I have many shortcomings but one that has been particularly problematic throughout this life journey is that I am terrible at being able to correctly estimate the amount of time and effort something will require to achieve its end result. For example, I really thought that I could communicate all I needed and wanted to communicate about the Fort Smith experience in not more than five blog posts. Ha! What's even more strange is that even though I am very familiar with this particular ineptness of mine that I continually demonstrate...I'm still always a bit surprised when the time and effort I estimated is so far off. With this data in mind, I think I can cover what I want to cover in part 15 in two parts; part 'a' and part 'b', which, based on prior misestimations, means part 15 will more likely become a sub-series of blog posts within the major series. That being said, I really don't think that we'll have to use the whole alphabet to get through part 15. If we do I'm in trouble. ;-)
There is something that I should have shared with you in part 1 but didn't. I'm a bit surprised that it's taken me 14 posts to get around to it. Here it is: When I look back on this life journey of mine I can easily spot numerous points along the way where I really believed I had things figured out, I was right, and I new that what I was talking about was the truth. Not just my truth mind you but, "The" truth. At these various points where I was so certain about what was what, it was not uncommon that I would, with extreme arrogance (more covert than not) and varying degrees of force, assert my "certainty" onto others. As I progressed on the journey, though, and other information would come into view, my tight grip on a particular "truth" would loosen and it wouldn't be long after that when I would find myself realizing that what I had been so sure of being so right about was just not so. It wasn't so much that I had been completely wrong in my earlier view, it's just that the information and views I had that I was holding up as being a complete and utter truth were so enormously incomplete that it was absurd. Finally, I arrived at the realization that, at any given time, even if I do believe that I know what I'm talking about, it is more a probability than not, that I only think that I know what I'm talking about. I don't really know what I'm talking about. The reason I want to share this personal information with you is because it seems to me that if neither one of us assumes that I know what I'm talking about, that whatever I say is just my perspective i.e., my interpretation of what I'm perceiving, then there will be no obligation for us to agree or disagree, to believe or disbelieve, to attack or support, to lead or follow and, rather than get trapped in a conflict of opposing perspectives (even if we do so silently in our thoughts), we can utilize this expedition as a tool to help broaden our perspectives as well as understandings. How viable the 'tool' will be is up to us.
One's relationship with the city of Fort Smith does not have to be a lengthy one before it becomes clear that something is amiss. And if a person gets interested and begins to have conversations with people about it and compares their notes with the notes of others, then spends a little time reading articles, blogs and comments on The City Wire, they will soon come to recognize that they are not alone in their perception that there's something not quite right going on here. Also, whatever "it" or "who" or "they" that is being indicated or suspected as being the source of the problem...it's a source that has obviously been extant for a very long time. Perhaps, it even goes as far back as the city's inception.
The subject of Fort Smith's (you supply the appropriate adjective) _____ behavior has been addressed many, many times by many people from all walks of life. Indeed, myriad examples of this can be found within the archives of The City Wire. Yet, regardless of all the thought, attention, effort, words, pages and hours of conversations that have been and continue to be devoted to this matter, the source remains to be the elusive burr under the saddle that can't be found or removed.
As far as I know, even though the mindset of Fort Smith is often mentioned and acknowledged as needing to be changed, there has not been anyone that has actually explored Fort Smith's mindset in an attempt to figure out why it is the way it is. Instead, the attention continually focuses on the plethora of specifics having to do with frustrating, bizarre and irrational experiences that occur in the physical reality of Fort Smith. If all doing comes from thinking (and I'm waiting for someone to explain to me how it doesn't), then how can we expect to discover the basic cause of Fort Smith's condition by continually looking into, delineating and arguing over all the doings? It stands to reason that if we don't pinpoint the actual cause of the condition, that, regardless of whatever 'fix' we try to implement, the condition will just continue to endure. In other words, we can't expect to fix the cause if all we do is continue to address the symptoms. Therefore, the only way we can hope to find the cause is to look where the cause is located i.e., the collective mind of Fort Smith.
Here in part 15 (a) is where we launch our expedition into that mysterious frontier we know as the collective mind of Fort Smith. What is the 'collective mind?' It is a composite of mindsets. Anyone, from any point in time that, has or has had, even the tiniest relationship with Fort Smith, even if it was as minuscule as someone reading about the city on Wikipedia and having a slight consideration about the city, has contributed to the collective mind of Fort Smith. It is a collection of individual thought systems that, like the trillions of individual cells that combine to form a body, cohere to form the mindset (seen and experienced as the personality) of Fort Smith. And it is the mindset that dictates the behavior of the city. If the mindset contains contradictions and negative belief systems the personality and behavior of the city will most definitely reflect this. Being that our minds, or portions of our minds, are integral parts of the collective mind of Fort Smith, we cannot help but have to explore our own mindset as we explore the mindset of Fort Smith. Each one of us is a part of it and we are continually contributing to it either positively or negatively, either from a place of fear or a place of love.
Where we are about to venture is unknown territory for me as I suspect it is for you as well. I've never purposefully journeyed into the mind of a city before and I'm not exactly sure of how to go about it. I do know this, though, it begins with having the belief that it can be done and after that, I suspect it's pretty much just a matter of asking questions, getting answers and asking more questions. Of course, too, as we find our way, there will be no shortage of the hypothetical. Indeed, I believe that use of the hypothetical will prove to be a most efficacious tool for discovering viable doorways into the cobwebbed covered programs/belief systems within the collective mind. Cobwebbed covered yet still very active and well defended. I see our expedition as being analogous to an archeological expedition where the collective mind of Fort Smith is our "dig" and antiquated but still active belief systems are the artifacts we seek to uncover from their hiding places beneath our awareness.
What I have for us to begin with are just a few clues that recently surfaced (due to a slight shift in viewpoint) that will hopefully give us some direction in which to focus our attention, questions and formulate hypothesis. Personally, I am disabusing myself of any expectations for how this expedition might or might not go because I know, how ever this plays out, it will not be what I expected. It would be ideal if we could somehow channel Sherlock Holmes, Sigmund Freud, Fort Smith historian, J. Fred Patton and Jiddu Krishnamurti to combine their skills, knowledge, insight and wisdom in collaboration with us in this journey. In lieu of our being able to channel the consciousness of these extraordinary individuals (even if one is fictional), we need to at least attempt to assume a viewpoint in our exploration that would resemble theirs. As we proceed, we need to consider ourselves metaphysical detectives intending to solve a mystery that has been successfully evading discovery for a very long while. As we go along, please don't hesitate to share your suppositions, insights, what ifs, hunches, contradictions you've seen or see, the incredibilities you've spotted and so on. You never know what dot, even the seemingly most insignificant one you can imagine, will be the key dot that will connect and make sense out of so many more that previously appeared to be disrelated.
It looks as if part 15 (a) has unfolded to be an orientation of sorts and this (I think) is a good place to end it. Part (b) is also going to be an orientation but it will be an orientation to a few metaphysical fundamentals as well as a few tools that we need to familiarize ourselves with before we take the next step, which is surveying the clues I mentioned. That said, I have no idea exactly what will flow through the keyboard and onto the page or how the concepts will arrange themselves. Part (b) should be ready to post by Sunday and then it will probably be the end of next week before (c) will be posted.