I can almost hear a big sigh of relief from Mother Earth when the new year arrives and life can be reset to normal again.
This holiday season was like living life as a song played twice as fast and twice as loud. Everything was amplified so that you simply cannot ignore that it’s Christmas after all. It was the season of extreme excess; with an excess of chocolates, cookies, cake, and booze to consume; endless office parties and school celebrations to go to; and an excess of presents bought and received (with the ratio of giving vs. receiving also increasing with age).
I sometimes wonder if the Christmas carol “Silent Night” will soon be deemed obsolete in our world today when almost nothing is calm, and even less is bright!
2016 has been a tumultuous year and it is nice to be able to look forward to a new year expectantly. According to a regular BAML survey of global fund managers, following the election of Donald Trump, investors are expecting better everything: higher economic growth, higher inflation and stronger profits.
While I remain a cautious cynic if things can really change for the better so quickly, I am glad for the buzz of positivity in the air after a long drought of bad news.
After Oxford Dictionaries declared the word *“post-truth” as 2016’s Word of the Year https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/11/16/post-truth-named-2016-word-of-the-year-by-oxford-dictionaries/?utm_term=.76ea3d08327f
I have been pondering how much world culture has changed due to the proliferation of social media. Now anyone and everyone can put out a tweet and give an opinion about something without any regard for the facts. After all, facts are objective and boring, whereas opinions are chocked full of emotions, and can thus elicit an emotional response back. Hence there is also a tendency for opinions to be as extreme as they can be in order to elicit bigger responses, and increase the number of subscribers to Twitter posts. I suspect the phenomenon of “post truth” has also grown because there is no longer a social taboo (and perhaps it is encouraged?) to become personally offended by something that someone said that is not in line with your beliefs and opinions. And of course tweet or retweet about it.
During our recent holiday road trip, my 6 year old son pointed to the newspaper that I was reading in a hotel and asked “What is that? Is it some kind of magazine?” My son could not recognize what a newspaper was! How times have changed!
So how do we live in a post truth world? How do we live past a year that was dominated by highly charged political and social discourse? In the aftermath of Trump being elected, I have witnessed extreme polarities of opinions. Is it somehow human nature for us to just want to be right than to try to understand if someone else is also right? What if both are right?
Someone mentioned to me what a yogi once said, and that is “do not look up or look down on anyone, but just look straight ahead.” So the goal I am striving for myself this year is to be truly opened minded, and not be quick to judge or form an opinion of something/someone before trying to understand the other sides of the view or opinion. Perhaps we are all like the six blind men touching an elephant for the first time, and each of us only hold one facet of the truth. If we are willing to be open and to listen, I think together we can piece up the bigger piece of the jigsaw puzzle and strive towards the truth. And this world would be at peace a little more.
*Oxford Dictionaries defines post truth as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
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