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April 8th, 2023:

How to be easily fooled

Making your own observations and conclusions is ideal especially when you understand the subject.

When you don’t know you try to pick some source to help you navigate life’s options and challenges. The trick lies within selecting the right source, or sources, to trust.

The most common sources are friends and media.

With friends one get to learn over time what their background is in and how good their observational skills are. With strangers it is obviously harder as one simply does not know what their motivations and indeed what kind of vested interests they might have.

Many unexpected things can and are influencing people in ways that is, well unexpected. I’m not picking on these people but one interesting example are scientists. As a graduating scientist you obviously want to have an income and pursue some direction.

This often means receiving funding in your chosen direction. What if you discover that your funding source is tightly connected with someone with some product line which you have an issue with as far as what your research is indicating. That is what you call a conflict of interest.

How you handle it is a challenge to your integrity.

Do you choose money and work or keeping your integrity? Is there a path where you can keep both?

Never mind if you are researching a subject with, to you, hidden factors? For example, if you are testing the value of vitamins but only do the research using “vitamins” produced with chemical means, rather than naturally occurring ones?

Its easy to see that what you don’t know/understand can affect you.

The more all-round education and experience that you have the better off you are. But is that the only way to tell if your source of information is reliable? Fortunately not.

When it comes to businesses they can easily have hidden agendas and relationships that drives them in some way or another. Large companies are often trading on the stock market. As such they have to disclose a lot of information about their affiliations and intentions. Failure to do so can land them in jail so can be a pretty good source.

When it comes to reporters they, like anyone else, have interests, beliefs and financial motivations. They in turn have editors with their motivations, which in turn have other bosses with their motivations. Therefor it becomes vital to do thorough research before making life changing decisions based on what is reported somewhere.

One way is to never only rely on the view of one side but to gather multiple views.

If you listen/read what kind of things any one reporter is reporting on you can get an idea of what type of reporting the person does, and then to try to find your own source to verify they truth of his or her reporting. Are they using a lot of generalities, only giving negative reports, tend to describe things with their own views or are they simply reporting the facts?

Reporters are supposed to report and share observations, or in short, facts. Then leave it up to you to decide what it means. Often we find reporters becoming actors, adding drama to their report.

One of my favorites is from Florida during a storm where the reporter is leaning into the wind while holding down his hat, clearly having a hard time standing straight. However, an old couple is seen passing behind him some 20 feet back, having a casual stroll without any wind.

When it comes to collecting the all important paycheck that keeps us fed and housed, we sometimes make decisions that comes back to bite us. Once you start violating your own integrity it becomes easier and easier to do it. Having done it one tends to come up with a reason why it was OK in the first place, a justifier.

However the price you pay will result in lost self respect, lost happiness, bad luck, missed opportunities for improvements (real improvements), loss of real friends that actually care for you and eventually your freedom. And if you don’t stop this trend you will make others stop you.

We are basically good, but can make mistakes. How do we deal with the mistakes is the real test of character. What will it take for you to sell yourself out?

The road back to happiness is possible.

Anyway, back to being fooled. Nobody can fool us as ourselves. We know exactly how to fool ourselves. (We also know exactly how to punish ourselves.) Therefore it becomes really really important to be able to evaluate information.

There is this one saving grace which is that we are basically good.

This means that the clear majority of people are trying to do the right thing. They like helping others, and may indeed feel it is what makes them valuable.

The news cycle depends on having as much drama as possible, or dragged out for as long as possible, may it be for or against what any source stands for. That immediately means their vested interest is in saying things that keeps your eye balls on them, and their advertisers who pay their salaries.

Read that last paragraph a couple of times and really see how that could end up affecting your life.

If you have any one national media source as your trusted source of news then you have been fooled, the only question is how much? The truth may or may not lie somewhere in the middle, if reported on at all!

Many really important things that affects the average citizen is not reported in by any national network.

But if I run around suggesting that someone is guilty of something then sooner or later a lot of people are going to simply buy that as facts. Because they don’t do any evaluation of the source or the data, simply accept it as fact. Their emotions have been stirred up by something that if true would probably be nasty.

And emotions have very little to do with facts, when mixed together.

Ask yourself what is the most upsetting thing you get out of your news?

Chances are the news are not based on the real situation but painted to highlight or purely fabricate some view that gets your attention and if possible, keeps you there. Some reporters have been legally classified as entertainers, not reporters in court.

The biggest subjects in most people’s lives, according to news outlets, is money, sex, politics, celebrities and crime. If you are making life decisions based on news rather than your own observations around you, you better ensure you have collect it from multiple opposing sources.