Thursday, October 18, 2012

Willful suspension of disbelief

I woke early this morning, and, as occasionally happens, I found myself dozing off a bit during meditation this morning.  So by the time I rose from my chair I had decided to go back to bed and catch up on a bit more sleep -- and then I looked out the window. 

I'd never seen a green sunrise before, so of course I had to go and get my camera, which couldn't quite capture the range of color, so then of course I went to photoshop to compensate and bring the colors back to what they actually appeared to be...

So this IS what it looked like, even if it's not quite what my little camera shot.  Does that make it a lie? 

I've been thinking a lot -- both because of the political debates and because our younger daughter is now embarking on the urban dating scene -- about what constitutes a lie.  If we say it so often we come to believe it, is it still a lie? 

My husband showed me a delightful video of FDR yesterday, in which he suggests that if you're going to tell a lie, make it a big one, "for its fantastic nature will make it more credible, if only you tell it over and over again." Our daughter, who visited yesterday, was concerned because the boy she's dating at the moment just seems too good to be true.  Is the story he tells of his life and family a lie? She has no way of knowing, because she doesn't get to see him in context: she hasn't worked in the same company with him; she shares no friends with him; he isn't a friend who suddenly became more than a friend -- he's just someone she met somewhere.  So how CAN she know what is true?

These are times when we just have to trust our judgement.  But that's not always easy, especially if we understand that not all our impressions are accurate, and that our perceptions can easily be off due to various past experiences that pre-condition our expectations.  I've heard that there are green sunrises, so when I see one I can be open to the possibility of it.  But I've also heard politicians bend the truth to get elected, and I've heard young men bend the truth to seduce young women.  So I am open to those possibilities as well --and, sadly, more inclined to be cynical than to trust. The trick is knowing when to trust our instincts and when it's okay to willfully suspend disbelief...

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