Originally posted by sigung86
Seems like, no matter how much you want people to think for themselves, they still need a barometer for reality, whatever they're reality may be.
And we, essentially know that, reality is what you can get away with.
I think you are trying to put a paradigm on people that just doesn't fit most people. By that, I mean that, most people do not do well or want to be
out of their comfort zone. They seem to only function acceptably when they're comfort zone is not being pricked. For most people, I think, if they
can maintain that comfort zone either through wikipedia, snopes, rense, or what-have-you, then it tends to keep more folks out of institutions, and
functional, to varying degrees, on the street and for the public good.
People who believe in every conspiracy that comes down the road tend to not be as functional in a massive societal scenario. People who don't want
to be bothered wondering if there are alien lizard folk in the sewers, if the NWO really has Denver under its thumb, if UFOs are actually from the
planet munimula, find those types of sites comforting.
And while I'm prattling... I think it is really condescending on forums like this when someone comes on, posts some theory, and because it is not
accepted immediately, and universally, start calling all the non-believers, "sheeple".
People are not sheeple. We are all the end products of our belief systems and the model of life that we've been given by our parents, partners,
friends, and enemies. That is what makes us what we are. That and the acceptance of pain and pleasure to motivate our lives.
So ... When someone needs a Snopes, a Rense, or even an ATS, it is because of what we have been and done that makes us what we are now, to paraphrase
Jim Croce, and in order to make change, you have to do it from a zone of pain or pleasure. That is, after all, the only things that really motivate
people to action. It either feels too good to stay where I am, or it hurts too much to stay where I am.
If you want to effect a change in someone's attitudes and belief system, you simply have to give them a reason to change ... Not a put down.
That was a beautiful post-- well stated and direct without being either condescending or antagonistic.
I can usually manage not being entirely antagonistic, but I've never quite managed to rid myself of condescension.
It's comfort zones exactly.
I like to envision the individual human psyche as, nominally and theoretically
an orb. This orb doesn't exist at birth, but is slowly built
up through experience and observation, and, often at least, reflection and analysis. Many of the individual components of the orb are just put up in
place without any real regard for how well they fit-- when one is young, analytical skills are generally poorly developed, and life is coming at you
full-tilt. It's tough to pick and choose and find pieces that fit well with each other. And, of course and sadly, many people never really develop
the analytical skills to see the pieces that don't fit correctly AND the intellectual courage to remove them and replace them.
Yeah... there's an entire emotional side to this too. People form attachments to the various pieces of their orbs for any of a number of reasons.
Anyway, for whatever reason, many? most? ...people have all these individual pieces of their orbs that don't quite fit. Many of these pieces are
genuinely defective-- logically unsound or even empirically false-- and they leave gaping holes in the orb. Many more of them just don't really fit
in with other pieces, and result in a poorly formed orb.
All of these ill fitting pieces, if not replaced, must be braced or supported or patched or, in extreme cases, defended, sometimes at virtually all
costs. That way leads to psychosis.
Each possible observation about the world is a little piece of the orb of each individual capable of making that observation. Each question that can
be answered, even simply with "I don't know" is a little empty space in each orb of each person who can form the question. That space must be
filled with some sort of answer, or be left a hole, and holes, once defined, are potentially threatening.
For many? most? ...people, the way to fill that hole is to simply take the answer one is given by a trusted source and stuff it in the hole and be
done with it. There's a hierarchy of reflection/analysis, and there are people who can and will travel further along the path to genuinely
understanding the answer and comparing it with other known answers and checking its fit and so on, but many people don't have that ability and many
who nominally do have it don't have the time or energy or initiative to actually do it. The more complex the issue is, the less likely it is that
will go to the necessary trouble, until one reaches a realm inhabited solely by professionals in that particular field.
So... however it is, for whatever reason, we all have fewer or more of these gaps and ill-fitting pieces and patches and braces and defenses and
rationalizations and so on.
I guess the thing that irritates and perplexes me (and grants me cause to feel self-righteous-- thus the condescension) about this snopes as holy writ
thing that I'm trying to communicate is that it seems more of a waste to almost
make it all the way to depending on one's own faculties to
analyze the legitimacy of an idea, and stopping just that little bit short. Non-analytic people-- the ones that are often called sheeple (I too
dislike that term and don't use it myself, although I feel that it is, if a bit cruel, probably largely accurate-- sheep too are, if one looks
closely enough, individuals, if only in the details)-- don't particularly bother me since I know that they're an insurmountable distance from ever
analyzing ideas on their own, so I see no betrayal in their actions. How can one blame someone who can't even write in complete sentences for
believing George Bush, or Pat Robertson, or Al Sharpton, or Michael Moore? But to get oh-so-close to actual analysis-- to at least have the intellect
necessary to understand what one reads at, for instance, snopes, but to then simply stop and ultimately do the same thing that most everyone else does
just sort of gets under my skin. And yes, grants me an excuse to feel superior and condescending, which is probably my most obvious defensive
mechanism, designed to deal with the weakest part of my own orb-- actual engagement with the world. I've sacrificed many of the standard comforts of
life-- probably too many of them-- in order to follow a devoutly reflective path. I never got the knack that only a very few actually have of
juggling truly deep analysis and
actual engagement with the world, and human society is really defined by those who engage, so while I'm
preternaturally confident of the essential rightness of my worldview, I'm handicapped in actually dealing first-hand with
that world. That's
the weak part of my orb, and the one that I most actively protect, generally by diverting attention either positively to the strong side-- analysis
and communication of ideas-- or, unfortunately, to the flaws in other orbs-- specifically those that result from faulty or missing reflection and
analysis. And the targets with whom I feel least like a bully are those who are almost but not quite at a truly and dependably rational and balanced
and well-thought-out point.
But of course, I wasn't thinking all of this when I wrote the original post-- I was just indulging. I almost immediately saw what I had done, and
was particularly abashed by the sincerity of most of the responses-- yes, snopes is a useful site and yes, even though I like to puff myself up for
not doing so, it's often necessary to not waste the time and effort thinking out the answer, and is advantageous to simply find a good answer and
assume that it's going to fit, and there probably aren't many sites out there that provide more trustworthy answers. But then, I wasn't thinking
that either-- I was just spouting off. Then I gave in, went offline and went and played a fulfilling, if cold, round of disc golf.
Then I come back and check in here and find your response and... *sigh*
It's the same truths and same observations that I might have made, had I taken it far enough and not stopped short at condescension.
Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for gracing this thread with it. Thank you for making me stop and think and analyze and reflect deeper than that
point of which I'm so damned proud, and thereby giving me the kick in the ass that I didn't consciously realize I needed.