Sunday, November 25, 2012
We know they’re not all the same thing. We have more “facts” available at our fingertips than at any time in history. There are so many facts that we need help to sort them out to gain any real knowledge. So we subscribe to media to help analyze it all. Unfortunately, we also tend to patronize those sources which agree with what we want to believe.
“There are 3 kinds of lies - lies, damn lies and statistics.” This statement was popularized in America by Mark Twain and attributed to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.
We all view information through our own lens which sometimes distorts our view of reality. Just look at the competing bumper stickers and commercials during an election year. Half of the population believes each side completely. It takes an extraordinary effort to find the truth and chart our own course.
I’ve written about my grandmother. We called her “Baba.” She was a wise woman. She warned about how our food was changing about 50 years ago. She also had ideas that were false. No Baba, jumping rope and running will not make my insides fall out. In her defense, this was the conventional wisdom at the time and she didn’t have the Internet.
Take the quote I mentioned earlier. As it turns out, it’s unlikely that Disraeli was the author.
Obviously, this commonly accepted fact whether true or false won’t adversely affect anyone’s life. However, it is important that we realize our own preconceptions, investigate competing resources and sift all the facts carefully to arrive at true knowledge. Hopefully this will lead us to the wisdom to lead healthy, meaningful lives.