Today I have the fabulous Michaela from FiveFrogsBlog as a guest on my blog.
Have you ever seen a Sundog?
Sundogs are temporary atmospheric phenomena caused by light refracting through ice crystals. They create the illusion of extra planetary bodies in the sky, usually on either side of the sun.
Sundogs have caused a lot of excitement through history. In less scientific times, they’ve been mistaken for extra planets, signs from God, or even alien visitations.
Sundogs don’t hold any meaning. In fact, without the truth of the sun, they don’t exist at all, despite being beautiful and mysterious. They distract and entice us, grab our attention and encourage our imagination to attribute meaning to their presence.
These Sundogs are all around us. It seems that the more information we have access to, the more opportunity there is for it to be refracted and bent to create a distracting side effect. They LOOK like the real issue, while not holding any substance.
In the Australian asylum seeker debate, attention is on legality of modes of travel, lack of safety, due process, terrorism. The truth – the shining star at the heart of the issue – is shared human existence and responsibility.
We talk about faith and belief. Where would humanity be without faith? Look how much good religion has done! We’re distracted by the desire to be seen to be good people, or moral people, or simply to belong. To look at others and feel we have something they don’t. We don’t bother to look at history. The truth at the heart of all these distractions is that religion got organised so it could control people. It was the original form of government, working hand-in-hand with rulers throughout the centuries, across the world.
In times of war, governments and media whip the populace up into a propaganda-filled frenzy of nationalistic fervour with lies and half-told truths. At their heart every international conflict has been about greed or hate; often both.
Global warming has caused world-wide debate, including everything from questioning whether it’s happening, what’s causing it, to the issue of humanity’s separation – or lack of it – from nature. The truth is we should pollute less and use fewer finite resources; the rest is distraction.
In this Attention Deficit Disorder age of mass information overload and spin, we need to look for the truth with extra care. We must stop being so tempted to react to shiny outrage-inducing side issues.
If we don’t, we risk constantly chasing after Sundogs, only to discover that, once close, they dissolve into so many drops of icy nothingness.
We need to remember to look at the truth, not its refraction.