Saturday, August 4, 2007


Most folks have heard that line uttered a few times whether it was expressed in admiration of the movie line or pawning it off as your own statement of disdain. This line came from one of my favorite movies called “A Few Good Men” that starred Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, and Kevin Bacon among others. The line was uttered in a condescending manner to express contempt for a restricted line officer that didn’t quite understand the predicament of a line officer. A restricted line officer is basically someone that isn’t expected to be found anywhere near the action in a battle field whereas a line officer would be in the thick of things. And so restricted line personnel are typically held in lower regard.

At any rate, I find this fascinating for two reasons:
1. Most of the civilian population cannot fathom nor stomach some of the experiences that the troops face in war – much like the restricted line officer.
2. And this same resentment is sometimes projected towards civilians due to their lack of understanding of the predicament of the troops.

This begets an issue that I discovered leads to a further perpetuation of events. Due to the above reasons many become disconnected. This disconnectedness comes about in a variety of ways. For example, I’ve been told by many lately that they no longer watch the news because it is too depressing. They stop watching the news and get disconnected. So, that comes as no surprise to me when I talk about an improvised explosive device (IED) that was mentioned in the news, they ask: “What is that?” So, what is the point here?

Well, when I spoke to a Middle Eastern businessman recently he stated that no one cares much about the war and anything associated with it – especially with all the dying and the negative things. He goes on to say that they only care about their day-to-day activities and as long as gas prices are in decline – all else is trivial. In his words, as long as it’s a small pinch; never mind the big pinch to come. I understood this to be him referring to a similar experience of the oil crisis a few decades back. Something that is like the Great Depression: far removed from our minds and just a noteworthy occurrence in history. Now, while I think he has a point, I’m not ready to accept this. Not yet, not yet.

Pay attention because this concept about being or becoming disconnected will be a major issue moving forward. I say this in all sincerity and this does not have to do solely with the war and its conduct. The concept of disconnectedness has broader implications that will be revisited time and again – not just here either. But another example that illustrates this would be a few friends of mine getting connection-weariness to where they delete their MySpace profile – it’s a withdrawal of sorts. I liken it unto drinking: after a night of drunken debauchery when that hung over feeling sets in you don’t want to see or hear about alcohol for some time. Well so too does all that communicating, etc set someone in a sentiment of disillusionment.

Anyways, much too often we focus on the negative aspects (and I’m not one to catastrophize) but when we feel disillusioned and disconnect from the world we only compound the problem. It is much easier to get bogged down commiserating about the bad things that are happening. But this perspective or manner of approach is what puts us in a downward spiral. We can all stop focusing so much on talking about the problem and spend more time understanding it and working out a solution.

Disconnectedness revisited. At a recent green function, I heard the mention of a disconnect of some sort that existed in the community. And I instantly thought of a gap that seems to be occurring. I noticed this in our research and found that the way to bridge this gap is through education. That is sharing with the community that there is a solution to the problem. That it is economically feasible and that its time for adoption is nigh at hand. If you are disconnected, you pass up the opportunity of finding out about this and just like some late real estate investors you jump on the bandwagon too late and lose out on the gains. This applies to many evolving trends: most play the wait-and-see game until they feel they can’t hold out any longer. And that could lead to a late entrance. You hold the power to act individually. And that is why I was not yet willing to accept that businessman’s viewpoint. He misses the possibility that more and more people will come back into the fold and take action as they feel more empowered to do so. They will no longer wait and see.

Finally, as the famous General Patton said: “A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood.”

Let’s Reconnect. The time for talk and half measures is over. Energy independence will be realized because that was the last wish of a dying man. Imagine it and it shall be so.

Knowledge is power: Wield it.

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