Erin's Journals

Monday, November 6, 2023

Just a thought… Life isn’t black and white; it’s a million gray areas, don’t you find? [Ridley Scott]

Some days, some weeks, it’s harder to write a blog, a journal about the little things – the cheery things – when there is so much suffering in the world. While widespread genocide is going on, many here in our blessedly peaceful country will complain about clocks going back. It’s human nature: unless we take off our gentle blinders and immerse ourselves in news coverage, it’s near impossible to fathom the enormity of a tragedy that is not in our backyard. So we focus on the things we see.

You will understand me not voicing an opinion on the tragedies before us, especially as they unfold in the Middle East. Of course, I have them, but mine are no more informed (probably less so in some cases) than yours. So here I stay quiet, not out of cowardice, but of being aware of what I don’t know and will never, ever understand.

This I know: life is not black and white, as much as we would like it to be. How much simpler it would all be! The good guys can also be bad guys, the victims the oppressors, and vice versa; the degrees to which each is either good or bad vary under differing circumstances and through alternating lenses.

So, often we lock ourselves inside silos of information that suit and feed our limited understanding, and refuse to see or hear perspectives different from ours; when the light does seep in through the painted-over bricks, we refuse to budge from our long-held beliefs and feelings. As Jonathan Swift said, “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he never was reasoned into.”

And so here we are. Crooked men in high places, evil puppet masters and traitorous small men with tall ambitions and closets full of crimes. Innocents as pawns, babies as targets, money and protection from prosecution – all playing into horrific games of life and death. Reporting that is biased or untruthful and people in those comfortable silos only taking in what suits their beliefs, offended by the truth and dismissive of facts, if we can even determine what “facts” are anymore.

A few weeks ago, a woman wrote to me that she and her daughter were having a dispute. She wanted to know if what her daughter says, that the news is filtered, is true. I responded at length that indeed it is and that some outlets are known for their veracity, while others may call themselves “news,” but have no ties to the truth. The Fairness Doctrine, scrapped in the 1980s by then-President Reagan, allowed media outlets to say whatever they wanted, regardless of the truth; only those sued on a massive scale (as in the case of Alex Jones and his Sandy Hook bullshit or Fox “News” and Dominion voting machines) are ever made to answer or recant.

I never got a response. Back into the silo? Who knows?

We live in dangerous times and while I whined about fireworks (a big thing in BC) scaring our grandchildren as they walked the streets on Halloween, they were not missiles whistling over top of refugee shelters, frightening and endangering our babies.

We try hard to keep our perspectives, lenses intact as best we can, concentrating on what we see, while struggling to ease open that door in our silos to information that can bring the larger world into focus…no matter how horrible it may be.

I apologize for not being lighter of spirit today. I have joys in my life: friends and family and so much for which to be grateful. It’s just that some days and weeks it’s harder to be positive. Maybe I’ll blame the time change.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, November 6, 2023