Purple Post: Real men (and women) pick their battles wisely.">My Purple Post: Real men (and women) pick their battles wisely.
(Be sure to visit our friends Purple State of Mind often… and whatever you do, don’t miss John Marks in his Tallahassee travels on August 16th. Details soon, sign up for our monthly newsletter to be sure you don’t miss it.)
First there was the War on Drugs.
Then there was the War on Poverty.
And finally there is the granddaddy of them all, the War on Terror.
All mere skirmishes when compared to the most successful war of our time… The War on Context.
At a time when we have breathtaking access to information relative to our parents before us, we have become a people who don’t really give a gosh darn about understanding the vast, rich and multi-dimensional context that surrounds nearly everything in this complicated world we occupy.
This lands us clueless in actually understanding any problem we seek to address.
Does anybody remember researching papers using the Readers’ Guide? The lucky youth at Purple State should know we had to look up our topic in an index with itty bitty print, hope we found it, get a volume and page number and pick up another book, flip through pages, either write down what we found or copy the pages… yes, we did have copiers (although don’t even get me started on mimeograph machines and the smell of the ink I remember like it was yesterday)…
All this work made you appreciate that little nugget of good information you managed to find after a whole day at the library (which we had to walk to in the snow even here in Florida, uphill both ways).
Relatively speaking, our information today comes at such a low effort cost to us. The whole world is at our fingertips while we sit on our couch with a beer in our hand. In this environment it’s probably inevitable that information becomes so easily is devalued. Supply is far outstripping demand.
Instead we’re all about pelting “them” with an info-blip, turned weapon du jour, that we think proves we’re right and they’re wrong. Partisans are so eager to find the next object to pelt the enemy with, sometimes they can’t even be bothered to read the whole sentence around the quote they’re using to invoke the damage. And there are fleets of people engaging in this twerp-ish behavior daily. (Please note this is not attractive. Plus, if Johnny jumped off a cliff would you follow him? And your face might just get stuck with that ugly scowl on it.)
Today’s motto seems to be who needs subtlety when we can die on that hill?
Maybe somewhere in this phenomena is a quaint yearning for simplicity as we are forced to navigate an insane amount of data, coming at us from all directions at all times at a million miles an hour. We can make it go away if we unilaterally proclaim what we believe to be true, is true, damn the pesky facts. Tah dah!
Unlike the other multi-generational wars, the outcome of the War on Context was a lock before the first spitwad launched: We lose.
We all lose. If you’re yearning for simplicity, there is it. Give that some thought next time you find yourself about to lob one.
If we can’t learn this the easy way, perhaps we’re going to have to start sending people to the principal’s office to turn the mimeograph machine drum over and over and over…