In his book “Lila”, author and philosopher Robert Pirsig tells of sailing into port at Cleveland, when because of misreading the chart he believed he was actually some twenty miles up shore in a completely different harbor. Yet the landscape seemed to tie in with the chart – until he remembered having discounted discrepancies between the map and the land, convincing himself that changes had been made to the shoreline since the chart was produced.
Writing about himself in the third person, Pirsig states: “It was a parable for students of scientific objectivity. Wherever the chart disagreed with his observations he rejected the observation and followed the chart. Because of what his mind thought it knew, it had built up a static filter, and immune system, that was shutting out all information that did not fit. Seeing is not believing. Believing is seeing.
“If this were just an individual phenomenon it would not be so serious. But it is a huge cultural phenomenon too, and it is very serious. We build up whole cultural intellectual patterns based on past “facts” which are extremely selective. When a new fact comes in that does not fit the pattern we don’t throw out the pattern. We throw out the fact. A contradictory fact has to keep hammering and hammering, sometimes for centuries, before maybe one or two people will see it. And these one or two have to start hammering on others for a long time before they see it too.”
- Pirsig, Lila: An Inquiry into morals
(London: Black Swan, 1992), 392-93.
Hitler’s enemies, since World War Two, have convinced us of that which they call “facts”. We have grown up believing that what we have been taught about Hitler are indeed true facts. Official history in this regard, is like the map, or chart. When we encounter discrepancies in the official history, they are like the land. Our natural tendency is to reject our observations, and follow the chart/official history. This is our static filter in action, causing within us, a manifestation of that phenomenon described by Mr. Pirsig as: “Seeing is not believing. Believing is seeing.” We continue to believe in official history, regardless of facts that come into our awareness through our own observations.
This principle is seen in action in the context of politics and religion, as well as in history. Politically speaking, television, newspapers and magazines are the charts provided for our use. Religiously speaking, the charts are scriptures and religious leaders.
The President can prove himself to be a liar over, and over again; but if the news media carries his word about weapons of mass destruction in a particular country, the public will believe him, and even send their sons and daughters out to bleed and die for his personal interests in the oil business.
Likewise, our personal experience of a spiritual nature can provide facts that contradict the intellectual patterns established for us by our religions, and we will invariably throw out the facts, and keep the patterns.
Mr. Pirsig was a very insightful man, able to analyze himself objectively, and thus, learn something about humanity as a whole. Our religious leaders, our political leaders, and those who write official history, are keeping the masses duped, because they understand the principle that: “Seeing is not believing. Believing is seeing”. They use our “static filters” against us, always keeping us twenty miles down shore from where we believe ourselves to be.
It’s no wonder, then, that Americans cannot prevent their eventual enslavement. They cannot awaken to reality, because they keep tying in the landscape with the chart, by discounting the discrepancies. They cannot rid themselves of their static filters; or in this case, “reality filters”.