Step Into the Light

Off we go.
Off we go.

I’ve been dwelling on a particular disk in the Twilight Zone DVD set for the past few weeks. It’s not like I watch it every day, but each time I go to eject it, I decide to watch a couple of episodes one more time. It’s from season two, and it features the last five episodes. Some of my favorites are: “The Silence” – “Shadow Play” – “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up” – “The Obsolete Man” – the latter being among my top-5 favorite episodes.

I’m not going to talk about these episodes. If you’re interested in some insight into this wonderful show, you should spend some time at Paul’s blog. Besides being some of my favorites, these episodes have me thinking about, of all things, social media.

“Huh?”

I hear you mumble under your breath.

Consider a few themes that are present in one or more of these episodes:

  • Controlling people with illusions
  • Attacking the value of men, and mocking the values they hold dear
  • Clinging to a point of view, while facts mound up against it
  • Manipulating people by playing to their base fears
  • Ignoring what might be true, because “it doesn’t fit our formulae

Social media is rife with these themes today. In fact, I’ve resorted to posting pictures of my pets.

That’s because the simplest brush with a newsworthy item can bring fierce combat from multiple fronts. I’ve seen the comment sections of posts by people I follow, turn into a battleground of vicious discussion opinion. I crossed that out, because I see very little discussion. It’s one person’s opinion stacked up against another person’s opinion. Each are often bolstered by links to dubious sources, or claims to “have heard,” “have seen” and the ever popular “everybody knows.

On the other hand, a friend of mine and I have been having actual discussions for many years. Often, when I hang up the phone, my wife will ask: “did you solve the world’s problems?” Even when we don’t agree, our conversations are littered with phrases like: “that’s a good point” – “I hadn’t considered that” – “I didn’t know that” – “I need to get more information about that” and, believe it or not: “you know, you’re right.”

Thank goodness for those conversations and for Thanksgiving with its pictures of turkey and pie. So much pie. Pie has become my refuge on Facebook. I seek out posts about pie. Pie, kittens, other small animals and wonderful scenery from warmer climates.

I plan to continue skipping the opinion posts, including the ones that start with “you have to read this!” because I don’t want to be drawn into the anger and the hatred. Because even if I only press “Like,” Facebook will alert me to each new comment. It’s easier to avoid the chaos on LinkedIn and Twitter, but not because they aren’t both minefields of misinformation.

Despite Mark Zuckerberg’s (and others) promise to root out lies, false news, hate-speak and bullying, I think they’ll tolerate anything that makes money.

It’s not that I’m not moved by or interested in current events, I am. I’m just finding it harder and harder to find information sources that I trust.

I’m not alone.

While we weren’t paying attention, “Fact-based News” became a thing. You can google that. I’m not including a link, because the only ones I can find are to purported fact-based news sites, and I don’t trust them. My question is: “when did being based in facts, differentiate one news source from another?

Based on my reading, some will say it was when cable networks turned news into 24-hour entertainment. Some blame the Internet. Some say that: “it hasn’t been the same since Walter Cronkite anchored the CBS Evening News.” I miss Walter. Still, there are people who claim that he was somehow involved in NASA’s efforts to fake the moon landings. So I guess there’s nothing new in the land of make-believe.

Until things settle down, you can expect more pictures of my pets.

Speaking of which, this post was conjured up during a walk in the fog with Maddie. Fog makes us work harder to discern the truth about our surroundings. Maddie didn’t seem to have a problem with it. The gallery includes some photos from that walk, and our walk the following day, under sunny skies.

