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March 30, 2012 at 1:42 PMComments: 2 Faves: 0

I, Quite Literally, Have No Idea

By E.M. Wollof from SLN More Blogs by This Author

As I was on my weekly interweb journey, attempting to sniff out the latest article/event to share with those who care to read, I arrived at an editorial out of New Zealand. The author was spouting off about how he just read a study that claimed eating red meat regularly can prevent depression and anxiety. He rode this study through arguments that America has it all backwards, Europeans are purposely ignoring the US policies, etc. As I was reading this editorial, on a topic that I do find interesting, I glanced at the study and noticed that the point he referenced was only half of the study results, the other half preached moderation and all the other perils of our mass produced meats. This guy had no idea either...

Stop Nagging Me Feeling!

I moved on to the next article, but a feeling of despair followed me through my clicks. I clicked faster and faster, but I just couldn't escape the feeling that every article I landed on wasn't the complete story, it was jaded because of financial influence, political association, pure author stupidity, beefed up with unnecessary words for SEO purposes, and just not the truth.

I asked myself, "Have we given up our thirst for the truth because we know finding it could take lifetime(s)?"

Take your latest health question as an example, it really doesn't matter what it is. You could type that bad boy into google and find an article that tells you exactly what you needed/wanted to hear, but a couple of links later, you could land on an article that feeds you information that directly contradicts what you originally found. The kicker to all this is deciding which one is the truth.

The "Truth"

The popular argument is that you rely on the more reputable source. Let's face it, there isn't any measure for that in today's culture, reputable has come to mean the same thing as popular. We go to the resource that has the most testimonials, reviews, peer recommendations, thumbs up, views, downloads, facebook outlets, twitter feeds, google search results, pop culture references, controversial headlines, and on and on and on and on.

Even if you do happen to stumble upon an information outlet that you deem reputable, if they don't say what you want them to, you are probably going to disregard that site as garbage, click forward to the next, and so on until you find some place that will tell you what you want to hear.

Finely Aged Wisdom

Remember that question your elders posed every time you fell into a crowd they didn't approve of, participated in an action they deemed reprehensible, or were otherwise annoying them in some fashion?

"If all of your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?"

Of course we said no! What innocent child of this planet wouldn't say no? Well, I ask you the same question today, fellow followers of the interwebs, would you still jump?

The answer is yes, for all of us. We all jump on a daily basis and we are all drowning in the water of our ignorance. So eager are we for the answer of our desire, we will jump on any site that has it displayed brightly.

How do we break free of these chains you ask? The next time you have a question, turn off your computer, phone, and television, walk out the door, and find someone who can look you in the eye while they tell you the truth. Revel in the glory of human interaction, feel yourself rediscovering what it means to explore, to yearn for the truth and find be human.

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  • I think the first step to finding the truth is just being conscious of the facts - that people are biased even when they try not to be - that statistics do not exist inside a bubble - that the same thing can happen for a wide array of reasons - that the truth is not always a black and white.

    I believe that overall, the internet is really a wonderful thing, allowing us opportunities for learning and sharing as we have never had before. I also think there is a lot of truth there. However, it is made by people. You have to be willing to dig deeper and think critically about the things asserted as facts there.

  • I would argue that actual truth is black and white. Dichotomies exist in nature, both human and universal. Saying that nothing is black and white is precisely what I am talking about. Instead of divulging an entire truth, we mask it to protect those that may receive the information we are presenting. While this may have started as a good intention, it has turned into a way of life, a popularity contest to see who can be "liked" the most.

    When you boil every conflict down to its root, there are only two sides, two motivations. How we perceive these motivations may be different, but that doesn't change the fact that there is only black and white. I don't mean just boil it down until everyone is willing to compromise, boil it down until people are uncomfortable with a truth.

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