There is much talk about The United States turning into a Banana Republic, political prosecutions, politicizing government agencies against political opponents or ideas outside the approved narrative. Others see a Uniparty with the power to destroy the country as we know it through ongoing and increasing division, pushed through focus on divisive legislation and provocative ideological narratives.
When I discuss thinking critically about current affairs – whether it be the fires in Maui, the presidential campaigns, changes in party platforms, human trafficking, border and migrant issues, hearings calling into question the current administration, or the indictments against a former president, I remind people to come up with all the possible answers or reasons to what is actually going on – or why something is the way it is – even answers that they don’t like, don’t fit the narrative they have decided they want to be true, or would damage how they view a person they like (or really want to like). We must think instead of feel, apply principles instead of relying on our passions, and remember to keep first things first.
I was talking digital currency to a finance guy last weekend – and he said, “That sounds like a conspiracy theory.” No, I am not a conspiracy theorist, but it is always good to know why people believe what they believe – and also to know what they see as the potential outcomes of policy or citizen action (or even military action or government spending).
I have my own roadblocks up in my head, and listening to others, even if I disagree with them, reveals these blind spots and helps me come up with even more “possible answers or reasons to what is actually going on – or why something is the way it is.” I cannot think of ALL possible answers on my own!
And remember, if we are genuinely curious, we can learn new things and the person we are talking to can examine their own reasoning more deeply as well.
Not to mention, when we consciously try to come up with all possible reasons and answers – even those we don’t believe or don’t agree with, we won’t be surprised or outraged should something we never imagined happening actually happens. And if we are not caught off-guard, we can keep a level head no matter what comes next.
So, a challenge for readers: Why not choose a news item this week and try to come up with as many possible reasons, causes, answers as you can – and then make as many possible projections as you can about what it might mean for the future. Maybe enlist a partner in the exercise.
What would reality look like if what you BELIEVE is true? What would reality look like if the OPPOSITE of what you believe is true? What would reality look like if one of the OTHER options/scenarios is true?
And maybe focus on the options and scenarios you don’t want to believe. Examine all the possibilities. Maybe you’ll start questioning what you believe. Maybe you’ll become more sure of what you believe - and be better able to articulate it. Maybe you’ll understand your neighbor better. Maybe you’ll understand the media better. Maybe you’ll understand your politicians better. Or maybe you’ll just understand yourself better.
Don’t take anything at face value. Don’t let the algorithms do the thinking for you. Think for yourself. Be good. Be curious. And, as always, Live Free.
Until Next Week.
(I would love someone to send me their news item and possible scenarios! But even so - or not - please let me know what you think or what you want me to discuss!)