Reality, spirituality, conspiracies, the outer limits. These are conversations that are not typically had with your fellow civilized earth-dweller, nor is it warranted. The slightest mention of any topic that is deemed “unconventional” in today’s society will instantaneously shut down the brain of any individual who feels this way. Honestly, it’s fascinating! What is even more bizarre is this can occur even if you are equipped with a well-fastened argument. As C.S. Lewis put it, “Don’t be scared by the word authority. Believing things on authority only means believing them because you’ve been told them by someone you think trustworthy”. So, fill up your pipe, and let us venture in the fascinating topic of authoritative thinking, and the taboo of independent thought. I appreciate you coming this far. Let’s get started.
Rationality: The quality or state of being agreeable to reason.
I was a suburban kid. I was brought up with television, Hollywood, video games, and the educational system (or rather, indoctrination factories). If you had a similar upbringing as I did, you most likely did not question much, probably trading Pokemon cards and button smashing Super Smash Bros. In elementary school it was mandatory to start the day with a refreshment of current events. Trust the news, trust the print. Home computers began to become a thing during this time. The internet phenomena was starting to take hold with the youth, kick-starting “now archaic” platforms such as MSN and MySpace, and the beginnings of behemoths like Google; one could torrent if you were literate enough. The social fabric of our life was becoming a hollow shell, filled with adults and children spending hours gazing into the black mirror, learning the ins-and-outs. Are you surprised the elderly have a difficult time grasping the digital-era that we live in today?
With this in mind, let me allude you to another question. What if we raised a child with the belief the sky was red? We all experienced something similar to this while we were young. Remember Santa Claus? If you had your universe shattered when your friends at grade school dropped the bomb he doesn’t exist – congratulations! This was your first, yet mild, experience of cognitive dissonance. The answer is, of course, that children will eat almost anything you give them. So it seems “rational” to suggest that you could raise one with the belief the sky is red, and not, in actuality, blue. They are perceiving. They are seeing the world in which it has been described. How long would it take for them to realize this? And would it matter? We are seeing the world in ways it has been described to us. For this to be not true, we would have from birth needed the freedom to exercise independent thought, unconstrained by authoritative ideologies and dogmas. Imagine what you could have created.
“I believe there is such a place as New York. I haven’t seen it myself. I couldn’t prove by abstract reasoning that there must be such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so. The ordinary man believes in the Solar System, atoms, evolution, and the circulation of the blood on authority -because the scientists say so” – C.S Lewis
Could we have been given misleading information, by which is then rationalized to be true? The mainstream media is one of the most misleading outlets we are exposed to. It is in our homes, subways, and our pockets. Its entire business model is centered around money, while propaganda is a bonus. As viewership in corporate news is declining, they are finding innovative and exciting ways to snatch back the viewership (such as lying, or misleading) mostly from Vice, YouTube, and other online news sites.
An example of news corporations manipulating the mass audience could be attributed to the recent bombings in Brussels, Belgium. In this particular case, video footage of the alleged bombing surfaced and went viral, however “they were all recordings from 2011, two from an attack on Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, one from a bombing of a metro station in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.” according to The Guardian.
The Independent | Brussels attacks: Video purporting to show Zaventem Airport explosion was shot in 2011
The Guardian | Fake Brussels YouTube videos prove ease of digital disinformation
Sadly, it would be naive to assume that the Internet media and news is not already in the hands of the wealthy and powerful. Knowing full well that the corporate media does not have our best interests at heart, why do people still feel the need it to have it validate their beliefs? This can be really frustrating in this new world of connectivity. Even with the internet in our pockets, news companies have already established their apps, just to make sure their latest breaking piece lights up your notifications. However, do not fret, as information is everywhere. The truth is out there. Hundreds of thousands of passionate truth seekers are scouring the internet, comparing notes and searching for untainted news and information. It is literally there for you to grab. Not into it? No worries, the ostriches are over there, go dig your head. Why must I combat one’s ego in order to achieve equal footing? Is not a simple and reasonable discussion enough?
Unless you have searched for or experienced information yourself, we can make a reasonable assumption that 95% of the world believes what they believe primarily from an authority. Whether that be from a professor, a writer, the television, the government, etc. Thus, it seems to fair to suggest that maybe, just maybe, somebody taking advantage of this is not too far out of the realm of possibility. Take climate-change, for example. The global warming debate is currently in the midst of this authoritative conundrum. Continuously I read and hear how most of the scientific conglomerate of the world agrees that not only is climate-change real, but if we do not take care of the situation as soon as possible, get ready for some Mad Max shit. Yet, a vast amount of “other” credited scientists believe that this claim has been exaggerated, and although climate change is real, it is not as life-threatening as is being told.
“When climate scientists found serious errors in the 2001 report (the so called hockey-stick graph showing temperatures stable throughout the last millennium until global warming kicked in 150 years ago), this was not seen as a scientific issue but immediately cast as a political problem.” Bjorn Lomborg, Cool It, 2007
Climate-change is a serious discussion, and one that should be absolutely backed by credible facts and sustainable evidence. Of course, forget that right? Most people I come across in my life believe it is as bad as it is being told. Unfortunately, we are all guilty of this. However, it is worth noting that it is probably best you find the facts for yourself, before leaving that judgement to strangers. Just a thought.
When did we stop validating important issues for ourselves? Trusting the majority of all that is presented to us? When valid evidence or credible ideas are presented to any given debate, our main priority should be adding that to the discussion. This is a problem of miscommunication, disinformation, and a drip-feed rise of stagnation.
How can we open up a rational discussion with our fellow brothers and sisters? Our current technology and the digital age has its benefits, and it has its disadvantages. One should always account for the balance of life, the duality that is so prominent in the earth’s foundation. We are all connected, we can spread information so easily, and so quickly. How are we getting things wrong? Controlled media is most likely accountable for this. As it spews out manufactured content, we get sucked into this false representation of reality. This is one of the biggest issues I face. I feel surrounded by those who, when confronted, cannot set aside their ego, to information they have gathered from authority, and have previously proceeded to rationalize this information into their current world paradigm. Any new information that contradicts this is considered paranoid, or “out there”, or unscientific. Even if you have arguments to back up your claim. This only makes things harder.
We should not be afraid to ask questions, or to be curious. To take leaps of faith in our thought, and to challenge a given paradigm, is a gift only we as humans possess. It is not all solved. We do not have all the answers. As much as this is continuously drilled in your heads, the world is still a mystery, and there is still so much more to discover.
So put that truth in your pipe and smoke it,
Mr. Pipe & Beard