The storm clouds gathered to the northwest. I watched as a brief squall blew across the lake. The clouds began to break up, but radar showed bigger storms to come. Indeed, I could see the black wall on the horizon, steadily rolling towards me. In the midst of the chaos, I watch as a few birds drift across the temporarily calm sky.
In my previous post, I bemoaned the turmoil of the New Gilded Age in which we find ourselves. While I certainly feel that we are living in perilous times, there is certainly hope. Much as some were able to do in the late 1800s, so, too, must we work to find our own calm sky amidst the chaos.
Discerning The Truth
We live in an unprecedented age of knowledge. If you are reading this (or anything on the internet), then you have a vast resource literally at your fingertips. The information that is readily available to the average person is astounding. Therein lies some of the danger. How good are you at discerning truth?
We hear the cries of bias, fake news, and half-truths every day. The fastest way to finding calm in these chaotic times is understanding that there is no such thing as an unbiased source. Even if you witness an event first-hand, your personal beliefs color your experience and how you describe it. Even the finest of journalists cannot wholly prevent personal opinion from mixing with facts. We are all human. We all feel things. There is a need to express, even if just through mannerisms and timbre of voice, what we really think.
Get Beyond The Headline
I could talk for some time on finding calm, but this is the single best piece of advice I can give if you wish to remain informed about current events. Headlines in any form, including tweets, are designed to garner attention. They attempt to encapsulate the story to be told in as few words as possible. They are meant to give an immediate sense of urgency. Somewhere along the way, perhaps flooded by too many headlines, we have forgotten that they are a lead-in to the actual story, not the story to themselves.
Ignore the headline and read the story before forming an opinion. Find the full video, not just the 45 seconds that the media has time to show you. Read the entire speech, not just the quote being shared everywhere. Listen to your favorite politician as if they are an untrustworthy neighbor instead of a friendly face.
Make all of your news sources prove to you that they are credible – every time. It takes work, but when you get beyond the knee-jerk emotion sparked by headlines, you begin to uncover facts. When you uncover facts, you begin to understand what is really happening. When you understand what is really happening, you can find the calm between the storms.
Next week, I’ll find my calm between the storms and get back to photography.