Three Principles Living

Judith A. Sedgeman, EdD

Why facts don’t matter

Why facts don’t matter

Last week among my Facebook and Twitter friends across the U.S., commentary exploded after the Portable and Affordable Health Care Act (detractors call it “Obamacare”) was declared Constitutional and thus the law of the land. Those who were delighted to see that millions of uninsured Americans would be able to get insurance and receive health care cheered and shared their enthusiasm. Those who were devastated to see that millions of uninsured Americans would have no choice but to have  insurance or pay a penalty jeered and shared their dismay. And then they started talking to each other, and the feverish venom began to spew.

Those who love the law have their reasons, based on one set of facts. Those who hate the law have their reasons, based on a different set of facts. Flinging their reasons and facts at each other with ever-increasing force and anger created such hateful exchanges and obscene name-calling that many people just stayed away from the social media discussion for a few days to let things settle.

It was a perfect storm of bad will, complete with torrential rains of hyperbole, crashing waves of distortion and piercing thunderbolts of  moral indignation. It was a perfect example of why disagreements are never resolved with “facts”. Even though I sincerely wish that more people in this debate would actually be able to look at the neutral facts of the case before spouting off about it, I know that in the state of mind my country is in, it wouldn’t change anything. Facts don’t matter.

“Facts don’t matter?!?”, I can hear some people thinking. What do you mean? If information doesn’t matter, what the heck does matter? How can we make progress without information?

It’s a conundrum. When we are fearful and insecure, we cling to familiar thinking and cannot reflect or accommodate anything new. Anything we don’t already think or know does not penetrate the walls we build around our familiar thoughts. When we are at peace and secure, new information is interesting, but the goal is to transcend all current thinking through reflection to arrive at higher common ground. Facts don’t matter in a state of fear and insecurity because anything new is threatening. Facts don’t matter in a state of peace and security because they are simply ideas that pass through our minds on the journey towards ever more evolutionary ideas.

Looking at the state of mind of a whole culture, a whole nation, it isn’t difficult to understand why people find it so difficult to get along. We are living in low mood times, characterized by all the negative feelings and defensiveness associated with insecurity. No one in a position of leadership is addressing the prevailing state of mind. Instead, we are all continually hammered with more facts, more information, more misinformation, more to think about. That is not the cure; it is the symptom of rampant insecurity. It fuels the fires of anguish and hopelessness.

The cure is peace of mind.  Our state of mind matters. Peace of mind matters.

Here’s a brief chat about that.

In the words of Sydney Banks

“The consciousness of humankind must be elevated. Only then, when the spiritual and physical realities are united, will we find the power and intelligence to guide us through life. Wisdom cleans the channels of your mind and brings sanity into your life. You must find it for yourself.”                                                                                  

The Missing Link, p. 134

  • Robert Bloch

    I believe that it takes 2 to fight, and as long as there’s 1 person who is secure in their own peace of mind, there is hope. I’m confused by your reference to the state of mind of a culture. While that may seem to be the case, there surely is only a collection of the moods of individuals. It is on the level of individuals that any kind of change will be affected. We may never see a time when all are at peace, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t see the inherent perfection that exists within the chaos… each of us plodding along at our own pace, always doing the best we are capable of. Just my 2 cents.

    July 3, 2012 at 8:53 pm
    • I appreciate your comments. In the example I gave, each side was mired in upset and insecurity. I apologize if I seemed to suggest a lack of hope. The point was that when we recognize the importance of state of mind, we don’t take low mood thinking seriously and act on it. That’s the hope — that people individually understand to refrain from fueling insecurity and thus elevate each interaction.

      July 3, 2012 at 11:39 pm
  • I enjoyed the article especially the last paragraph. This article did a good job of describing what is happening in our society and culture. We are on information overload. There are so many facts and misinformation floating around out there that it is hard to know what is the truth. This mindset creates a lot chaos and confusion which can lead to insecurity and fear. I call this the mental flu. So what becomes more important is “in being right” instead of “doing the right thing”. It is true that the cure is peace of mind so that we can navigate the ups and downs of life. This peace of mind reminds me of a quote from Julian of Norwich. She was an anchoress in the church who devoted her life to contemplation, prayer, and meditation. She lived in the midst of the Dark Ages and she taught that “All will be well. All will be well. And in the regular things they shall be well also.” What a peace of mind that we need today.

    July 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm
  • Megan Paterson-Brown

    Judy, I enjoyed this post– such a good reminder, I’m sharing on Facebook (thanks to Ricardo H;)!

    July 7, 2012 at 1:28 am
    • allan flood

      I agree. A quiet mind holds the answers – and that’s a fact.

      July 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm
  • marian

    I can say quite honestly that I was personalizing what seemed to be indifference to what is going on in this country regarding women’s rights, the older population and those without essentials for health. I needed to step away for a bit to give my own innate health a chance to clarify why I was upset and where I wanted to go with this state of mind. I acknowledged to myself I didn’t want to go anywhere with the prefailing frustration I was feeling (I confess this is not always the case but I try). I still hold fast to my own ideals of right and wrong but I’ve calmed my own storm down in the social media, again a bit. Thanks Judith, you are amazing in insight and writing! I admire both quailities and I always feel your hope for this countries wellbeing!

    September 4, 2012 at 6:19 pm
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    February 13, 2013 at 3:09 am
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      March 13, 2013 at 5:49 pm

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