Is Reality Bad News?

Jim asks his brother, Sam to dog-sit while he’s out of town. The first night away Jim calls to check on his dog.

Sam tells him bluntly, “Your dog died.”

Jim, clearly upset scolds his brother for his insensitivity. If you had a sensitive bone in your body, you would have told me, ‘Your dog had an accident.’ When I called tomorrow, you would have said, ‘Well, the dog is a bit worse.’ On the third night, I would have been ready for the bad news. By the way, while I’ve got you on the phone, how’s mother?”

To which Sam replied, “Well, mother has had an accident.”

People can deem reality as bad news and anyone who might be the purveyor of such tidings can be unwelcome and risk getting shot. Quite why people don’t like reality is up to them to figure out. We can talk around the subject, soften the impact and generally fudge and pussyfoot. Anyone who pops an illusion or shatters an ideal, is at best a killjoy. We generally like the fog more. The last time someone told me some reality, some home truths, I was so shocked that I nearly fell off my unicorn.

Most people do not consider themselves riders of unicorns, but they are good places from which to shoot messengers.

We might view reality as a tight rope that spans the chasm with overly-hyped, super-positive and gullible on one side and ultra-negative, pessimistic and nihilistic on the other. To walk a tight rope, one needs balance or equanimity. Things are, just like this.

There is a tendency to oscillate between the sides of the chasm and finding the centre of balance is not easy. A part of the cause of this is love of and addiction to, drama. Clearly it is the end of the world if the Ocado delivery is ten minutes late and it is bliss beyond measure if teacher gives us a gold star. There is a lack of balance and much oscillation. We may deem things good news or bad news.

Having cued this up:

Is reality bad news?

How many messengers have I shot from the saddle on my unicorn?

Was that a nice thing to do?