Fake News! Fake Posts! Fake Memes! So What Is Real!

We all want to believe in something? Right? But what happens when everything you believe in, or think is real is reported to be fake? What if the one who said it was fake, was themselves being fake! When liars are lying, and attacking others liars as liars, who do you believe? Where is the truth in such a malaise of falsity?

Thank God for google, a technological Oracle of Delphi for this generation! And you don’t have to make a pilgrimage to the center of the world to access it! All it takes is two cheeks and a couch, and Abracadabra you are a slayer of self-appointed experts, smart alecs, and trivia wannabes. Trolls are lurking under the bridge of every opinion, passion, and cause. Anything is fair game for an online assassination. Even if it is only a little piece of your heart it still hurts to watch it kicked, spat upon, and set on fire in the new public square.

In such an arena, everything and anything becomes controversial. So, when the intimidated soul tip toes into the stadium and whispers “I believe in love?” they are met with cacophony of eye rolls, groans, and sign language L’s pounding on the collective foreheads of their mockers as they chant “Loser, loser, loser!”

This new reality (?????) dawned on me slowly, when everything I said to my students was immediately cross referenced and submitted to the giant technological eye in the sky.

I once referred to a scene in the movie “Billy Jack” to illustrate humorously the effectiveness of a kick I was demonstrating. The next day I received an e-mail with copy of the script, several clips from the original movie, the scene, the angles of the kick, and an in depth analysis of why my quote was in error and the efficacy of the actual quote. Believe me I never misquoted that line again. I would review the e-mail before every class just to make sure I had it right! (I lovingly kid the student who did this and the incident, we laugh about it often.)

On another occasion I said the human body was made up of 80% water to illustrate the value of water on our planet. Well, one of my students was a “fluid engineer.” He sent detailed graphs, charts, and surveys and case studies that showed there is no one percentage that could be accurately quoted, as it varies according to age, sex, body weight, diet, etc. In the future I would say the human body is made of a varying high percentages of water that can be scientifically measured according to fluctuating determinates such as age, sex, body weight and diet! (Again I lovingly kid this student)

Lastly, I was making a point and said, “As Abraham Lincoln once said ‘You can please all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time?” Immediately the thumbs of the parents in our lobby became like a concert pianist in a Chopin retrospective. One Parent yelled out 10 minutes later, “Actually the direct quote was……..?” Admit it, you are tempted to google the answer right now just so you can know “the truth.” My point is, the exact quote did not change the point I was making, in quoting it? And the greater point lies in the quote by Abraham Lincoln!

What if it turns out the internet is not a reliable source of truth! What happens when all the historic authorities, Politicians, Religious Leaders, Corporate Executives, and the Free Press, can no longer be trusted. Or you can’t even trust your trust. I have been guided to underground news sources, by friends, “So I can find out what’s really going on!” But then it occurs to me that everyone is gravitating to news outlets that verify and support their own point of view. How can they know that these news sources are not also biased or just in error, sincerely reporting real information that was given to them by someone else who was lying or wrong. To quote Pontius Pilate “What is truth?”

Each of us may come to a point in our lives when we look in the mirror and ask “What do I really know for sure?”

For me that answer is not what I find in the outer world, with all its experts, authorities, and proselytizers of truth and holy causes. It comes back to what I find living within my heart. I exist. I am aware. When I am aware of my awareness I find peace, joy, and unconditional love, as an attribute of my deepest being. I believe in that, for I have experienced it for myself. I have also found when I think, speak, and act from this deepest center of my heart, the results are healing, restorative, creative, and constructive. This for me is real and my constant hope of being a better person and building a better world, is fulfilled. No multitudinous chorus chanting “Loser” can dissuade me from my faith in love as real and the most powerful force in the Universe.

This is my reality, and yes I am a realist. Whenever I get disillusioned or frustrated with the hostile reception of love in this world, I remember which planet I am on, the one that crucified Christ. I remember all those who came before and suffered in the name of love. Then I am happy to join them, nobody special, just one more in the name of love.

In Truth and Love, Si Gong

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