Facing Reality

Facing Reality
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People plain and simply don't want to know it.

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Telling the truth has gotten me into a lot of trouble on more than one occasion over the years, both personally and professionally. So much so that I have come to the conclusion that people plain and simply don't want to know it. For starters, it's hard to know when someone is telling the truth. A lot depends on the integrity of the person telling us something, coupled with our ability to apply logic. Erroneous results occur when we are being misled and don't use our heads which is why people act more on perceptions as opposed to reality (which is what politicians running for office count on).

Facing reality can be a daunting task as it can be rather unpleasant. As a result, people retreat into a make-believe world or yearn for a bygone era. Let me give you an example, not long ago I took some time off to do some fly fishing in the mountains of North Carolina. The area I visited seemed to be somewhat depressed and I discussed it with a friend who had moved to the area. At one time, the area was well known as a prominent furniture maker and tobacco grower. But as foreign competition proliferated in the 1980's and 1990's, at a fraction of the cost of what the North Carolinians offered, companies closed their doors. Since the passage of the Federal Tobacco Quota Buyout in October 2004, North Carolina's tobacco industry has been in a "transition" period, meaning tobacco production has sharply diminished in the area, if not disappeared altogether. All of this has given rise to unemployment, government subsidies, and a general bewilderment by the populace as to what to do next.

There are those still yearning for furniture work, but cannot seem to come to grips with the fact that the ship has sailed. Because of the natural beauty of the area, including mountains, streams, hunting and fishing, and gemstones, some would like to develop the area for tourism. Alas, this is pooh-poohed by the locals who are easily alarmed by outsiders and their perceived sinful ways. Instead, the residents have elected to simply do nothing and allow themselves to stagnate in a state of analysis paralysis. You can readily see the effect it is having on the natives as there is no hustle, no service, no nothing, just a defeatist attitude, all because they refuse to face reality.

I'm sure we have all seen instances of this throughout the country, if not in our very neighborhoods; people who are simply unwilling to recognize the truth and deal with reality; people who are unwilling to upset the status quo even at the expense of its demise. There is a scene in the movie "Men in Black" which sums it up for me; in it, Will Smith's character ("Jay") questions why the world doesn't know about aliens living on Earth, "People are smart, they can handle it."

To which, Tommy Lee Jones ("Kay") replies, "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow."

Imagine where we'll be if we don't face reality; maybe somewhere in North Carolina.

Keep the Faith!

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