Monday, October 10, 2011

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?


As a child, I played a game called "telephone". A group of us would assemble in a line and the first person would whisper something in the next person's ear...only once! What was heard by each person was passed along the line until it reached the last person. The last person's job was to say out loud what had been whispered in their ear. I always thought it was hilarious how much the initial whisper had been distorted.

As I grew older, I saw this same type of distortion in work all around me. I realized how people's perceptions vary even when they witness the same event. Just talk to several people who witness an accident or a crime and one might think that all the witnesses are either crazy, blind or they were at different locations witnessing completely different events. Gossip works the same way. By the time the story gets back to the person who has been the subject of gossip (and it always does), the truth is usually extremely exaggerated. I always enjoyed sending the story back out for Round 2 when I had been the brunt of some juicy tale. Of course, I always made the story juicier instead of trying to clear up any misconception people might have about me. Over the years, I've often wondered how many historical stories had been "stretched" somewhat to make the story a better story. We all know "drama" makes for a better story!

Just imagine the type of distortions that stories have that have been passed down for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years by word of mouth. It makes me wonder just how reliable are facts in the absence of technology (youtube, camera phones and twitter or Facebook)? [LOL] Even the written word can be subject to speculation and skepticism. I can write anything and claim it's fact, but unless I have empirical evidence all my words will ever do is remain a good story, at best. Will some people believe my words without any proof? Of course! Some people will believe anything without question. Some people want to believe...need to believe!

Although the next logical step is for me to discuss the Bible, I'm going to say, "Hold that thought... I shall return!"

3 comments:

  1. we went astray when we started writing things down. Prior, we had to rely on oral accounts, memorized. This made it much harder to change and edit something. Written stuff is altered all the time. As one historian put it, 'people die, and all we have left is lies, lies on paper"

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  2. Well, I guess there are more reconteurs and outright liars than there are accurate reporters. I can hear you loud and clear, so please, go to the next logical step!

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