To value truth in a world that demonstrates at every turn that lies and false narratives are preferred, leaves seekers with a steady diet of dissonance.
Last week, I visited the Sabbathday Lake Shaker community in New Gloucester, a mere 20 miles from my home. This was the first time I’d ever ventured on the grounds. My experience (and subsequent return visit) was much different than I expected.
Like many things in this world, when you make time to push past surface information and often, a false understanding, you are sometimes rewarded. Rather than relying on only the internet and Google for my “Shaker 101” brief, I’ve been reading materials acquired at my local library, as well as information provided by the accommodating staff.
Shakers believe in something called “progressive revelation.” In reading about this concept—the idea that there is a constantly spinning center at the very core of their faith—allowing them to reshape their beliefs when necessary, I was struck by how similar this is to my own current way of seeing the world and the ongoing education and I’d even say—deprogramming—that I’m engaged in, as I attempt to break free from the lies and disinformation stream offered up by traditional sources.
There’s a deep-rooted national dysfunction, in my opinion. It’s related to requirements that every story must be tied up in a neat, binary package—good and evil, black and white, liberal or conservative—and anything that doesn’t package it up with a nice, pretty bow causes people’s heads to explode. Or, they lob pejoratives back at you like “kook” or “conspiracy theorist” if you dare to trot out alternative narratives rooted in research and fact. And don’t you dare to question the status quo or tip over any sacred cows!
A few weeks ago, I crossed paths with investigative journalist, Russ Baker. He’s the author of Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America. I pride myself on being well-informed, so I’m ashamed to admit that I knew next to nothing about WhoWhatWhy, the website for the investigative media nonprofit founded by Baker. Granted, it’s web-based, but offers long-form journalism and a “slow user experience.” If you’re a member of the binary cult, this isn’t a place where you’ll find the kind of cookie-cutter journalism that validates your preconceived notions of the world. However, if you’re tired of the same warmed-over pablum, and want something willing to dig a little deeper, then this WhoWhatWhy article is a good starting point. The article highlights why the New York Times thinks you’re nuts if you diverge from their corporate viewpoints on the news that they deem fit to print—any other sources are, well, you get the point…
Since we seem to be time-traveling backwards in American politics, with it being 1992 once again, with the possibility of yet another (Jeb) Bush /(Hillary) Clinton faceoff, Baker’s book is a reminder of Jesse Jackson’s adage to “Stay out the Bushes,” and while you’re at it, run from the warmed over neoliberalism of the Clintons, too.