For The Answers, Follow The Facts. Oh Really?

We’re often advised to follow-the-facts. But then there’s that old skeptic Dale Carnegie whose books keep selling ever since the Great Depression: “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of facts, but with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudice, and motivated by pride and vanity.”

Sound like your Congress…? Your boss…? Your partner…?

Facts, though, still have their place. Like the facts from the Washington Post: “The average household wealth of the top 1% in the U.S. — including home equity, stocks, investments — was almost $14 million in 2009; while the average wealth for the bottom 80% was $62, 900.” And from Time Magazine: “In 1950 the average U.S. household spent 22% of its income on food and 3% on health care; whereas today food costs have dropped to 7% while health care costs have risen to 16%.”

When following the facts to find the answers, you usually realize most of the answers are a moving target. I’m reminded of adventurer Thor Heyerdahl: “Progress is man’s ability to complicate simplicity.” We’re progressing so rapidly on the exciting frontiers of complex scientific and economic facts, could we be losing touch with some of the simpler frontiers of time-tested, common-sense? Otherwise known under rubrics like: Tradition…custom…intuition…what-mom-always-said. Or as the ol’ boys at the corner saloons and VFW Halls grouse: “Just about the time you learn all the answers, they change all the questions!”

Time happens. Repeatedly discovering perplexing realities that insist on flying in the face of prodigious facts, well, it’s a humbling experience. A purging one as well. I always remember Grandpa’s shock when he recalled migrating from Italy to the great Copper mines in 1903 Arizona. “The one thing I learned as a boy was that everything-changes-but-the-mountains. When I returned as an old man, years of slate-mining changed all that. The mountains were gone!”

Just last week they reported another iconic absolute in trouble. London’s Big Ben is leaning by 0.26 degrees every few years. Next they’re going to tell me Mom was wrong when she said: Eat your vegetables. Oh wait — I think there’s another set of facts coming out soon on that very subject. Only this time I’ll copy the report in pencil…!

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  • Then again as Mr. Twain was wont to say ..... "There are lies, damn lies & statistics" ...... Following the facts would not be so difficult Jack if there weren't so many these days in industry and politics who try to 'Distract & Obscure' .... as if it* were just a game where the rules dont really matter [and what Mom said has long been forgotten] ... and they preach that 'devil take the hindmost' we must accept that for the 'Good of the Economy' we should deregulate and dispose of anythin gthat smacks of government or collective action .... for as Mr. Gecko said in Wall Street -----."Greed is Good" .... We observe how very very difficult it is in the current angst to "Follow Thw Facts".


  • Between Twain and Geezer I hear some of the small wisdoms we need to hear again...but the noise down here in the Lower 48 is too often too much sound-and-fury-signifying-nothing...jelp!

  • As a lifetime member of the fourth estate Jack you know full well that the "sound-and-fury-signifying-nothing" will be the focus (and distraction) most hyped and analyzed/dissected by 'panels' of 'experts' guesting on the likes of CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS et al ..... "the more things change the m ...... " .... well you know the rest - Chuckle!

  • Yep, I do...what gets crazy is how we lately spend more time talking about the talkers and how they talk the issues...but few of whom seem willing to walk the walk that should go with the talk...are we fiddling here while America burns??

  • That is my concern Jack .... and the fire is already in the 'Burbs' and has done a lot of damage {the likes of which Mrs. O'Leary never could have been blamed for} ... Perhaps this is why millions are "Occupying" and saying in an 'unfocused' but deeply felt manner that many in 'privileged places' should be 'held to account' for what has been 'scorched' ..... [History tells us that there was a reason that they shot the Czar]. .... The public needs not that sort of extremity .... but they do deserve to see some 'Real' accountability - especially as it was/is the 'least of these my brethren' that have had it done unto them - inso many ways!

  • Barrie, we're both aware of how the seeds of discontent have ripened throughout history from the streets. Since governments and clergy can't seem to get it right these days, populism becomes once again inevitable. Passion like this can achieve some good results. Time will tell. In effect the people are saying to the leaders: you're not up to the job

  • "the people are saying to the leaders: you're not up to the job" --- Yes ... I like that Jack as it is not 'Over the Top' ... Just the reality right now.

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