A Little Bit of Knowledge

Awhile back I was golfing with the Monday Toonie girls and we ran into a dilemna of sorts. It was the eighteenth hole and my drive went over the trees and towards a pond on the right side. I hit another ball safely landing right in front of the green. This was a provisional ball in case I didn’t find the first one. I was walking, so two gals in a cart went on ahead and I told them perhaps it was best if I didn’t find the ball as the provisional was in a good spot. I was under the impression if I found my ball I would have to play it and that might not be a good thing. Well the girls found the ball. Nestled nice and tight up in the base of some bushes. Because there are prizes on the line, each ball must be played correctly. This is where the problem began as we discussed what the correct rule was. Given our limited knowledge and since time was awastin’, I played the provisional ball as well as the first ball and went to ask the Club Pro what should have been done. Turns out I had three options and he proceeded to explain them to me. The bottom line is, we all had a little bit of knowledge of the rules but we filled in the blanks with what we didn’t know. Our limited knowledge included pieces of each of the three options just not enough to make an informed decision. And doesn’t it seem like that’s how things go so often.

My girlfriend was recently lamenting the recent soapbox her daughters had climbed onto which wasn’t completely in line with my friends views. It wasn’t that she wanted to change their minds, she just wanted them to do their research before jumping in feet first. I am a feet first person though so I get it. When something new catches my eye I embrace it full force. I am constantly adapting my views to the world around me as I learn. My hubby used to say that I was a different person every three years. Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration but I am certainly not static in my life or my views. My love of reading has also enabled me to learn the most fascinating and obscure things. The thing is, when it comes to bandwagons, like the one my friends daughters jumped on, sometimes we need to embrace movements that are so clearly the right thing to do. Like racial equality. Duh! That is a no brainer. There are others that need deeper examination. Like immunization. People need to feel comfortable when making that choice. So many things in life are on a sliding scale so it is no wonder we see such a range of views on pretty much everything. Controversy is the name of the game.

Life has morphed so quickly with technological advancements that we are creating huge divides in people. As the second world war was ending advertisers were manipulating the population with dreams of the future. People were tired and poor and many had done without for a long period of time. The post war years quickly paved the way for consumerism and advertising became a huge part of our lives. Magazines, radio, television, newspapers all were made more affordable due to the ads found within the pages or airwaves. People have been manipulated throughout history but advertising brought it to new heights. Even clothing. We all advertise some brand or another as they have their logo or name featured prominently for all to see. There are status symbols that people seek out because the bottom line is they represent success. Where we live, what we drive, how we dress. All show the world just where we land on the success stage of life. Not only do we need the world to acknowledge our position in the monetary hierarchy, we need to fit in to the views of the world we live in. And as with material goods, information also helps us to seal our spot in the world.

We have achieved such incredible advancements in communication but unfortunately we have very little to communicate. News agencies now take second place to things like twitter and facebook. The online presence is one of shares and forwards. Not only that, any idiot can have a blog and spew their opinions for all to read. (case in point) Perhaps not all but twelve readers! Back in the early days the news outlets were held to standards. Reporting the news meant digging until you found out the whole story, Not only that, what was written or broadcast had to be based on facts that could be proven. There were opinion pieces of course but that was more of a sidebar. Like letters to the editor. In small town papers everyone knew who the letter writers were and so people were careful about putting their views out there. Fear of backlash and retribution or ridicule. Nowadays newspapers and televised news networks are all labeled due to their political leanings. Even if they consider themselves just and unbiased agencies. However, most of these agencies do try to report the facts more than people would care to admit. Unfortunately much of the news is quite boring and in order to lure people to their station or newspaper or even magazine, much has to be sensationalized. Perhaps that is how we started down the path of bullshit reporting. In this day and age the public can’t be blamed for wanting excitement. It has been spoon fed to us for so long we have become dependent on our daily fix. Social media pits people against each other as well. I have one child who is very active and vocal on Facebook and I am often sent screenshots of posts that bother her. Those posts that family members share in a seemingly innocuous way speak volumes to me. It is very hard not to judge the people I love most in this world. The saving grace is that I am personally not exposed and therefore will not lash out in anger one day. Then I am able to continue on the path of ignoring those I disagree with while having meaningful face to face discussions with those I love and respect. The key though is knowledge and facts.

