My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:
It is unfortunate that common sense is so uncommon these days. People are more apt to get all worked up and parrot what they’ve seen, read or heard instead of using their heads and their good judgment to figure things out for themselves.
For example, last year there was a huge uproar in the media about an American dentist who killed a lion in a legally sanctioned hunt in Africa. People were so worked up that they threatened the man’s life and livelihood. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/30/us/cecil-the-lion-walter-palmer.html.
Now, I’m not condoning the hunting and killing of lions. But, where was the outrage when Boko Haram was killing UP TO 2,000 PEOPLE IN ONE DAY? https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/jan/23/boko-haram-nigeria-civilian-death-toll-highest-acled-african-war-zones. Where is the outrage at the numerous deaths that occur daily today because of the unrest in the Middle East? See, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3823128/Suffocated-squalid-boats-dreamt-new-lives-Dozens-migrants-dead-crowded-vessel-latest-Mediterranean-horror.html; and, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/egypt-migrant-boat-capsize-mediterranean-dead-packed-bottom-of-boat-in-fridge/. Be forewarned that the pictures are not pretty, but neither is the ravages of war and atrocities.
Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, I want you boys to put things into context and think for yourself. Use your head. Don’t be a sheep and simply follow the herd. Be a sieve, not a sponge.
- Ask, “So what?” Someone unfriended you on Facebook. So what? It’s not the end of the world. One of you got into a car with some friends who had just gotten their driver’s licenses and were racing. That’s not good. Do something.
- Put things into context. Zika is a dangerous disease. But, the threat of zika is extremely low or non-existent in the colder climate where you live. So, don’t freak out. Put things into context. http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2013/02/daily-chart-7/.
- Think about what you already know about the issue and see if the new information makes sense. People say your best friend did something horrible. You know your friend. Is what he is accused of doing consistent with his character? It’s not that people cannot act out of character, but think it through first and ask for evidence before accepting hearsay. Don’t swallow whole the lies that others may off-load on you. See, e.g., http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/sugar-industry-manipulated-heart-studies-review-finds-n646836.
- Question sources. Someone told you your BFF did something horrid and out of character? Who told you? Where did the person get the information? If it was hearsay, from where did the information originate? his enemies? What does the person who told you have to gain by telling you the information? In other words, is the source reliable? What motive does the source has to be untruthful?
- Question assumptions. Always. For example, you often hear that the Japanese are good at copying but are not very creative people. Based on what are they saying that? Anecdotes? Perception? Would it surprise you that according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, from 1977 to 2015, the Japanese were granted 1,069,394 patents? Germany came in next with 365,627. https://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/cst_all.htm.
When I was in primary school years ago, a study reported blue ink causes cancer. Really. No, this was wayyyy before the recent tattoo craze, so we’re not talking about tattoo ink. The study was talking about blue ink from ballpoint pens that we all use. Instead of freaking out and throw away all of your favorite blue pens, ask, “So what?” How much blue ink do you have to be immersed in or ingest before it causes cancer? How long do you have to be exposed? Do you have to leave that ink stain on your skin for days, weeks, and years before the risk of cancer is heightened? Does washing your hands and bathing every day mitigate the potential harm?
Be a sieve, not a sponge. Last, but not least,
All my love, always,