This started out as a reply to Tom Van Berckel, but became an entire blog. Thanks for the inspiration, Tom! And thanks for the compliment. You aren't the only one who gets confused when trying to figure out what to believe or who to listen to when wading through the ocean of alternative news. In my experience, and from conversations with many others, it takes at least a couple of years to learn to navigate that ocean and develop the capacity to put together a realistic picture of what’s going on out there. Along the way you discover several things that really have more to do with consciousness than anything else. #1 – everyone has their own point of view and whether we think their views are right or wrong is somewhat irrelevant. Their point of view tells us where they are at with their perception, NOT where we should be at with ours! We each NEED our own point of view because that is the center point from which we communicate, learn, change, and grow. #2 – we live in a consensus reality system – but that consensus is VERY loose. In my view, it is amazing that it holds together at all given the huge diversity of beliefs, experience, and perception that exist here. It is only because of our tolerance (unspoken) for one another, and our gratitude (unacknowledged) for their willingness (unconscious) to help hold it all together, that we are able to continue with the reality. #3 – the idea of "proof" is useless. Even the best of scientists rarely think in terms of "proof." They say, "This is what most of us agree on at the moment," and they know that new insights and information will eventually go beyond the current agreement. My own stand is that there is no proof, there is only what we each experience, and each of us is responsible for assessing that experience from moment to moment and responding to it wisely and well. For most of us who are trying to wade through the huge amounts of alternative news, a good rule of thumb for judging any news is that the reporter should at least have some evidence to show, and when they have finished offering evidence, they should make it clear when they are switching to their own interpretation of that evidence. #4 – you will resonate deeply in your gut, your heart, and your mind when you see or read news that is true and important for YOU to know. Not all news is relevant to all people. #5 – listen to what people say, but watch carefully what they do. Keep a notebook handy in which you jot down lists, or create a folder on your computer in which you save speeches of key promises and predictions that people make. Then pay attention to whether they do what they said they would do, or how they behave when the prediction doesn’t come true. A few people will complain that this is too much work, but this is the burden of being a real citizen. We are where we are in this country because the hens have been selling eggs AND fresh chicken to the fox - and no one is paying attention! #6 – find news sources that do a fairly good job of synthesizing lots of information and presenting a well-thought-out view of the big picture, or that consistently present smaller slices of information in a clear and honest way. The task here is to eventually find news sources you trust and that you can return to again and again because their information is always presented in a straightforward, thoughtful way that makes you think. #7 – learn to discern the difference between sources that sometimes get excited or upset about something, those who are continually outraged and spouting off about it, or those that are always trying to incite fear and dread. It’s like the difference between fresh milk (news), sour milk (news with an attitude), and fermented milk (news with a hidden agenda). In each case it’s milk, but you will respond differently to each. #8 – you have a right to be interested in some things and not others. Follow the threads of conversation and information that you find interesting, and let yourself become knowledgeable and aware in the areas that you are interested in. Some people love politics, others love to read about the economy, some are only interested in technology, or science, or war, or psychology. Some follow music closely, or entertainment, or sports. So follow your nose, consuming information and arguments about the things that interest you, and occasionally graze in other pastures that offer other topics. #9 – as for “truth,” there is only one unchanging and reliable truth – and that is that everything in existence is made of an intelligent Light that we call God, or Source, or The Universe, or whatever. All the stuff that emerges from that Light is temporary, which is why we say it is an illusion. It's really not an illusion, it's just temporary in the sense that it is not eternal and forever unchanging like that Light is. But you can damn well count on having a sore foot if you drop a brick on it. You can’t just blow that off as “illusion.” The truth is that it hurts! In closing...we are in the middle of a paradigm shift of global proportions. A paradigm shift is a change in consciousness. If you are going to make that shift along with everyone else, you have to take responsibility for what you feed that consciousness and what you do with that consciousness. We are moving out of the paradigm of one-size-fits-all-and-one-story-informs-all. How you assemble the world is up to you!