The blurring of fact and fiction in all forms of media is rife. How do we discern what is true and what is not?
We are in a fascinating era where access to information is going through the roof, we can find out endless streams of information at the click of the mouse. But is it true and is it useful?
The key to discerning what information is accurate, relevant or useful is our intention when we search for it. That sets our pathway.
What and who are we gathering the information for? How does it line up with our values and beliefs?
Since time began, we have been storytellers. And stories in their retelling have always varied, depending on the intention of the teller. At our lowest, we have created propoganda to win wars. At our highest we have created beautiful factual and ficitional stories that have lifted our souls.
It is a tired old joke about the media that you should ‘never let the facts get in the way of a good story.’ Perhaps we should flip this to say never let a negative intention get in the way of a good story.
I had lunch with a good friend the other day and we got to talking about stories, and laughed at how often the phrase ‘based on a true story’ gets bandied around to attempt to add value to a film, television programme or other media story. We really don’t know which bits of most stories are true. So we must build our capacity to discern through developing our own honest and authentic communication and seek it in others. As Jeff Jarvis says in What Would Google Do, these days in social media, we develop our stories warts and alls, own up to inaccuracies, and get honest about the ‘fact’ that truth is a work in progress.