Don’t Believe The Hype
I remember, many years ago, that I heard a rumour about something an acquaintance of mine had said and – being young and impulsive – went immediately to challenge them because of what I thought was an injustice. Oddly, the perpetrator was completely flummoxed and didn’t understand what I was so upset about.
Once we’d have a calm conversation it quickly become clear that nothing was what it seemed. For a start, I’d only heard one side of the argument and it had seemed outrageous. But once I had the blanks filled in it suddenly made a lot more sense.
Also, I had heard the rumour from the mouths of those who already had their own view about it and had their own version to sell for their own reasons, so I was receiving information in a biased way – coloured to suit the prejudices of others.
Finally, I had failed to see that the acquaintance himself had perfectly valid concerns which had to also be considered but which I had blithely failed to recognise in my anger at what had seemed to be a great wrong.
Cut a long story short, the story I’d heard, though factually correct in almost every sense, was wrong. It was wrong because it was coloured, flavoured and presented in a certain way. It was wrong because I lacked vital background information which presented it in an entirely different light. And it was wrong because some of the people involved had sought to manipulate me and denigrate my acquaintance. They were, in short, not the sort of people you want to put a lot of faith in.
Not that this has any bearing on anything going on at the moment. Just that the memory surfaced and I felt the need to jot it down.
There was a valuable lesson to me there, which has stayed with me to this day. Never think you know the whole story until you really do know the whole story. Never trust something you are told without verifying the background. Never take anything at first glance – you are almost always being presented at best a partial story, at worst a pack of lies. There is almost always another perspective on any story, and you won’t know which is the truth until you take the time to find out. In short, don’t believe the hype.