I remember the first time I ever heard a warning about the plethora (thanks for the word, El Guapo) of bad advice out there. I was 18, and a teacher told me to be very careful about granting authority. I was a naive 18, and tended to think that if an adult said it/wrote it, it must be true. Especially if they were famous or powerful. Or dead and published. It was really good advice.
We all know the dangers of listening to only one viewpoint/agenda/news channel. We begin to believe that one group is morally or intellectually superior. I keep wondering where Walter Cronkite went. He was someone we could pretty much count on to tell us truth. Now who has our ear? The outraged or the outrageous? Neither of which is as interested in facts as in persuasion?
And how about something as simple as healthy living? If we cut out every food, every activity, every thought process that someone out there is touting as destructive, what in the world would we eat? Even the nutritionists who study constantly keep changing the rules. Who is a real authority on health? I have come to the conclusion that there are still some things no one knows about the body. And it's a foregone conclusion that nothing we do will ensure a long and healthy life. You can't take the accidental/tragic/unknowable aspect from life, no matter what you do.
Financial advice? Sheesh! Millionaire of the Month Club. And how about the biggest one--how to live a good life and be happy? We either reach for our goals, strive every minute to be better/stronger/smarter, or we stop the madness, embrace each day, live in the moment, smell the roses. Or a thousand varied paths combining those. Can someone else tell us who we are and how we are to live? Should we listen if they do?
How to parent? More confusing and complicated than ever.
Every one I know of says,does, and advocates dumb things sometimes. I used fen-phen for heaven's sake. Talk about dumb. And I shudder to think of all the poison I drank in the form of diet soda. And yes, when I was a teenager I wore....sauna pants! I would love to say I have learned not to engage in stupid behavior, but I'm not there yet.
Imagine if things were black and white. If we knew how to fix the inequities of the world without making more mistakes. If we knew for sure who to believe. For now, we all need to listen for that voice that rings true. The ones who seem motivated by service, to the good of all. Who's got your ear?