By Becky De Oliveira — Board games and puzzles have come back into fashion in recent weeks, achieving must-have status equal with hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and DIY hair dyes. But there is one game that is played in perpetuity. I call it, “You Are Being Deceived” AKA “I Have the Skinny.” It goes like this: You offer an explanation of what is “really going on” in the world. This will focus heavily on deception, and will emphasize the sheep-like nature of the average fool too blind to see it.
This game, conveniently, doubles as a puzzle that can quickly make you crazy: What if the real deception is the explanation itself? What if you’re being deceived by thinking you’re not being deceived? What if the opposite of what you think is true is the real truth? Or not the opposite even; just something different? What if it’s a double fake, this search for truth? What if the opposite of what you think is the real truth actually is the fake, so your original truth—that thing you believed to begin with—was true all along? What if whatever you’re thinking is just what someone wants you to think? But what if they want you to think it because it’s true? Or what if they want you to think they want you to think it because it’s true, but really, it’s not, and all they have is a hidden agenda with which to remove your God-given rights?
We have to trust in something, but we do not collectively have common sources of information that we accept as reliable. We can’t agree on truth or reality—and that is frightening. (How can it be that this person you adore has a crazy theory about 5G networks?) What if it turns out that most people are doing the best they can, hampered, of course, by their own limitations, but not by malevolence or the desire to harm? Maybe they are pretty much like you but with a different soundtrack playing in their head. What if neither you nor anyone else can control the overarching narrative of this world or how that eventually plays out, but each of us can display decency, kindness, and integrity in our own sphere?
Let’s call this game, “I Won’t Stoop to That Level.” Why? Because we serve something Greater and Higher and Bigger.
Becky De Oliveira is a doctoral student in research methods at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and is a member of Boulder Adventist Church.