And now a word from Feynman

The quote goes, “The first principle is you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

I’m thinking of this right now as I ponder much of what I see and read on Facebook and other online sites.  I see these little posts about a naked girl getting 100,000 likes so how about our troops getting 1 million, or posts about evil muslims harming their families and then a Christ-like figure saving them, or some story about an eleven year old girl using a shotgun to fight off her attackers.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  Stories that tug at your core, grip those heart strings for all they’re worth and tug.  They get you fired up, emotionally charged and ready to act!  So powerful, so moving… and so full of lies.

I have a hard time with these kind of posts, mostly because they utilize artifice presented as truth or fact, to advance a particular viewpoint.  I don’t have a problem with artifice, within its proper context, confined to a medium truthfully presented as such.  A book, in the fiction section, is potentially a great allegory on the success and failings of mankind.  Through its fabrications it reveals truth and stirs imaginations and conscience.  The result is an internalized moment of reflection, of realization and understanding that may change the way you view your world.  Music, movies, and other mediums will evoke similar processes and I love that!  But we know what they are, usually, before consuming them.  Night of the Living Dead is interesting social commentary but it isn’t presented as either truth or fact.

We don’t have that line at all with popular social media, and, quite frankly, it’s fading in traditional media, and I think we are worse off for that.  I don’t need to be lied to in order to support gun rights, or human rights, or to profess faith in a particular God.  I don’t need to be lied to in order to understand where you’re coming from.  If your position can be supported by facts, or even personal opinion, truthfully presented, then let it stand on its own.

By Dan Granot

I chose the Shorter Whitman because of his work, "Song of Myself" and because of my self-deprecating sense of humor. I am under no illusion that I can write successful essays or poetry, but I have been known to write them anyway.

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