95 thoughts on “Step Into the Light

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  1. “when did being based in facts, differentiate one news source from another?” I agree, Dan. This kind of thing happens when a society looses its compass as far as truth is concerned. Loved your post.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Great post. I usually stay away from the opinion posts because you already know how my thoughts are quite different from the others. Secondly, I also make sure only to comment when the other person is equally good at debate and has some knowledge about the issue, which happens rarely.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was thinking of your earlier comment, about the terrorist attacks in your country and how people were angry with you over your opinion. You should be allowed to share an opinion without worrying. I avoid these topics because, on social media, once the conversation is expanded, you don’t even know who you’re talking to. Thanks for the comment and your support, Sharukh.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. On a personal note I love debates. I used to watch Hard Talk on BBC and other talk shows where quality content and conversations would take place. Also, in college I was very good in debates especially in my English literature class. I believe debates and healthy discussions helps in seeing the outside perspective which you might not be able to see. However, I realized that people at large don’t want to change. They talk about the progress and development of the country, but they don’t want to change. The funny part is that they want YOU to change. Secondly, most people believe that speaking against the country (or religion, or movie star, or a political figure) is inappropriate because I lack patriotism and nationalism. The only way to showcase your love is to blindly appreciate what the majority believes in. So, what I do now is stay low and mind my own business. I don’t need people’s certification to showcase my love for my country.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I see so much of what you describe. If you don’t agree with the person who is talking, you are somehow viewed as if something is wrong with you. Last week, I had a short conversation with a person. I said something they didn’t agree with. It wasn’t bad, or negative, but it was a counterpoint to something they said. The person said “I don’t want to hear this” and left.

          This is a problem. When we no longer tolerate an opposing point of view, we are lost as a people.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. So true. The whole purpose of democracy is defeated. It is sad to see this happening around. Currently in India this entire demonetization issue has kicked up a storm. I see my elder bro constantly debating with me as we have opposite viewpoints. I always tell him – you better come prepared with some solid data to back up your case. :)

            Like

      1. No I made a rather benign comment on a few sites, (different subjects) but got ranted at in the same fashion. Seems they have a lot of nasty descriptive remarks about me to print, without even knowing me. One even closed their comments after the rant so I couldn’t respond. I just clicked the follow button to off – I walked away so to speak.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your support. I’m getting too old to spend my time putting up with closed minds. I believe it was Confucius who said, “He who only listens to himself – never learns anything new.”

        Liked by 1 person

  3. And, this is why I average ten minutes a week on FB and am down to one local news per day. :-) Please show more Maddie and pie photos because I can relate to both, and they don’t cause me any additional life stress. :-) Have a great Monday and hopefully intelligent real life conversations with people who will look you in the eye when voicing their opinions. :-)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve been very slowly rewatching The Twilight Zone in chronological order with my kids, introducing them to it. A few duff episodes aside, it’s still so much better than much of what is on TV these days. My kids enjoy spotting which episodes have influenced or been referenced in things they’ve seen. I agree with you that this whole year has felt like an episode of TTZ and never more so than when reading anything on social media. I’ve been spending increasingly less time on FB just to escape the sound and fury.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Unless an individual is part of the mine field, I believe anyone on Facebook can relate to the dangers. It’s easy to get riled up about opinions if one reads too much. I try to stay away (not always successful) and try to keep that off my page. As for the news, I agree with you Dan. We might need a few Walter Cronkite’s or at least a network that speaks for the truth.

    I LOVE your photo of the fence and leaves. That one is frame-worthy. They are all really great photos, love the fog and squirrels (although I couldn’t find Waldo in the one picture). Nice post, Dan!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Mary. I liked the way the fence photo turned out. As I was trying to get that, Maddie was growing impatient, as if to say: “Look, I waited while you took the photo of the flag pole, ‘cuz flag, but this is too much…oooh, squirrel”

      I followed the squirrel up into that tree, but part of him is behind a branch (I think).

      As for the news, sigh… I don’t know where to turn for consistent truth anymore. I’ve been watching BBC. I guess it’s more Maddie, MuMu, MiMi, Ziva and Gibbs on FB from now on :)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, Dan, seems you and I are right in sync. I feel exactly as you and refuse to immerse myself in the ugliness. Today I have a video of my Cuddles up …. yep, a talking cat! LOL LOVE your gallery and you keep on showing the world how to solve its problems by focusing on what is important …. Love, family, Nature …. basics. Let us all get back to our roots and basics. <3

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, Dan. I just will not taint my world with ugly. Nope. I have Faith that things will be OK. No sense in ruining my Joy. Nope. Good week over at Petals. I worked really hard on the days I took off to bring outstanding Beauty. I just hope I can keep up. LOL Good morning!!! :)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree with you completely on the social-media crap. It’s dire now.

