“Cast out of the disintegrating microgroups of the past, such as family, church, or village, the individual is plunged into mass society and thrown back upon his own inadequate resources, his isolation, his loneliness, his ineffectuality. Propaganda then hands him in veritable abundance what he needs; a raison d’etre, personal involvement and participation in important events, an outlet and excuse for some of his more doubtful impulses, righteousness–all fictitious to be sure, all more or less spurious; but he drinks it all in and asks for more. Without this intense collaboration by the propagandee the propagandist would be helpless.” –Konrad Kellen, Intro to Jacques Ellul’s Propaganda.
Inspired by the writings of Ole Rolvaag on Norwegian-American’s love of freedom, we begin posting a new series of essays from some of the greatest seminal thinkers on the topic of how to maintain authenticity in an era where there are institutions who have mastered the art of manipulating public opinion.
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”
― Abraham Lincoln
We are facing a great crisis of national credibility. The majority of Americans simply don’t trust the news media, with a recent Gallup poll showing only 32% of American saying they trust the media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly”: This is an historically low level of confidence in the media. Americans also don’t trust commercials. They generally do trust people they know and respect and they trust their own eyes, but are realizing that video footage can be easily manipulated with technology. They are learning that even other people in their same community, however, are not immune from top down censoring or subsidizing of half-truths. Everyone fears having their judgment or name destroyed by stating something unpopular or something that is not commonly believed to be true, so some wear their hearts upon their sleeves but do not relinquish the use of their critical faculties.
Perhaps it is a good thing that at least some Americans are waking up to the fact that we Americans have been willingly duped hypocrites for some time, while smugly imagining ourselves to be morally superior in our objective views. My great uncle and grandmother wrote and spoke in the papers and at schools about the double standards white European immigrants used in justifying stealing America from the native peoples. They never claimed either side was perfect, but the willingness of some white settlers to condone the murder of all Native Americans after learning a few stories of atrocities committed by few Native Americans was something that was incommensurate with the values we prided ourselves on at the time.
“A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.” -Baltasar Gracian
Government officials and the media take or pretend to take great offense at an alternative media that questions the official line. Of course, the alternative news media does have some people who, for whatever reason, are borishly pushing silly and untestable hypotheses that for some reason advance an agenda they have. These people may be on the extremes of the far left or the far right. Typically the far left propagates news with an abundance mentality that favors government redistribution of property in the name of fairness and the far right propagates stories that favor a scarcity mentality that limits government power in the name of liberty. Alternative news agencies also have some people who want to provide actual information to balanced American people so that they can test their various hypotheses about the actual etiology of social problems and optimize liberty and justice for all. There is a sizable group of disinformants, bought or coerced to pretend to be alternative news agents just to make all alternative news media sources look crazy. And, often undetected, there are a small number of agent provocateurs, whose job is to gain control of hypotheses generation within a group, and to take that group on wild goose chases. An agent provocateur can cause the group they are supposedly supporting to squander their time, money, or reputation. They can gain control of movements that actually have grass-roots support in order to cause them to make foolish decisions at strategically important times.
Our government funds schools which teach people to think like scientists, where we imagine all plausible conjectures, regardless of what “idols of the tribe” those conjectures might threaten. Then scientists seek data to refute those various plausible hypotheses. Falsifiable hypotheses that stand after being subjected to lots of testing are not irrational to consider as possibly true. That is the epistemological gold standard that critical rationalists follow. However, members of the same state and national governments that fund public education often ridicule members of the public who put out perfectly rational hypotheses to explain events when those conjectures question the integrity of the government and its media assets.
In light of the extremely influential writings of Walter Lippmann an honest and reflecting person must ask whether or not it is still possible for any of us to make the righteous claim that we can be vigilant citizens of a constitutional democratic republic, if we are not at least open to the possibility of evaluating hypotheses that question the objectivity of the information we receive.
