The Matter of Perspective
I read Canadian news when American news becomes too much handle. It works for me, since often American news still gets coverage in Canada as having a crazy neighbor means you pay them extra attention. One day a news article popped up titled something unmemorable, like "More People Opting Not to Own Cars" or to that effect.
"Oh ho, the dapper Canadians are forgoing cars now, how ecofriendly of them," I think and proceed to browse the article. Only to discover, after several paragraphs, that the number of car sales in Canada has actually increased over the past few years -- a large, headline-killing fact skipped over and only mentioned as an aside.
Why? Because the author of the article recently gave up their own car, and so did their son, and then their friend...and therefore from their perspective "Wow, look at all these people opting not to own cars anymore, this must be a trend!"
If that Canadian article had only been published in, say, a tight urban center with myriad public transit options it might have been received better. As it was, the comment section (which in national Canadian news cannot be anonymous) was not kind.
I've made this same mistake myself when I think back on my personal experiences and then erroneously extrapolate them as great truths of the world. I grew up in a small farming community of 6000ish people - all white - and hence my experiences were limited. I didn't see things like racism because there weren't other races around. Our small town never suffered from rising rents or gentrification. No one in my school planned on going to college as most came from blue-collar families, so free college didn't make much difference to us. My bubble of the world, all in all, was pretty isolated from the issues raged about on the news.
Then my father lost his job - a common occurance in Ohio during the last great recession - and we had to move to California. Then suddenly all these issues made way more sense. My perspective had changed - not the actual status of the world.
Perspective is a dangerous, because it colors everything we do and how we prioritize the world around us. Too often people disregard things which don't directly impact them or their neighbors. Not living in a ghetto? Oh well for crime rates. Not living on the border? Oh well for immigration. Not dealing with police shootings in your community? Oh well for racial profiling. Not living on an island or the coast? Oh well for rising sea levels.
Any facts which fall outside the purview of our own lens of experience will not have as great an impact as facts which we can validate ourselves. This means that in a giant melting pot of different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, we lose common ground because we have forgotten the age old art of seeing things from a different perspective. What if you had to deal with this problem directly? What if you hadn't been born where you are now? What if you weren't the same sex/gender/race you are now? Would you have the same views? Would you feel the same way?
And honestly this call to arms should fall on us as writers because more than anything, we are the ones who present windows into the multifaceted perspectives across this planet. Ensuring that different perspectives are not only heard but brought to life and empathized with is the core of what good writing should do. Whether you write about your own perspective, or help someone who may not be gifted or confident enough to share their experiences with others, you should always strive to present not just facts but the perspectives behind them.
And if we want to ensure critical reading skills, we should always strive to identify the shortcomings in our own perspective lens - as well as the lens of those authors we read - and try to broaden it as much as possible.
Are you being heard?
America is as polarized as ever. Either you hate Trump and his administration, or you support their decisions. The gray area where people could support their party and still disagree with some of its decisions is fading away. We are moving closer to the collapse of America.
It doesn’t matter which party you align with. It’s clear that at this point we have forgotten why our government and its parties exists: to ensure each citizen can prosper. Through discourse, we can expose the faults in each other’s logic leading to better policies that improve our quality of life. Yet, neither side can admit to their faults. Instead, politics has become a middle school classroom.
Teachers, experts in their subjects, are presenting the facts with an intent to inform not persuade. Yet, in order to reach their students, the general public, they must find a way to make the information more palatable. In this way, the facts lose their intent. We have comedians, that never intended or assumed to be experts, now passing on the information we should receive from experts. For them to inform they must insult, and the students latch on to the insult instead of the information. Turning the classroom into battleground of opinionated character insults with the “word of the day” being thrown around with little regard to its actual meaning or relatability to the discussion.
So how do we change the conversation from “You’re stupid” to “You’re wrong”? We first need to address the misconceptions that might equals right. The incessant, boisterous rantings of a mob don’t persuade others to join their cause. They acquiesce for the moment but remain vigilant for their vindication. If the harm sustained from those coerced into following the mob is great, they will become vindictive once the facts surface. This will cause a new mob, that will eventually lose sight of seeking justice and instead seek to punish.
