Sunday, 18 September 2011

Don't believe the truth

This is a follow up and a spitirual successor to my last post. I am now listening to the recent podcast about Wikileaks, and hearing all these talks about untrustworthiness of the mainstream media and the power of the Internet i recalled a curious bit of behavior i have observed in the wild.

Basically, when all this Bin Laden killing crew thing happened (you know, the part when all but one of the members of that operation died under mysterious circumstances), i conducted an experiment. I went to Omegle (stupid, i know) and asked the question that was vaguely constructed as follows: did you know that all but one people participating in Bin Laden elimination died in a recent helecopter crash?

Most people simply ignored the question. Some people started whining something along the lines of "aw, geez, not politics again". Some were making jokes about conspiracy theories and even totally unrelated stuff. However, one guy's behaviour striked me as extremely odd. He said something like "without proof, i'm not buying it". He said it five or six times in different wording - i'm not buying it, where's the proof, this is bullshit, yada-yada.

I got only one question - whatever happened to fucking research?! It was clear that the guy wasn't your usual office plant, it was pretty clear he was capable of questioning things and critical thinking (which is what most people lack). So why the fuck didn't he just go and research the fucking thing?! It's there, all over the Internet, all over the news! Well, news outlets didn't put it as clearly as i did, and most people would have difficulties translating "a helicopter crashed, people participating in earlier operation in Pakistan died" to "wake the fuck up, people, 22 out of 23 people participating in Bin Laden's supposed elimination are dead!", but the information is still there! There are forums, there are websites like Democratic Underground who could count as a semi-official news source, there are people, for fuck's sake!

Now, one can argue that reading shit on the Internet is the same as asking a bum across the street - you can't trust shit you read on the Internet. This is, of course, completely false, and people's opinion and "enemy" websites could be just as reliable source of information, and in many cases even more truthful since it's often unredacted, uncensored, raw intelligence waiting to be collected by the ones who is capable of connecting the dots, or is targeted directly towards what mainstream news fail to pinpoint or feel uncomfortable talking about.

And you can't trust official news outlets, because we know all too well that they're controlled by government and corporate interests. They can be hit with injunctions and super-injunctions (complete idiocy), they can be bribed or threatened, or even physically destroyed for what they could do (loads and loads of journalists were murdered for their stories).

The problem with such people is that they use this denial of validity of information as an argument. You tell them "hey, soldiers who killed Bin Laden are dead!", you get "i'm not buying it, it's bullshit, where's the proof". You tell them "hey, soldiers who killed Bin Laden are dead! It's in the news!" and you hear something like "nah, bullshit, don't watch the news - they're lying" in return. You go "hey, soldiers who killed Bin Laden are dead! Here's the link!", and get "nah, i don't trust any unofficial news sources or internet sites, it's propaganda" as a reply. Now what am i supposed to do in order to make this kind of people just look and see for themselves? Obviously, there's that alternative of not caring at all but that's not an option since not caring about shit is what got us into trouble in the first place.

So who do we trust? What do we believe? Not official news outlets. Not "enemy" websites and blogs. Not web forums and personal blogs. What then? I think the answer is pretty obvious. The answer is - don't blindly trust anything. Research your stuff, connect the dots, analyze, think through every detail. This is the only way. And this is exactly why the society needs things like free speech, whistleblowing and, most importantly, free (as in freedom) Internet. Many people are capable of connecting the dots (yeah, i still believe in humanity despite hating it so much), but not everyone is willing to do research, to question things and even to think - and that's why you have to force feed them with facts and information, or leave it where they can clearly see it (on web forums, in blogs, in news sites comments, everywhere they can be seen).
P.S. Oasis sucks.

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