Most Americans are busy. Most are tired at the end of the work day. It can generally be assumed that a majority of Americans at any given time on any given issue are cognitive misers, meaning they quickly come to conclusions without properly weighing the reasons for those decisions. We embrace hypotheses of causal relationships that are convenient in justifying worldviews we see ourselves benefiting from, regardless of how just or objectively accurate those attributions are. We are easily deceived by smoke and mirrors that prevent the direct observation of cause. The computational energy required to see hidden causes and conspiracies require more energy than most people have. What Abraham Lincoln wrote still generally holds today: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” However, the real issue for a democracy is not about all the people or some of the people, but rather about MOST of the voters. If you can fool most of the voters all the time, then you can control America. With a few powerful institutions with a unity of interest now possessing the psychological knowledge to control most voters, there is reason to worry.
Americans are also more than ever subject to control, because of the dependency and lack of self reliance we increasingly experience as we become further removed from farms and fields that once allowed us to generally feed ourselves a lack of self-confidence in thinking for ourselves and a perceived need to be of the same mind as the group.
“[T]he group mind does not think in the strict sense of the word. In place of thoughts it has impulses, habits, and emotions.” -Bernays
More than anything else, we are concerned with what our neighbors think of us and how our opinions or theories will make us either popular or unpopular. We all fall short of at least a subset of our neighbors’ or fellow citizens’ expectations for us, so much so that if everyone were to read our diaries, our notes, or hear our comments, at least some people might take offense at them. We know that there are people out there to whom we appear either: too successful or too unsuccessful; too poor or too rich; too in-shape or too out-of-shape; too ugly or too beautiful; too lazy or too driven; too conservative or too liberal, or too something or something’s opposite, so that we know that, given the right opportunity, there will always be a subset of people happy to bring us down with negative comments and ridicule, or worse.
Knowing that Homo homini lupus est, we are all subject to a kind blackmail of thought, and we are able to be cowed into submission because only the craziest of us wish to become the next person fed to the lions in the entertaining arena of the news. But I ask myself, how could we have come to this as Norwegian-Americans (?), when I read Rolvaag, who states:
“The strongest and most important characteristic of the Norwegian people…is their love of freedom, which leads them to set their highest priority on individual rights under common law. Since this last trait is the essence of the American ideal, it means that the Norwegian immigrant is already a good American before he even leaves home.” –Ole Rolvaag, Concerning Our Heritage
So, Norwegian-American are born loving freedom, but yet everywhere they embrace their chains.
Although I know we are not entirely conscious of our lack of freedom and our ability to be manipulated, it could be argued that one of the advantages of living in a country full of small independent farmers, is that by virtue of their self-reliance, they might be able to speak the truth with less worry than those who are at the mercy of other employers. Small farm communities could in this respect be an asset to our democratic republic, precisely because farmers who can feed themselves may have less reason to worry about what others will think about their opinions. Some of us who are inspired by Rolvaag, are wanting to revisit what it is truly to love freedom and individual rights under common law. For that reason, I will be starting to post seminal writings of intellectuals who have understood people’s ability to be manipulated with the hope that a larger number of people will read this and become more self-aware. One seminal text is Public Opinion, written in 1922 by Walter Lippmann.
In Chapter XV of Public Opinion, Walter Lippmann addresses how rulers utilize their positions of power to manufacture consent. He mentions how those who control the media are actually the real leaders of the suggestible and uncritical masses, as they are able to control and direct public sentiment by playing upon what we often now call, fixed action patterns.
Public Opinion, by Walter Lippmann
Leaders often pretend that they have merely uncovered a program which existed in the minds of their public. When they believe it, they are usually deceiving themselves. Programs do not invent themselves synchronously in a multitude of minds. That is not because a multitude of minds is necessarily inferior to that of the leaders, but because thought is the function of an organism, and a mass is not an organism.
This fact is obscured because the mass is constantly exposed to suggestion. It reads not the news, but the news with an aura of suggestion about it, indicating the line of action to be taken. It hears reports, not objective as the facts are, but already stereotyped to a certain pattern of behavior. Thus the ostensible leader often finds that the real leader is a powerful newspaper proprietor. But if, as in a laboratory, one could remove all suggestion and leading from the experience of a multitude, one would, I think, find something like this: A mass exposed to the same stimuli would develop responses that could theoretically be charted in a polygon of error. There would be a certain group that felt sufficiently alike to be classified together. There would be variants of feeling at both ends. These classifications would tend to harden as individuals in each of the classifications made their reactions vocal. That is to say, when the vague feelings of those who felt vaguely had been put into words, they would know more definitely what they felt, and would then feel it more definitely.
