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Reflections on Reductionism

I have been a fan of a few series that are coming to an end this year. Today our sons are home for the holidays, and we watched the final episode of The Newsroom together. My sons and I don’t share a lot of common ground in how we approach our lives. I think our values are aligned, though, and there is an immense amount of perplexed respect in our home. At the end of The Newsroom a major character dies and his best friend has no idea what to say about his passing. Anything seems as if it would be reductionist.

After a holiday of spending time with family and friends that share a special place in my heart, this challenge is incredibly touching. My husband and I both come from large, intense families that share their own perspective on events loudly. It would be easy to take the bait, and to try and correct their perceptions, or to try and speak my own take on the past louder than anyone else. The truth is, it’s complicated. I am surrounded by people I love who play a starring role in my life. Their truth has nothing to do with mine, and trying to make them the same makes us both wrong.

My own truth is sacred and personal. The truth of my life, my family, my marriage, our sons, is a story that has many facets, depending on the teller. I can listen and respect the honesty of any version, and there is no need for me to attack it or to defend my own story.

At the end of The Newsroom words are spoken about the friend that has passed, and they acknowledge a man dedicated to championing human decency. There is music and there is love. Isn’t that ultimately the only truth that matters?