We learn first by experimenting because we haven’t learned how to trust yet. Eventually, we discover learning that way is painful, and we learn about trust, usually from our parents. Our trust is built on relationships with people and organizations. As we trust people, we listen to them and believe that what they are saying is true. We start to accept that truth as our own. Over time we will modify that truth based on our experience, but the base is developed through the relationship. First, it is with family, then school, and finally work. Along the way, we add in church, groups, and news.
We again rely on trust and believe what we see and what we hear is true and start to accept. As we discover conflicts between our truths, we work it out based on who we trust the most and what makes logical sense. I have been in situations where someone will say something so far removed from what I believe to be true that I am amazed.
The problem we have today is information overload. At least I am discovering many conflicts and having a more difficult time reconciling those conflicts. As I was growing up, I was in a Christian environment. My baseline for truth was Christian values. That set of values was reconciled as I grew older, and I saw that they were the correct way for me to live. Now I begin to see conflicts and question what it all means. There are sources that I have learned not to trust based on the evidence available. Even that is becoming a challenge with video accounts being altered. Firsthand knowledge is hard to fake. If the evidence is a news story, I tend to look for multiple, different accounts.
So how do you sort this all out? One of the things I do is I see actual events happening. Not hearsay, not someone’s opinion, but actual events. I use that to determine if people are telling the truth, or if they should be trusted. As I discover more and more conflicts with the actual event. I mark that source as no longer being truthful. It is somewhat surprising to me to see politicians saying things that conflict with the public record, not hearsay or someone’s opinion, but actual filming of the event. That can be verified by multiple reports of the event. It’s not clear why they think they can do this, but the result is something we are now calling fake news. This is growing to be a large amount, and the noise factor is quite confusing. The problem I see is that there are some that have never built a truthful base through trust. If the only source of information they receive is through a single source, they build a truth based on that. There is limited potential to correct or expand their truth.
One example I was exposed to was from a seminary course I took. I was always interested in Christian values and history and wanted to see how this all developed. The first course I was required to take before exploring the New Testament was a world religion course. Each professor was a representative of a different religion. The idea was that we should be exposed to all the religions before we narrowed our focus. I was surprised to see how similar all these religions were. I was more surprised to see how, over time, all the religions were biased by the experiences and perceptions of the people practicing these religions. In my opinion, there is generally a small set of facts or real events and an extensive set of different interpretations and perceptions of what they mean.
The same is happening today. A simple event will generate many diverse perceptions in a short time. Those perceptions will be used to fortify beliefs. It is enough confusion to influence my decision to get a cup of coffee and go meditate on the deck. My father would say that he yearned for return to a simpler life, and that was back in the 60s. Now I know what he meant.
Did you find some neat ideas in this blog? What are the exciting ideas you came up with, and how are you implementing them? Let me know by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org.