    I find myself on the cat and kitten videos a lot in Facebook (then of course, get drawn away by YouTube!) but I learnt how to – mostly – avoid the really nasty content on Facebook with a browser add on (that’s best to download from the actual site). If you’ve not heard of it or used it, check out FBPurity (was originally called Facebook Purity but they changed it to Fluff-Busting Purity). Not surprisingly as it cuts off views of their ads, It’s not a Facebook-approved one, but is very popular and incredibly useful. You can filter out all sorts of things, even specific words and post types. You can find it easily by Googling it.

    As for Twilight zone – I’ve not watched it in years and didn’t know it was on DVD, I wonder if it’s in Region 2 or just Region 1? I shall look…

    Love the foggy pics. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the tip, Val. I might have to look for that add-on. TZ is also on NetFlix (except season 4) and HuLu and I think one other. Some episodes are also on Youtube. I’m glad you liked the fog photos. I enjoy walking in the fog.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s okay to publish pictures of pets – but please, no more pictures of squirrels. Squirrels are nasty, quarrelsome creatures who have no commitment to making America either just or great, instead they only serve themselves and steal seeds that are intended for song birds. I would link you to several posts on Facebook that document just how disgusting these creatures are – but apparently you insist on hiding from THE TRUTH.

    I don’t like moles or gophers either.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I appreciate your opinion, but the squirrel photos will continue – sorry. Especially the Black Squirrels, because they’re so darn cute! We solved the bird feeder problem when we had one, by also feeding the squirrels. Unfortunately, the Blue Jays would steal peanuts from the squirrels. They would sit in the tree, watch the squirrel bury a nut, and then swoop down and peck it out of the ground. They let the squirrel do the work of getting the nut out of the feeder, then stole it – how’s that for unAmerican?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post. I have conversations where I say humbling things, too. Isn’t it amazing? Journalism is pretty much dead, in my opinion. Worse than that, people who don’t care about truth and facts don’t even care about the death of journalism, which is probably why it’s dying.
    More lovely photos today, I really love the fence with the leaves, that’s a fab photo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. You’re right, probably most people don’t care about the death of journalism.

      I’m glad you liked the fence photo. Every now and then, I am moved to try something creative. I like it when it works.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Love the photos and, as you know, agree with the rest of the post. I was relieved when my few political posts actually had some discussion and no one flamed on or out. I’ve often bemoaned the fact the virtually all news these days is what used to be on the opinion page. Joe Friday and his “Just the facts, Ma’am” are long gone in more ways than the obvious.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you had some success, Janet. I had one very amazing failure and I gave up. I was so sad to see people, all of whom I consider to be friends, being so mean to each other, simply because they don’t agree. I felt like I was back in 7th grade.

      Like

  11. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had gotten off Facebook and Twitter until after the holidays, and it may be much longer than that. I went out to Twitter last week when our local station played a rerun of Jeopardy instead of the episode we were supposed to see (the first day of finals in the Teen Tournament) and made the mistake of sticking around and reading some of the tweets. After five minutes, I felt upset and depressed. That’s the way most social media makes me feel these days, so I’m sticking with Pinterest and Instagram. There was a great cartoon posted on Facebook that I didn’t have the foresight to save about the difference between Facebook and Pinterest: the Facebook side featured people arguing, while the Pinterest side featured people saying “Look! Cookies!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John. Fortunately, I use TweetDeck, and I mainly follow a “Daily” list. I move people in and out of that list based on the content they post. I don’t care if they disagree with me, as long as they’re civil when doing it. I don’t tolerate making fun of anyone and I don’t tolerate most things that end in ‘ism’ (most things, to allow for realism).

      I skim Facebook these days. I have my reasons for needing to stay out there, but I’ve learned my lesson about not touching live wires.

