Gnomicon 63

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Introduction to Gnomica.

Gnomicon  063
Tuesday 19 June 2012

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You must not lose faith in humanity.
Humanity is an ocean;
if a few drops of the ocean are dirty,
the ocean does not become dirty.

Mohandas [Mahatma] Gandhi (2 Oct 1869 – 30 Jan 1948)

I for one need to be – and remain — mindful of this sentiment!

With all my preoccupations about man’s fallibility and the darker side of our natures all over the world and throughout time (e.g., here and here and here and …), it is a healthy restorative for me to be reminded not always to take such a censorious view of our world and the species that dominates it.  Yes, every barrel has its rotten apple or two, but that doesn’t mean all the apples are done for.

And the world is not as inexorably tenebrous as I sometimes imagine it.

My problem, on my own analysis, is that I begin every day with the New York Times, surely one of the most relentlessly depressing news venues in America.  Hence there is a kind of subliminal propensity on my part to – as a good friend of mine puts it – fashion my view of the world out there on the basis of that organ’s highly restricted and tendentious take on the goings-on out there.  And it is not a pretty view.

For example, just paging through this morning’s (Tuesday 19 June 2012) Times, I note the following headers above stories: “American Children, Now Struggling to Adjust to Life in Mexico”, “A Penal Unit, A Volatile Mix Fuels a Murder”, ”Taliban Block Vaccinations In Pakistan”, ”U.S. Accuses Colombian In Drug Bribes”, ”Global Economy Limits Expectations at Earth Summit in Brazil”, “Iraq: Bomber Attacks Funeral”,  “Nigeria: Toll Rises After Bombings”, “No One Budges in Tense Iran Nuclear Talks in Moscow”, ”Yemeni Commander Killed in Suicide Bombing”, ”Uncertainties Underlie the Celebrations in Cairo” – and those ten headlines come from just the first ten (of twenty) pages of the first (of four) sections of today’s paper.

Now, it’s not that any of these headlines or their accompanying stories are false or manufactured (quite the contrary, of course!), or that the Times is somehow wrong in publishing what it publishes, but for me, battened on a torrent of tales of this type, it should surely cause no surprise that I formulate in my own mind a rather dim view of our species.  I could of course elect not to read the Times, but … hey, come on!

Maybe I should read the Wall Street Journal as optimistic counterpoint (though these days that one isn’t exactly the most cheerful source of solace), or ask the Times to include a comics page and some editorial cartoons.

The point is, then, that I really should begin my day by “thinking Gandhi” before plunging into the moral swampland of stories that is “All the …” thrillingly depressing “… News That’s Fit to Print”.

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