Consider the parable of the two fish swimming in the ocean. As one swims by the other it pauses to ask, “How’s the water?” The other replies, “What the hell is water?”
It is an admonition for us to stop and look at our surroundings. To not go about our days unconscious of the world in which we live.
In the daily deluge of information and activity, it is easy to miss what is right in front of us. We move about our days unaware of the water but presume to know the motives of individual fish.
The word evident means “what is plain or obvious, clearly seen or understood.” Its etymology comes from the Latin word,”evidens” – “obvious to the eye or mind.”
And therein lies the problem, what is obvious to one eye or mind is oblivious to another.
For one, I can not personally understand or fathom the lived experience of a person who refuses to wear a mask during a pandemic or beats a police officer with an American flag.
Yet someone else may look at me and consider me foolish for wearing a mask or not rising up against my own government.
How can this be?
We may live in the same country but are we still swimming in the same ocean? Our information, communities, media, and experiences are increasingly segregated and self-reinforcing. Our shared values, traditions, accomplishments and culture wither on the vine.
What is clear and obvious about our country right now?
Your instinctive responses may be cynical or negative. This would be wholly understandable.
But as one fish, it is evident that I am part of this ocean. I swim and contribute to the toxicity that clouds our collective vision. I judge others, consume information that is divisive, spew ill thoughts in the very ocean I swim around – then complain when it is polluted.
What is evident? I love the ocean and I need to do my part if I want to see more of its beauty clearly. For myself, for my children. For every one who swims there.
So, how’s the water?