August 2016 Digital Reno Tahoe Tonight

Page 6

A PROBABILITY OF WORDS Text Thomas Lloyd Qualls Photo Lynell Garfield

Blending the Worlds The universe is an endless paradox of limited visibility. (How's that for an opening line.) We too often believe that only this or that can be true. That there is such a thing as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That people can only be with us or against us. From our flawed judicial system to the daily conversations inside and outside our heads, we live in an increasingly thin slice of reality. One in which people, things, and ideas are categorized, stereotyped, and affixed with childish labels like right or wrong, good or bad. Where, in the name of a loving God, people hate one another. What all these thoughts and conclusions have in common is the arrogance of believing that the universe is knowable. And that the thinkers of all these thoughts know all there is to know. Think about that. Think about what this brand of certainty requires. The internet both connects us and keeps us separated from one another. And not just because we are glued to our phones instead of physically interacting. But because it allows us to be insular in our associations and narrow in our exposure. Yes, to a certain extent this has always been true. We have long subscribed to the newspapers and magazines that fit our worldview, favored Jon 6 Reno Tahoe Tonight

Stewart or Fox News, and stayed steadfastly true to only one political party. Technology has simply amplified those tendencies. While also allowing us to avoid anything like an actual conversation. Sure it’s easy to hate on a certain segment of America for being dull enough to pick a board certified bonehead to run for President. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re all becoming willfully ignorant of more and more. And unquestionably sure that the conclusions in our heads are the right ones. The marketplace of ideas thrives when people are talking. To each other. And not just to the choir. I'm not talking about opening the corral gate so free speech can lead us to the truth. (See paragraph one.) I'm talking about expanding our ideas (of ourselves and each other), our possibilities, and our humanity. Like never before, we need to step out of our bubbles and breathe fresh air. We need to understand that America is every gradation of white, black, brown, and (apparently) orange. We are also young, old, gay, straight, transgender, strong, feeble, smart, dumb, courageous, and confused. And I know, I know, saying that you're not a bigot because you have a black or a gay friend

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