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Trust, but verify

March 8, 2015

jessonline

Googling. How great it is that we can find a recipe, resolve a difference of opinion, or learn the meaning of a word- in two seconds online. It’s immediate gratification. Love it.

But of course, just because it’s out there doesn’t mean it’s true.  I recently tried to find the source for a Wordsworth quote I liked on Pinterest: “To Begin, begin”. It was all over Pinterest, all over Google and Yahoo answers- in chat rooms, images, and inspirational quote sites.

to begin, begin

I thought it was a wonderfully simple philosophy to get past the blocked feeling we sometimes get when embarking on a difficult or challenging project. I was going to start a post with it, but first- I looked for the source. No google reference I found could identify one. I found a poetry site with all of his works, and got a ‘not found’ result when I searched the text. So I asked a professor- a Wordsworth expert, who said not only does it not sound like him- there’s no reference she knew of that he ever said it.

So could he have said it? Who knows. I’m not going to quote if I can’t verify it. Maybe someone distilled something he said down to that- and it became attributed to him over time.  It was a small thing, but surprising. A good reminder that in all things, we should know our sources before we take action on information. Trust- but verify.

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