Where I Go After WTF
There are so many things swirling in the cosmos to wrap our heads around. The spinners attempt to spin and bend our opinions about these things, attempting to mold our thoughts in a way to support a given agenda. We seek to come to some resolution that will support what we already believe about the world. In psychology it's called confirmation bias. We all do it, but we need to be aware of it because advertisers, the media and politicians use it to gain our favor.
Several years ago I took some webinars for blog writing. One of the things stressed, besides content, was headline writing. I learned negative headlines drive more traffic because people gravitate toward them seeking to find validation for a negative they suspected. You see this on Facebook when you see a meme with a salacious heading and your first thought is, "I knew it." However you click over to the content and none of it supports the lead.
As a female, the most troubling and hopeful of the issues swirling in the cosmos is the number of women stepping forward to name their perpetrators in sexual harassment and rape. Troubling because it continues to occur, but hopeful because it can no longer be ignored and encourages others to step forward. In the indie writing world, Hugh Howey is a hero. Everyone looks to his example of self publishing. He was a huge success and now probably enjoys a major publisher who markets and edits for him. He is a science fiction writer, but he also writes great blogs. If you want to read a great blog on this issue, check out Hugh's blog, This Needs to End. He gives some great ideas about how men can help change this culture.
Another of Hugh's recent blogs, The Devastating Consequences of Blind Worship, hits the nail on the head for me. I don't get the sheep and the shepherd mentality of not questioning authority, our leaders (religious or political), or each other. What happened to critical thinking? In this age of social media people share and rally around any meme with images of flag, puppy, or dogma. Some are poignant, others are down right mean. A good visual is always helpful to gain readers. I know that, but we need to read between the lines and question. Always question.
Brene Brown is an American scholar, author and research professor. She can back up her statements with numbers from her research. Her books on vulnerability, courage, and faith are filled with the results of numerous tests on the hypotheses she and her students formulate to study the human connection in our complex society. In one of her most recent discussions on faith, Brene talks about her conflicted feelings about the church. She also discusses the fact that there is no neutrality in faith -- it either helps or it hurts. Check out the videos done by The Work of the People.
I have some go to blogs and Ted Talks by people who I think are grounded in critical thinking and can back up their talk with research and common sense. I go to these, especially when I find myself asking WTF. They avoid the fluff of appealing to patriots, denominations, and emotions. For me, those things are confusing. There's ambiguity and duplicity there and I've never liked either one. This morning I watched a commercial on television. It's a tear-jerker, but there's a reason for that. The spot is produced by the paper and packaging industry. Now, ask yourself why would the paper and packaging industry need to advertise. In my opinion we have way too much of such a thing. Then, maybe others think that also and have been buying less of it and refusing to buy products with excessive packaging. But take a look at this commercial. Click on the link above. Look at the child, look at the elderly neighbor, look at the father in uniform--a uniform we must respect. Now get out there and buy more paper and packaging.
So, I'm with Hugh Howey. I think there is a consequence to blind worship. It negates our ability to think critically and that's not a good thing. It's what nefarious leaders (religious and secular) depend on. Gather evidence, decide if something helps or hurts, check out the authorities you trust, read their blogs and watch their videos. Ask yourself if you seek to confirm a bias, or if you're being objective when listening to someone else. Maybe that will help decipher the crapola swirling in the cosmos. Other than that, I've got nothing.