Leaders in touch with popular feeling are quickly conscious of these reactions. They know that high prices are pressing upon the mass, or that certain classes of individuals are becoming unpopular, or that feeling towards another nation is friendly or hostile. But, always barring the effect of suggestion which is merely the assumption of leadership by the reporter, there would be nothing in the feeling of the mass that fatally determined the choice of any particular policy. All that the feeling of the mass demands is that policy as it is developed and exposed shall be, if not logically, then by analogy and association, connected with the original feeling.
So when a new policy is to be launched, there is a preliminary bid for community of feeling, as in Mark Antony’s speech to the followers of Brutus. [Footnote: Excellently analyzed in Martin, The Behavior of Crowds, pp. 130-132,] In the first phase, the leader vocalizes the prevalent opinion of the mass. He identifies himself with the familiar attitudes of his audience, sometimes by telling a good story, sometimes by brandishing his patriotism, often by pinching a grievance. Finding that he is trustworthy, the multitude milling hither and thither may turn in towards him. He will then be expected to set forth a plan of campaign. But he will not find that plan in the slogans which convey the feelings of the mass. It will not even always be indicated by them. Where the incidence of policy is remote, all that is essential is that the program shall be verbally and emotionally connected at the start with what has become vocal in the multitude. Trusted men in a familiar role subscribing to the accepted symbols can go a very long way on their own initiative without explaining the substance of their programs.
But wise leaders are not content to do that. Provided they think publicity will not strengthen opposition too much, and that debate will not delay action too long, they seek a certain measure of consent. They take, if not the whole mass, then the subordinates of the hierarchy sufficiently into their confidence to prepare them for what might happen, and to make them feel that they have freely willed the result. But however sincere the leader may be, there is always, when the facts are very complicated, a certain amount of illusion in these consultations. For it is impossible that all the contingencies shall be as vivid to the whole public as they are to the more experienced and the more imaginative. A fairly large percentage are bound to agree without having taken the time, or without possessing the background, for appreciating the choices which the leader presents to them. No one, however, can ask for more. And only theorists do. If we have had our day in court, if what we had to say was heard, and then if what is done comes out well, most of us do not stop to consider how much our opinion affected the business in hand.
And therefore, if the established powers are sensitive and well-informed, if they are visibly trying to meet popular feeling, and actually removing some of the causes of dissatisfaction, no matter how slowly they proceed, provided they are seen to be proceeding, they have little to fear. It takes stupendous and persistent blundering, plus almost infinite tactlessness, to start a revolution from below. Palace revolutions, interdepartmental revolutions, are a different matter. So, too, is demagogy. That stops at relieving the tension by expressing the feeling. But the statesman knows that such relief is temporary, and if indulged too often, unsanitary. He, therefore, sees to it that he arouses no feeling which he cannot sluice into a program that deals with the facts to which the feelings refer.
But all leaders are not statesmen, all leaders hate to resign, and most leaders find it hard to believe that bad as things are, the other fellow would not make them worse. They do not passively wait for the public to feel the incidence of policy, because the incidence of that discovery is generally upon their own heads. They are, therefore, intermittently engaged in mending their fences and consolidating their position. The mending of fences consists in offering an occasional scapegoat, in redressing a minor grievance affecting a powerful individual or faction, rearranging certain jobs, placating a group of people who want an arsenal in their home town, or a law to stop somebody’s vices. Study the daily activity of any public official who depends on election and you can enlarge this list. There are Congressmen elected year after year who never think of dissipating their energy on public affairs. They prefer to do a little service for a lot of people on a lot of little subjects, rather than to engage in trying to do a big service out there in the void. But the number of people to whom any organization can be a successful valet is limited, and shrewd politicians take care to attend either the influential, or somebody so blatantly uninfluential that to pay any attention to him is a mark of sensational magnanimity. The far greater number who cannot be held by favors, the anonymous multitude, receive propaganda.
The established leaders of any organization have great natural advantages. They are believed to have better sources of information. The books and papers are in their offices. They took part in the important conferences. They met the important people. They have responsibility. It is, therefore, easier for them to secure attention and to speak in a convincing tone.But also they have a very great deal of control over the access to the facts. Every official is in some degree a censor. And since no one can suppress information, either by concealing it or forgetting to mention it, without some notion of what he wishes the public to know, every leader is in some degree a propagandist. Strategically placed, and compelled often to choose even at the best between the equally cogent though conflicting ideals of safety for the institution, and candor to his public, the official finds himself deciding more and more consciously what facts, in what setting, in what guise he shall permit the public to know.
