basic understanding

This year, I became frustrated with media narratives…

…and wondered how I could better understand our news.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t reject media narratives.  I don’t reject those one-line, two-line explanations of complex situations, presented by our major news sources.

They’re truthful.  In part.  But “part” is not enough.  Unfortunately, that part usually overshadows the other parts…

Once the main narrative becomes established, the media often ignores other key factors, other causes, other valid narratives.

Of course, we could dig for those facts ourselves…

But who has the time?  Every day we’re bombarded with news of complex situations.

Nonetheless, we try to understand.  We want to see.  And not just the surface.  I think many, if not most of us, want a deep basic understanding.

Considering this state of affairs, a thought occurred to me:

Maybe I could arrive at a basic understanding of any complex situation simply by asking some basic questions…

I could cut through all the bric-a-brac and get down to the basic truth.

I decided my test case should be an event we’re still struggling to understand: the Trump victory…

In trying to explain his win, our media has debuted various narratives.  One narrative seemed poised to become the main narrative.  But we couldn’t quite ignore all those other pieces to the puzzle.

To fit all of them together would take a book.  But I wouldn’t want to read that book.  I want to understand—now!

So I asked myself…

What type of nation would elect such an angry man?

An angry nation.

But why are we so angry?

Life isn’t supposed to be this way—or so we believe.  We feel threatened.

Voila!  By asking just a couple of basic questions, I’d found my basic narrative: a fearful nation is an angry nation; an angry nation will elect an angry man.  A simple equation.  A truth based on my own experience as a human being.

But some will surely say: your equation is inaccurate, is unfair.  It includes Hillary supporters, as well as the 47% of registered voters who weren’t concerned enough to vote.

To that I say: sorry, but I think it’s best if we all share responsibility.  That way, each individual can reclaim some degree of power for him or herself.  I can’t stop my president from acting like a fraidy cat, but I can stop myself.

Yes—by uncovering the basic narrative, I’d also found the best way to respond.

So I felt pretty pleased with myself…

…until I realized:

Most of our problems could probably be reduced to some version of that equation.  That is: when we dug down deep into a problem, we’d likely find “fear” to be the root cause.

Nonetheless, I still think we should dig.  So we won’t forget.  So we won’t forget what truth lies beneath our many media narratives.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
sky rope poetry

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About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, essayist, cartoonist, graphic artist, peace miller, new mythologist, and fledgling world citizen.... I grew up in Northwest Arkansas and have lived and worked all over the United States.... I'm self-taught, for the most part--which is like searching for the right door in the dark. It's an on-going process.... I don't want to write MY story, I want OUR story, so that's what I'm studying: the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects--including the spiritual. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl.... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.... After frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own, beginning with e-books, with plans to move into print and audio. Even video.... Along with a second novel, I've now published eight books of poetry. Each poetry book focuses on a theme. For instance, the collection GLORIOUS TEDIOUS TRANSFORMATION is about the slow difficult wonderful process of change.... In that book, as with all my work, I try to be accessible to a general audience, while also striving to achieve a certain literary quality.
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