Fake News & Misinformation: It’s Not All Bad
With advent of the media’s blossoming controversy about fake news and the rendering of misinformation by them and private sources we have felt a growing frustration in attempting to find out what’s really happening in the world and obtaining a fair and honest rendering through journalism and news reporting. With the added intensity over the differences in our political landscape and those utilizing it for manipulation, our belief and trust in what we are now being told has diminished significantly. Do we believe what we hear? Who do we trust? Do they have a vested interest in what they’re telling us? Who owns the media? Are they politically biased? Prejudiced? Are they giving us the facts? “Alternate” facts? Misinformation? Who should we put our trust in? The answer has finally and essentially come to the fact that, more than ever, we must now trust ourselves.
This may seem simplistic but it’s been a long time coming. With our social structure being flooded with so many authorities, experts, pundits, licensed providers, vetted officials, approved representatives, isn’t it only natural and inevitable that we must eventually reach a saturation point in our dependency on other people for advice and permission to do only what’s generally accepted by our peer group? Doesn’t it seem like there are so many conflicting edicts presented by so many groups we’ve come to trust, yet, they almost all tell us that we must be or do something other than what we feel? Today salt is good for you. Tomorrow it’s not. Today, one politician is a criminal. The next, they’re a hero. The majority of doctors say this drug is a miracle. The next day we hear of class action lawsuits levied by lawyers on behalf of people who have been irreparably damaged by them. Who do we believe? Who can we trust? The writing on the wall begs for us to begin relearning to trust ourselves. Relearn you say? How can this be? Aren’t we a self-sustaining and self-responsible culture? Haven’t we been trained to listen to and trust our own intuition and feelings? The answer is no. We’ve been trained by our parents and the media to seek outside of ourselves for the answers to all of our important questions.
Through being browbeaten into believing that all the important answers about how and why we are to live our lives comes from an outside authority, through omission it’s been strongly inferred to us that our feelings and intuition can’t and won’t be validated, proven, vetted or authenticated by others. We’ve been trained to put all of our faith into the scientific community and the proofs that it requires. There is a perpetual drive for evidence, evidence and evidence. We must only accept proof, validation and verification by others giving us permission to act even if it doesn’t feel right. Why have we allowed ourselves to believe this? It’s safer. We can be accused of less if we can validate who we are or what we are doing by following the rules and requirements of the social status quo. The underlying expectation is, and to most of us this is unconscious, that in doing so we won’t have to be responsible for the outcome of our choices. If we do something that someone disapproves of, all we have to do is point the finger at the accepted authority and we become vindicated and faultless. We’ve done what we’re told was proper. We’re blameless. We followed Mommy’s and Daddy’s rules. We can now expect to be loved.
If we view the universe as a self-correcting system, we must understand that all things change and evolve. The snowballing of fake news and misinformation is simply occurring as a self-correction that the universe has been slowly and naturally energizing as a rebalancing much like a “market correction.” Not that it is in any way intended, although there are many of us that believe in intelligent design, but that, according to its own nature, energy “seeks” toward simplicity and conservation of itself. Our focus outside of ourselves has reached such an extreme that the pendulum must now swing toward the side of personal and internal judgment simply in order to re-balance itself. The rub is that it must also return us toward being accountable for our actions and inaction. We will no longer be able to remain blameless and will now risk the possibility of not being loved or included in our chosen groups, clans or families.
Moving from being externally aligned toward being internally self-directed will seem foreign to many of us and even frightening to some. We have been so indoctrinated into listening to what comes from outside of ourselves that trusting our own feelings and intuition has come to seem unnatural and even treasonous toward the society and culture that has trained us toward, essentially, remaining subservient and obedient to itself. We’ve been relentlessly bombarded with the belief that we are responsible for the welfare of others over our own…even if unconsciously. This outlook heralds all the way back to colonial times when we actually needed the help of others simply to survive. Then, this easily fell in line with Christian principles claiming that we are our “brother’s keeper.” But circumstances change over time and so do the prevailing traditions that evolve from them. So now, when it comes to our contemporary emotional and psychological health, nothing could have evolved further from the truth. Although we claim to be self-sufficient, we do need others to see ourselves “objectively.” We have gravitated so much toward a selfless and personally sacrificial extreme that we are now all in perilous danger of losing ourselves totally simply to obtain the approval and acceptance of our peers through acquiescing to their parroted and, now, obsolete traditional judgments. Yet, this makes us feel safe and blameless. The ironic part of this is that everyone is looking toward each other as an authority which amounts to only each other’s opinions gathered from everyone else… No longer does anyone actually have or know the necessary truths. Through mindlessly accepting this parroting as our standard for well being, we have simply become the blind leading the blind.
The breakdown in the media is simply one more superficial indicator of how over-invested we have become in the opinions and judgments of others. The recent assertion by our new president promoting “America First” exemplifies a tacit undercurrent moving us toward returning to a sense of balance nationally. We are in dire need of bringing our feelings and intuition back into play as being a valid form of information used for our choices and direction. Our blind acceptance of the need to validate everything scientifically has obliterated the awareness and validation of our own worth except in the context of social service and responsibility. We need to begin to allow ourselves to be selfish at least to the extent that we are able to regenerate ourselves before being subjugated to the socially expected demand of service to others. “Doctor, heal thyself!” We must regain a balance between being responsible to ourselves before we can become effective in being of service to others. A drained social worker is of little use to anyone.
So, now, the recent explosion and exposure of fake news and misinformation is, essentially, providing us with an unexpected side effect and opportunity encouraging us to reacquaint ourselves with our own feelings and intuition while showing us the necessity of giving ourselves permission to trust our own judgment in spite of the historic and overwhelming pressure levied on us by external authority. Isn’t it funny how life always brings us back to trusting our own heart and intuition? Yet, building the courage required to live according to them is, more often than not, ignored or even buried under the fearful possibility of being socially outcast for non-compliance.