That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough.
The creation of consent is not a new art. It is a very old one which was supposed to have died out with the appearance of democracy. But it has not died out. It has, in fact, improved enormously in technic, because it is now based on analysis rather than on rule of thumb. And so, as a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power. Within the life of the generation now in control of affairs, persuasion has become a self-conscious art and a regular organ of popular government. None of us begins to understand the consequences, but it is no daring prophecy to say that the knowledge of how to create consent will alter every political calculation and modify every political premise. Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the word alone, the old constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the original dogma of democracy; that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception, and to forms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience, or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach.
Painting by Phyllis O’Connor…..An Apron in Fall, Donated by Phyllis O’Connor.
The Quest Bust from Craig Bergsgaard… A Scale Model(Maquett) of the Quest Sculpture in Spring Grove Viking Park. Donated by Nationally Renowned Artist and Spring Grove Native Craig Bergsgaard.
One, Two, or Three Sigmund Aarseth Original Paintings….Procured from the Estate of World Renowned Artist Sigmund Aarseth of Valdres Norway These Paintings are some of Sigmund’s Finest and last works before his death in 2012.
One Year of Car Washes(52)….Donated by JC Nerstad.
5 Night Stay at Disney World Old Key West Resort(or another Disney World resort of your choice)… Two Bedrooms for up to 8, with full Kitchen, Villa Within Magical Disney World in Orlando, Florida Sunday to Friday donated by Mike and Diane Schmidt.
Weekly Ice Cream (52 regular cones)….24 Flavors of Chocolate Shoppe Super Premium Ice Cream to Choose From donated by Doc’s Blue Moose.
Monthly Pizza for a Year….12 Large Pizza’s donated by Doc’s Blue Moose.
Margarita and Nachos Patio Party for 20+….. Donated by Good Times Restaurant in Caledonia.
Canadian Island Cabin(couples or family)…for 5 days, North Woods,Pristine Environment, daily Loon Music, a Canopy of Starlight and maybe Spectacular Northern Lights, a fishing boat, Kayaks and canoes, Hiking Trail and Blueberry Picking, Including two meals daily and fixings to create your own lunch donated by Dr Jim and Karen Gray.
A Hans Schaub Painting…..Sailboats on the Sea donated by artist Hans Schaub.
A Ya Sure U Betcha Basket
Mystery Dinner Theatre …..Cocktails and Dinner while up to 8 Guests are Immediately Actors in the “Who Done It” Script, Directed and Donated by David and Rachel Storlie.
Anchor Inn Gulf-Access Condo….In Cape Coral Florida a Fully Furnished Two Bedroom Condo with Pool, Jacuzzi and Tennis Courts for a week in March or April donated by Dan and Mary Ann Thurmer.
Norma Wangsness Giclee Paintings……Sarah’s Buggy and Hardangers Fjord donated by Norma Wangsness, Vesterheim Gold Medalist.
Erin Dorbin Retreat….1890 Hand Built Cabin on 10 acres for 3 Days (2 nights)near Houston, in the Driftless Area, Overlooking Meadows and Woodsand the Root River and where the Sky and Sounds of the Night will Fill Your Evenings, Donated by Erin Dorbin.
Rockfilter Distillery Bourbon….a basket of bourbon and other items.
Genetic Genealogy Kit and Support…..Dr. John Storlie Provides Kit and Guidance in Exploring Your Genetic Genealogy.
Find Your Ancestors ……Historian Georgia Rosendahl will Provide Research and Guidance(4 hours) in Helping to Identify Your Family donated by Georgia Rosendahl.
Thomas Trehus AirB&B – 3 night stay at this fully furnished modern country cabin in rural Spring Grove. Comfortably sleeps 4. Great for a family spending a long weekend in the Driftless.
Amish Hand Stitched Quilt….a bow tie pattern quilt 89” by 97” donated by Joan Lewis.
Fly Fishing Adventure(1 or 2 people)…..Fly Fish the Bear and Waterloo Creeks for 4 hours guided and donated by Kent Kleckner.
