In case some of you aren’t familiar with the Biblical account of Thomas the Apostle, a disciple of Jesus, who doubted Jesus’ resurrection and demanded to feel his wounds before being convinced (John 20:24-29).
And henceforth, that term has been used to describe someone who will refuse to believe something without direct physical evidence; in other words a skeptic.
The hot-button issue of climate change best illustrates where there are as many Americans who view it as the greatest challenge we face in the decades ahead, as there are those who dismiss or downplay it, or even mock it as being nothing more than an unproven theory concocted by “mad scientists” and belonging in the same rubbish pile as the theory of evolution.
And nothing, not even after the nation suffered through the warmest summer ever this year (surpassing the heretofore warmest one during the Dust Bowl year of 1936), and with the seas rising to unprecedented levels-a major cause for the massive draughts and devastating effects of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy-would convince them otherwise.
Now, what I consider to be as amazing as it is downright disgusting, is that despite such cataclysmic events occurring with increasing regularity, that nary a word was spoken by Obama and Romney and their surrogates during the three presidential debates and throughout their campaigns on the very real dangers posed by climate change to our economy and way of life, and of how they’d cope with it on a short and long-term basis. (Other, that is, in their stressing the need to develop and rely more on energy alternatives, while at the same time giving the coal industry and smoke-producing factories a free pass.)
And as disappointed as those who yearned to see them address the issue head-on were by their silence, those pooh-poohing climate concerns as much ado about nothing were gleeful, convinced that their avoiding the subject altogether only confirmed their view of it as a non-issue, of little interest to the public.
Now, as history has shown, there’ll always be naysayers on any significant historical event or revolutionary theory. To cite a few instances:
- Galileo, regarded as the Father of Science, was found guilty of “vehemently suspect of heresy” by a Roman Inquisition, and placed under house arrest for the rest of his life for promulgating the theory that the Sun does not circle the earth, but when just the reverse was the case.
- Christopher Columbus, who set out to hopefully reach the West Indies by sailing westward was, according to the widely held belief in the Middle Ages that the world was flat, would drop off the edge of it, never to be heard of again.
- Moon landing conspiracy theorists, who claim that the six manned landings between 1969-1973 were fakes and filmed by NASA on Hollywood-like movie sets. And that 12 astronauts never walked on the moon, despite high-definition photos taken in the late 2000′s capturing tracks left by them, and images shown in 2012 of the Apollo flags still standing.
For what it’s worth, here are some tips I gleaned from a recent edition of the Personal Excellence magazine on how to tackle naysayers in your life, which you may find both informative and amusing:
- Safeguard your goals from them. For they tend to talk about the downsides and horror stories of the “dangers” surrounding what you plan to do.
- Eject the naysayers from your life (if you can). Generally, they serve as a shroud over life’s possibilities, so spending too much time with them is only going to limit your potential.
- Don’t engage in the discussion. For the naysayer can come up with all sorts of reasons why he/she is right and you’re wrong. In short, it’s a waste of time.
- Surround yourself with enablers. Stick with the people who see the glass as half full rather than half empty, who’d be supportive of your goals, and think about how you can increase the time spent with them, starting from today.
- Think back to your ideal vision for your life. For whenever you allow yourself to be distracted by naysayers, it’s only because you’ve taken your eyes off your goals.
To which I would add, stare at them with the same blank expression as you would during a tax audit, or when asked to be a pallbearer at someone’s funeral who you secretly detested when alive.
Quote of the week: “History shows us that the people who end up changing the world-the great political, social, scientific, technological, artistic, even sports revolutionaries-are considered nuts, until they’re proven right, and then they are geniuses.” John Eliot