Media and it’s cognitive dissonances
With all of the media outlets available all the time, how do you choose what to pay attention to? I won’t vouch for one media source or another but I will say not choosing is also an option. I’m, not an advocate of completely closing off the outside world. you have to have a pulse of what is going on around you in order to survive. you have to keep up with things to stay current. you also have an obligation to filter what you are taking in.
I think there are many ways to filter but they keep getting more and more difficult as technology proliferates everything around us. personally, I choose to tune out 90% of tv media. I watch things on youtube and also check out a lot of documentaries but it’s all stuff I choose to watch. stuff I feel enriches my life (and the occasional cute cat video). I also avoid 90% of the news media. I feel that if something extremely important is out there I need to be aware of it will fall into my purview within hours. everything else I regard as speculative nonsense. it may be entertaining but that’s where the value ends.
Media is not the only form of information.
It might seem like an attack on media and news but really the fundamental truth behind all of this can be applied to most areas of your life. Let’s take text messaging for example. Is every single text you get valid and coherent? How about those one line texts which hint at something but really tell you nothing at all. The media is no different. You get blurbs of information in tiny bite sized packages. They are padded with a lot of discussion and ramblings but for the most part all speculation. Text messaging is a great way to communicate and gets the point across but it also misses the target for cohesion. The majority of us are not best-selling authors and even if we were that wouldn’t mean we would be any better at communicating our point to someone else either. I just wonder how many text messages or phone calls you get on a daily basis telling you the sky is falling? dozens or hundreds… or more? If the sky is falling then why is everyone still going through their day like nothing is going on? Probably because nothing that serious IS going on. I guess it depends on the context of the message and the understanding of the people sending and receiving the message. I just think there is a lot of miscommunication and minimal specific truths in our conversations. Trust the person, trust what they are saying, but verify the magnitude of what is being said. At a minimum elaborate on the conversation in order to find out the facts versus the speculation.
Be a better truth teller and that will aid you in becoming a better debunker of the truth. Validate and check all of the things that are coming out of your own mouth. This is a great starting place to better understand and deal with mistruths. The more you realize what you are saying is sometimes false, intentional or otherwise, the better you can understand and navigate those who surround you. Introspection sheds a lot of light on the world, believe it or not. A really fast way of doing this is matching up your words with your actions. We are not all saints, but we can all strive to bring our words and actions closer together. When you find a disconnect, ask yourself why it is there and how you can resolve it.
To be completely honest the only information you can really trust is the feedback your body gives you. this is probably the single form of media we ignore or discount as important. I think we are also influenced to think this way because of all the medical “information” we receive in the form of advertisement and news. again, bad information tends to perpetuate more bad information and conclusions. This is the main point, being able to stop the speculation no matter how far along it is. I’m not talking about changing the world’s view but rather just changing your personal view. Seeing things through a different lens and not taking everything you hear or see for the gospel.
Also published on Medium.