We are, for the most part, an intelligent species. Evolved with the ability to think, reason, to contemplate and evaluate ourselves and the world around us. Yet today, one has only to watch the news to see that a large growing number of us have lost this ability to think and reason for ourselves. With social media playing a significant role — Critical Thinking it seems — is about to go the way of the Dodo!
Critical Thinking: is the analysis of facts to form a personal judgment using a self-imposed criteria generally including the rational, skeptical, unbiased analysis, or evaluation of factual evidence. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking.
So, what happened to Critical Thinking? Is it truly in decline? One sure gets the feeling when it seems like everyday there are those taking up new foolish belief’s and blindly following the opinions of others. Falling prey to deception, misinformation, even obvious fabrications. Conspiracy theories, political propaganda, Pandemic misinformation with worrisome, even dangerous, ill-proposed virus cures.
THE SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCE
As our history shows, humankind is not immune to being led astray by the deceitfulness of others. Yet today, with the rise of social media, the utter depths of our vulnerability have come all to startling to light. Sucked-in by opinionism, social conformity and political misdirection. More and more of us are being group-peered or opinionated into our belief’s, with factual evidence, seemingly no-longer a concern.
The lost art of unbiasedly thinking for ourselves, has been replaced by opinionated viewpoints from partisan news networks, journalists, authors and every Tom, Dick and Harry (or Sally) that runs a website. The influence of the non-stop nonsensical prattling on social media cannot be overstated.
Now, so too our belief’s, once a sacred part of one’s personal identity, are whimsically changeable and interchangeable as to the subjective anecdotal opinions overflowing across the Net. We’ve become so accustomed to choosing what we believe in, from the screens of our new digital devices, that we almost no-longer need to think for ourselves. Our gullibility it seems, reaching new, record-breaking heights!
What little personal thinking time we do engage in, has become relinquished to short stints of daydreaming, or fading thoughts as we’re falling off to sleep. Sleep, it seems, the only escape from our digital social addictions and the plethora of online voices we’ve come to covet so.
Yet, as soon as we arise from our slumber, so too do our influencing addictive devices.
What means of deceivability do they hold today?
Swaying our vote, our future for the next four years? Disclaimers of Climate change? Vaccinations? The Pandemic… all but an overblown flu? But? That’s what the President is saying… yet 200,000 have since died in his country alone? What to do? Use reason? Logic? Critical Thinking? Search for data and the facts?
No!… Lets check the babbling on social media… to see what ‘OTHERS’ are saying!
ONLINE LIFE ADVICE (Rant)
Yes, the big decisions in what to believe are our most important. Yet our fallibility, lives large in the little things as well. Like consumerism. Or a personal pet peeve of mine — Solicited Online Advice!
If we haven’t figured out by now, that what’s right for the goose isn’t always right for the gander, and that opinions are a dime a dozen, and that 99.9% of what others are selling isn’t intended for our benefit but for their monetary, or egotistical gain — then we deserve to get what we get! — And that’s False Hope!
Take for example, and generalizing here, these so-called and in many instances, self-proclaimed online “Life Coaches” and “Health Gurus.” They’re all over the net, all over the blogosphere, trying to advice us (people they’ve never met and haven’t a clue about) on how to get the best out of “our” Lives!
“Follow these steps to better living and you too can overcome what ails you!
Just listen to me and… blah, blah, blah!!”
Gimme a break! If you think for one minute, that their lives are that much better than yours, that they don’t have troubles just like the rest of us? Then you my friend are living in a very different reality.
I’m astonished at the deceivability that exists today when simple logic and past experience should tell you what you need to know. Are you really going to take to heart what some stranger tells you? Some unknown online advisor who knows absolutely nothing about you? Has never even met you?
And its not just about a promoted miracle cure for what ails you — as if there really is one! But we should all know by now that anything and everything we read on social media today should be taken with a huge grain of salt! Including proposed mystical steps to improve your life!
I mean, haven’t we learned anything? When even a President, continuously and without concern, publicly lies for his own selfish gain?
No wonder conspiracies, unsubstantiated beliefs and crazy misinformed loonies are running amok in our society today. Proof to many that Critical thinking has indeed — gone the way of the Dodo!
HUMAN NATURE SAYS
We tend to believe in which we have already made our minds up to do so! That we are not unbiased when it comes to our belief’s, rather justify them by seeking opinions from only those that corroborate with our ideals. Subconsciously omitting those that do not!
That we naturally tend to follow those that we perceive as ‘More Knowing!’ Ranging from those in positions of Leadership, to those bringing us the news. To those claiming to be online specialists or certified professionals. Even to our next door neighbor, because he always seems to give good advice!
And, if our perception is strong enough, we again subconsciously revert to omitting any negativity, social media or otherwise, about them. Instead, trust in the positive of what ‘others’ are saying in their regard.
This is Conformation Bias and is, to varying degrees, prevalent in all of us!
Lastly, we also strongly defend our beliefs (right or wrong), even argue vigorously in debate when attacked. This too is human nature, because if our beliefs are proven to be wrong? Then we also have been proven wrong! This we perceive as a direct attack to ourselves and a big human nature — Ego — No-Go!
So? Is it human nature to believe in online health advocates, life coaches and advisors from those seemingly in the know? Conspirators, opinionators, Doctors and Professors recommending products? Anybody, perceived to be — In The Know!
Without Critical Thinking…
It sure the hell looks that way!
What Do You Think?