OK, let’s complain about idiotic, fake news memes making the rounds on social networks.
I bet you too got a good excuse to lose your temper when you faced a scenario like the following one. An excited/indignant friend sharing on Facebook the n-th conspiracy theory/sensational fishy news bite/”anti-establishment” petition.
Showing no self-awareness whatsoever. Spewing answers without ever seriously asking questions.
Like saying that next week Mars will appear in the sky as big as the Moon, or that Facebook is becoming a pay service, or that you should rail against the Parliament for a new outrageous law that turns out to be imaginary, drafted by a non-existent Representative. That we never went to the Moon. That 9/11 was an inside job. Or that there’s a grand conspiracy underway, aiming at spreading chemicals on an unsuspecting population using airplanes’ contrails.
Ok, it is a problem. I’m not naming names to avoid giving them even more publicity, but many websites have created a unique ad-supported industry based on misinformation and gullibility.
We all tend to agree on this bit.
Of course various factors facilitate this kind of shallowness in the public. Unscrupulous clickbaiting being just one. It’s just too easy to share “interesting” stuff, with no filter.
But I maintain neither FB nor the profiteers are at the root of the problem. Social networks just happen to be the ideal medium to give disinformation an exponential growth.
The actual cause dates way back.
Not questioning received ideas, a moral duty.
Journalists have become more and more cavalier about the supposed rigor required by their profession. Decades ago they took pride in being very scrupulous and formal, chasing every small typing error (that’s not to say that they were objective; but at least they tried to save face, be credible, avoid excesses). Now we face a media landscape that is cynical and shallow at one time, valuing only results (i.e. following ideological mantras and capturing readers). Credibility is more of an afterthought, to be managed as needed.
The attention span has reached new lows anyway…
So, why is that?
The cause of this willful sloppiness contributes also to the dreaded herd behavior on Facebook I mentioned before.
We are more and more often falling prey of cognitive dissonance.
We are served a completely incoherent “truth”; and it’s obligatory to adhere to it, or else!
You don’t want to be labeled a backward, violent, sexist, fascist, extremist with a side of religious fundamentalism, on top of a racist homophobe… People talk, you know.
Just to grasp the absurdity of this construct. You are expected to 1. embrace the political agenda of gay rights movements, 2. demand civil rights for animals, BUT ALSO 3. to protect Islamism from critiques! Yet, applying Islamic law, gays are persecuted and animals are slaughtered following a very gory, cruel and painful procedure!
Forget at least for once about me, and drop the usual tirades against Catholics and their ideas. Please! Imagine we Catholics don’t exist.
Could we ever see a “Progressive” agreeing to face the contradictions intrinsic to the ideas he subscribes to? Maybe even trying to seriously question his assumptions?
It doesn’t matter what your position is on Islamic laws, butchery or the rights of bovines. Whatever the approach, you cannot escape the observation that here things don’t add up.
So how come it’s not obvious to everyone?
Herd thinking has been cultivated to exploit it.
Because the push to follow “The Line” is too powerful! When people around you agree on feeling good because they agree on things everybody knows are those on which all the good people agree :-)…, there’s no need to dispute with the fascistfundamentalisthomophobe, everything is already defined, crystal clear and unstoppable: you, ordinary person, just comply.
If you ever tried to use your brain and form a self-consistent thought, you’d lose contact with the herd, because you couldn’t be in lockstep with their thinking: too many contradictions. Intelligence becomes a veritable handicap.
Here’s the cognitive dissonance at work: it’s a form of training to embrace thoughts that, put together, don’t make any sense. That’s why you should abandon serious reasoning. Leave it to the herd of good people to determine your values and your idea of truth.
Using your brain is only necessary at times, as an afterthought, to justify what was already your final decision.
In the long run this training to put Progress in a position to trample upon objective reasoning brings people to move farther and farther away from the truth. You believe whatever is required to feel on the higher moral ground.
Ideologues always rolled like that. Case in point: Communism, where activists were (are) quite apt at self-censorship and obeying orders. But the general population is usually a lot harder to get involved. It’s not that people resist propaganda because they are eager to reason critically and speak up their mind, mind you! People don’t like to think at all; but they are also difficult to drag into the system because they lack motivation. Getting mass involvement was a hard nut to crack.
The trick lies in the exploitation of what you may feel desirable or advantageous for you, personally. That’s when you get public opinion to change: campaigns where a “noble cause” is used as a screen to hide motives people wouldn’t admit to themselves.
The secret sauce of propaganda is cleverly targeting your egotism, gut feelings, instincts.
It’s a sort of mental rape.
The process is well underway.
In some cases like the so-called right to homosexual marriage, where there’s no direct personal connection or advantage for the average citizen to feel involved in the Revolution, persuaders cunningly leverage the strong parental instincts that are part of everyone’s brain software: a sort of innate call to protect the weak.
This rhetoric is also counting on a superficial misinterpretation of (mostly Christian) values like solidarity, equality, putting yourself in other people’s shoes.
After a sort of unilateral description of reality is imposed on us, through arbitrary labeling victims and oppressors, you must protect the victim, period.
The psichiatrist Italo Carta wrote: «When you abolish the principle of natural evidence, the mind compensates with very severe psychotic disorders. That’s why thinking to introduce the equivalency of the sexes as something normal is a direct attack on everybody’s psyche. Besides, I’m thinking of the weakest actor involved: children. If you teach them, from early age, that what they see is not really how it appears, you ruin them. Again, even if I’m not used to make stern statements, since homosexuals often suffer harsh discrimination, I cannot help but say that pushing the idea that there’s no difference between the sexes, so that it’s also irrelevant, is in itself a criminal act»
You teach them, from early age, that what they see is not really how it appears: please ponder Carta’s words.
How true! Newer generations have been trained since their formative years to live in denial, refusing to face proper evidence, self-censoring to avoid looking at the world in objective, non-compliant terms. That’s why they are ready to believe anything! They just need to sense the opportunity to feel yet again reinforced in their self-esteem through validation by the herd. Feeling on the side of the good guys.
Whoever gets out-of-synch, or worse, pretends to impart lessons (!) through facts and logic, becomes a dangerous transgressor.
Moreover they have no idea or experience about how to manage conflicts, since conflicts are swept under the rug in such a Xanax society. Therefore once they run into some disturbance, their reaction is violent, extreme, uncontrollable.
The first hole in the dam. Emotions used as pickaxes.
What was, then, the pivot point from which modern culture began to vigorously swerve away from reality?
A fundamental change that made anti-human ideology popular.
The first step.
Taking advantage of the needs, concerns and pains of many poor wretches.
Something many were positioned to possibly want, for more or less selfish reasons. Deep emotional involvement. Lots at stake.
When you convince a mother that the child she’s carrying inside her isn’t even a person, and it’s definitely not her son or daughter but a sort of organic material lump, like a blood clot, and you can freely kill him/her, or better, get rid of it…. here’s denial of truth becoming the cornerstone of society.
Falling down the rabbit hole, this fixation on a white-that-is-actually-black becomes the very basis of our understanding of the world.
Once you cave in to desire, the moment you become invested in living in denial, something inside you breaks down. You are then easily enslaved. Willingly.
Whatever I fancy must be the truth…
No wonder people get to the point of believing in chemtrails.