We can be creatures of habit, and it is all too easy to get stuck in a rut.
All the signs that we ought to be trying to break away from the shackles of rote complacency are always screaming all around us, but there is comfort in being able to predict things by repeatedly doing the same things in the same way. You think you know the results, and that must mean we are smart.
Until the day something happens that shows just because we are slaves to habit, doesn't mean reality is confined in the same way -- and we do the same things, but instead of bringing us predictable results, it throws us into chaos.
Our theory is proven wrong.
War is an extreme circumstance where there is nothing but broken theories amid the ruins of chaos. One day, you are walking home form work to your family at your house; the next, your family has been rounded up and slaughtered, and your house has been bombed into rubble -- and to add insult to tragedy, the people who did it blame you because you are so evil that you had it coming.
Did your habits see this storm coming? How did predicting the world around miss this turn of events?
Did you feel the winds of war? Did they speak to you?
Or did you turn your head away, fluffing it off?
That is what happened to journalism. The winds of war screamed at them over the years, but they ignored it.
They ignored women, treating them as eye candy -- just look at magazine covers that had for decades had women showing a plunging neckline gratuitously while the men wore dashing three piece suits.
They ignore people who weren't Caucasian, always in some dismissive, patronizing manner.
They also ignore people under thirty, having headlines such as "Are your children safe at school?" and not "Are YOU safe at school?"
It created rage as innocent people were maligned. Richard Jewell was a security guard whose quick-thinking helped a lot of people when there was a bombing in Atlanta during the Olympics...but once the police decided he was guilty because he was a little different than the scripts, he was painted a villain until reality set in, but the damage was done, and he did die young.
The press didn't tell people about the press releases they used in war zones. They didn't tell them a lot of things. Hoaxes were reported as fact, but people's suffering wasn't making the news.
The Internet allowed people to finally talk without having the press filter and interpret their points of view.
The winds of war spoke to the profession of journalism, but they didn't hear the fury.
And they lost their way, and their credibility.
But we have a black hole. We have a single model of fact-gathering for a general audience, and it was one that was tone deaf to those ill winds.
Reality and truth -- the two things we need to know to navigate through the world, are not always easy to find. Journalism was supposed to wage a war against lies in order to liberate the truth, but when the industry ignored those winds, it showed they were slaves to their own habits and rote routines.
When the winds of war spoke to me, I didn't fear its fury.
I had a piece of my mind to say to it.
There were injustices being ignored because it was more important to applaud someone with fake hair and a dress they rented on the red carpet than save from torture and abuse.
There were grifters getting accolades as they stole millions of dollars, bankrupting entire cities and ruining families forever.
There were First Nations women getting slaughtered without anyone noticing in my own country, and it was going on for years without anyone doing anything to stop it.
There were so many fallen fellow human beings, and no one could hear their screams.
The winds of war's rage drowned those voices, and I had had enough.
I heard those winds loud and clear.
And then I saw the fury was just smoke and mirrors.
And there was a way to confront those winds early enough to stop those wars from exploding.
It meant breaking the old habits of journalism, and then building some other system that took those winds into the equation.
No one should ever ignore the fury. No one should ever fear it, either.
But we have to liberate the truth from lies to see reality -- so we can make plans to make the reality of tomorrow kinder than it was yesterday.
In order to do that, it takes breaking habits today...