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Column: Two wolves
In the not-too-distant past we could engage our minds on these issues for a short while, then put them aside and go about our daily lives. Today however we are bombarded with a steady flow of information from social media sites, constantly-updated news streams, and twenty four-hour TV news channels. As pervasive as they are it becomes ever more difficult to just “turn them off.”
While all of these sources of information can have value, they survive and thrive on a hidden agenda. Many sources of “news” purport to supply information and knowledge, but what they’re really providing is conflict. Watch any cable news segment where guests with differing viewpoints attempt to shout over each other and this becomes readily apparent.
Today we must be ever more aware of our responsibility to act as the gatekeeper of our thoughts. One of my favorite stories is the legend of a Cherokee chief talking with his grandson:
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy
“It is a terrible fight between a black wolf and a white wolf. The black wolf is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, bitterness and ego.” He continued, “The white wolf is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, truth and compassion.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and asked, “Which wolf will win?”
The chief replied, “The one I feed.”
Keeping up to date on current events and having an opinion on them is certainly a worthwhile endeavor and critically part of the human condition. However when we choose to “ingest” information from our various sources, an important question to keep in mind is “Which wolf am I feeding?”
Patrick McGann is a dentist in Lake Elmo and a member of the Bayport city council.