A painting of a peaceful and vibrant mountain sunrise with a phone tower.

Obliviousness

We’ve all done it. We’ve all looked at the news, or heard a rumor from a friend, or eavesdropped on a conversation that the cashier was having with the customer in front of us, and then taken that information for granted. In today’s age, information spreads faster than it ever has before, and that has created a plethora of both positives and negatives. On one hand we now are capable of keeping up with people across the world, making friends from countries on the other side of the globe, and understanding distant and complicated events that tie us together on a global scale. However, such an overload of information and communication has also seemed to desensitize us to the idea of information. In a way, it has made us blind to what is factually correct. Many times we just take what we hear first as the face value of a situation and don’t delve deeper into figuring out the real facts behind said event.  This can create a situation where people become self proclaimed experts or have strong polarized opinions on a topic even if they don’t know all the real facts behind said topic, which only helps facilitate the spread of said misinformation.

Some claim this is due to a need to control the masses, or some big conspiracy. But, in my opinion this isn’t due to the prevailing evil of the information age that some proclaim is evident, and it is certainly not the fault of news agencies, but it is just a mere aspect of human nature.  We as people are inherently lazy, and we would rather consume than search. The news agencies are at the base line a businesses, and they simply provide the content that their audiences are most receptive to. That’s what their job is, and that will probably not change any time soon.

I am also not saying that all news is fake news, or that news agencies are all hiding the truth. I don’t believe there is some grand conspiracy, but I do believe that with the high volume of information that whizzes by our screens every day, there is a very large margin for error and misrepresentation. Especially when people make bold claims about statistics and the “facts”. I’ve made it a point to never really trust when someone says, “I’ve looked up and researched the facts” unless they provide ample evidence that they truly have done so. There are too many people these days claiming this and that, and our brains have become overloaded and perhaps even fixated on the information that is given to us. We tend to believe those we see providing information on the screen, because if they are not there to provide the truth, then why would they be there in the first place. Shouldn’t our most accepted sources of information provide factual basis in their understanding?

And the answer is no, not always

Sometimes people who have the spotlight get it wrong too, and we as global citizens need to understand that. I believe that we need to realize that not everything a person on the television, or social media, or even out in public says, is actually correct. I think it is becoming increasingly important to look up these facts for ourselves, and really try to understand all sides of an issue. There are countless sides to every story that exists, and I think that as people we should make it our duty to at least try to understand all the sides. I know it might be easier to just sit there and passively believe what the first news source we see says, or what the most prominent source we witness talks about. But, the thing is, we are all prone to error. We all get facts wrong, and we all have our own unique perspectives.

A painting of a peaceful and vibrant mountain sunrise with a phone tower.
A peaceful mountain sunrise, by Sam Perin.

So, that story or topic that is being talked about on your favorite talk show or news station, is not purely factual, but it is infused with the thoughts, opinions, and life experiences of the person or persons presenting the information. Even this very article is not really factual, it’s just the ramblings of a random person on the internet.

What I’m saying is that all of us have started to become oblivious in a way. We are too quick to take what we see from our favorite sources as the truth, when in fact there are millions upon billions of other truths and perspectives out there. It’s difficult to fathom the idea of that, and sometimes hearing ideas from other sources, especially those you personally disagree with, can be vexing at best. But, I think that it is important to try and understand multiple sides of a story, and really figure out the facts behind what that original story you heard was.

So What Now?

Almost everything we hear, even things that are outlandishly skewed one way or another, are still based in some way on the real facts. However, because of socio-economic situations, personal opinions, and political affiliation, the facts tend to become blurred one way or another to make a certain side seem ‘right’, and that is just simply human nature. As people we want to group together with others who share our viewpoints and validate what we think. But, regardless of this, I believe if one takes the time to understand all sides of an issue, then the real facts from said issue will reveal themselves.

Basically, what I’m getting at is that the next time you hear a big story on the news, or a remarkable claim from a public speaker, or even something from your local cashier, I think it is a good idea and maybe even a duty as a global citizen to fact check that information, and make sure that what they are saying is really the complete picture. That way we can all come to understand and relate to pressing global issues and really make a positive impact on the world.

Thank you for reading this article! Have a great day!

 

 

 

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