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The Drunken Duck Hunt Approach to Clarity

(Summary before you begin;  It is very possible to collect so much information on a topic that making decisions that allow actual action can become difficult.  100% certainty on any decision is usually impossible to achieve.  But to make progress at anything, DOING is essential.  Many people, at any level of their life, can be info laden and action static.  And there are clear examples of info laden individuals who allow their info load to guide them into actions that are bizarre!  Here is some thinking that might help connect your amazing human mind to the environment we live in.  Our environment tends to be an anchor and a stabilizer to counter the wild gyrations of individual human minds as well as group thinking.  Common sense is linked to our environment.  Many times common sense shines brightly through the holes in human theory.)

In a knowledge saturated world, why is it so often hard to act with confidence?  Knowledge and facts and details should clarify decisions, especially important decisions.  Why does that often not seem to be the case?

Is there a grass roots solution that an individual can apply?  Can an individual operate in a rational manner even if everyone around them appears to be confused or paralysed at acting in a rational manner?

I feel that a simple joke holds a summarized key that helps anyone take control of their destiny.

I am impressed by innovation and skills that some people seem to have for figuring out technical, social, or philosophical developments.  How did Steven Jobs kick out such a stream of winning ideas?  How do some musical artists generate strings of creative songs?  How do some business men figure out moves that tap the way humans function in such a way that they can assemble social systems that achieve remarkable goals?

In many cases, highly innovative people will have a steady steam of seemingly remarkable creative ideas that go nowhere because they lack other elements that are needed to complete the project.  In some cases two or more personalities will be allies and jointly achieve remarkable progress.  Soichiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa are an example with Honda providing the technical creativity and Fujisawa providing the business and financial savvy.  Interestingly, both men had very humble beginnings and few could have predicted their eventual level of success. Both men freely recognized their dependence on the other for the remarkable run they experienced together.

Everyone has good ideas and a certain level of creativity, simply as a perk that comes with being Alive and Human – we are not monkeys!  Human LIFE is a time sensitive kick at being like God – at being a free, living, creative individual.  No small privilege!

I am in the LIVING loop, like everyone else, and it fascinates me how ideas and understandings snap into place.  My mind (a typical mind) is like a hot car that comes with a smooth gear shifting system and lots of power and a steering control.  Again, simply a perk of Life!  And using that mind is a blast!  And one little characteristic of the mechanism is the way I can wallow in events and thoughts and then, “snap!” - some little event or observation will catch my attention, fit into other thought bits that are stored in my brain, and Bingo – a breakthrough idea will form that seems quite unlikely to many of those around me.  Creativity!  And everyone else experiences these “snap!” revelations in varying ways.  Everyone is somewhat unique.  LIFE as an individual, creative entity is remarkable and exciting.  And anyone reading this is on the same page.

I have some simple jokes that I am going to relate.  I am not sure why these jokes, which I heard years ago, have stuck with me and impress me.  But it has dawned on me that they illustrate how our minds in conjunction with our environment, generate thoughts, perhaps positive or perhaps negative, in almost any situation.  The School is complex and detailed and so much fun to experience.  Really valuable lessons lurk in the most obscure places!

The photo that follows has a caption below it.  Is the caption a formula for disaster?  Is the caption crazy?  Is the caption brilliant?  Does the caption illustrate the complexity and layered nature of the Life Experience?  Was hunter Jim Corbett accurate in his simple education policy statement? (Corbett's Education Summary).

When I heard that joke, I found it funny.  Most people would.  But years after hearing the joke I also came to feel that there were layers to the fabricated story.  I have since seen many events in life that remind me of that joke.  Bits of Life experiences have floated around and then snapped into place to form a useful lesson.

It is a concern of many people that the internet age and communication and transport advances have flooded life with so much data and stimulation that it creates a paralysing effect.  Many people are lost in data and effective action is actually inhibited.  Day to day hustle and bustle is wild but longer term thinking definitely is pressured to the side in the short term.  The hardness of this world slowly grinds our dreams away – we lose ourselves in work to do – work to do and bills to pay!  - the insightful words of artist and observer Bruce Springsteen.

