Click HERE for Validation

I was sitting at coffee, eaves-dropping on the table next to me . . . . er, uh . . . I mean . . . minding my own business, when I hear the guy say,

“Nope!  Never had a vacation in 15 years!  Never had a reason to leave home.”

While I sipped my whipped chocolate java goodness, my mind wandered to places I visited years ago.  It’s been a long time since I ventured very far from Minnesota.  Funny how one year can turn into four, and the next thing you know, you’re sitting in a coffee shop telling your buddy you have no reason to leave the comfort of your home

Now, I’m not one to eaves drop.  Well . . . okay . . . I am, and you can read about that here.  But let me be very clear that the guy deserved my eaves-dropping for two reasons.

  1. He was very loud.
  2. While I was enjoying my first sip, he said, “Good morning, how are you?”  Not in a your-eyes-meet-and-its-just-a-polite-thing-to-do sort of way.  He said it in a “Hey, little lady” I-hadn’t-even-glanced-in-his-direction sort of way.  It was awkward.

So yeah, he’s just asking to be overheard . . . and judged.

When I zeroed back in on the conversation, he was telling his friend all about what the people around the world think of Americans.  “They don’t like us,” he said.

Now, this may be true or not.  We’ve all heard people say it.  I’ve also heard people talk about their travels and how nice everyone was to them.  But here’s the thing . . . on what experience was his statement based?

WB11 News At 10 - What's his name?
(Photo credit: NYCArthur)

Is he watching his favorite news channel?  Back in the day,  it didn’t run all day and night.  There was the 5:00 and the 10:00.  They lasted for an hour, and if you only wanted the weather, you knew when to tune in.  How long does it take to report the real stories in a factual manner?  Now we have channels with nothing but news 24/7 and they have to fill in the gaps with personal accounts packed with opinions.  With all these viewpoints being aired, they found it necessary to have not one, but several, different 24-hour news stations to cater to everyone’s perspective.  Presto!  You now have your world views validated every hour of the day without challenge.

English: Newspaper "gone to the Web."
Newspaper “gone to the Web.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fewer people than ever have the newspaper delivered to their door.  When I was a kid, almost every house on my block got the paper.  My parents sat down each day to catch up on current events.  They budgeted time in their morning routine because it was important to them.  Sure, some newspapers lean one way or another, but they only have that one issue a day to interest everyone, so they tend to offer a buffered perspective.

These days our information is digitally delivered on the internet.  And do you know what the internet recommends for you?  Links that it knows you will like based on what you clicked in the past.

 

@brockuniversity Social Media
@brockuniversity Social Media (Photo credit: giulia.forsythe)

It’s all just marketing.  You see, they need to tell us something we agree with.  Because the more people who subscribe, click, follow, like and retweet, the more money they make.  Unfortunately, we are all becoming convinced there is no other valid opinion but our own.

“We find comfort among those who agree with us – growth among those who don’t.”
— Frank A. Clark

It is sometimes difficult to listen to another point of view; to find out that we may have been wrong — to think we may have spent 15 years sitting in our living room watching t.v. instead of seeing the world.  No one wants to be wrong, but when we are always right, we stop evolving.

Bringing myself out of my thoughts and back to reality, my loud neighbor was now talking about gun control.  He was quoting Archie Bunker who was not only a fictional character, but one who failed to evolve forty years ago.  I couldn’t wait to go home and Google “Archie Bunker on gun control” to educate myself.

I must always stay open to the possibility that I am wrong.  There is a splendid gift in being given the truth.  We need only be open to receiving it.

Please don’t make the mistake of interpreting this post as a political one.  This is about pulling your head of the sand (or wherever you might have it) and seeing all that is around you.  Challenge that which you have always believed.  Listen consciously.  Speak carefully.  Grow deeply.

 

Peace . . .

 

 

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Click HERE for Validation

  1. Please eavesdrop more you come up with such interesting topics as a result. 😉 We had similar routines. The paper arrived at 4 pm, the news,which was only half an hour came on at 6 and 11 and yes we knew exactly what time the weather would come on after which the TV was turned off.. My grandfather read the paper first, then I got it followed by my grandmother.

    Like you, it’s been a few years since I traveled very far from home, the last being four years ago for a wedding. That doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying life. It sounds like your friendly (and loud) coffee neighbor was trying to make himself sound important through his comments.

    My grandfather used to watch Archie Bunker but somehow I missed that one, hilarious to think that show was ever accepted in that time as appropriate for family viewing.

    1. I think that show was pretty gutsy. My father, who was an otherwise intelligent man, was somewhat bigoted. My mother fought hard to balance his views. When that show came out, I think my dad saw people laughing at Archie, and saw something of himself in there. It did a lot to change his viewpoints. Another example of art imitating life imitating art..

      1. Jean, that’s interesting about your dad. My grandfather liked the show, he found it funny but he wasn’t exactly bigoted. He had his views that blacks were some how not as good, and as a result didn’t get the better jobs, but he welcomed them into his home, fed a man in 1960 who was refused service at a restaurant (refusing to eat in the restaurant due to how they treated the man) but boy there would have been hell if I dated a black man. 😉

  2. Funny how egotists are always loud. I’ve traveled the world all my life. There are no absolutes. I’ve run into bigotry everywhere as well as extreme kindness. It’s taught me not to judge anyone or anything. Every single event requires individual discernment. As a German/American, I found discrimination in both camps as well as caring. Living in the Far East, they were fascinated and kind at the same time. Life is just always full of contrast. That’s what makes it fun.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s