      Like

  12. I miss Walter, too. He was so reassuring, despite the misinformation prevalent then. The gasoline crisis that wasn’t. The nuclear war inevitably coming that didn’t. The communist takeover that never took over. Hearst made a fortune on fabricated news. He faked it, lied about it, created it himself. The vast proliferation of news as entertainment has its roots in human nature, I’m afraid — our preference for entertainment over truth. I’m also afraid it’s with us for the long term. I’m trying to avoid the news, and when I can’t, I gnash my teeth and try to focus on happier things. Pie and pets help. I hope your remaining vacay is a good one!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Dan, this post was great, and I love the photos. Some beautiful fog you have in CT! Re the whole social media thing….on some posts I read the comments first and then decide, “nope. best just leave it alone.” Which is kind of sad, but better to just walk away than to walk away mad. OK, so you post more photos of Maddie, MiMi and MuMu(sp??) and I will post more of my cats. Yes, I like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d look at Teemu any day and never be angry. Maddie, MiMi and MuMu might get a little more face time. Well, except MuMu, she’s pretty skittish. That’s a good idea, to check the comments first. I’m also trying not to be the first to like something. It’s kinda sad…

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Funny how black squirrel became a bird when the sun came out! I love the Twilight Zone. I used to tell people about this movie I watched as a kid that really terrified me. I could never figure out what movie it was. When I had the offspring watching Twilight Zone series I saw the show. Man and woman coming home from New Year’s party and being abducted by a giant and put in a doll house. Terrified me for years. I am also avoiding anything political.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think there’s any transformation going on, unless we are in the Twilight Zone. I know the episode that scared you – “Stopover in a Quiet Town” – I watched some of those episodes when they first aired and several of them scared me (I was pretty young).

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I left Facebook in summer and I do not miss it. It looks to me like people have forgotten that you can leave these sites. Yes, it is a bit more complicated to stay in contact with people but those who matter will find a way and those who don’t are better left behind anyway.

    And it is our power to bring these sites down. Yes, it might need a while but hey, Martin Luther King and Gandhi weren’t bothered by odds they just did their thing. Shall we call for a walk-out on social media ;-)?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We may not even need a walk-out. If all we do is use them for the “staying in touch” part of the deal, they don’t make enough money to survive. It’s like a bar. If everyone only goes there for food, they go out of business.

      I have cut back on my usage. There’s only so much time to spread around between Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Blogs. I have shifted most of that time to blogs, including some that bring me a different point of view than my own.

      Like

  16. You echo the sentiments of many. I love your photos…and I haven’t seen The Twilight Zone in ages and I love the show…just not being in the twilight zone. LOL! :) Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I’m glad you liked the photos. The Twilight Zone is available on NetFlix, Hulu and (some) YouTube. Plus, if you get the SyFy channel, there’s always the New Year’s Eve Marathon.

      Like

  17. I have many friends of different points of view. Politics is not something which I would drop someone over. Open-minded people will listen to opposing opinions and come up with those same things you say to your friend, Dan. My Dad would go on for awhile on a subject and then say, “But what do I know?” :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am careful, Robin, as I know some people are particularly touchy these days. I can deal with almost any opinion (no hate) but I don’t want to follow the comment threads when they turn ugly, and they seem to have been taking that turn all too frequently lately.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Do you remember how teachers purposely not give any notice to petty bad behavior? You know, why kindle the fire of something stupid and so obviously wrong. Maybe that’s what’s needed for the media, both social and otherwise.

    As for your pictures…
    I couldn’t see the 2nd squirrel. I do love fog. It invokes creativity in me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You make a good point. Maybe that’s what we need to do. I’ll have to go through that photo and locate the squirrel. I know I was following him with the camera when I decided just to zoom out and click. He should be there.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. Dan, thanks so much for the link and the kind words! It’s hard to go wrong with TZ, and that disc is proof of that. Some terrific episodes there. “Shadow Play” is an underrated favorite of mine — Charles Beaumont was so good at screwing with our minds. But so was Rod Serling, of course, and the other very talented writers he recruited. I feel like I see something “new” every time I watch an episode again.

