We believe in our senses and intuition. We connect facts and form opinions, our view of the world. We are quick at judging others if they have different perspectives.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far away…
If you have seen “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi”, you probably remember Obi-Wan Kenobi explaining to young Luke that the good man that was Anakin Skywalker had been replaced by its own Darth Vader alter-ego. So, in a sense, Vader had “killed” its father. “What I told you was true, from a certain point of view.”
I was not too fond of the argument. It felt like the scriptwriter was cheating! Sugarcoat it all you want; in my book, the Jedi master lied to Luke.
People form their views of the world based on the information they collect. If their sources are truthful, balanced, and do not distort reality by applying their spin to facts, we end up with a well-informed padawan. On the other hand, if your Jedi master acts like master Kenobi we will probably end up with another Darth Vader.
In our time, nearer to our galaxy
I truly appreciate great journalism. However, conveying the truth and telling the story is tough without adding biases. Journalists are human; they work on incomplete information, connect the dots, and are always influenced by their own beliefs.
The final news recipients have some dot-connecting to do on their own. If they are fed false information and honestly believe their sources, the result is a tragedy. In a Pandemic, it is deadly.
Is the average Joe to blame for the suicide by choosing the dangerous news outlet or social media friends group?
If you had the same information set, would their views of reality seem so distorted to your eyes?
Your education, or lack thereof, plays a big part in how susceptible you are to false information. The ability and the need to further research what’s handed to you as a fact is something you learn as your education level increases. Can you blame the people who did not benefit from formal education for swallowing outlandish lies? Is common sense supposed to be an effective shield capable of replacing a skill set usually acquired thru the educational system?
You can undoubtedly blame educated people who deliver false information on corporate media on purpose. They know better. They should be accountable for the consequences of their actions.
It takes training to question your own beliefs. You have to keep an open mind to the possibility that you may be wrong. That is the basis of the scientific method. Scientists keep testing their theories; disproving them is part of the process. While we tend to acknowledge the ones that arrive at what looks like the “definitive view” on a subject, the ones that eliminated the wrong views are equally important and not devoid of merit.
Once our view of reality is formed, it will always look truthful. Therefore, people that do not share the same ideas seem dumb.
This article was published on Medium (I am a subscriber and highly recommend it).