My two besties are so far removed from me politically and yet we are respectful and non judgmental because of our love for each other. Our little trio is so diverse and yet so incredible complimentary I can only compare it to a colour wheel. Back in grade four art class we made our own colour wheels by mixing paints. The primary colours came first. Red, blue and yellow. We then mixed the red and blue to create purple, red and yellow to create orange and lastly yellow and blue to create green. These were then put on the colour wheel and we learned they were the secondary colours. Next came tertiary colours but that isn’t important here. I was fascinated and I always admired that teacher for her hands on approach to learning. When you look at a colour wheel you will see each colour sits opposite from another colour. That opposite is called a complimentary colour. Or companion colour. In the evolution of art theory the colours have changed but the traditional model shows yellow and purple, red and green, blue and orange to be complementary colours. On opposite sides of the wheel but complementing each other.

In friends, life and home decorating we need the opposite to bring the other side of the equation. It brings perspective. While we may know a lot about a few things or perhaps a little about a lot of things, we are in no way truly informed. It is always in our best interests to learn. That is not the same as following. Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit and so we just regurgitate the ideas of others without really investigating their true motivation. Distribution of propaganda has come a long way since the dropping of leaflets from planes during the second world war. Now the world willingly brings it into their home by way of social media. My husband always used the term “consider the source.” While we can learn lots from news articles we sometimes glean more from investigating the authorship. Satirical forums often see their spoof like articles spread as gospel truths even as their pages state quite openly that they are satirical. Headlines are meant to draw us in but we do ourselves a disservice when we don’t put in the work of background research. In the aforementioned example we can cause quite a bit of embarrassment for ourselves. Yep. The online world is full of those people who love to point out how stupid we are.

Words have incredible power and yet we sometimes let others speak for us because we just don’t know what to think. Following along may seem easy but not if you are unwilling to accept the consequences of your actions. My life has been a hodgepodge of theories, ideas, political leanings, religious followings, educational forays, medical styles, sport and exercise preference and even eating approaches. I am anything but stagnant which goes along with my A.D.D. brain. In my pre-retirement life I worked for a lot of different companies mainly is the area of system conversions. The term I heard most was “But this is how we always did it!” The fact that their Company was responsible for the decision to change escaped these people. People are comfortable with the status quo. Its easy. Less work. But is it really? I don’t believe so. The world keeps evolving and changing and if we don’t change with it we are left behind living our lives like hamsters on a wheel. I am reminded of Sysiphus who was condemned to rolling a boulder up a mountain and as he neared the top it would slip away and fall back down to the bottom. Eternity spent pushing the same rock up the hill. Many have tried to explain the moral of his punishment but I take it at face value. Day in and day out repetition, and to what end? We stick to our guns and plant our feet in the ground to preserve our opinions and views and rights. We think we have the answers. We know what is what!

The reality is we all know just a little bit. We are afraid that if we let in just one little thought that doesn’t agree with our preconceived view of the world all that we know to be true will fall away. Well the one thing I have learned is that protecting our thoughts and ideas doesn’t make us happier. It makes us angry. And like Sysiphus we are destined to life of not just repetition but also one that in the end is without meaning. Fruitless. Nothing really accomplished. And that day back on the golf course the bits of information we all had was insufficient. By following up we four gals learned something new that day. Perhaps not earth shattering but useful to the game we all want to play properly. We pooled our knowledge and then looked outside our circle when we realized we just didn’t know. We worked together. Something the world could use a little bit more of.

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