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In the Absence of Facts…

September 4, 2011
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In the absence of facts, the human imagination can create all kinds of scenarios. Some friends at the gym have missed a few sessions recently. Some of the ‘regulars’ have been wondering where they might be. In the absence of facts, we began to speculate. One theory was that with the new gym ownership, the senior discount has been discontinued and they can no longer afford to come. At the other extreme, someone generated a story that suggested the reason for their absence was brain surgery. In the absence of facts…

How much misinformation exists in our lives? I get a lot of unsubstantiated email stories. Most of them are not likely, but in the absence of facts, people feel compelled to exercise their right to hit the forward button and spread the news.

The stories at the gym were generated out of a genuine sense of concern for our friends. However, in the absence of facts, many malicious stories are generated. Just a small thread of potential credibility can be the fuse on a potentially disastrous rumor.

The next time you hear something about someone that you are not totally confident is accurate, you have the opportunity to exercise caution and protect innocent lives. No matter how credible the source, we owe it to others to confirm the accuracy of what we hear before we repeat it. In the absence of facts, we are wise to exercise caution and restraint.

We found out that our friends are not too poor and they are not enduring brain surgery. We found someone who had actually talked to them and knew the facts, i.e., the truth. They were ill. Not very dramatic, but that’s the facts.

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