I'm fascinated by online polls from newspapers, TV stations or for all I know from overachieving high school kids in Mesopotamia trying to figure out if their fake news items have grown legs. It matters not what the survey is about: it's a less than scientifically collected assortment of opinions on anything and everything ranging from "Who should be the next President? (already? Sure why not)" through "What's your favorite dessert topping?" (and I'm often surprised how often those two answers are identical).
Here's the thing: not only have I never been a part of one of these surveys, I've never known anyone else who was, either. And neither have they. How about you? (And does this count as a survey, if I'm asking you about surveys? Hmm...)
And after you've read about the results of a survey, or seen a report on TV, does it change how you feel about whatever the issue is? When there's a story about the decline in consumer confidence I've gotta tell ya there's always a definite a lack of spring in my step (and all the other seasons come to think of it). Never mind after you read the fine print you discover the survey was based on how people were feeling about purchasing 'big ticket items' in the course of the next quarter (houses, furniture, automobiles) whereas I'm preoccupied with affording groceries in the here and now, In the spirit of helpfulness and neighborliness, I'll pretend I can feel their pain as if that were possible for a plebe and dweeb like me to do.
I smile when I read letters to the editor where their authors talk about where "Wall Street" stock prices are since So and So was elected to Such and Such. Some of that palaver reminds me of W. Edwards Deming and his red bead experiment. Sometimes I think of King Canute watching the tide roll in despite his insistence to the contrary.And of course the There's a joke to the effect of 'Cheer up, things could get worse. So I did, and they did!' Where is Dr. Norman Vincent Peale when we could really use him? Not here, not anymore and I'm positive about that.
Have we confused cause and effect? Do events take a specific course because of how we feel about them or are our feelings on a specific course shaped by the events? And this is just the challenge with faith! Don't even get me started on hope, charity or whatever the other Spice Girls are called. Two more Sundays and then we can stop being nice to one another. Again.