I've on more than occasion lately encountered people referring to how we need to stop the spread of "misinformation" and "conspiracy theories". It has in some ways been weaponized. If a political agency controlled by politicians tell certain segments of the population something is true many people still respond as if it is fact. I don't understand completely why they still act this way with all the times these entities, politicians, and celebrities have been caught lying, or in contradictions. I suspect it is a little bit of what we know of as cognitive dissonance. It is much easier to go along with what we know. It is easier and more comfortable to continue to view the world as we always have. We are familiar with these things and we know how to navigate them.
What if it is a lie that you are following for the sake of comfort and because it is easy?
Sometimes we need to look into the mirror.
Sometimes we need to think about ourselves and how we are acting, and why.
Sometimes we need to be brave and face the uncomfortable and even scary things and choose to really look at them with relationship to ourselves.
No one else is going to know you better than you know yourself. We cannot read minds. When you give into cognitive dissonance that is kind of like letting your mind run on auto-pilot. You are stuck on the rails, and the preprogrammed path and when you spin the steering wheel it is just an illusion. It makes children happy. There is no risk. Life is risky. Life can be scary.
A brave person is not a person without fear. A brave person is someone who has fear but stands up to it and faces it. A brave person has fears they just don't let those fears control them. At the very least they try very hard not to be controlled by them. It can at times be difficult and we all will slip up from time to time and react in fear.
So when you have the propaganda apparatuses of the legacy media telling you what is misinformation have you ever truly given thought to the bulk of their commercials. Who is paying for the majority of their advertisements?
If the people paying their bills would be hurt by the truth do you truly think the legacy media or people receiving big payments from these entities would tell the truth and bite the hand that feeds them?
Do you truly think they are that honorable, truthful, and inhabited by such a sense of integrity?
Have you not caught them lying recently? Truly?
Why do you keep trusting them?
I can tell you why I used to trust them. I grew up in a place where for awhile we had two television channels, and some radio shows. The news aired in the morning, early evening, and late at night. Most people tuned in to find out what happened in the world for that day. The news told us what the truth was.
We might also get news papers and other periodicals that supplemented that.
We'd go to school and they would teach us to write essays and reports on news that we watched or read the night before.
We were conditioned to trust the news. It was our window into how history was happening. It was our window to what we needed to know.
If you learned that you didn't need to pay attention yourself. The easy thing was to get home and let the news give you your programming for the day. It is interesting to me that the networks refer to their shows as "programming". "We now return to your regularly scheduled programming."
This is the environment I was schooled in.
I also happened to be in school when this began to change. When cable television arrived and you could suddenly have a dozen channels that was amazing. Then it was two dozen, then fifty, and the number just kept climbing.
Then CNN arrived. News 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If you wanted the news you could watch it nonstop.
Then the gulf war came and CNN was there to report it all. People were glued to CNN. I remember my father referring to RV campers coming to our mountain town for the summer as "Incoming SCUDD missiles" as that was something CNN spoke about a lot during the gulf war.
(Image Source: nosint.blogspot.com)
Years later we would find out that many of those CNN bits with Wolf Blitzer and others were fake. Done with green screens, and other effects. They would act as though they were there and certain things were occurring but it was all simply studio and editing room magic. It often didn't happen at all.
If you do your research you'll find out that for the big news outlets this became a fairly common practice and still is today.
Why send journalists on the ground into harms way to get the actual news if you can just make it up and use some effects? It is a lot less expensive. It is also convenient because you can make the story out to be whatever you want it to be.
Then we had the new catch phrases that made this even easier to accomplish...
Some people say...
It wouldn't be uncommon to hear the phrase "some people say" before a news outlet would tell you some narrative they wished to put out there. This would evolve into several variations on this. It could be "Scientists say" without having any actual scientist go on record. Later they would answer this by having scientists that would go on the air and speak any narrative they told them to speak. If you looked into these people you'd often find out they never had actually done anything in the field of science using the scientific method beyond perhaps what they did in college working towards a degree. Some of them might not even have done that. Then you'd find some that were clearly politicians and not scientists as they were always pushing political talking points and they would often use phrases that no self respecting person that understands the scientific method would ever do...
If you pay attention it is there. It is uncomfortable but it is there.
It often takes a shocking moment to cause a paradigm shift when your mind is shocked and you can no longer look at the world the same way. The thing that did it to me would make me a nut job and a conspiracy theorist for most of you. In fact, just the fact I mentioned I might be a conspiracy theorist to you may have already triggered a Pavlovian Reaction in you. You may be justifying in your mind why you shouldn't listen to anything else I say. Why? I called myself a conspiracy theorist. We shouldn't listen to people that speak conspiracy theories should we? Have you ever stopped to think and ask why that is?
Do you know what a conspiracy is?
Technically it is a plan (aka premeditation) to commit a crime or under handed act that involves two or more people. Do you realize how many things that covers? Technically it covers any bank robbery that had more than one person.
How about theory? Does that mean true? No. In the sense it is used here I prefer the label hypothesis as that is more fitting for what it is when compared to the scientific method.
It is a speculation. It is a possibility. The people you call conspiracy theorists may have several different "theories" and be well aware that they can't all be true.
In a court of law any crime that was planned by more than one person could be considered a "conspiracy theory" until it is proven. Then it simply becomes a conspiracy. Every year quite a number of people are prosecuted and conspiracy will be in the final charges.
