Distilling Information – Daily Log Days 6 & 7

I decided to group my weekend logs together, mostly because I forgot to write yesterday’s post when I got home late last night ūüėõ Nevertheless, I lost 4 pounds this week! Yay! I’m well on my way to my goal for losing 20 by my birthday. Also, I had a dream last night in which I was arguing with my father and trying to explain to him the importance of actually learning things first hand instead of just listening to what people tell you. Hearsay is not a good way of getting information, as anyone who has ever played the game telephone will know. This is the inspiration for today’s thought.

Thought of the Day

We live in an era where information is tremendously accessible. The trouble, though, is that peoples’ interpretations of that information are also tremendously accessible. We live in an era of quotes, memes, sound bites, and Facebook. More and more people refuse to actually think about issues and just become regimented in their poorly informed world views. These world views are reinforced everytime they see a sound bite on a biased news network or a meme online. Contentious issues like abortion, healthcare, and government regulation never actually get addressed because most people don’t bother to get accurate information.

Psychologically speaking, our moral opinions and decisions are emotional responses. They occur instinctually in the lower recesses of our psyche without involvement of the prefrontal cortex, or any other part of the brain involved with logical thinking. Those that pretend like they have deliberated these opinions are just rationalizing post hoc, most of the time. Because these instincts are difficult to change, we seem to breed more conflict than resolution when sharing our opinions. The proven way to counteract these instincts is to continuously seek objective information and engage in collaborative critical thinking about that information. Through this constant process of engagement, we learn to become aware of our own biases and help others learn about their own. When those biases fall to the wayside, we develop more accurate and comprehensive understandings of issues. This seems like an obvious point, but we often argue under the guise of collaborative thinking. We enter into discussions with preconceived ideas and notions which have already shut our minds to any alternate perspectives. I suppose that’s¬†why I seek so passionately to Shatter¬†The Lens.

For you readers, take a step back from your convictions. Take the time to consider an issue you feel strongly about more comprehensively. Look at other news sources like Al Jazeera and the Asia Times (the two most objective news outlets in the world, believe it or not) that you may not normally consider. Get more information before you make judgments, and understand the source of that information so you assign it proper credibility. Sharpen your perspective so that you can contribute more to the world around you.

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4 responses to “Distilling Information – Daily Log Days 6 & 7

  1. My cousin and I were discussing a similar topic this weekend. It doesn’t help that so many news sources propagate what you believe in. Facebook displays posts that agree with your political stance more importantly, as does other social media outlets. The technology is helping increase our biases and misconceptions. Personally, I put a lot of blame on the journalists today. MSNBC and Fox are not news sources, everyone knows that, but the fact that they advertise themselves as journalists speaks poorly of the quality of journalism in this country. You touched in this a little, but there needs to be more main stream credible reporting, more than Al Jazeera and Asia Times, and more main stream.

    • I agree; the state of journalism is rather tragic. Although, I think the reason that sensationalist and spin journalism exists is because there is a market for it. Media organizations are driven by profit, so they produce what sells. If people stopped buying, I think there would a dramatic and immediate shift in the way news is done in this country.

  2. But sometimes I think the journalists have to take a stand and commit to their profession and the integrity that comes with it. But, I unfortunately don’t think I can expect people to interrupt their profit driven path for integrity all the time, or most of the time. Or at all.

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