Think. Yes. Really. Just a moment… think of an idea or possibility beyond a Twitter reply, or a Facebook “like” or a TikTok video.
The likelihood of you reading this column to the end has dropped sharply over the past few years in direct relation to our use of social media and smartphones. It’s an old argument that’s been around since we mustered enough brainpower to put words together on pages and then into book form.
People, like me, who write as part of their contribution to society tell stories of how our collective attention span has diminished and how this has negatively impacted our ability to distinguish truth from fact.
Far too many people have decided that finding the truth, or determining facts, is too fraught with complications and difficulties that far outweigh the benefits of research, thought and consideration. Like the postmoderns, some have determined that our individual sense is the truth seen through the lens that makes us feel our best. In general, for most people, at the lowest levels of existence, it works and life goes on until something happens that we can’t explain or aren’t sure we have to accept. .
The problem with the search for truth is that it depends on accepting that some of our opinions and assumptions about the world may need to be adjusted as we gather the relevant information that helps to illuminate our way forward. To expect anyone or all people to be settled in their perception of the differences and endless possibilities of the culture and the world we find ourselves in is to expect a flower to bloom without water – but talking kindly to her every day.
So how exactly do you find the truth or determine what is factual? This can certainly be a tricky problem to solve but one in which the searching exercise usually leads to the solution. By learning about the world around us in a serious and meaningful way, we can tune our sensitivity to what is beyond the noise and clutter of emotions and feelings. These characteristics are important, but not at the expense of accepting the reality that something you thought was might no longer be because you allowed the flow of ideas to better inform your reality.
We’ve been through a lot over the past few years, and as we come out the other side, it’s important that we all make a compelling case for ourselves. Too many people have been left behind because they feared for their safety or clung to stories that made them feel better.
These should certainly be seen as counter-intuitive forces that hold back our sense of truth and facts. Reflection is what has been given to us to help us discover the best way forward. We are tasked with looking to the future with an eye for clarity and a mind capable of capturing more than a 10-second TikTok video or a Twitter argument.
Something to think about…really! And, congratulations, by the way, you made it to the end.