It is somewhat of an embarrassment to me that I wasted a certain percentage of my life enamoured with the belief that I was good at thinking my way to success but I eventually discovered, that in my case at least, getting in there and “doing it” seemed to be much more effective than taking too long to “figure it all out” so I could act in an “intelligent” manner.  Too much planning so often results in a lot of planning going down the drain when reality is eventually confronted.  Planning has its place, but action is often delayed too long – or at least that has been my experience.

A parallel story from my paintball field involves a game we call “Last Man”.  A fort is equipped with a tower with a “takeover” button at the top.  The button is attached to a stopwatch that is at the main control kiosk.  One team defends the tower and the players on that team are out of the game when they are hit.  The attacking team members need to return to the starting zone each time they are hit but they can reactivate there and they are back in the game.  Thus, eventually the defending team is decimated and the attackers are free to hit the “takeover” button and establish a take-over time.  The teams reverse positions and the goal is to defend for the longest time.

The vital elements of a successful hunting expedition? Bullets – a gun – and a bottle of fine whisky!
A group of hunters went on a duck hunt.  One hunter in particular, let’s call him Alex, regarded the outing as a drinking opportunity and was asleep in a blind when several large flocks of ducks came over.  His hunting buddies hammered away and managed to miss every shot that they took.  Finally the shooting roused the intoxicated Alex and he sprang up just as a single bird came racing over his blind.  He raised his swaying gun and pulled the trigger and the bird dropped.  The unusual event brought a couple of his friends to his side as he stumbled out of the blind to retrieve the bird and being aware of the condition Alex was in, they expressed amazement at his aiming ability.  Alex slurredly replied that “When I see a flock that large, I just aim in the center and let them have it!”
I have seen this game played hundreds of times!  I have seen dozens of strategies applied.  I have seen takeovers in under a minute and defences that went so long that we had to bring both teams in without a takeover.

But four general approaches stand out.

Some attacking teams come up with a complex plan.  They head out with enthusiasm and usually take a long time to get the job done.  There is usually little evidence that the plan had any positive effect vs. no planning at all.

Some attacking teams, often made up of 14 year old boys with young minds rattled by hormones, will seemingly be engaged in a battle in a direction nowhere near the fort that is the object of the game.  They are doing lots of shooting but not where it will do any good.  Often it is unclear who they are shooting at, if anyone!

Some attacking teams head out with great caution and sneak around, far from the fort, seemingly worried that they may get hit, despite knowing that they can immediately reactivate, if they are.

Winning attack teams usually use some common sense with regard to moving quickly towards the fort, knowing that time is vital, while maintaining a degree of protective cover.  But they get in there and “do the simple job” of making contact with the defenders and gradually winning one shootout after another.  The defenders have limited numbers and limited lives and the elimination job gets done systematically.

A feature of Living as a human is that it is impossible to be 100% sure of anything.  But we have to put one foot ahead of the other and we have to DO certain things simply to stay alive.  As a result, action is vital and the degree of confidence that we have that any action will yield the results we are after varies greatly.  Often it is easier to not think and to not act.  If the thinking part of the job is too great, often action never occurs.  Life passes.  The clock runs out and the game is called!

The drunk duck hunter is a wonderful analogy of getting in there and doing the job rather than theorizing around and getting tangled in the barb wire web of human intellectuality and suffering paralysis due to analysis.  Relax.  Lighten up.  But Act!  And act in a semi-intelligent manner – don’t be a totally witless fool who shoots somewhere other than in “the middle of the flock”.

Alex shot at the middle of the flock, not at blue sky.

It is rare that it is possible to act with 100% confidence but I think winners can be identified as those who look at the odds and as soon as they think they see a winning move, they pull the trigger.  If they are wrong, they are very much into the learning loop and likely will gain what is needed to not miss on a second or third or fourth shot!  Their action and the resulting lessons learned usually relegate volumes of unused planning material to the trash can.

The Real World and common sense are great teachers.  Human disagreements and differences often lay in the realm of theory and thoughts and when a bunch of guys get drunk together, a barroom brawl in not necessarily assured.  Often commonalities surface when stupor knocks out airy-fairy ideas, and underlying realities, that all of us live with, are laid bare.

Arguing about the nature of God may be an example of where simply getting into action would tell you that most of the theorizing is nuts.

If a “non-religious” person looks at the actions of a “religious” person and say “that’s nuts!” there is a chance that common sense intuition is guiding him and that he is right.

If a person who is inclined to think that the concept of a God makes sense and he looks at the actions of people who claim to think that there is no God and says “that’s nuts” there is a chance that he is right.  Our “unnatural” environment and common sense may well be guiding him past a mountain of dingbat theorizing to an obvious fact.

Common sense is not something that should be ignored.  People who have Lived and who sit in a somewhat neutral position with regard to defining the right and wrong position may have more credibility than extremists, who would like to think that they have the scoop on the God topic.

Fads and mass movements happen and a bit of historic research shows that such events, in hindsight, can be amazingly bizarre.  History usually tells something of the present and of the future.  Common sense can be shorted out temporarily but the world around us is more stable than our collective thinking.  Mass idiocy is usually steered back to relative sanity by time and daily experience and a historic tale remains for survivors to ponder!

I feel there is a big message in the Drunk Duck hunter story.  There is a common sense lesson contained in it that is really helpful at allowing individuals, on a grass roots, easy to attain level, to take control of their minds and lives and to convert their thinking and analysis effectively into productive actions.

Artist Springsteen’s lines again; My soul checked out missing, as I sat listening, to the hours and minutes ticking away. Yeah just sittin’ around waiting for my life to begin while it was all just slippin’ away.  (Better Days)

What about you?  Those song lines remind me so much of MANY people who I know.  Bogged down in mental barb wire.  Living but not LIVING.  Wallowing in data and facts but farting their lives away, not having logical direction or purpose that converts into action.  Doing but not DOING!  Spending their time sensitive life spinning their wheels or laboriously slaving at goals that clearly are akin to hauling rocks to try to fill the ocean.

Paralysis due to Analysis is a real issue.  It is very possible to get lost in the forest, perhaps intentionally.  Some people may want to get lost in the forest.  They may be running from responsibility.  They may be running from fear.  The fear may be irrational.  They may be paranoid.  They may be trying too hard.  They may be obsessed with establishing their intelligence against a backdrop of being suspicious that they are really shirking dumb ass jokers.

DOING is a great teacher.  Tempered Common Sense is a great guide.  You will never be 100% sure of anything.  But common sense tells you to put one foot ahead of the other.  If you are alive, NOW is the time to LIVE!

Appreciation that we live in a designed environment makes the Star War’s term of “the Force being with you” not a totally off the wall idea.  Acting and hitting the lone duck in the middle of the flock may not be a crazy concept.

Another joke; an elephant is watching a group of monkeys, who have escaped from a zoo and are intent on escaping further, all the way to the moon.  They start climbing a huge Douglas Fir tree.  The elephant says “I have a feeling this isn’t going to work”.  The lead monkey swings upward and sarcastically retorts “Well we are making progress, aren’t we?”  The common sense elephant was able to see past a tangled technical theory that the monkeys thought made good sense.  The problem is that they are going to have to work hard and long to find out by DOING that there is a flaw in the theory.  Surely humans can see past such faulted thinking.  But maybe not.

Would it be a smart statement to say “Grab your gun and a bottle of whiskey and go on a hunting trip with your buddies!”?
I am in a bit of a rambling mood and want to toss up some more thoughts, some of which are partially rehash.  I will switch gears slightly at this point by tossing up another “joke” – a “dumb blonde joke”.  Again, I heard this joke a long time back and enjoyed it but only recently got thinking that the joke might not be as dumb as first meets the eye.

A dumb blonde comes into a hair salon wearing Ipod ear phones.  She wants her hair cut.  The stylist suggests that she will have to take off the headset and the blonde said “Oh, I can’t do that or I will die!”  The stylist grabs the headset and pulls it off.  The blonde drops out of the chair onto the floor and dies.  In shock, one of the salon staffers grabs the headset and listens.  “Breath in – Breath out – Breath in – Breath out”.

I recently was thinking about the silly joke and it struck me that the concept is not totally crazy.  I have stated elsewhere in this blog that I feel individuals often get thinking patterns loaded into their brains that can be compared to CO or CO2.  The effect is to cut off pure oxygen, which is needed for life to flourish and progress and develop.  If “getting to the moon” is defined as the goal of life, it could be argued that the monkeys in the preceding joke have been cut off from oxygen by their thought process which is directing them on a course that is doomed to failure.  They will learn, but there are better and less inefficient ways to do it.  And until they admit defeat, they are in effect not getting oxygen – not really progressing toward the goal.

It is my contention that religion, for the most part, is like CO or CO2 or like convincing people to try to climb a tall tree to the moon.  Secularism is little different.  But there is obviously a God and I feel it is almost as obvious that the Bible is THE Book that is THE Manual for effective human function.  Everyone needs oxygen and you have to breath in order get it and humans are in effect dumb blondes who don’t seem to have the smarts to apply the simple process.  The Bible is the Ipod and headset – seemingly inconvenient in so many situations but when you discard it, in effect, eventually, you die.  Most religion claims to wear the headset but seemingly they lock the Ipod on a loop that only replays select bits of the BOOK or some other book and at the same time the boring repetition seems to blind them to the common sense lessons of the world around them.  The Big School System won’t let anyone lose out easily, but eventually you are going to have to realize that you have to breath in and breath out – and the BOOK, as a whole, in conjunction with LIVING, is the only method to effectively facilitate that job.

As argued earlier, the Bible is a type of cryptologic bombe that lets individuals cut through data overload and see a course of practical action.  Sabbath observance could be seen as a headset / Ipod in its own right.  Seemingly inconvenient, but discarding that major law that is advanced in the BOOK is reflected so effectively by the dumb blonde joke.  Recognizing the importance of Sabbath observance is not a ticket to the moon but neither is the recognition of gravity – but if you ignore either of the laws that the Boss has designed, you are going to find it impossible to make true progress.  Dumb blondes do need instructions on breathing!  We all have blood and need air.  We are all in the same club.  We are all in the Big School!

Isa 28:9  Whom shall He teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Those weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts.  For precept must be on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, there a little;  for with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people.  To whom He said, This is the rest; cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing. Yet they were not willing to hear.  But the Word of Jehovah was to them precept on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken and snared and taken.

Look at the scripture above with a filter that adjusts for language that has stood the test of thousands of years and the link to what we see around us is clear.  Be it the BOOK or the physical world, we move ahead by learning tiny bits of information, testing the info, dumping faulted info, acting on true info, and gradually building an effective understanding of how to DO things.  The little bits eventually snap together.  Get rid of the flat earth concept and establish the laws of physics and great progress can be made.  So with the details of the BOOK.  But note that part of the design seems to be to screw people up.  Radical!  Do I hear an echo of “data overload”?  Why?  Well, if this is a puzzle you will have to dig a bit deeper.  Other parts of the BOOK explain but you need the headset in order to listen.  Do I see some mention of “not listening/not hearing”?  When a written message from so long ago hits the reality of the present so effectively, might this be a hint of influence from the Boss?

I hear men talking about medical advances that become tantalizingly “achievable” due to an increased understanding of underlying technicalities.  “Molecular printers” promise shocking breakthroughs.  Often these “advances” are superimposed on the concept that everything we see around us happened by chance – complex molecules took billions of years to get into their ingenious present forms - thus – given our proven mental powers and the way we can get things done so much more effectively than “chance”, well, obviously we are on a roll and nothing can stop our forward progress.  But what if the complexity of our environment didn’t happen by chance but instead was designed by a Mind that is out to achieve a goal.  The “Big Why”, not the “How” is the important issue! 

Now, the man with the big plans should perhaps ask if he is trying to drink the ocean.  The “How” may be bigger than expected.  If the Boss has a plan and the human dreamer isn’t in touch with that plan, trouble may be brewing.  The monkey may be climbing the tall tree as a tactic to get to the moon!  Perhaps after chopping through the jungle with the machete for a lifetime, the planner will realize that the goal is not getting any closer and that a fundamental error has been made.

We live in an amazing environment and the even more amazing aspect of individual LIFE is a mind bender all by itself.  Data and info and complexity all around us is as endless as the universe.  Our little meat based computers do not stand a hope of putting it all together.  But it is easy to detect that the Boss is close at hand to the Project, and pulling back from the data forest and going on a “Drunken Duck Hunt”, may be in order!  Happy hunting!