    Great pics as well, btw. They really scream “fall”. Thanks again!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Paul. There must have been something in the air. Both Wendy and I dropped into the Zone for a day. I’m surprised at how many new things I discovered in “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up” Jack Elam’s character is so comical and telegraphs so many things about the story, but you’d have to see it more than once to pick up on it. I’d never talk about the Zone without a shout to your place.

      Liked by 2 people

  20. Dan – I give this post a special 🏆 for those photos – some of your finest
    As I scrolled I kept soaking up your photo beauty and by the time I reached the fence with fall leaves – I really knew there was something special with your post.
    Your words are good too – nicely weaving the themes from twilight zone into modern day stuff – like news and opinions – and side note – I have to work in discussing because it is very easy for me to be opinionated about topics I am knowledgeable about – not saying I am always the know it all type – but a while back when I realized this I started to address it.
    And getting better – it is not exactly what you are talking about- but kinda

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! I appreciate that comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. I was taking the photos with the plan of just posting them. Then, I started thinking about all this stuff, and I decided to try and work it together.

      I have a lot of conversations with people who might be called “subject matter experts” on some subjects. I always try to see if there’s something I can learn from them. Then again, I have, or (more likely) I see others having conversations in social media, where non-experts are digging their heals in on topics that they are passionate about, but perhaps not well-informed. It’s particularly hard to have conversations, when you are aware of facts, but the other party isn’t interested in them. I’ve been told: “I’m not interested in your so-called facts” on matters of science, technology and history, where the facts are clear. I am not good in these kind of situations, so I try to avoid them.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dan- I think I know what you mean – I see it with the topic of health – but maybe in that area the “facts” are not so clear as it would be in the science/tech/history stuff.
        And I have a lot more patience with some people because I think it is a human protective mechanism that adds to the resistance of new ideas – even if facts – to where holding beliefs (or views and opinions) stops us from being flighty or swayed – I know it is pride too – or even stupidity (as judge Judy says) – and it is also from sloppy unchecked behavior to where from folks have never been called out for such opinion forcing from a half-ass knowledge base…
        Ahhh – takes grace
        And then as you note
        Sometimes we can avoid

        Liked by 2 people

  21. Dan, I feel the same way about social media. I find it harder and harder to trust a news source. In fact, I find even harder to trust the so-called experts.
    I’ve been thinking . . . there’s a way things remain the same in this world. Say, back in the day when knowledge resided mostly in books and people had to struggle to find it. Information was so hard to obtain. To know the news you had to buy the paper, turn on the radio or take time to your watch TV. If you missed it, you had to rely on other people to tell it to you, who, being just humans, couldn’t help exaggerating, adulterating, or lying. Then the era of Internet and heightened globalization . . . but it came with misinformation and lies, and more misinformation and more lies. Not to mention the diminishing attention span. Not to mention the adamant hostility and baseless intolerance. So now the news is at our fingertips but we know nothing. Everything is questionable.
    I have wondered. Why does perceived difference matter more than scientific fact? Nature loves diversity. Every species is as diverse as it can be. And every individual is unique. Man, even rocks aren’t all the same! But diversity amongst people is hell on earth. Whether the variation is in race, sex, tribe, etc. If you lived in a place where there’s diversity in races, you might think that race is the problem . . . but that is until you find yourself in a place where there’s just one race but different tribes, different languages.
    People don’t like one another. We just give different names to the same problem. None of us can fix it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. None of us can fix it, Peter, but all of us could, if we wanted to. But, sadly, you’re right, we don’t want to. At least not enough of us want to. You would think that war, outright aggression, would be a thing of the past by now, but we fight and we fund massive industries to wage even worse wars in the future.

      Part of me thinks that what we are seeing right now, is the last battle in this fight. The truth is available to more people than ever, but there are still too many people that don’t want to see it spread. I hope that, in the future, those people will have lost their battle and the enormous weight of truth will win.

      Liked by 2 people

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