“All your beliefs, they’re just that. They’re nothing. They’re how you were taught and raised. That doesn’t make ’em real.”
That quote is from comedian and philosopher, Bill Hicks. I couldn’t possibly agree with him more. We’re living in a strange time when facts don’t matter as much as what people believe to be true. Evidence doesn’t seem to matter.
When we’re children, we’re told of certain fairy tales, myths, and fictional characters. We believe all of them to be true. But at one point or another, we stop believing those stories. We know they were made up. We know the characters aren’t true. We stop believing, for lack of better words, the lies.
So, why is it, that as adults, we don’t have the same truth filter anymore? There are so many false narratives and stories out there. People still believe them. Lies are proven to be lies over and over again, but it doesn’t change the way some people feel about the stories or people included in them.
Without getting into specific lies, I pose these questions to everyone:
How can we grow as a society if we can’t learn? How can we stop all of the in-fighting if we can’t even agree on what is true or not? How can people get better at deciphering misinformation if they’re not informed enough to know it’s not true?
I really believe this to be a problem. This goes beyond just politics. It’s about science. It’s about culture. It’s about life, in general.
I know that I don’t believe the same things I believed when I was a child. I don’t believe in the same things I believed in 10 years ago. I’ve grown. I’ve educated myself. I’ve stepped out beyond what was taught to me and learned things on my own. I needed to do that to become who I am today and to stand for what I stand for. And I had to filter my way through lies, propaganda, and misinformation along the way. I know that there’s a tremendous amount of news sources online that make things up. They’re proven to be lies again and again, and those stories still get regarded as truths.
If we’re going to just focus on politics, we have the Right Wing Media news sites and sources and the Left Wing Media news sites and sources. Not only do they put out almost completely opposite views of things happening right in front of our eyes, but it seems that whatever one’s pre-existing ideology is will determine whether one believes it or not. There’s no room for debate in people’s minds either. No FACTS can sway them.
The topic of political news manipulation is something I could go on and on and on and on about for days. Maybe one day I’ll get deeper into that. But, I don’t think there’s a point to doing here and now. If I said something that people didn’t agree with, even if I had concrete evidence, they wouldn’t believe it anyway.
In other posts, completely unrelated to this topic, I’ve said that we need to be better. We really do need to be better. We just need to be better at filtering the garbage and believing truth. Facts matter. Not alternative facts. Not conjecture, not theories, but FACTS. I’ve written something about that in the past, which you can read here if you want.
Are we so gullible as a society that facts don’t matter? I would like to hope not, but evidence says otherwise. And I believe in evidence. And I believe that if we don’t agree on evidence and facts, it may be impossible for our society to come together. We need to let go of much of what we were taught. Just because a parent or teacher said something to you doesn’t make it right or true. It just means they believed it.
How much prejudice that someone has is strictly because someone told them something about someone else? How many wars have raged for generations because of a simple misinterpretation of a story? How many wars have gone on for so long that people don’t even know why they dislike the other side, they just know they dislike them?
We will not come together as one. We will not grow together. We will not improve the lives of many people that need our help. We will not do any of that until we agree on the reasons they need the help.
We need to think for ourselves. We need to let evidence dictate our beliefs more than hearsay. I don’t think the concept is that difficult.