“I keep six honest serving-men, (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When, And How and Where and Who” - Rudyard Kipling
I am compelled to speak of something most of us already know at some level. There has been a small voice in the back of my head for some time and today as I read the first pages of Dan Brown‘s new novel, Inferno, the small voice began to shout. Within the first eighteen pages, I was hopelessly entangled in the story. It wasn’t because of the mastery of his style which instantly sets a stage of mystery and intrigue within one paragraph. Nor the fact that I was mesmerized by the artfully placed unanswered questions. It wasn’t about what I didn’t know. It was about what I did know. Dan Brown swiftly and skillfully gave me the answers to the six most essential elements in all journalism. I knew who was telling the story, why it was being told, how it came about, what I needed to discover in order to solve the mystery and where it was all taking place.
A simple, basic, honest, format for storytelling. What gave me a brain cramp today was the sudden realization that we, the universal reader, have been duped into not demanding these six truths be the foundation for all reputable storytelling. By all, I mean the nightly news, news journals and the most corrupt format for sharing information; social networking. Now before you make a snap judgement in defense of instant information, let me clarify. Yes, our ability to hear and see all events spontaneously across the globe, in our country, in our home town and just across the street has the immense power of what we constantly hear described as transparency.
But is this transparency and instant view of what we think is truth turning into a maniacal fear based form of propaganda? We have access to a communication network that is unsurpassed by anything we have ever known. It is a complex machine that interfaces with the masses of humanity. And just like your lap top, it only takes one destructive virus and the entire system is corrupt. Here’s a challenge. Every time you hear something on the news and receive stories of the day via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and chat; take a moment and ask yourself if it gives you the answers the the six sacred questions in the quest for truth.
I recently read a Facebook post that was being circulated by well meaning, kind and caring pet owners. It told the story of a dog at a dog park who picked up a harmless looking ball that was left unattended. The story claims the ball was laced with poison by an unknown dog park hater and later that day the unsuspecting pet died. Unbelievably horrible. That’s because it was a hoax.
The scary, maddening thing is that we have an entire generation that has abandoned the most powerful gift of being human…..questioning reality. This is my little but passionate campaign to incite a movement to question. Six words could be the cure for the sweeping virus of mis-information that is upon us. Join me for the revival of the six questions; who, what, where, when, how and why…