I was at the Conference on World Affairs today and the topic of one of the lecture panels was about spin doctoring and little lies and artful truth-stretching. I think that spin doctoring is most closely associated with politicians and public relations strategies, but the panel discussants made the topic more personal through their own stories and experiences.
For most of you out there, you’ve probably never heard of CWA.
This is a week-long conclave with a bunch of talking heads of various academic disciplines who come together to lecture to an audience about current topics. The topics are mundane in nature, but the panels can get very heady.
I tend to go to the sessions that have some practical applications in my day-to-day world. I suppose it’s because I still work and try to gain some new insight into how to conduct my business.
There are lots of retired people who seem to go for the more heady sessions about war and peace in the middle east, etc. etc.
Stuff that I think the average Joe or Joette, really have no control over, but are interesting to talk about and there’s little personal risk in doing so.
Anyway, this spin doctoring panel about the art of rationalized lying fit in with one I heard earlier in the day about the future of communication. I was also interested since my recent illness, I’ve started to get a lot off my mind to relieve stress.
Turns out, being frank and honest may add more to my stress, than I imagined, which I’ll explain later.
What did I learn?
Like Jack Nicholson says in “A Few Good Men” – “You can’t handle the truth.”
In our daily lives as we meet our neighbors, go to work, interact with friends of various ilks, I’ve learned that people can’t handle the truth, unless they’ve concocted their rationalizations or come to grips with their truths.
The session earlier in the day I attended about the future of communication had a big discussion about the “filter bubble” of internet searches.
As the search engines become better at “dialing in” the words and phrases of our searches, if a person relies too heavily on the search results, the narrow results put us in our own artificial realities that only reinforce what we think, rather than providing a broader perspective.
The example used by one of the presenters, if a political extremist only googles obama, guns, 2nd amendment, the only results that will come up will be those that have come up time and time again, thereby leading the activist to think that “everyone” holds the same views.
Since my flirt with death, I’ve had a big attitude adjustment that life is too short to “beat around the bush” and have become more forthright in my comments and approach to people. Based on reactions I get from people, this isn’t an acceptable cultural norm.
People aren’t interested in hearing frank and unfiltered opinions, especially if they concern them. So far, folks get defensive, push back, and jump to conclusions. I may have to return to my wicked ways and join the crowd, since others aren’t willing to face their big and little demons openly.
I’ll be more selective in my battles, for sure.
I’m figuring out that most people like telling the little lies and concocting stories backing them up; rationalizing their questionable actions as being positive choices.
By the way, if anyone posts that Obama is a liar or Congress members are liars, your comments will be nixed. Those targets are too easy.
This is about you and I coming to grips with our own behaviors before knocking anyone for theirs. Now that I think about it, if we only surround ourselves with people and media accounts that only bolster our own perspectives, we are enabling the status quo liars in Washington D.C.