There are mornings when I’m convinced I’m experiencing a mood-altering, hallucinogenic episode. Which, let me assure you (in case you’re smirking knowingly) cannot be true. I came of age in the 70s, not the 60s, and I was, therefore, a little too late for that mind-tripping hippy happening—but, before you go, check out my cool platforms…
So… If they ain’t hallucinations, there’s only one other plausible explanation; every few days, I wake up to a similar-looking, but fundamentally very different, parallel universe.
What else can account for two headlines that appeared on my doorstep, jumping out from the business section of my morning papers, within days of each other?
The first, dated December 8, trumpeted, with fanfare and celebration, the great news that; As Consumer Confidence Rises, so do Retail Sales.
Reading that article, I was certain I heard a collective sigh of relief (from big business and big government), all because consumers were, once again, opening up their pocketbooks.
Rejoice! Rejoice! (I thought to myself). Isn’t this a wonderful time of year!
And no, not because of Christmas—but because the economy’s looking good, and things are looking up.
YIPPIE! YAHOO! AND BLESS YE MERRY GENTLESHOPPERS!
I remember heading out the door, feeling heartened by the refreshing airiness of spirt, and springiness of step, demonstrated by everyone around me (all of whom, it so appeared, subscribed to the same newspaper).
Then, but two days later, and still revelling in the simmering afterglow of relief and rejuvenation, I read this.
Rising Government and Household Debt Risk Derailing Canada’s Economic Recovery.
What happened to the good new from just two days prior?
Could things change so suddenly? So drastically? Just like that?
Then I remembered.
Perception can be a cruel—and unpredictable—thing; where one (so-called) expert’s manna-from-heaven is but another’s disaster-in-waiting.
All of which made me wonder, where does that leave the rest of us?
Then I realized.
It leaves us at a point where our own perceptions should never become prejudiced—not by the newspapers, nor by the news-makers.
Or, as Thoreau, 150 years ago, said of the press, “Shams and delusions are esteemed for soundest truths, while reality is fabulous.”