Author and Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo recently decried some of the most problematic realities he sees in today’s culture, lamenting the “perversion of truth.”
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“One of the things that troubles me is, we’re not listening to each other any longer,” he said. “Everyone’s in silos.”
Arroyo, whose latest book for the whole family, “The Unexpected Light of Thomas Alva Edison,” takes a look at one of history’s most prolific inventors, reflected on days past, when Americans united around music, humor, entertainment — and even the news.
“Everyone, even though they didn’t all agree, they agreed that we could get information and share moments and space together,” he said, juxtapositioning that against today’s divisive backdrop. “There are no focal points in the culture, and I think that needs to be restored.”
Outside of sports, he said, there aren’t many rallying points and called the lack of unifying factors in American culture a “huge problem.”
Meanwhile, he also decried the “perversion of truth” raging in today’s society.
“Jesus, certainly in this time of year, reminds us of the heavy cost of embodying the truth, representing the truth, and broadcasting the truth,” Arroyo said. “It’s your job, it’s your task. All of us, as human beings, it’s what we’re called to do.”
He continued, “The more we’re willing to do that and risk our name and our reputation and our standing to do so, the better society will be.”
Arroyo also reflected on his personal mission to point people back to history to glean positive, uplifting, and educational lessons.
He said his latest book, “The Unexpected Light of Thomas Alva Edison,” was birthed one day when he found himself reading about Edison and discovered something that sparked a deep intrigue.
“I came across this line where, later in life, Edison said, ‘My mother was the making of me’ and the reason he became an inventor,” Arroyo said. “And I thought, ‘What is this about?’ So, I started diving in.”
He began reading Edison biographies and pouring over information about the inventor’s life.
“I realized there was a bit of history here that had been totally either forgotten or ignored, where Edison, as a second grader, was thrown out of school,” Arroyo said.
Edison’s teacher purportedly believed the eventual inventor was “addle-brained” and couldn’t be taught. His father, too, believed his son was stupid and incapable.
But it was Edison’s mother’s faith in her son that the historic figure later credited for persisting beyond his struggles to become a celebrated and influential inventor.
Arroyo said the story gave him the idea to tell “turnabout tales,” stories about redemption and overcoming the odds.
“[These are] crisis points in a young person’s life that aren’t really crises, but doorways to the future, doorways to destiny,” he said. “And, really, the shifting of history because of the decisions made in that moment.”
Arroyo said the book is about much more than a biographical sketch, noting it’s a “larger story about family, the importance of parents in a young person’s journey, and to never give up even though people tell you you can’t do it.’”
Many parts of Edison’s biography are quite fascinating and harrowing. He was deaf, something incredibly intriguing considering he went on to invent so many devices we still use today.
“The man who creates the phonograph, the microphone, really couldn’t hear,” Arroyo said. “And his hearing loss progressed steadily from the time he was 12 till deep into old age, into his 80s.”
Arroyo’s book comes at an interesting cultural moment, as modern Americans seem to be increasingly grappling with how to handle difficult elements of the past.
“We need history,” Arroyo said. “We need to look back to light the way forward. It’s the only way you get to a good future, to a brighter future, is by understanding.”
The TV presenter said he believes there’s a great deal to learn from appropriately examining history and its central figures.
“It’s why I think we’re in the state we’re in today, because people keep remaking the wheel, as if none of this has been done before,” Arroyo said. “It’s all been done before. You just didn’t look closely enough to figure that out.”
He said a proper understanding and examination of the past points to mistakes not to repeat and successful endeavors to emulate.
“Everyone is broken,” Arroyo said. “The founding fathers were not saints. They were not Messiahs. They were men and women who were broken, but they also did something extraordinary.”
He added, “It’s important to look at the full life, and I tried to do that with Edison.”
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