By Theo Rize
We are all sharing a feeling of helplessness and for many, hopelessness. We all feel like we are at the whim of third parties. Whether it is experts, politicians, the mainstream media, alternative media, fact-checkers and even your regular conspiracy theorists (regular people who have the same access to information, like the rest of us). All offering a plethora of contradicting information.
Essentially, it is either the mainstream narratives or the counter-narratives, take your pick! It is these two narratives that we feel tugging at us, creating schisms and causing much angst.
How do we get out of this corrosive situation? We are told that there are lots of misinformation and disinformation, out there. So, how can we determine, by ourselves (no help from third parties), which information is legit and which is bunk?
Firstly, we all need to accept more personal responsibility, for what goes on around us. This means self-reflection, for all; before we start to analyse ourselves and the world around us. We need some common ground, for our foundations.
We have all heard about critical thinking, but honestly, do any of us truly understand it, or even utilise it? How often do we question our own beliefs or admit to being biased?
We need to sort out our differences through civilised discussion and debate. This will seldom be achieved unless we learn an agreed method and standard of dialogue. No more fallacious arguments. No more dismissing arguments, without understanding the points of reference. Most of all, always remain objective.
Critical thinking is the best way, we can all do our research and our fact-checks. Critical thinking will give us the guidelines, and help us keep the checks and balances of our thoughts. Being objective is the best way to have fair discussions and come to agreements.
Back in March, it hit us! Iâm not talking about the virus called COVID-19, because some would say, COVID-19 is debatable. No, Iâm talking about this bombardment of information. First, it was the mainstream media with their narrative â âPossibly, the most lethal virus has spread from China, and people are dropping like fliesâ¦.â
Immediately, whistleblowers were breaking rank and exposing an agenda. Experts, scientists and doctors were disputing the science and the evidence that the mainstream narrative is built on. Conspiracy theorists were trying their best to warn their families, friends and fellow people about evidence that exposes an agenda.
Then, the mainstream would claim that these experts, doctors, scientists, whistleblowers and conspiracy theorists were all liars, but never really explaining the motives, much more than âpeople wanting 15 minutes of fame.â
Throughout the following months, this ebb and flow of countering information continued insistently with an ever-increasing amount of evidence, mounting up, calling the mainstream narratives into dispute and opposing it, marginalising a group of experts and others who have done their own due diligence.
Are They Right?
All this has led to a pretty clear dichotomy. Those who believe the mainstream narratives and those who donât. One side claims the other side is selfish, for not wanting to abide by lockdowns, social distancing and mask-wearing. Claiming that these people care more about their rights than they do about the old and the ill.
Yet, are they right? Are the people who donât agree or believe the mainstream narratives, just selfish and uncooperative? What if the sceptics have seen information that disputes the mainstream narratives? For example, if someone has seen information showing that SARS-CoV-2 has never been isolated, and therefore has never been scientifically proven to exist. Is it not fair, for that person has the right not to believe in the âCOVID-19â mainstream narratives? If we are critical thinkers, then it is a must that we peruse the same information, as each other.
Remember, fair debate/discussion cannot commence unless we understand each otherâs points of reference. We need common ground and understanding. An immediate dismissal, of information, is likely to be a biased and highly fallacious reaction. Once we have perused the same information, we can then help each other identify the flaws in each otherâs arguments, and eventually come to an agreement or a better understanding. The bottom line here is, it will be a productive exercise.
If we take the other side of the story, those who do not agree/believe in the mainstream narratives says those who do believe in it are ignorant of logical fallacies because these people instantly reject any counter-narratives or take a biased stance, before even looking at said information thoroughly.
Are these mainstream believers open-minded enough when it comes to doing research? Most importantly, do they utilise critical thinking and are they objective?
Well, the fact that they arenât aware of the counter-narratives until conspiracy theorists tell them about it. Plus, in a debate/discussion, it becomes apparent that they only know mainstream narrative talking points. It is apparent because we all well aware of the mainstream narratives, but not all of us fully understand the counter-narratives, and these people will demonstrate the fact.
Now, this suggests that they are ignorant because on average, they have the same access to the same information as the conspiracy theorists. Rejecting information before looking at it is not openminded. Taking a defensive stance before clearly understanding the other personâs point of reference, is biased.
So, there we have it. One groupâs mentality is extremely problematic, in regards to social enlightenment and progression. You decide which group that is, and why. We are all equal. So, you make your mind up and donât let ANYONE do that for you.
Peace. â New Malaysia Herald