At this point, we need those skilled in resolving conflict to emerge. Experts in compromise and reconciliation that realize that the competition is not between Democrats and Republicans but between prosperity and despair. We, not only as Americans, but as humans desiring a better life; A life of autonomy, happiness, and prosperity, must fight against the allure of winning if winning is just symbolic.
So I ask, do you want to thrive or do you just want to be heard?
i remember learning
facts and opinions
that one was absolute
the other, subject to change
as i've grown older
i see now
that was just an exercise
to follow fiction and nonfiction
so that which the world believed
would be identified as truth
while my reality faded
was never good enough
until i became "educated"
was what you tried to erase in the beginning
and in the end
it is what you praise
i've learned now
Truth is what "I" believe
what the Self believes
the World just gets to the Self before we can
whatever you decide they are
so long as the world agrees
I know there must be an Eternal Truth
We prefer our own kind
so we twist the "facts"
facts are opinions
opinions are facts
fiction is reality
reality is fiction
there is no difference
if we don't want there to be
If you can get past
Receiving $145 million from Russia and blaming someone who did not receive a dime.
Selling 20% of a uranium stockpile to an enemy who donates to your foundation.
Spying, a fake dossier, a bleach bit hard drive, a private email server for classified emails and yoga (same thing I've been told), missing monies from a Haitian relief fund, some people lose elections, being responsible for an even greater failure than the election with a failed coup d' etat, turning the word suicide into an occupational hazard, forgetting that Ambassador Stevens was on US property when being murdered without help in sight that could have been there but where ordered to stand down, wondering about if anyone believes "what difference does it make" means the same thing to you as it does to the grossly underestimated size of the large basket of deplorables that aren't fooled, but do vote and do remember.
Then yes, facts don't matter.
What DOESN’T Matter?
Facts are just another tick on the list of
fragile things that must be held carefully.
Up there with feelings and opinions.
What do you do when facts contradict opinions?
You change the opinions. What else?
If the Earth had never been proven round,
then the fact is that the Earth is flat.
Innocent until proven guilty.
True until proven false.
If people looked at the facts, our society would be in a better place.
Care to argue?
Fact: Race, religion, gender, culture. None of that shit matters.
Our DNA is individual to us, sure, but
We share the same underlying genes.
We are all home sapien. Let's look at the facts.
The world will improve because of it.
Opinions matter. Facts matter. We matter.
Yes, facts matter. Just like everything else.
Facts are the currency through which we share things that are true,
(at least what we consider to be true)
and a wilfull breach into factual matters
is one that purposefully sets us all back in the progression of all that is us.
A currency is hurt by counterfeit,
it becomes updated and kept up by those who issue it,
it is to be respected and
uncorrupted by those who use it.
Let us not counterfeit facts,
let us keep them updated and up to standard,
let us respect the veracity and sanctity of facts and
let us not taint the truth for personal gain.
There is Nothing
(This is a great and challenging challenge)
They talk about ‘fake news’ and ‘project fear’
And anyone who challenges is the ‘enemy of the people’
They talk about ‘taking back control’
Of something they already have control of
They talk about ‘Making America Great Again’
A president with a mega head
And a mega ego
Sporting a MAGA hat, likes he’s thirteen.
They manipulate the past
They manipulate the present
They manipulate the future.
Is the only defence we have
That’s what I thought
But their ego is untouchable
They are so bold and unabashed
With no shame or moral compass
They discuss ‘alternative truths’
Like there’s some parallel universe right here
On a daily basis.
And crafted rants
Sweeping people’s minds
And the ones that are so blatant as to be obviously stupid
Even to the most obviously stupid -
The stupidly obvious ones
And they just move on.
To be swept aside by this unthinkable ‘reality’
Created from unreality
Is just unthinkable.
All we have are the facts.
Keep stating the facts
And perhaps they won’t listen
And brush them aside
But without us
And our facts
There is nothing.
That really depends on the party. Facts matter when you want to get a point across or possibly back up your arguments. However, no matter what kind of facts you present, it won't matter to someone who refuses to believe you. What I mean by that is there are people who are so deep into their own information/ belief that they won't care what kind of facts you give because it will go against everything they believe in. Change can scare people and if you went through your entire life believing one thing just to have somebody tell you it's wrong and they present "facts" and "proof. Well then you might just reject it.
Yes facts matter to most people, but it won't matter to those who don't want to listen.