The Age of Manipulation

This is the age of information, but more like the bombardment of information. From the internet to the millions of books, everyone who can write wants their voice to be heard and given as much consideration as the millions of others who want to be heard. The public processes information too fast and with so much volume, it is hardly surprising that people know very little about a whole lot of subjects. In previous times when words and information were scarce, people put time and labor into their reading. The public, then, knew very well the value of every word and the implications that could be drawn from each one. Now, the public is pushed on every side by words. For each modern word touts an agenda and a bias. Feeling a responsibility to give every writer equal audience, the public gorges itself on more and more information. And just when it is just about to vomit, it forces more down its collective throat. As a consequence, the public has become indistinguishable from a lazy man who, because he cannot manage to govern himself, is manipulated not by the man with the wisest words, but by the man who speaks the most often.

2 thoughts on “The Age of Manipulation

  1. As information becomes more abundant, its value decreases. These days, this happens quite rapidly and I think we’re close to a peak.

    I think it is also worth pointing out, that many people no longer know how to discern between valuable and valueless information. Many people in America, especially, have taken up the belief that we can’t really know anything. As part and parcel of this way of thinking, skepticism has become the ultimate form of intellectualism. However, a critical analysis of this position tells us that it is not the ultimate intellectualism because the nature of the universe has demonstrated to us that there is indeed something to know. Even these self-styled skeptics believe something and most of them will defend something until you attempt to pin them down when they say “I don’t know”. If we are intellectually honest, I think we all have to admit that from the standpoint of pure empirical findings none of us know. However, empirical knowledge is not the only kind of knowledge that matters. One can and should infer many truths from a logical analysis of what we observe. Science and other methods of discovery are empty pursuits without inference and hypothesis.

    My point here is that knowledge is available and that there is more than one way of getting at it. Yes, we must rely upon our wits on how to interpret it but we should not accept every explanation as equal. Or at least, we shouldn’t have to. What I mean, is this. Study, serious committed study, will reveal to us over time what information we should take seriously and what not. It is astounding the amount of people on the internet who argue a point about which they have not seriously studied. What also is apparent is that if they haven’t studied they usually think there opponent is at the same place intellectually as them and as long as they can find some fact on a search engine to temporarily satiate there need to win, they won’t have to take there opponents points any more seriously than someone should really take theirs.

    At close I just want to say, that no one argument should be precluded as right or wrong or even smart or stupid by a skeptic who is intellectually honest, especially since the practice of skepticism is so highly valued by skeptics. A true skeptic, must not be skeptical about that which he/she disagrees without being just as skeptical about what he/she thinks about it. A skeptic must be skeptical at every juncture or else their skepticism is empty since it is biased to one particular argument about which they are less skeptical. For instance, if there are three distinct arguments about a subject of which there is not any or much empirical evidence, even if there is the non-conclusive support known as empirical data, a true skeptic should consider each argument with equal dissent or equal assent, unless they are willing to consider other kinds of evidences, i.e. non-empirical; the far more abundant of the two in nearly every field.

    1. The modern skeptic is skeptical about all things except the things that fall nicely into their own accepted worldview. A pure skeptic must be content to know nothing; to ignore the imperative in their mind: “be open” or “be attentive”. They must distrust their own reason. This is a way of life that is unlivable for most, I think. Blind trust in your mind’s imperatives is the way to knowledge; it is following the desire for truth.

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