(Jeremiah 5:21) Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; that have eyes, and see not; that have ears, and hear not:
I had an aha moment. Actually it was more like a senior moment with a deeper message.
At the end of a recent family gathering, after the crowd had gone home, I rounded up items and made a lost and found pile. Happens every time so I just arranged the jewelry, hats, cameras, bowls, food containers and toys together and took a photo. Then I sent out an email to let folks know what was left behind. One by one people responded and claimed their stuff until only two things remained, a blue plastic bangle bracelet and a wooden spoon with the initials HC penned in marker on the handle.
My niece claimed the camera and mentioned that she also had left a wooden spoon, but her initials are JH so I knew the spoon wasn’t hers. Assuming the guest whose initials are HC didn’t care to retrieve her spoon, I planned to give it back to her the next time she came.
No one claimed the blue plastic bangle bracelet.
For weeks now, the bracelet and the wooden spoon have been sitting on a chair in my office. I walked by them everyday, numerous times as I entered and exited. Then the day came when it was time to move the bracelet and spoon to a cabinet. When I picked up the spoon I turned it and there, leaping out at me, were the initials JH. What? No way! I turned the spoon back around and realized the C in the HC was really a fat J in the JH.
When I recovered from a long moment of disorientation and confusion and then raucous laughter, I pondered the experience for the rest of the day. First, I had to reconcile obvious implications. I’m getting older and showing the inevitable signs. This took a couple days. While this was working its way around in my psyche, looking for a place to rest, I read an article that claimed a recent poll revealed that cell phone users were more likely to be for a particular political candidate and his opponent had a small edge with landline users.
That bit of information collided with the as yet unsettled spoon experience and produced an explosion of epiphany.
Though there is always a baseline truth to everything, we often miss that truth because we prefer to depend on cursory observation or loosely devised assumptions instead of applying critical thinking. It occurred to me that that which is right in front of us is obfuscated by assumptions that form from outside influences. Thus our perspective is skewed and off-balance most of the time for no other reason than we blindly accept all kinds of input instead of simply paying attention to what we are seeing. And, to my way of thinking, this makes us vulnerable to being manipulated by any and all with intent to do so.
Aside from postulating who sponsored the absurd poll and who participated, I also wondered why the results, either way, mattered enough to warrant a printed news article. Are we so dumbed down that we would choose to change our minds about who we support in an election based on the outcome of such a poll? Really? Shall I gasp and question my affiliation because I fall into one demographic or another? Clearly someone thinks it was worth a try which darkly implies that this sort of mind-gaming has probably worked before in the dirty business of politics.
Which begs the question: What else? Where else have we been manipulated and fooled to see something one way when all we need to do is turn the spoon 180˚ to see what is true? What about our opinions of other people? Religious doctrine?
What scares me more than realizing we are so easily duped is that we are clearly capable of seeing but more often than not we choose otherwise.