Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Light Is Changing to Shadow

In English we say, "wait and see." In 2015, in looking at those who would be President a year from now, we should have used "seriously?" On both sides of the aisle, there was a lot of overstatement and hyperbole and outright bull$hit, though on the last of those, one of the two national parties comes to mind more readily and frequently, at least for me. 

So vexed have I become by dueling factoids, I offered a quip the other day elsewhere in the Ether to the effect that a good resolution for 2016, a/k/a this Friday, might be 'if you didn't hear it with your own ears, or see it with your own eyes, don't invent it with your small mind or share it with your big mouth.' 

I am more than chagrined to concede I will have in all likelihood probably ignored/renounced or otherwise obliterated both the spirit as well as the letter of that resolution no later than seven AM New Year's Day and that's only if I sleep in until 6:45.

In response to that post, a Facebook friend asked, "And how do we get people to research and thoroughly investigate before forming irreversible opinions?" 

And excellent question made more so by my inability to formulate an even pedestrian answer. I will agree it is the (choice of definite article deliberate) challenge we face in the 21st Century as connectivity and convergence allow each of us if we so choose, to create an info bubble that is really nothing more than info babble. 

By choosing outlet A over B, we construct a reflection and approximation of a reality that not only varies from each of us to the next of us but may also be at a variance to actual reality.

Pick a hot-button topic. Climate-change. The war on terrorism. The economy. Civil and equal rights. Wage equity. Every one of us has an opinion based on facts as we've chosen to gather them. But what is true? And what is right? With dueling factoids, who is to know if there is a way or is it the way?  

And are those terms still of any use in a world we started out to enhance and enrich through our technology and now we've corrupted and ensnared with grumpy cat memes, pseudo-news sites where private agendas masquerade as discussions of public policy.  

We have taken to looking at only one side of every ideological and political coin, based in part on our values and beliefs and in another part on the reinforcement of those values and beliefs by whom we choose to get our 'news' from, all the while insisting we are being even-handed and open-minded (when we may not actually be either). 

More information, I would submit, has made us less tolerant, not more. We have become intellectually more insular and insulated than our parents ever were with far fewer tools to deliver the world to us. 

We need to work harder, MUCH harder, to speak TO one another rather than AT one another (starting with me). There are people in all walks of life with whom each of us can disagree, but when we choose, as I have in some instances, to become disagreeable, the chances of dialogue replacing diatribe diminish and facts are forced to yield to nearly primal fears. And decisions made from, by or with fear always fail.

I don't have the answer to the 'how' question but I don't think we can pretend it wasn't asked or more ominously that no one has an answer. A lot to think about as the calendar pages turn and we turn away.
-bill kenny

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