Saturday, October 06, 2007

Spreading Misinformation, Ignorance, Bigotry

The great promise of the new age of media is that there is now the possibility that people of integrity, honesty, and even brilliance, get to make that information available -- just as those who have traditionally controlled “information” have done pretty exclusively in the past. The limitation now is simply what one knows of -- and not the limits of the “known.” What one knows, should never be mistaken for all that can be known -- which is what the monopolists of information in the past, promoted themselves as possessing.

At first, it was the universities, then the schools, and then the media (journalists), who claimed to be the “experts,” and so they expressed their opinions on everything whether they knew anything at all about that subject matter. It was just important for them to “weigh in” on every matter, as though their opinions had great weight and understanding -- rather than that it was usually the conventional ignorance, misinformation and bigotry regarding that matter -- that caused it to be a problem -- that was not a problem with the proper understanding and insight.

Misunderstanding is the root of all problems -- rather than as they would have us believe, that we have the proper understanding -- which is to have no problem, but only what is, and what to do with that information (feedback). Most computerized data processing systems have such safeguards built in, so that one stops processing a bit of information as soon as the reliability and authenticity of a bit of information can not be established, and so further processing is unproductive and uncertain.

But information hasn’t always been processed with such routinized “rigor.” In a not-too-distant past, there was no instantaneous verification of information as is now possible to do and done routinely by people who depend on the accuracy of information as the basis of their daily existence. Most commonly, that is done by those who manage (market) information directly to earn their livelihoods -- a way of livelihood not possible as easily in a previous era of prohibitive information accessibility.

There is a huge advantage in having real-time, state-of-the-moment information, rather than just knowing what happened in the last century, or last millennium, as all the information and truth one needs now, to live the best life possible for every individual -- which is now also possible for everyone, though admittedly, not the majority practice.

Instead, many are still living as humans have lived for the last million years -- thinking that is still “good enough” for their ancestors and so it is good enough for them, and all they can hope for in their lives. In those old ways, one person at the top did the thinking for everybody else -- and told everyone else what to do, and most people just don’t question that authority any time in their lives. That is not part of their conditioning and programming; instead, they are told which experts (authorities) are the right ones to believe and obey. A few overcome those constraints and go on to discover worlds of information beyond their formal programming.

So it is important to consider in encountering most information (news, education, propaganda, etc.), whether it is information that is universally verifiable, or just one person’s opinion hoping to dominate all the others and get everyone else to do what that one person (demagogue) wants everybody else to do for their exclusive benefit and self-aggrandizement.


At October 08, 2007 9:15 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

"Partisanship" has become the politically correct euphemism for hatred, bigotry and all the petty injustice of the world -- as though simply calling it partisan, or "political," justified and legitimized those behaviors.
There have always been those throughout history and society, who delight in provoking fights between others -- as their own exercise of power. They get their "kicks" from manipulating one person to attack another -- and when discovered, invariably claim they were just joking, and those should have known better -- their noble intentions of doing right.

The nation's jails and courts are filled with such manipulators and deceivers -- all claiming to be innocent of knowing any better. When caught at their lies, the most unscrupulous merely create another. It never occurs to them that at some point, they have to fully account for any of their words, thoughts and actions.

These are the psychopaths that eventually have to be restrained, imprisoned, and rehabilitated if possible. For most though, they are damaged beyond repair and the best one can do is recognize the good from the bad -- and seek the company of the good while avoiding that of the bad as much as possible.

That really is the objective of all intelligent life -- and not seeking to compete with the bad -- thinking one can gain the upper hand in exploiting them. That is one of the most important skills that is not taught in the schools generally because they believe it is a higher value not to be able to discriminate such significant and important qualities. And so one hears the mantra of "non-discrimination" being promoted as though it is the ultimate virtue -- rather than as it always has been, the root of all human problems -- in not being able to distinguish any differences so that others can be allowed to do one's thinking for them.

That was the mass media/communications model that enabled the rise of the infamous totalitarian (authoritarian) regimes of the golden era of propaganda techniques that are taught as mass communications in the "professional" schools at the universities. It is entirely about manipulating what people think, and unfortunately appeals to those who covet such "power" and control over others.

At October 08, 2007 10:50 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Prejudice is not discriminating -- and the discriminating cannot be prejudiced; there is this huge difference in these terms.

A prejudiced mind does not distinguish meaningful and significant differences but takes the petty and trivial as meaningful and significant. Then all distinctions become arbitrary -- and subject to an authority who tells them what is politically correct to be biased and hateful towards, and what falsehoods to embrace.

And so the antidote, is to produce in society, citizens who can think for themselves and want to. At that point, the old mass media mentality and enculturation meets a severe challenge which it cannot meet -- and why, at this time, "mainstream media" as we have known it, with its unquestioned authorities, celebrities and testimonies fail -- and what emerges is a citizenry who has pretty nearly seen it all and knows that it must be wary and assess every individual and event on its own merits -- rather than the generalization and thinking in generalities. It is this thinking in generalities rather than confronting and discovering the actual, that makes prejudice and a closed mind possible.

One can tell that quality in the communication style -- of those demanding that we believe what they want us to believe, or providing fair and undistorted information so we can make up our own minds.

The authoritarian personality does not realize how obvious these manipulations and contrivances are to the honest listener/reader. Those are the ones worth talking to.


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