Vesterheim Museum Passes …..4 Passes, a Behind the Scene Tour and 20% Discount at Gift Shop….donated by Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.
Norwegian Ridge Language Camp….. June Summer Camp Registration for one youth Donated by Giants of the Earth Heritage Center.
Auto Detailing…. Full Detailing for Your Favorite Automobile Donated by Four Seasons.
Short Branch Ranch Bar Accessories…..Beautiful Glass Container with Western-Themed Sculptured Stopper Donated by Craig Bergsgaard.
Basket of Spring Grove Goodies….Donations of various gift cards and items donated by Spring Grove Merchants.
Hand Stitched 20”x 40”Christmas Table Runner….Created and Donated by Judy Tollefsrud.
Norski Saloon Gift Basket….$100 gift certificate plus liquor and stuff donated by Norski Saloon.
Sallie DeReus Rosemaled Bowl….Created and Donated by Vesterheim Gold Medalist Sallie DeReus.
Family Swim Pass…..2018 Swim Pass at Spring Grove Pool Donated by City of Spring Grove.
Four ½ Hour Voice Lessons…..Given and Donated by Dr. David Judisch at his Studio in Decorah.
Two Hand Stitched Table Runners….Created and Donated by Judy Tollefsrud.
Stay at Central Wisconsin Cabin on Beautiful Lake…..3 days at Cabin with full Kitchen for Family or two couples….with Sandy Beach and all of the Toys Donated by Joe and Marlene Deschler.
Quilted Center Piece…..Created and Donated by Mary Deters.
I Love You Spring Grove/AKA Honey I’m Sorry, You Were Right All Along Gift Package Gifts from Bluff Country Artists Gallery, YOOH, Calluna, Turquoise Tomato, Fat Pats, Red’s & Sugar Shack.
Jacquie’s River Front Cabin…Two Bedroom Cabin on the River near Lansing, 1 or 2 Couples Friday and Saturday Night, Donated by Jacquie and Greg Wennes.
Capra Nera Creamery Holiday Cheese Box (cheese tasting tour for 4 in 2018)….Donated by Katie Wiste.
Adirondack Style Silver Chest ….Chest Created and Donated by Tim Blanski.
Sterling Drug Gift Basket….Donated by Sterling Drug.
Giants of the Earth Heritage Center is pleased to announce, for sale in our gift shop, Kingdom of the Rings by Duane Lindberg, PhD, American Studies, MTh. Lutheran Theology.
THE KINGDOM OF THE RINGS – FOUR LEVELS OF INTEREST
FOR THE READER – by Dr. Duane Lindberg
“The Kingdom of The Rings” is a historical novel which appeals to the reader’s interest on four different levels: the fictional story itself, the historical accounts, the religious/theological matters, and the ethnic/cultural level.
The story line traces the three interlocking golden Rings which were in the gift of gold which the Magi offered to the Christ Child. The saga begins in AD 1267 as the Rings are entrusted to a Coptic Christian in Alexandria, Egypt who carries them to the embattled city of Antioch, Syria, where a Muslim army is attacking the Crusader kingdom. Following the Muslim capture of Antioch, the story traces the journey of the Crusader who carries the Rings in his search for healing from leprosy. He gives the Rings as expressions of thanksgiving for help he receives along the “pilgrims’ way” to the grave of Norway’s “eternal king” at the Nideros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway. Through the vicissitudes of history, the Rings are separated and eventually come into the possession of two families from Norway and one from Egypt by way of Germany. The Rings are then carried by these believing immigrant families to the United States. Suspense builds as the Rings come close on two occasions, and the promise of a great blessing for the keepers, the nation, and the world (the Second Coming of Christ) looms very near.
Respecting the historical level, the novel attempts to uncover for the reader some of those critical
historical events which are part of our American and the Western World’s heritage. Also, the historical perspective underlines the centrality of the Christian Faith in the founding and building of our Nation. The reader is introduced to a nearly forgotten time of greatness in the Middle Ages and to the persistence of the conflict with Islam which spans the entire period. The reader who loves history will want to re-read the novel to savor the many insights into the actual history of both the “Old World” and the “New”.
