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Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: The Abundance Of Uncertainty

Gerd Altmann

One day I was in a hurry and needed to know the time. I looked at the radio clock: it said 1:36 p.m. Went to the kitchen and the stove clock said it was 1:33 p.m. The coffee maker read 1:35 p.m. At least the microwave agreed with it also at 1:35 p.m. Then I checked my phone, which tends to have the last word on these matters, and it showed it was 1:37 p.m. I was running very late!

How did we wind up with this many time zones in the house? In the past we just relied on our wristwatches, but now appliances have clocks, which leads to confusion. Then, the problem goes beyond time, as we see that news, events, theories, and opinions become more complex, leading to more interpretations and possibilities. The need for fact checkers reflects this bizarre uncertainty. If things that used to be reliable are now unstable, what's in our future?

Perhaps not everything is lost. Maybe this multiplicity of views helps us form a better picture of any situation. Probably the myriad of versions of an event presents a clearer image. After all, other views and opinions enrich our perception. Otherwise, we're doomed to see only one side of every issue.

Now, let me set my watch to the right time.

I am Francisco Solares-Larrave, and this is my perspective.