Asking the Big Questions

I’m currently doing a very hefty rewrite of the second book in a series. The first one will come out later this year, and I’ve seen some absolutely marvellous concept cover art from Jade at Steam Power Studios.  I really can’t wait to see the finished thing, but back to what I was wrestling with today when I was writing.

My poor protagonist is at a crossroads. Stuff is happening, and she doesn’t like quite a bit of it. And then there’s the….nope, I won’t go there in this blog post because that would be spoilers for something that isn’t even out yet. But suffice it to say that there will be questions posed that she doesn’t want to deal with, dilemmas she will have no choice but to try and solve but in ways she doesn’t want to have to resort to, and complications that she never dreamed of.

Anyway, that got me thinking about crossroads, moral dilemmas, and all the big question stuff, and lo and behold, I happened to read some news and the real world keeps popping all of that same stuff up. And not only has it been appearing in the news, but in all my social media feeds as well.

There are world leaders who seem to have trouble deciding what to say, and then explaining that’s not what they actually said. Or meant to say. Or something. 

And then there are the Facebook friends who post inflammatory things that are actually racist rants, thinly disguised as ‘putting our own country first.’ Or posting ‘health information’ without checking that it’s actually true, or statistics about ethnic minorities, without checking that it’s actually true,  or anything really, without checking that it’s actually true.

And scammers – on the phone, emails, tweets, friend requests on social media, and even door knocking. So far we’ve had three calls on our landline today from scammers concerned about our NBN speeds. Normal thing: accented, hard to hear, lots of noise in the background, and a complete lack of knowledge about anything we actually have.

It’s like there’s a barrage of information that’s ill informed, untruthful, of dubious moral integrity and deliberately inflammatory coming at us all from every direction and in constant waves.

Once upon a time, information seeped through the community slowly. There were media sources known for their integrity and honesty, and thorough fact checking. People seemed to think more before they spouted off the latest fad/hype/angry rant. (Maybe I’m just inventing hopefulness there.) But life was a little slower, and stuff took longer to permeate through life.

And I was wondering why it is that so much ick seems to be promulgated and promoted. I think it’s because we are not inherently good. I know lots of people will disagree with me here, and I’d probably say it’s because I come from a particular (currently unpopular) theological standpoint, but you only have to look around and see selfishness rear its ugly head in all of us.

You see, we like to be comfortable. We genuinely want the best for ourselves and our loved ones, and as a result, we often overlook what pandering to our own comforts costs others. By pandering, I don’t just mean materially, but mentally, in our thoughts and in our bodies.

Sometimes our own preconceptions are what make us selfish. We like things to be the way we want them, and we want then to be familiar and comfortable and expected. So if we then discover something ugly behind our preconceptions, it’s really hard to change those very things that insulate us and keep us comfortable.

As I’m writing this, I’ve looked up at The Project, which I quite enjoy watching, so see an expose of some of our politicians saying things that are patently untrue and being called out on them. It really makes you wonder.

Mind you, the thing it makes you wonder most, is: Who do I trust?

In the end, I think it’s really important to know where you find your sense of certainty. I think it’s essential for people to be comfortable with who they actually are, not dragged and pulled from side to side by every prevailing opinion. Sounds easy, right? Probably not so much.

And again, I’d love people to consider before they post on social media. Make sure that what you’re posting is true, correct and helpful, and not just something that reinforces your own position, without any substance to back it up. I just wish a few of our politicians and world leaders might also do the same thing…



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