In my neck of the woods, there exists a strange obsession. An obsession concerning the existence of the puma concolor in Penn’s Woods. The puma concolor (aka mountain lion) has been extinct from the wilds of Pennsylvania since the 1800’s, yet sightings of the four legged feline are reported consistently. I’ve heard all of the stories and while the characters change, the general concept remains the same. Some of the yarns I’ve heard involve “a friend’s cousin who is a preacher”, “my neighbor’s grandfather that never tells lies” and similar permutations thereof. There’s also the personal accounts that typically involve a camera that mysteriously fails, a picture that didn’t turn out right, or other general failures that are unable to produce tangible evidence or viable proof of said creature.
I find it awfully convenient that the supernatural power of the mountain lion is so powerful that it is able to render cameras (both digital and analog) completely useless. In addition, it’s equally fascinating that so many preachers and other religious based personnel are often scapegoated as being the seer of the creature.
The concept here is to create a strong sense of an element related to the story which is rock solid that cannot be disproved because the characters involved answer to a higher power, as it were. So when Billy Bob recounts the tale of the guy next door who knows this guy whose cousin is a preacher and he swore before holy god that he saw a mountain lion, the sense of trust is so strong and, after all, how can a preacher possibly lie? By connecting a story with a specific character of trustworthiness, the teller of the story is able to create an element of authority. Anyone who is listening may not believe that the guy telling the story is a figure of authority, nor must they believe that he is especially trustworthy, but because he is bringing in the word and story of a religious person, it must true.
Humans are easily deceived, especially Christians. Consider the fact that they believe the greatest lie of all, of course they can be duped into believing that mountain lions exist in Pennsylvania!
Is it possible that mountain lions may actually be here? Absolutely! I won’t deny the potential for a mountain lion to pass through, but it’s highly unlikely that there are active breeding pairs producing a new population of mountain lions that are slowly taking over the wilds. Consider that on the first day of rifle deer season in Pennsylvania, there over 1,000,000 hunters venturing out in to the woods. If there are so many mountain lions wandering around, don’t you think that one out of those million would have seen it, shot it, and subsequently bragged about it?
So you might be wondering why I’m bringing up this subject? Is this some sort of segue way into a discussion on cryptoids? Not quite—rater, this is introduction on the subject of planting a seed or creating an idea about someone or something that leads to a sort of mythos that captures the attention spans of uncritical thinking plebeians everywhere. The manipulation of what people believe through creative mechanisms. I could have taken another approach and applied this to the legendary Bigfoot, but instead I decided to localize this a bit, but feel free to apply the above towards Bigfoot.
Getting people to believe is easy. Convincing them as to why they should believe is even easier. For example, in Christianity, people are taught to believe in a god, a heaven, and a hell. Living by the biblical code results in ones entry to heaven, while those who live against the code will go to hell. Therefore, the simple minded individuals deduce that this heaven place must exist and therefore they must do good in order to get there. An exercise in population control, at best.
But those who are willing to question, to reject, to apply critical thinking, they are able to rise above and see things as they truly are.
The seed planting involves the application of itself in many avenues in life. Parents used to get their kids to go to bed and sleep for fear of the boogeyman coming to get them. They were told that masturbation would lead to blindness and hairy palms. They were told all these scary things to keep them doing the societally accept “right” thing. The rationale is obvious. You scare people to do or not do certain things. Within the realm of Christianity, the fear of an eternal hell keeps them from living life to its fullest. It prevents people from pursuing carnal desires. It keeps them living to abstain, rather than to enjoy.
Some things in life are given a particular stigma or negative connotation to keep other from experiencing them. Things are dubbed dangerous or other equally negative terminology to keep folks at bay. But if people were able to break those societal conventions and realize that things may not actually be that scary, that bad, or evil, as it were, then perhaps we would have more risk takers. We would be able to push the limits to greater extents and bend this reality to the breaking point and pop out on the other side positively.
It’s not for everyone.
A lot of simple minded folks are fine with the status quo.
A lot of people are fine being another body on the bandwagon.
A lot of people are fine being like everyone else.
A lot of people do not enjoy life.
When a seed is planted, something will happen. Either a beautiful flower will grow or a weed will develop. A beautiful flower will stand out from the rest of the weeds. It is brighter, it captures the attention of others, and it commands respect. A weed will spread and try to get its vile root in everywhere and overpower the flowers—it destroys, it makes things ugly, it denigrate the environment.
Be careful when planting a seed. Be aware of what will grow as a result. Learn to cultivate and use that seed for your own advantage. Otherwise, it will wind up being just another weed in this garden of life.