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Have you ever been interviewed for a publication? Most of us who have, know the experience can be one that makes you shake your head. “Look, Mom, I’m important! I’m being interviewed!” That part is fun. You tell your friends and family to watch for your article or listen for the story on the news. Your name is “out there!” You feel like SOMEBODY. You exist!
Then you read the copy or hear the story. If you’re lucky, most of the words attributed to you sound familiar, but did you say them just like that? They seem distorted—like a joke told through a line of people in a game of Telephone. They taste funny. “Did I say that?”
The difference is that the interviewer is a person who isn’t you. You knew that, but did you think about the implications? That person who has a different brain, personality, group of experiences, and mind set is interpreting what you said. He hears everything through a filter of him SELF. He came to the interview with certain expectations. He may also have had his own agenda—goals he wanted to achieve with the interview—specific beliefs he wants his readers to accept. Whether he likes to acknowledge it or not, he came with preconceived opinions. Even if he’s doing his best to represent reality, his objectivity has limitations. He can be wrong.
Recent research has illustrated that human memory is easily manipulated. What we think we remember can be changed by the circumstances in which we recall the memory. Thus, books that are reports of words somebody may or may not have said as interpreted by someone we may not know anything about make me nervous. Some ancient books contain flat-out contradictions that certain historians attribute to the fact that different people were writing—or doing a little editing—at different times.
My personal take-home from all this is, don’t try to stand on reports about what someone said. You’re on thin ice. If you want bald truth, go to actions. What did this person DO? If you were a follower of this person, would you be willing to defend the consequences—even if they caused trouble for you?
Remember, as you read or listen to a single report, you’re looking through a filter that belongs to someone else, and you have no idea what you can’t see that’s there, and what you’re being shown that isn’t really there. You probably have no clue which details might have been deleted before the report was distributed.
Compare the information you’re reading or hearing with reports from other sources. Even if you aren’t here to judge, you are here to make choices. The responsibility for your choices is yours. Getting rid of the filter is up to you—and me.