There is an old Chinese proverb that states “May you be cursed to live in interesting times.” Well to say we live in interesting times would be an understatement. Whether it be COVID, the growing divide in society - literally everywhere, the breakdown of trust in our governments, in our media, the failing economy, climate concerns, and growing “tribalism” around any number of issues, I think it would be fair to say we are faced today with a myriad of problems that no other generation has encountered.
Most of us used to simply shrug our shoulders, put our heads down and keep moving forward. After all, if things didn’t really impact us, didn’t touch us why worry? Not so anymore. And to educate ourselves, to stay informed to find the information to stay anchored in these uncertain times we have found too that information is harder to find, and harder to verify as even in this realm everything has been divided into competing camps of “fake news.” Certainly, in Canada and much of the Western World trust in the MSM is at an all-time low as all pretense of objectivity has been tossed out the window and trying to find the “truth” in all the noise is getting harder to do. (Not to mention the Orwellian tendencies currently of “redefining” terms and phrases that once had a common understanding into something that has become foreign and double-speak to most.)
So let’s see if we can break things down into something much simpler to understand. First, society can be divided into two groups – those who build and those who tear down. One is really hard to do and the other we do all the time with ease. (You don't have to learn to tear something down.) No one ever says they are for destruction (except for Marxists and anarchists – but that is for another time) and everyone likes to say they are for progress and growth. The words are said, but do the actions align with them? My advice then is when examining the validity of something look at the actions that go with that group, are they building or are they tearing down?
Second, let’s examine a second filter, truth-telling. This on the face of it may seem a difficult if not impossible task but with some careful examination is actually pretty easy to do. Truth-telling is revealed in what I call the internal consistency of one's actions. Like building or tearing down, actions often betray a lie (internal inconsistency). For example, if they say they are for women’s rights but have actions that betray that statement then are a liar and not a truth-teller. If you have a group that claims they are for tolerance and understanding but have actions that demonstrate intolerance even toward one group, then they fall into the “non-truth telling” category and their words should be viewed with skepticism.
We all have an internal consistency where our actions will inevitably reveal our true attitude and perspective. This is not a new concept and so, for example, generations of people were encouraged to have long engagements so that those contemplating a life together could ascertain through their partner's actions whether their “talk and walk” lined up.
These are just two simple ways to remove some of the noise that can get in the way of figuring things out. Of understanding what is happening in the world around us. And, who or what group is actually building and truth-telling? You may not agree with them but at least you will know you are getting the straight goods from them, and that's a start.
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