Find a Way To Follow!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Asking Why

The most important lesson Dad ever taught me was this: “Always ask why.”
Of course, I wasn't supposed to ask Mom that question when she told me to sit the hell down for dinner, but it was intellectual armor. Pardon me while I strap on a good ol'-fashioned Dangerboy Rant.

In today's 24 hour news cycle of being bombarded by everything from everywhere, the question of Why has protected me from a great deal of the ills commensurate with such a barrage of bullshit. Why do they want me to be afraid of so much stuff? So I will watch their show breathlessly, read their words, and support them through supporting their advertisers.

This is, of course, only my opinion. It is the answer I have deduced from the input. It is a way of understanding why friends who are otherwise intelligent human beings seem reduced to expletive spitting troglodytes when a hot button issue comes up.

It's an opinion that bears thought. If you are informed politely, you'll watch the thing, note the thing, and move on. But if you are inflamed and provoked by buzzwords darting about like goddamn hatedarts of doom, then you will watch the thing, talk about the thing, share the thing, watch more about the thing, and start ignoring the competing thing. It's human nature. It's the way our animal brain evolved for survival, and it's sketchy at best in the modern world.

Needless to say, I am passing the lesson of Why on to Little Danger. I am adding another layer, however. “Always challenge your own opinion.” Just because I think I am right, even if I am thoroughly convinced, doesn't mean that I am right (and certainly not righteous), and my opinion could use a hearty work out.

It is a lost skill to be able to hold both sides of a debate (or, heaven forfend, the myriad shades of nuance available to a complex issue) in one's brainpan without blowing grey matter right out one's earholes. Social media, I find, makes this worse. The algorithms of what you like may well create an echo chamber from which one can't escape. Couple that with clickbait farmers that write articles screeching from both ends of the spectrum and then publish opposing views meant to be spread virally, spewing crap like a diarrhea laden goose held up to wind generator, and you have a perfect recipe for programming human minds to conflate “commonly seen but bullshit” with “truth.”

Frankly, it drives me fucking crazy.

Common does not equal true. Commonly spoken of does not equal common in occurrence. Outrageous is an outlier that triggers outrage.

I am beyond happy to live out in the country now. The level of bullshit has dropped, despite the level of bulls being more abundant out in farmland. I do not, in fact, need to feel outrage all the time, no matter what shrill bloggers and pundits would have us believe.

At home, the most violent thing we've been exposed to is the abduction of a mole by a hawk. I understand there is bad shit happening in the world, but I vehemently disagree that I have to be outraged to change it. I happen to think that reasonable thought, understanding why, and challenging my beliefs to make sure I can think reasonably about how things really are will take me much, much farther than blindly following the leader of the outrage lemmings.

I cordially invite you to join my revolution. For one week, hell even one day, think about every article before you click “share” and ask WHY. Check to see if there is a VERY similarly worded article in direct opposition will have avoided being that sucker born every minute. Fact check. Hell, go full bore like I have, and start hiding every one of the articles with a picture of a political face, and start liking every status on social media that is actually written by a friend of yours, telling their friends what they are up to in their life. You know, be social, and ignore the shrill “news”.

What you may find is that by doing so, your stress level starts to drop.  You may find you don't miss the outrage at all.  Of course, I'm just one dude on the internet, sharing his frustration.  That's my Why.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...