Of being informed

I’ve been spending the last few days reading about a variety of current events topics such as the Climate Change conference in Copenhagen and the Copyright Treaty being negotiated in secrecy. Reading comments on both sides of the climate issue and trying to garner what little has leaked out about the treaty has taken a great deal of time, energy, and research. However, I have, of course, come across many people who copy and paste tid-bits that like-minded others have posted and leave it at that. It’s much more difficult to read the opposing view with an open mind. For that matter, it’s hard to understand terminology, science, and information outside your normal world.

However, I think that it is vital for a people to be willing and motivated to learn and understand as much about the world and decisions around them in order to understand what’s happening around them. Being led and told what to think by others that you trust to have your best interest in mind is little more than comfortable slavery in my reckoning. If you blindly follow what "experts" tell you without being willing to do some basic reading and understanding then you can be too easily deceived. To think that there aren’t biases in all directions is naive. Understanding those biases to make an informed decision or to have an informed opinion is vital.

I am concerned as I hear more people talk with absolute certainty about topics they obviously haven’t researched on their own to any extent. I believe it’s what causes the endless back and forth of mindless arguing you hear so frequently on "hot topics". When the people talking don’t have anything but summary tid-bits to base their discussions on it would end too quickly without resolution and be less entertaining.

It doesn’t bode well for future generations who are being raised on spoon-fed, simplified summaries to get their support on topics that can cause them to lose their rights and freedoms.

About Michael Wigle

I am a servant of Christ who is married and has two children and one grandchild. For employment, I am the IT Manager and the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. I also have a wide variety of interests from economics to politics to caving.
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1 Response to Of being informed

  1. Unknown says:

    There is a quote I scribbled down years ago from a book of one of the speeches given by Malcolm X after he came back from Mecca a changed man and turned his back on the Nation of Islam. I think it is one of the truest things I\’ve ever read.“One of the first things I think young people, especially nowadays, should learn is how to see for yourself and listen for yourself and think for yourself. Then you can come to an intelligent decision for yourself. If you form the habit of going by what you hear others say about someone, or going by what others think about someone, instead of searching that thing out for yourself and seeing for yourself, you will be walking west when you think you are going east and you will be walking east when you thing you are going west.\’\’That said, there is another problem, that knowledge can be a very dangerous thing. Plato points out in the `Laws\’ that if you teach adolescents how to use logic they quickly turn it into a game and try to use it to justify any old idea. The end result is that rather than Reason driving the investigation, Passion is driving the investigation. It is for this reason that Plato tried quite hard to distinguish between cleverness and cunningness (discursive reason or critical thinking) and rationality. The former is a tool that can be used by very irrational people intent on imposing their will upon many. The latter is something in the human soul that unites humanity with divinity.In the ancient world, this played out with two brutal and bloody revolutions in Athens. Both revolutions were sparked by men who grew up taking lessons from Socrates. So the question is not just an investigation into things as they are, but what sort of context in which such an investigation ought to take place.

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