Friday, January 27, 2012

Truth in the Midst of a Lie

The Internet is like an enormous public library, except while it does offer lots of useful information, it equally provides as much misinformation as well.

Recently, my dad shared an email forward supposedly sent by his favorite comedian, Bill Cosby. After years of reading email forwards shared by family, friends and co-workers, I've grown suspicious of the attribution included in these messages. Did Bill Cosby really say all of those unpleasant statements about Americans? I didn't think so and I investigated it.

Within minutes of checking -- a site dedicated to tracking and documenting the truth about these email forwards -- I discovered that it was indeed another Internet hoax. Instead Cosby authoring that opinion piece about his tiredness with America's (and certain Americans') social issues, it was an unfamiliar former Marine who wrote it for a community newspaper. This is just another example of how sourcing sloppiness is running amok on the World Wide Web. Just this week, one of my co-workers wrote a great blog post about this plague of plagiarism and mistaken attribution on the Internet.

Once my public speaking professor shared that it takes only seven times to learn something, but 37 times to unlearn it. I've never been able to verify that statistic, but if it's true, that's quite a high cost for sharing incorrect information.

Today, I saw this fantastic quote on Facebook attributed to the Dalai Lama. Although it actually wasn't said by him, I still think it is worthy of sharing. At the end of the day, does it really matter if someone well known says something as opposed to just a regular person who had an insightful thought? I don't think so.

Words to live don't need attribution; they just need to be taken seriously and applied to our daily lives. So take in the life truth below and disregard it's inaccurate source. Somehow in the midst of the lie resides a great truth we should still think about and remember. Cheers.
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered, "Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."

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