With regard to the religious/theological level, the novel suggests the ubiquity of the Christian faith and its eschatological hope which characterized the majority of immigrants from Norway and from other European countries in the 18th and 19th centuries. The metaphor of the three interlocking rings is the historic symbol of the Holy Trinity and each of the Rings bears an ancient Persian name which is suggestive of one Person of the Godhead. The Name of the second Ring – “Ashem” – is translated “Truth” or “the Incarnation of Truth” and points the reader to Jesus the Christ. In the story, it is the name of this Ring which draws the Muslim general inexorably to his conversion to Christianity and his subsequent beheading by Egyptian Islamic authorities.
On the ethnic/cultural level the saga focuses on American immigrants from Norway as a microcosm of the more than 55 million Europeans who flooded our shores in the 18 and 19th centuries. The characters in the novel reveal the immigrants’ struggle to adapt to their new homeland and at the same time their attempts to retain their own identity. The novel challenges the popular “melting pot” explanation of the American experience and suggests a more adequate metaphor – The Field of Rings.
Theme: Same as title of Exhibit. Each artist interprets the theme as they see fit based on what they have learned from Sigmund, and painted themselves.
Pieces to Exhibit: There will be some of Sigmund’s work, and the rest from Artists who trained with Sigmund in classes he taught.
Each artist can submit 3-5 pieces of their own work and they can be a painting or painted objects.
Each artist will include an Artist Statement. It will answer this question – What do I want other people to understand about my art? The main goal of writing an artist statement is to discuss your understanding of your process, ideas, and field. The statement also gives you an opportunity to define the critical conversation you want to engage through your art. In general, an artist statement should address what you make, how you make it, why you make it and your understanding of your work’s meaning. Exhibition Space: We will use rooms in the beautiful Heritage Center where Sigmund painted murals at 163 West Main Street in Spring Grove, MN 55974.
Installation of the artwork: Artists will be invited to suggest their ideas on installation and placement. We will group art pieces. Those artists who come before October 16 will have an opportunity to examine how we have installed their works.
Opening Reception: will occur on October 18: We invite artists to bring their friends and peers to the Heritage Center.
Documenting the Weekend Reunion of Årseth Artists: The Heritage Center filmers will be recording the artists as they share recollections and impressions and influences of their interactions with Sigmund. The filmers will include their art pieces in the exhibition along with their artist statements. This documentary will be shared with Sigmund’s widow Ingebjørg and his other family members. It will also be available to others.
Pieces that are too large to ship or bring: We encourage you to send JPEGs with at least 600DPI via Email to email@example.com
Please indicate size of the painting or object. We will be creating a photo gallery of them for this exhibit.
Dear Friends of Giants of the Earth Heritage Center,
One of the best things about being part of our heritage center is that our research continually reminds us that we are part of a great extended family. Every day, we encounter a continuation of our ancestors’ good will in our members. This Christmas, as you looked into a child’s eyes as they were sparkling in front of the Christmas Tree, you didn’t just see their eyes, did you? You also saw your eyes. You beheld a chain of life bigger than yourself, but which you are and always will be a part of. While most older people can identify with feeling this connection, younger people can too, when they see the twinkle in their grandparents’ eyes as they tell stories of, for example, their childhood on the farm on Christmas eve.
We believe that this feeling is the foundation for the kind of stewardship that leaves a true heritage for future generations. Our “Circle of Life” mural at Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, painted by our dear friend, Sigmund Aarseth, who passed away on December 12, poignantly depicts the stages of sustainable life and the importance of family and community in each of them. Nurturing this multigenerational consciousness is a major part of our mission and we encourage you all to visit our website and learn how you can take advantage of our family history videos, our genealogical and genetic ancestry services, and our intergenerational classes and events.
From the immense popularity of our website, GiantsHeritageCenter Youtube Channel, Facebook pages, and services, it is obvious that many people feel our mission is important. Altogether, we have had more than a million online views this year, not even counting visits to our immense family trees. Our national and international popularity reminds us how special Norwegian Ridge really is. We are “a city on a hill.” Each of our area seniors who we interview are little lights unto the world, the best ambassadors for our country that could exist. Our videography team is working hard using the latest technology to make sure that the inspiring stories of our seniors’ won’t be covered up, but that they will continue to be a light to younger generations.