Those of you that immediately assume a community like #informationwar, #deepdives, or #proofofbrain is spreading "misinformation". That in itself is a conspiracy theory. The only difference is you are comfortable with it. You might even act on it like it is fact.
You don't stop to question who it is that is actually speaking "misinformation".
You don't stop to ask when it became a bad thing to ask questions, express concerns, and have doubts.
You don't stop to ask why you blindly follow the orders of entities/agencies that surely you have caught lying to you time and time again.
Who exactly is spreading the "misinformation"? How do you know?
Easy Way to Navigate this
There is an easy way to navigate this. It is called free speech. It is a truly beautiful thing. It can be wonderful. It can be horrible.
You can hear people speaking things that make your skin crawl, or make you want to get a bucket to lose your most recent meal into. Yet it is freedom.
You do have a recourse. Your answer to free speech you don't like should be...
Can you guess?
If you thought silence them, censor them, punish them, ban them, cancel them, down vote them, etc? BUZZ wrong answer.
The correct answer is your words. Use them. If you are not good at using them. Use them anyway. Just like any exercise you get better with practice. Some people will have an advantage over you. You'll get mentally battered. You'll fail at times. You'll succeed at others. You will become a stronger person for it and your mind will thank you as it gets that exercise it needs.
If you practice then it'll be with your words that you can counter speech that you do not like. Does that mean calling people names, insulting their character, etc.? No. You'll eventually learn that while that may make you feel better as soon as you go down that route you have lost that exchange. The exception is if you goad the person into calling you names as well. You didn't win then either... In that case you both lost.
You see communication is about an exchange between two or more minds. If you shut down that communication. That is failure. If you try but can't reach someone that may not be failure.
It is hard to change the things we believe in. The more important they are and the longer they have been part of us the harder it becomes.
It is important to remember this is true of the people you debate/discuss/argue with as well. If you expect them to immediately agree with you and change their mind then you are setting inflated false expectations.
That very rarely happens (though I've seen it happen a few times). Usually it becomes an exchange and people go back to their proverbial corners. They sit. They think. The things from that exchange sit as seeds in the minds of all who are involved. Some of them might begin to grow. The persons mind will change. By the time the important changes occur they usually won't remember where those initial seeds came from.
If you couldn't convince someone. That doesn't mean you failed. The seeds may be there and just take time.
Likewise, if you think you were the only one planting seeds you are mistaken. There are seeds in your mind as well.
I often say that if I encounter a person who can remain civil even though we disagree that is one of the greatest learning opportunities out there. I have zero doubt that such exchanges drop a lot of seeds in my mind.
I welcome it.
This is also why I sometimes will debate with people when other people tell me I am wasting my time. It may end up being true that it was a waste. Yet I've encountered people that disagreed with me completely and a year later I saw them speaking very close to my own words but with their own flavor to someone else. I seriously doubt the person remembered the discussion where they were on the other side a year before. That was an eye opening experience for me.
Did the person become me? Did they agree with me?
No. Not at all. They were still very much their own person and there were still plenty of areas we disagreed about.
Do I consider it a victory?
No I consider it communication.
It is something we should be striving to do.
Have you ever considered how divided everything is becoming? I know it is impossible not to notice now?
Do you realize that the same outlets that are telling us who the enemies are, who we must attack, who is evil, who is wrong, and who we should silence could be doing the opposite if they chose to?
They could just as easily be used to heal the divides and bring us all together and get us talking with each other.
Instead their goal clearly is to divide.
If you are seeking to destroy those passing "misinformation"... who told you it was misinformation? Have you researched it yourself? Have you listened to what they had to say? Have you seen any of their evidence?
Did you hear someone else condemn them as spreading misinformation and that was all you needed to know? You'll just trust them and attack like a fired gun...
What does that make you?
Unthinking tool perhaps?
Do I think people doing this are stupid? Most of the time no. Likely stubborn. Doing what is comfortable. Likely haven't taken the time to truly stop and think things through.
Now let's assume it is misinformation...
Have you ever found a case in history where banning, censoring, etc. actually worked without creating a counter effect?
The drinking age in the U.S. is 21... if you are from the U.S. how well did that work out for you?
In my experience my friends would binge drink whatever they could get ahold of because they were not supposed to have it and they knew it might be the last time they could for awhile. The laws didn't stop anything. They actually encouraged irresponsible behavior.
How about drugs? Do you think the drug war has worked? Do you think it is at all effective?
I see it as creating massive criminal enterprises and harm. It also is costing ever increasing amounts of money due to the problems that exist only due to it being illegal.
Yet places like Portugal decriminalized ALL drugs far more than a decade ago (closing on 2 I think) and instead put money into voluntary clinics people could use to help them with drug problems if they chose to do so. It cost far less money than the war on drugs was costing them. They ended up with less drug problems. The criminals didn't benefit from selling things illegally in Portugal because it wasn't illegal.
I've given it some thought and I don't know of a case in history where banning or censoring worked. It caused problems and created new black markets and criminal undergrounds every time.
Often it turned ordinary citizens into criminals over night.
Why do you think banning misinformation would be any different?
If you want to counter misinformation then you should do so with more compelling information...
As I said before attacking the person with name calling, ridicule, or character assassination is not a path to success for this. That is a losing proposition.
If you think #informationwar is providing misinformation... post something to #informationwar yourself explaining why a position was wrong. Just be prepared to back it up with critical thinking, and facts not simply opinion or because you are repeating something you heard the news say.
The community would welcome it. If you can keep it civil (on both sides) then everyone will come out a winner in that exchange.