A friend asked a question on FaceBook today that I can't answer on FB. Can't answer it there because the answer isn't simple, and FB is a place for simple things. A place where people put up links with built-in outrage and a dearth of thought, nuance or truth. I have a compulsion: if it is something I care about, to go back to primary sources. And there are some common FB sources that I just discount because every one I have checked out has been a lie.
But they are easy. Short videos. Impassioned speeches. Headlines. Soundbites. It takes absolutely no effort to find vitriol-disguised-as-fact to support whatever emotion-laden thing you choose to believe. But if you go to primary sources and have even basic skills in critical thinking, it is almost all bullshit. No, not bullshit. It is entertainment designed for no other purpose than to get you to read it and spread it. You are the product of this business. And it is brilliant at manipulating you.
Statistically, most of you will get half of this. You will immediately realize how true it is for the other side and completely dismiss that you partake of it too. The more raw intelligence you have, the better your justifications will be, because your limbic system trumps your neocortex. As long as you have the emotional attachment, your intelligence is a slave to your tribal identity.
Your emotions, not your intelligence decides what is 'right' and then your intelligence is drafted to prove why it is right. I've talked with pagans and shamans and christians and muslims and atheists. High end, intelligent people. They disagree. Think about two icons of the American right/left divide say, Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton. I'd put both their IQ's above 130. There aren't a lot, maybe any, top people in any field who are actually stupid. But what they believe (feel) trumps.
And the soundbite world of FB is perfect for this. Thinking is work. Research is work. Evidently, people hate work. We all pretend we think for ourselves, but if someone gives us a factoid that supports our worldview, the question of truth doesn't even enter our minds.
Life is about the questions, not the answers. If you accept the answers without the questions, you are giving up part of your life. It's hard, I know. And it can be stressful to live in a world where things are fairly complicated and there aren't many clear-cut bad guys and there really isn't a simple solution to big problems and there is a very real possibility that even the big problems themselves might not be what we think... but part of being an adult, as Kai says, is your comfort level with ambiguity.
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