Dec 032010

It is Friday, December 3, 2010 and I am standing in the Safeway checkout line scanning the magazines again. I did not make this up, by the way. People and the Globe are side-by-side on the rack. Both have cover articles with pictures of Michael Douglas. People has a picture of him smiling and looking healthy and saying he is getting stronger every day. The Globe has him looking like death itself and saying he is planning his funeral.

So how is Michael Douglas? What to believe?

We live amid the communication of opposites. Every person's truth is someone else's lie. Every yes is another person's no. Our climate is changing, or it isn't. We should be worried, or we shouldn't. This plan is a great opportunity, or a disaster in the making–the worst thing possible. This candidate sounds like an angel from heaven, and her opponent sounds like a devil from hell–until you listen to the other side, and then the roles are reversed. 

Corporations spend fortunes telling us how good they are, usually because they've been caught doing wrong and need to repair their images. You may realize you're being manipulated, but the ads are so sincere and uplifting you find yourself believing them.

Preachers make a living condemning sins they later are found to have been enjoying themselves. 

You assume that I thought of these things and wrote this all by myself. But maybe I actually copied it word-for-word from someone else. The author's name is often not the author's name these days.

The reasons leaders give for leading us into war are rarely the real reasons. Throughout human history, most wars have been fought on pretexts (pretext meaning "a purpose or motive alleged or an appearance assumed in order to cloak the real intention.")

Now there isn't much we can do about any of this, except to recognize it and be discriminating and intelligent in what we believe and disbelieve. 

But then, of course, one person's intelligence is another person's definition of stupidity.

I wish you well, Michael Douglas. However you really are.

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