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  • As humans, we love absolutes. Yes or no, no maybe! Black or white, no grey between! Bad or good, right or wrong, we feel most comfortable when we think that what we believe has no wiggle room.

    As writers, we should detest the idea of absolutes because we, as writers, know that the real world is not built on them. We understand that the "maybes" of life are what drive us and make life interesting, giving us the grist for our writing mill. Writers are completely tuned into the fact that between the totality of black and white is where the explosion of beauty comes from, where possibility exists. We know that bad, good, right and wrong can turn on a dime, because we've observed (which writers are adept at) it in the world around us and have figured out that the characters in our stories must run from absolutes or they will be one dimensional and will read as false, as cardboard, as boring.

    So when I see anger spread like a fast-moving cancer based on total misinformation, I have to wonder where our critical thinking skills go when they're not doing their job with us. Do they go out for coffee at Starbucks? Do they sneak out to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster? Do they head to Walmart? Because just a little research -- and remember, research means finding multiple sources on a topic -- can loosen that Gordian knot that finds itself in our chest; all it takes is a little exploration of the facts to realize what we believed to be fact was, well, not.

    So, yes. There are only three things in life that are certain (how's that for an absolute!): death, taxes, and the crazy wildfires that start with misinformation.

    I guess it could be worse.

    [note: this was sprouted off a story that stated a mountain of misinformation about the capital gains tax "stuff" that goes into effect 1.1.13; the author had posted a link to snopes to support their story but, in fact, repudiated their claims. I guess it was tldr. The original post has since been removed, but I would like to say that I believe politics make us forget to think, that we've become a society that is quickly losing our critical thinking skills, and since the Internet has become such a part of our consumption of knowledge, we have stopped searching for the truth and have started settling on letting it be spoonfed to us by others. ]
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