State of Affairs

After an exchange about a book that some people like and some don’t and where the author is a controversial figure, I do wonder at what point otherwise smart people abandon reason. And now I recognise that this is a common problem - that is only exacerbated by globalisation and social media. People having a blind unjustified belief on something based on nothing. The common example is of flat earthers and their unshakeable beliefs. It doesn’t matter how much proof you bring, there’s always a justification, or a “loophole”. These situations are quite common and not at all edge cases. The only thing that varies is the silliness of the topic. Look at the whole political circus - either in the US, or UK, or any other country. Who’s telling the truth, and who’s not? It requires an encyclopaedic knowledge of every view a politician has, the context and deep knowledge of the theme being discussed to have a reasonable opinion of what’s going on. However, what we ingest three or more levels of already digested opinions and we present it as thoughtful, deliberate, impartial critical thinking. A travesty.

The calamity is that rather than trying to find common ground and get closer to the truth, opposing camps dig deeper trenches. Pick any contemporary topic du jour and you will see this. Twitter and other social networks are cesspools and despite its many advantages, they are a net negative. Humans are unable to interact in a repercussions-free, anonymous environment with other humans. Compare this with real life interactions. Anonymity for the most part is gone and repercussions are very real. You spite the wrong person and you get punched in the face. Now think about what happens when someone does the equivalent behind a keyboard. In real life, in the UK, threatening someone’s life is a crime. What’s the online equivalent and how many times are people prosecuted?

My fear is when I find myself in these quagmires, am I able to see notice them? What unfounded beliefs do I have and I am oblivious to? How many hills have I mistaken for houses of cards?