Two people are leaving work and are in a hurry to get home. They hear a young woman with a megaphone calling, "Don't miss the parade tomorrow.! Support the Graduates!!" Both people are in a rush to get to their cars before the other employees fill the parking lot and clog traffic, and when they reach their cars, both grab the flier slipped under their windshield wiper and lay it in the seat without looking at what it says, not wanting a waste a second getting into the line leaving the parking lot. When they get home, they each take the flyer they picked up into the house, noticing for the first time the cleaver design of graduation caps and diplomas in a circle around the time of the parade. What a cleaver reminder, they both think to themselves. The next morning, one of them tells everyone at breakfast to get dressed for the parade at 9 o'clock so they can get downtown to stake out a good vantage point for watching the parade. The other person tells her family that this year the parade is at six, so that everyone can walk to the auditorium for the graduation ceremony as soon as the parade ends. She tells them to be ready to go by 5:30, so they can get a parking place closer to the auditorium so they will not have to walk so far after the parade.
This blog is about how we see things. Sometimes it doesn't matter. Are sun rises more beautiful than sun sets? Are dark blue basketball uniforms or bright red uniforms better. Are chocolate bars better with or without nuts? Everyone has a right to an opinion on things like that.
However, some things are not a matter of opinion. In the example of 6 or 9, it matters. Is it an evening parade or a morning parade? There is a right answer, even if the flier was confusing. If something isn't clear, we must take the responsibility of searching for more information so that we get it right. Just showing the piece of paper to someone else isn't always going to give you the right answer, since their opinion is not necessarily going to be any better than yours, unless, of course, they have made a genuine effort to learn the correct time of the parade. Just because we would prefer the parade to be in the morning, or because we asked someone else who didn't bother to consult a reliable source for the correct information, doesn't mean they can tell us what time the parade starts.
I know this is a silly example, but I do fear that many of us are becoming careless about the sources we rely upon for accurate information. Sometimes we just don't want to get up early on a Saturday morning to go to a parade, so we figure out a way to be assured that the parade must be at 6 o'clock in the evening so we can sleep late. We may even suspect that it really isn't an evening parade, but if we are willing to fool ourselves, we can enjoy a late morning in bed, and then blame someone else for the careless flier.
Whether it is a six or a nine can really make an important difference. It matters.