We enter a world today with a tremendous emphasis on fear. Is it fear itself or actual exposure to the things we fear? Or is it an intentional effort to control us and our way of life by pointing out things we should fear, and offering solutions or ways to overcome them? Inflation, COVID, the boarder crises, racial conflicts, and inequality are all real fears but how are they being portrayed? Should we take precautions and avoid certain things while embracing and working to change others?
I have struggled with these questions and more as I try to find my way through life. I trust that I am not alone, and I fear that just addressing this will bring criticism. Surveys, however, indicate decreasing trust and declining approval ratings everywhere we look. We are more divided on things that matter than ever before. The loudest and most consistent voices begin to be believed, not based upon evidence but repetition and the lack of more rational opinions.
We have heard a lot recently about False News. Is this part of the “false evidence” of fear or an avenue of control? Every segment of the population has a rallying call, a voice to be heard, or a message to be shared. What do we believe? Who do we trust? We cannot believe or trust everyone and still remain true to ourselves.
Have you noticed that we don’t talk about things as much as we did; our conversations take place through the filters of social media where almost everything is believed to be fact. We question “science” because it is not consistent and often divided, rarely applying methods and experimentation. But then we trusted that a shot in the arm, and then another, and then a booster would be all we needed to defeat this virus. Then we were told it would take “social distancing” and face masks, and the washing of hands.
Please note that I am not against these actions, just the way they have been portrayed as solutions to overcome our fears, fears that are not necessarily based on facts. Yes, people died due to COVID; I’m sure you may have known some and I am sorry for these losses. But leaders maneuvered the facts to get us to do certain things in certain ways.
Perhaps Franklin D. Roosevelt had some wisdom for us when the world was facing a different type of fear, he declared that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Make up your own mind about things; get the facts and then come to your own conclusions. Don’t allow others to dictate how you live or what you do. Respect the believes of others and their right to believe as they do, but do not continue to listen to the loudest voices or the ones who have the most to gain. Question things that do not make sense to you... like how a “public servant” can leave office many times richer than when they entered service, and what they were paid while in office.
It is OK to follow things that you believe but make sure you believe them because you choose to do so, and not because someone guilted you into it. You have a limited amount of blame for something you had nothing to do with, but you can relate to the hurt, and the inequality that took place. Care about things but don’t allow others to control you and how you think.
The great Philosopher Aristotle sums it all up… “He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” True freedom comes from being true to yourself.