It’s no secret that I have friends that cover the political spectrum and beyond. A tight rope stretches across many issues and topics. Humans, as a whole, strike me as a pretty contentious lot. Conflict wears a suit of armor. I run and hide.
While I’m hiding, I do make some time to read. Reading is like eating to me. Both provide comfort and love. Reading is something I have to do and there are so many delicious books begging to be tasted. Lately, I read a biography: Mike Wallace: A Life by Peter Rader. I also read about the “grooming” or packaging of the information we receive from journalists. My suspicions about investigative reporting were confirmed once again. Or is that what I expected to discover?
Today, I watched a film entitled, Ethos. The subject: private corporate interests influencing government. The question: Who really controls the country? The answer: Well, I often learn things I don’t want to know. Wait! If media in general are subject to their own special packaging of the news, etc., then shouldn’t I question the “facts” used in this film?
My personal beliefs were more in line with what I learned in Ethos but my believing something doesn’t automatically make it true. Admitting that I really don’t know or have enough information to make a decision and that the sources of information themselves really need to be questioned shoved me into some rocky, alien territory. The farther away from me, the more complicated and the more difficult to formulate a reasonable opinion. Yet, I do. I manage to take this mess of fiction sprinkled with occasion facts and develop some pretty strong convictions.
Why? Because they feel right to me. I’d love to say that I’m a very reasonable person and that I don’t form opinions based on rumor and hearsay. I like to apply my keen powers of observation and intellectual reasoning and come up with an intelligent viewpoint. Well, you didn’t read this here and I’ll deny saying it but honestly, I don’t really have a clue.
The POINT is. . .that every where you turn there is some one believing something that makes no sense. I turn again and there is some one who believes what I do. They don’t look any different, these people who believe completely opposite things. They want many of the same things: love, companionship, meaningful work, a decent living, to have things to laugh about and some one to grow old with or not. No matter how justified they think this war or that war is or is not or whether this issue is valid or moral or not, we want the world to be a better place. Sadly, we just don’t agree on how to get there.
Obviously, all this reading and all this film watching is either a sign that there is something I am trying to avoid or that it’s hot, really hot outside. Or, it could be both.
It is entirely possible that two or more realities can be true at the same time. Now, I know that is a grossly unpopular idea with people deeply entrenched in their own view point. I’m not even convinced that being deeply entrenched in a view point is a bad thing. People living out their convictions make the world go round even when that conviction was that the world was flat. Thinking shapes the lifestyle, the social milieu, the “smell” of the times. Strong convictions make questioning one’s sources or considering the opposition more difficult and maybe even impossible. The brave souls who dare question are often scorned, laughed at, some times tortured or even killed for what they believe. Later, we often discover that they really knew something that most of us did not.
As easily as my brain wants to slide into a life of polarized thinking, the truth is: I have very few answers. If I don’t question my sources as well as the sources of opposing viewpoints, I’m only contributing to a global ignorance that is a hostile stranger to the truth. Truth can be a most elusive reality. It can also be highly subjective.
I suspect that all this rhetoric is merely smoke and mirrors. The what is less important than the why.
Why does this bother me?
Underneath it all, when it’s all said and done what I want from those closest to me is acceptance.
They don’t have to agree with me but I want them to still love me any way.
I want them to be kind.
I want to know that they are there for me through thick and thin.
What I want is a different way of being. I don’t want to get caught up in a game of right and wrong, winners and losers, truth and fiction. The lines between these extremes are too blurry for me. They shift easily.
I don’t want to be hurt.
Yet, conflict seems to have been tattooed onto human nature. It causes me to question myself, my thoughts, my beliefs but more importantly my feelings and my needs. Do I really have a right to want something, anything? Do I have a right to feel what I feel?
‘Yes’ can be a heavy and lonely answer.
It is an honest one. Wanting something won’t make it so. Conflict can serve a purpose. It has shown me what I value, what I think is important, and the things I believe in so strongly that I will defend them. I believe it is extremely important to question, to think, to open one’s heart to where others are coming from especially, when they believe something I do not.
What do I know?
I know what it’s like to be me.
I know how my experience shapes who I am.
I know what I choose to believe and I often know why.
I know who my friends are not because of what they say but because of what they do and who they are.
I know that wanting something doesn’t make it so but that it’s OK to have needs and wants even when guilt and self-doubt tries to convince me otherwise.
I know that it’s ok to be me and that the only way to a different way of being is to accept that.
I know that I have very few answers and a whole lot of questions and that I can live with that even when it makes me uncomfortable.
I know that I want to love and be loved especially when that is a challenge and I feel like shutting down or hating instead.
I know what I do not know and always want to know more.
I know that I want the world to be a better place and that the first step on that journey is to become a better me. I know. I know. . .
What do you know?