Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Can you believe it?

Quite a few friends have commented on the issue of fake news.  Some are angry at the pollution and degradation of journalism and the standards they thought were reliably in place.  Some are frightened at the spread of nasty and outlandish comments and "reports" and suppositions.  Some are amazed at the credulity of people.  Some are unhappy about silly or ridiculous stories, videos and allegations running through cyberspace unchallenged and causing unfair burdens and dangers.


I recommend a quick review of yourself and your situation.  Refresh your awareness that you are not in charge of the world and never have been.  The condition of the world is not your responsibility.  Other people have rights, too, including the right to their beliefs, their impressions and their convictions. You have never before been in such a rich communication environment, what with papers and magazines, umpty-ump tv channels and ten times as many websites.  Many, probably most, of those sources have commercial, political and persuasive interests.  We would both be kidding ourselves if we didn't leave open the possibility of error or deliberate lying.  


If you find that you have accepted something as true but new evidence or another look at the story makes it clear that you have been embarrassingly gullible, stop and reverse.  Many of us have re-examined our beliefs and assumptions about what has happened and why, what is happening and who is doing it and what may happen.  We have repeatedly found that some old ideas ring true and some old principles hold up, while others collapse or need repair and revision.  Lord Keynes said to a parliamentary opponent who accused him of changing his position on a question,"When new facts emerge, I change my position.  What do you do, Sir?"


The truth seems to be that you are in control of yourself and nobody else.  So, take this sacred opportunity to be alive seriously and focus on who and what you are.  Whether you are happy, scared or whatever, take a minute at least once a day to sit quietly.  Take deep breaths and let your mind settle.  Read some Dan Harris or Jack Kornfield or your favorite religious writer and stay in touch with yourself.  You know what they say: Don't let the bastards get you down.

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