Have We Stopped Thinking For Ourselves?
For most of my adult life there were only three TV channels and maybe half a dozen radio stations. There was no so called “talk radio.” All the news stories we were exposed to came from one daily newspaper and the six and ten o’clock news each day on TV.
In order to find out more on a given story we didn’t have a whole lot of options so we got in our circle of friends and shared opinions and speculated. This was probably not the ideal way to get info, but it was about the only other option available.
Fast Forward to 2014
Today it’s almost impossible to avoid getting information about everything. Twenty-four, seven news channels, talk radio, blogs, Internet, Facebook, Twitter are all there to make sure you don’t miss a thing. With so many choices how do we select information we find credible?
Birds Of a Feather, Flock Together
Unfortunately society seems to have segregated itself into, “What’s in it for me?” groups. “Where can I find information that benefits me or supports my thinking?” We create our own little comfort zone and never leave it. Once, we find info that confirms our ideology we ignore any differing and especially opposing information.
It often goes even further. Not only will we disagree with a group or sources but we will do whatever we can to silence that viewpoint. I’m not talking about physical violence, although that does happen, but the vilification of thought with which we disagree is becoming more and more commonplace.
Have We Lost The Ability To Think?
How do you form your position on a particular topic? You see a viewpoint on TV, read it in a newspaper or magazine, or read or see it on the net. Do you find yourself seeking out the same sources? Staying in your comfort zone?
“What does my blog site say about this topic?” “That sounds good I’ll go with that.” Is that an accurate example of thinking for yourself? I don’t think so. What about seeking out a differing or opposing point of view and examining that? After all, the flattest pancake has two sides. If you were on a jury would you only consider what the prosecution presented? Wouldn’t you like to hear something from the defense?
Some Final Thoughts
There is obvious discomfort in reading points of view that are contrary to your way of thinking. Our knee jerk reaction is, “How can they think that way?” But they do think that way. But what most people miss is the reason why they think that way.
Politicians vote for and against things. Why do they do that? Most of us never know because few people really look for the info directly from the politician. We read our favorite talking points that form our opinions for us. Getting the facts takes a back seat to our confirmation or condemnation of information.
Take a week and only look at information that is contrary to your way of thinking. At the end of that week your mind probably won’t be changed but you will be better informed to do your own thinking.
There is power in forming your own opinions gleaned from examining information from all sides of the argument. There is weakness in letting others form your opinions for you.