In the last week I have had many online conversations with people on "the right". I find these conversations fascinating. Two in particular come up (I hope to share one of them... pending permission). My impression of these two people (one I know personally) is that they truly believe that they are on the compassionate, for the people, intelligent, fact based side of the current political climate. Sound familiar? Most of the people on "the left", myself included 10000 percent, also believe they are on the compassionate, for the people, intelligent, fact based side of things. So, how did we get here? How is it that the population is polarized into two apparently concurrent alternate realities in which people on both sides are 100 percent sure that they are in fact, "the good guys" and the other side are the ones ruining everything? I truly find this an intriguing mix of wonder, frustration and confusion.
How do we know what is true? How do we know what news is the real news and what news is "fake" news? How do we realllly know we are on the good and righteous side of history? How do we know what we think as history is ACTUAL factual history and not lies fed to us? I think the short answer is we DON'T. Life is an amorphous wonderland made up of constant data and cherry picking perception based on millions of factors, both conscious and unconscious. SO, how do we navigate in a world where what the real actual truth is can seem like a toss up?? Here are some ways I am using;
1. In terms of current events, rely on actual, unedited footage with the original audio as much as possible. Look at footage of an event from as many different perspectives as possible to get as complete a picture as possible. While our own perception can be faulty as hell, the more we can take things in with our own eyes and make our own conclusions, the closer to truth we will be. Beyond that, I have a few new sources that have proven to be people who make sense to me. People who are reporting on the side of ideals I believe in, like equality and freedom for all people, not just a select few.
2. Ask yourself basic, open ended questions to ferret out the important things in any situation. Such as; "who was harmed in order for this intention to be realized?" If you were to ask yourself this about the confederacy, you might come upon the answer "Stolen people from Africa endured horrific tortures, as did and do their descendants so that America could be "great" and "free". In the light of this, all arguments about whose history books are right, and who started what war become moot points. Who was harmed, in what way and why? Period. On the flip side, If you were to ask yourself "who had to be harmed to take these statues down?", the answer is beyond some bruised ego's, NO ONE. Another good question is "what is most important?". To put it in context of the event of the last weekend. What is most important? The remembrance of wildly debated history or the health, safety and equality of the descendants of those that suffered most to build America in the first place? For me the answer is clear. If your answer is yes, but.... followed by a long list of justifications, then your moral compass may be off kilter and in need of a tune up.
3. Above all, LISTEN TO YOUR HEART. If you find yourself in a conversation that makes you question your reality or sanity (talking to the educated people on the right can do that), take a breath and keep it simple. "what does my heart say?" The heart is unified, the brain is divided. The heart whispers in simple truths, the brain spins on and on volleying back and forth in constant argument. When you are stuck, listen to your heart over and above the back and forth of who is right and wrong. If you ask your heart, "Who do I want to be aligned with?" Over and above who is "right or wrong" or "correct about history or incorrect about history", do you want to be with the crowd of people fighting for ALL people to have freedom, love, prosperity and happiness, or do you want to be in the crowd of people fighting for ALL other people then those that look like them to DIE or serve their agenda?
In closing, when in doubt, rise above the details and look at the over all energy and intentions. I know what side I am on and there are people of every skin tone you can imagine. There are people of every gender you can imagine and some you didn't know existed. And all those people are able to create space for all others to BE. In peace, in respect in LOVE.
Stay strong, stay loving~ We are all in this TOGETHER!