No, I did not misspell the word prophet. It is a deliberate play on words.
We have all seen the person holding the placard saying “Repent, the end is near!” usually along with a scriptural reference or two to validate the prediction. Some might defend this person for their evangelical zeal, but most will dismiss him or her as delusional and irrelevant.
Almost everyone knows the media loves to scare people … it sells papers. “If it bleeds, it leads!” We all see examples of this every night when they offer some tantalizing tidbit soundbite at the beginning of the news broadcast in the hope that we will stay tuned to hear it. And, of course, they put it at the very end, and all too often we find out it is far less interesting than promised. For example, “Study regarding link between homework and cancer!” Only to hear at the end of the broadcast they found none.
So, it was a surprise to me to see an article offering the opposite point of view just a few days after the doomsday clock update. Read the USA Today article here.
It was refreshing to see a news article that promoted reason and care as antidotes to the fear life exposes us to. Most of us have read Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People where he cautions us to look carefully inward and “begin with the end in mind.” There are so many other remarkably helpful books written suggesting how we can stay emotionally balanced when life dishes out disasters. And, we admire those who demonstrate that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” to quote my adorable wife. Of course, she also reminds me that “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”
So, how do we reset the doomsday clock in our lives? Surely this requires more than dismissing the warnings completely. There must be at least some truth to the fear mongering … or the intellectuals would cry foul, wouldn’t they?
Not necessarily. There is a lot of money to be made scaring people, playing on their insecurities, and pandering to their selfish desires. One of my favorite speakers, Suzanne Shelton used to state that beer commercials often implied that drinking their brand was going to improve the odds of a guy “scoring.” And, we all know the Dos Equis beer commercials with the “most interesting man in the world.” Somehow he is always surrounded by beautiful women.
Perhaps the most disgusting example of this is the bitcoin fallout from all the ads indicating “fortune favors the brave,” implying that you are wisely investing if it requires overcoming your fears of loss. Haven’t we learned anything from Las Vegas where you can indeed drive there in a $100,000 Mercedes and come home in a $500,000 Greyhound Bus.
Perhaps the best advice is also the simplest. Follow the money! How is it that the author profits from the message being delivered? In my case, I have no monetary implications. I only offer thoughts because I am concerned for my fellow citizens of this world that we are being duped by those who do plan to profit from their messaging. That is the key to unraveling it all.
Always follow the money.