Ex Post Facto no. 8: Ghost Elephants & Burden of Proof
We’re back for another Ex Post Facto, the email with 3 things you’ll wish you’d known earlier—just in time for the weekend. Thanks for joining! –Shane
We’ve all been getting pummelled lately. Bad news, fake news, frustrating news. Chadwick Boseman? Sometimes it can be too much.
Well, today I don’t have the cure for any of that. But I do have a mental tool that can help you make things a little better—and I have a couple of items that may just bouy you up during these tough times.
One EXcellent bit of wisdom:
“I’ll never be like other people, but that’s alright because I’m a bear.” –Paddington.
Ok, so first of all, if you haven’t seen Paddington or Paddington 2, I suggest you add it to your quarantine binge list IMMEDIATELY. Whether you’re grieving right now or just plain frustrated with the state of things, it will improve your mood immensely. Trust me.
But also, I think this little quote contains some deep wisdom. We often spend so much time and effort trying to jump on the hot trends, following the best practices, trying to be like the rest… and yet, what makes for great leaders and team mates and friends is precisely the opposite: having something unique to bring to the party. I take comfort in that.
And by the way, on the subject of things getting “too much”: one of the big takeaways from my huge investigation into fake news in the 1950s was that the way the bad guys win in information wars is not to get you to switch sides; it’s to get you to give up. So stay strong. Keep engaging even when things are hard. And please register to vote!
One POST you’ll not want to miss:
Why Understanding “Burden of Proof” Is Crucial For Leaders & Citizens <— A subtle skill that will help all of us is a mastery of the concept “burden of proof,” so we recognize when we’re being manipulated, and so we don’t inadvertently fool ourselves into believing things we shouldn’t. If you like this one, I’d love if you’d share it along!
One FACT Of great interest:
In my exploration of conspiracy theorism and the burden of proof concept, I came across this map of the scariest urban legend creatures from every U.S. state. It’s, frankly, terrifying what we come up with to explain things we don’t understand. (But the map might entertain you for a while if Paddington is not your thing.)
But this brings up a question: Why can’t unsolved mysteries ever have adorable explanations?
When there’s a strange sound in the woods, why do we decide it’s a one-eyed vampire beast that drains the blood of bulldogs? Why can’t it be a bunny reciting the alphabet?
Instead of a witch who eats children, why can’t the reason we’re not supposed to go into the forest be because the Care Bears are napping?
For those of you who’d rather not learn about the Spiteful Mermaid of Pyramid Lake, I’ll just turn your attention to the Ghost Elephants of Illinois: After a train accident carrying circus animals 102 years ago, legend has it that the elephants still happily perform in the area at night. Buuut it might just be some owls hooting.
I’m ok with either one of those.
Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Til next time!