first published in 2011.

    “Willful Blindness is an engaging read, packed with cautionary tales ripped from today’s headlines as well as a trove of research on why we often stick our head in the sand. With deft prose and page after page of keen insights, Heffernan shows why we close our eyes to facts that threaten our families, our livelihood, and our self-image — and, even better, she points the way out of the darkness.”
    Dan Pink, author of ‘Drive’ and ‘A Whole New Mind’

    “In Willful Blindness, Margaret Heffernan speaks with a relentlessly constructive voice, acknowledging the psychological truth of the pervasive human tendency not to see uncomfortable realities, while at the same time identifying all the ways that individual managers and organizational leaders still possess the power and the capacity to take back their own sight. She looks, clear-eyed, at an uncomfortable phenomenon, even as she is sympathetic to why it is so common. There is no judgment in this book, only brave curiosity, a passion for truth and the practical mindset of someone who has built and led successful organizations herself. Readers will come away with the motivation to resist their own tendency to ignore the truths around them, as well as the insights and tools required to empower their teams and organizations to do the same.”
    Mary Gentile, author of ‘Giving Voice to Values’

    Daily Express
    Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril
    By Margaret Heffernan
    Published Friday 25th February 2011
    We can all be guilty of telling the truth and reluctance to acknowledge uncomfortable facts is all around but what makes us so inclined to willful blindness? Heffernan addresses this using psychological studies and interviews and applies her theory to explain why incidents such as the financial crisis occur.
    Dr Mark’s Business Psychology Blog
    Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril
    By Dr Mark Parkinson
    Published online at:

    Peer pressure, role modeling, obedience to authority, group think, cognitive dissonance, selective attention, love it’s a wonder we can think straight. Well actually a lot of the time perhaps we don’t. Quite apart from the forces of social psychology messing with our minds, the plumbing of the brain itself does a great job of physically reducing the flow of what we know. Perhaps that’s not surprising as we all have to deal with about 34GB of data every day. But does all this matter? In one sense, no, because it’s what gets us through life. And you could argue it’s what makes us uniquely human. But, and it’s a big ‘but’, when it stops us seeing what we should see, and stops us doing what we should do, then it can be a major problem. Far more damaging than courageously ‘turning a blind eye’ in a sea battle (Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen), because not ‘seeing’ or acknowledging uncomfortable truths can literally lead to disaster. The sort of disaster that can end in ecological calamity, world financial meltdown, health scandals, military failure and always, ruined lives. Small things like that.

    If you want to know how this can be, and how we can all be unconsciously (and consciously) willfully blind, then get a copy of Margaret Heffernan’s new book: Willful Blindness: Why we Ignore the Obvious at our Peril. It’s just out in the UK and is published by Simon & Schuster.

    All Americans need to read this book FIRST, before they begin to unravel the mess they are in.

    It is a vital tool to remove the scales from their eyes!

    Then and only then, will they be able to see the termites and the damage they have done to the structure of Gentile society!

    You must be prepared to offer everything on the altar of Truth – and I mean EVERYTHING!

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