Our many activities would not be possible without your continued support. We want to thank those of you who have already made your generous end of the year contribution to our center (helping us to meet several crucial goals). Further, we want to remind you all that there is still an opportunity to make a tax deductible contribution for this year to our 501c3 organization. To learn more, just visit www.sgheritage.org and make a donation on the left sidebar.
Although there are a number of technologically savvy elders in our world, most of us can think of a parent or grandparent that is similar to the man in this video. I even have to consult my three year old to figure out how to use my wife’s complicated phone. It is tempting for us to say, “We didn’t need that technology when we were younger, so why do we need it now?” When we ask ourselves this question, we have to remember that this technology helps a knowledge worker to accomplish thousands of times the productivity of a person using the old technology. While it might have been possible to be effective using 1980s’ technology twenty years ago, if we use 1980s’ technology today we would be dead in the water. We need to embrace the new technologies if we are to efficiently preserve our heritage, because only digitally do we have the ability to preserve so many letters, diaries, photos, and videos-and to market our services so that they can be accessed by people who are interested in them.
Here is another funny one. While experience is often helpful, sometimes prior experience can be a hindrance.
Since many seniors are interested in Genealogy and Genetic Ancestry, but don’t know where to begin, we offer online Genealogy Assistance to (English speaking) people anywhere in the world to help them get past any hurdles they might have. Sign up by clicking Genealogy Assistance in the link at the top of the page or by clicking the link below.
What if you found out that every week your local grocery and convenience stores sold poison mixed in with your food that has been repeatedly proven to shrink your brain, increase heart disease, increase autoimmune disorders and diabetes, disrupt cellular balance, double cancer rates, and significantly decrease your IQ and brain size? That is what Partially Hydrogenated Oils and Fats, known as trans fats do–and guess what, they are sold in Spring Grove, MN–sold to us and to our children.
Now 99% of our population has never taken Biochemistry, so they really aren’t going to understand at the molecular level why these chemicals are horrible to ingest. Our stores are selling these because people buy them who don’t understand that trans fats aren’t a natural food, like other oils and fats, but are a synthesized chemical created by chemists. Trans fats do not exist in nature, and have only been fabricated in the last century. Since then, they have a proven track record as killers, but again, most people remain ignorant of this, and millions of people in the US live less healthy lives and thousands will die prematurely because of them.
What can you do? Write your congressman and ask him or her to ban trans fats as food additives in your state.
Ja, vi elsker dette landet,
som det stiger frem,
furet, værbitt over vannet,
med de tusen hjem, —
elsker, elsker det og tenker
på vår far og mor
og den saganatt som senker
drømmer på vår jord.
Og den saganatt som senker,
senker drømmer på vår jord.
Dear Valued Giants of the Earth Heritage Center Members,
We hope you all had a great Christmas and that your New Year’s is spent joyfully with friends and family. Since it is that time of the year when we reflect and resolve, we wanted to share with you some of our accomplishments and goals. With your support and our volunteers’ hard work this past year, we have taped, edited, and begun online and DVD distribution of oral video histories; taught community fine art and folk art classes; digitized community pictures; organized an extremely successful Uffda Fest; and grown our collaborative family tree, especially by using genetic genealogy. Our website and facebook pages have been viewed nearly ½ million times, providing genealogical resources and tips for tens of thousands. All this we have been able to accomplish with a very small budget, because our workers believe in the importance of our mission. With your support, we look forward to an even more productive 2012, as we are now beginning the new year with interns from Luther College.
Our workers are excited to serve our members and to preserve the experiences of our senior citizens. We believe that the wisdom they pass down can help us identify the root of the problems we face so that we can deal with it directly rather than being like one of the thousand in Thoreau’s famous quote:
“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil, to one who is striking at the root.”
As a Giants member, we know you want to strike at the root. Thus, we hope you will consider making a special donation or increasing your membership level before the end of 2011. To learn about giving opportunities that allow you to take advantage of Giants of the Earth Heritage Center’s tax-deductible 501(c)3 status, please visit our website. There, you will find many options to suit your donation or membership interests, including Heritage Center room naming opportunities. We also invite you to stop by our Heritage Center in Spring Grove, Minnesota and learn more about our big plans for 2012. Please visit our Giants of the Earth Heritage Center website at: