SLOAN

Previously, I’ve proven four undeniable truths. It’s time for Undeniable Truth #5: “An idea is not responsible for who believes it.” That’s another way of saying each of us is responsible for our own thoughts and for what we believe. A perfect example is the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. If you’ve never heard of the Bhagwan, look him up; you’ll be astonished. The Bhagwan was a Hindu spiritual guru in India back in the 1960’s and ‘70’s. He developed a large following of new age, Rajneesh spiritualists, which led to problems between the Bhagwan, his followers, and the Indian government. In 1981, the Bhagwan bought 65,000 acres in a sparsely populated county in the Oregon desert and moved his entire operations over here.

 

ONCE THE Bhagwan arrived in America he established a large commune. To join the commune, the “new age” adherents had to pledge loyalty to the Bhagwan; and they had to give him all their possessions to include their spouse (i.e. wife). The Bhagwan was very charismatic and somehow convinced over 1,000 people to join his desert paradise. The commune, specifically the Bhagwan, became very wealthy from the hundreds of people who gave him everything they owned. While his followers meditated most of the day, slept on mats in open-bay dormitory type housing, and disavowed all material possessions; the Bhagwan grew extremely wealthy, slept with a different woman each night, and bought luxury car after luxury car.

 

IT WASN’T long before the commune came into conflict with local ranchers and county officials, mostly over land use issues. Since the county was sparsely populated, the Bhagwan sent busses around the West, rounded up hundreds of homeless people, brought them to the commune so they could vote in local county elections with the goal to oust the county officials and replace them with Rajneesh spiritualists. Eventually, the Bhagwan and the commune ran afoul of the law and warrants were issued for the Bhagwan’s arrest. The Bhagwan, and several of his lieutenants, fled to India before they could be arrested. When authorities raided the commune they were amazed. The Bhagwan had over 50 Rolls Royces, a luxurious mansion, and flaunted his ostentatious wealth while his Rajneesh followers lived a subsistence existence with no material possessions whatsoever.

 

REMEMBER, AN idea is not responsible for who believes it. With that as a truth, who were the fools, the Bhagwan or his gullible followers? In order for anyone to believe something, first, we must be presented with an idea; then, we ponder that idea; and finally accept or reject it based on common sense. It’s obvious that the Bhagwan didn’t believe his own rhetoric about the path to enlightenment; yet he managed to convince hundreds of people to follow his teachings that they might gain spiritual “oneness” but to do so, they had to forego all material possessions. The Bhagwan’s followers were living an impoverished existence; they could see the luxurious lifestyle the Bhagwan was living; still they continued following him. Thirty five years later, I’m still astounded that so many people allowed the Bhagwan to scam them.

 

ANOTHER IDEA that amazes me is climate change (CC). For Earth’s entire history there has been climate change. Climate change is an absolute FACT, and the ice ages are the best proof. There have been at least five ice ages in Earth’s history. Climate scientists tell us that right now we are in an interglacial period of the Pleistocene ice age. The Pleistocene glaciation began 2.58 million years ago. Over that span, the climate has changed numerous times. The cycle is as follows: First, the climate cooled creating continental ice sheets that covered much of the northern hemisphere and Antarctica. Then, after hundreds of thousands of years, the climate warmed and, except for Antarctica and Greenland, most of the ice sheets melted. Each time the glacial ice sheets advanced the oceans receded. Then, when they melted, the oceans rose. In the past 2.58 million years, this cycle has repeated itself at least four times, possibly five. 

 

THE UNANSWERED question is what caused the glaciers? Why do ice sheets advance and then recede? The weather and climate is probably the most dynamic, complex system on Earth. Some of the factors that affect the climate include wind and ocean currents, volcanic activity, continental drift, the global vegetation coverage, global ice coverage, composition of the atmosphere, changes to Earth’s axial tilt (41,000 year cycle), precession of the planet (26,000 year cycle), variations of earth orbit, and solar activity. Each of these factors affects the climate in some manner. How much? We don’t know. Climate scientists tell us that there’s more we don’t know about the climate than what we do know. Here’s proof of how little we know; tell me what the weather will be on Oct 11th, 30 short days from now. Will it be hot? Cold? Sunny? Or rainy? If you can’t tell me what the weather will be one month from today, then don’t try telling me what the climate will be 50 or 100 years from now.

 

HOWEVER, DON’T worry about why the climate changes because we have climate change gurus, such as Al Gore and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They have it all figured out. The climate gurus insist that human activities that burn fossil fuels - such as driving your car, heating and cooling your house, etc. – are causing the planet to warm thus creating climate change that will melt glaciers and raise ocean levels. The climate gurus insist that the only way to save the planet is for you to forego all activities that burn fossil fuels. However, just like the Bhagwan, the climate gurus don’t believe their own rhetoric. If they did, Barack Obama would not have bought a $15 million ocean-front mansion. Also, if mankind’s burning of fossil fuels changes the climate, explain how the climate changed so often before mankind existed?

 

WEEKLY THOUGHT: An idea is not responsible for who believes it.

Sloan Oliver is a retired Army officer who writes a weekly column for the Reporter. Email him at sloanoliver@earthlink.net.