One thing I try to keep in mind when I’m on social media, are the numbers of people that will switch on their outrage engine at the slightest provocation. I usually try not to cause any controversy but sometimes, that is impossible to accomplish based on the content of my timeline on Twitter sometimes. I am often astonished at the numbers of people that are willing to believe absolutely anything, as long as it sits neatly within their political or social justice basket. Some will make the most outrageous statements, that appear to be fact based, but never offer anything that comes close to proving their statement. I see these tweets retweeted sometimes in the thousands.
There really isn’t much any one individual may do to counter these people that, for some reason, spread blatantly false information to thousands (or more) other than to call a lie a lie. That’s what I do and if I receive any backlash (which is rare for me) , I provide additional information that further clarifies, I hope. I’m not referring to notables making statements, but to those I consider average people, like me. It’s especially egregious though when someone that should be able to take a minute or two and perform a simple Internet search, to determine if what they’re reading, about to tweet or retweet is accurate or not.
This problem persists all through the Internet and not just on social media. There are news sites that will publish stories that are composed of whole cloth, meaning, out of context quotes, using mind reading techniques to discern what someone was actually saying, and then construct, from there, an entire piece without a scintilla of factual information. The sad part is how many are willing to believe what they read. I see this happen all the time. If it’s too neat, to well wrapped in some agenda or narrative (left-wing or right-wing), I am immediately skeptical. What is it not being said?
The larger question is why so many people are not skeptical? What we want to be true, and what in fact is true, may be different and those unwilling to accept that belief doesn’t always equate t what is true is troubling. As an atheist, I often say this about religious believers but I’ve found over time, that the same applies to the secular world as well. There are tribes that have become de facto religions. And it’s not just a left/right tribalism but tribes within the greater that often war against not only the other side, but with one another. Too many are unwilling to listen to any other point of view other than theirs. This leads the the fake, often disingenuous, information that we see everyday.
We’ve devolved into letting others do our thinking for us, again, as long as what those others are saying fits neatly within our personal belief system. This should be troubling to everyone, but it seems that very few are indeed concerned. It’s easy to blame others for what we experience, but the fault remains with each of us alone.
One thought on “Belief Does Not Equate to Truth”
The fault lies with the failure of once trusted sources lying to further a political agenda. The fault lies with the technology that is making it more and more difficult to discern what is true; what is a fact and what is a fabrication, whether in videos, photos, audios or print. The fault lies with a political party willing to do absolutely anything to destroy the other. And all of these faults are compounded by the search for power over others with the false pride of superiority.
It is not so easy to discern the truth by “doing a search” for information online. Our history is being changed, as Michelle Obama told us her husband knew it must. Our traditions are being changed. Our facts are being changed. Our memories are being changed. And…our future goals are being changed. They are being changed by neglectful education of our younger generations and being changed by challenges that often result in the destruction of the individual. They are being changed by outright deceit by those who have the power to change them.
My daughter told me in a discussion we had last night, “Their side believes the very same thing, only about your side.” How can we insist that Conservatives are right and Progressive Communists are wrong? News is slanted by both sides, is it not? Agendas are in full gear by both sides, are they not? Poor behavior is visible on both sides and offenses are perpetrated by both sides. She and many like her do not know what to trust as truth and fact. She is not stupid and she learned about the evils of Communism in high school, but she knows human behavior, too, and how people can be manipulated.
Trust nobody? Verify for yourself? How do we do that with certainty anymore? When it all comes down to it, can we even trust our own senses and memories and experiences?
I obviously need more chocolate…