I've certainly been ignorant during my 40 revolutions round the sun. Full of empty rebellion during my teenage years and early twenties - I was more focussed on making a physical impact on the world and my environment, rather than actually learning about it. I feel that this has been to my detriment and certainly made me a late bloomer.
The realisation that there is a bigger wider world 'out there' if you just care to listen and take notice will come as no shock to most people, especially those that have had the privilege of a calibrated internal compass from an early age.
As I've found out during my inquisitive 30's, a lot of people know a lot of things and have stories to tell if you're willing to listen. I guess where I'm going with this, is that you could say that my 30's and certainly leading into my 40's could be described as the 'enlightenment years'.
What I mean is that slowly (extremely slowly in some cases) I have begun to scratch the surface of those topics that have never appeared quite right to me or seemed to have been, certainly at the most fundamental level, too good to be true. Issues that for most of the time, would be blindly swallowed and absorbed as fact, without so much of a hint of suspicion.
I want to make the purpose of this blog entry, a potential starting point for all those that have a nagging doubt in their minds about the current state of affairs at home and abroad that impact us so strongly, whether we think it's right or not. The web of international affairs, foreign policy, relationships between right and left, the west and (middle) east and tales of historical fact that we’re fed on a daily basis by the multiple forms of media, is so intricate and fragile that it would be almost impossible to differentiate between the honest and the insincere, the good and the bad, the truth and lies. I believe that people should be wholly aware of both sides of the story. Rather than one side’s particular depiction of both sides of the coin, so to speak. An opportunity for the folks that are so blindly patriotic or even just willingly blind to their own nation’s cause, to become informed of the story from the other perspective is essential if we, as people are to maintain the rights we have and what our fore-fathers/mothers have fought so strongly for in the past.
Now this may take a little time and effort, as we know, that the largest news sources, social media, newspapers and news channels have their own agendas to meet. And along with that, most of them are owned by a small collection of conglomerate companies with a commercially vested interest in the news in which they are dealing.
If those of us concerned enough to research past the flashing lights and big production of mainstream news really want to discover an unfiltered alternative point of view, then we must take responsibility to look for ourselves.
The internet is a great help. YouTube is a great start, although in my eyes it lacks authenticity (and ability to contribute financially) of say, that of a self-published book. 'A book' I hear you say!? Yes indeed. In a time when the instant accessibility to information and immediate satisfaction is required to all things 'news' is all too common, a book sticks out like a sore thumb. This may be a bold statement, but I would consider that my generation is possibly the last to appreciate the positive impact that reading a plain old paper book will have on an individual.
Books these days are about as welcome as a fart in a lift, as a NAZI at a Bahmitzvah, except of course to the occassional bibliophile. They don’t do anything except provide information and take up space. They sit dormant waiting for the reader to initiate, to do the work.
God help us, in a time where technology caters for most of our needs including education, reading a book requires a little more effort, in which we humans have to actually take the initiative and put our minds and imaginations into first gear.
Books take time to digest, they require an attention span significantly longer than a minute as well as an ability to absorb information. Most of all they require dedication. They require dedication to train your mind to focus and not to wander and to avoid picking up the biggest mind numbing agent since the lobotomy, the mobile phone.
There can be no doubt that the attention span of people is slowly waning. The pace of TV shows for both adults and children alike are spewing out scenes at a tremendous rate. Our attention spans are being slowly eroded away by these heavily sugar coated TV programmes and Social Media outlets with a disappearing photograph of a heavily staged glimpse into a celebrities lifestyle that comes and goes in a matter of seconds.
I feel that it is our responsibility to promote the benefits of reading books. Although the irony maybe strong in as much as I am communicating this via the internet, it is wholly inspired by the power of books and the amazing amount of alternative knowledge out there, which is all too easily ignored or filtered in the current most popular mainstream outlets for current affairs and history.
So to summarise this rather long winded message. Do yourself a favour and pick up a book. Pick up a book where the subject interests you and gets you to ask questions and that makes you want to look deeper for the answers you require.