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Do "Authorities" know what they are talking about?

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posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 05:04 AM
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*Rant*

The root of a conspiracy-theory-mindset would seem to be us having believed in an "authority" and then having that trust broken later when realizing the authority doesnt know as much as we hoped.

From childhood on we expect various authorities to know what they are talking about and to give us an accurate account of reality. We ask our parents various questions. We ask more questions in school. Later, we seek answers from science, religion and the government.

While these "authorities" can answer some questions, they cant answer them all. The problem comes up when they pretend to know the answers to something and make authorative and absolute statements in order to hide or cover-up that they do not know.

Parents, Teachers, Scientists, Religious Leaders and Politicians seem to have a very difficult time admitting: "I dont know", because not-knowing appears to be a loss of their authority. So they mostly speak in absolutes rather than using words like...

maybe
probably
possibly
"I believe"
"I think"

Religion, Science and Politics are most guilty of this, because the populace will not accept that they just dont know everything.

Lying then becomes a part of "keeping face" and maintaining ones authority. Our society is built on lies.

Another main aspect of maintaining authority is to preach and teach non-self-determinism or heteronomy. Thats what they all have in common

The run-of-the-mill religious leader will teach that your reality is not up to you, but up to Gods, Angels and Demons.

The run-of-the-mill scientist and schoolteacher will teach that your reality is not up to you, but mainly to environmental factors and genetics.

The run-of-the-mill politician will teach you that your reality is not up to you, but up to the policies of his party or government.

But do authorities really know what they are talking about?

Personally Ive concluded they often dont have a clue of what they are talking about but only pretend to. The implications of this are staggering because it withdraws the pretense of security and safety we´ve built around us. Removing this thin-layer of safety that covers the many unknowns, can make people afraid and angry.

Consider: Neither school nor the media nor our parents nor science nor religion nor our friends are able to tell us with certainty:

Who am I?

Where am I from?

What is the purpose of life?

What is real?

What is important?

They can give us answers to many small questions such as where I have to sign my tax-statement and they can give us the fake impression of choice by letting us decide whether we want to pay our tax by credit card or bankwire, but they cannot answer the BIG questions and their attempts to do so are not satisfying to people who have not lost the ability to think and feel. Examples:

Where are you from?

"We come from God". "OK, where does God come from?".

"We come from the Big Bang." "OK, where does the BigBang come from?"

"I come from Ohio"



Who are you?

"You are the evolutionary product of a chain of chemical reactions and coincidences"

"You are a child of God"

"You are a soul incarnate in a body"

"Who are you? What a stupid question. Your passport says you are Sam"


None of these answers are truly satisfactory


Some brainstorming questions...

Is it not childish to expect authorities to know everything?

Is it not childish for us to pretend to know everything?

Why are we so uncomfortable with temporarily not-knowing?

Isnt not-knowing the drive for learning?

If we relax our firm grasp on reality, would we learn more?

Do we need authorities to tell us who we are?

*End Rant*


[edit on 28-10-2008 by Skyfloating]




posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 05:10 AM
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I certainly agree with this. I have always thought the wisest phrase anyone could ever say is "I don't know". I believe there is much more that we don't know than we do know.

The problem is that to have knowledge that someone else doesn't is to have control or leverage against them. This is why authorities must maintain the facade of having all the answers. It guarantees that people need them in order to discover the truth.

Imagine if everyone in the world all of a sudden came to the realization that the only answers they really needed to be free, happy, and peaceful came from within instead of some outside "authority figure". Now THAT would be a doozy of a world changer. It's 6:30 am and I just woke up so I must be dreaming still regarding that statement!



posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 05:12 AM
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This problem is both psychological and sociological. Certain people really do believe that they have a lock on the absolute truth, if only everyone else would understand. I really don't understand that mindset; I've never been able to keep my expression of my beliefs that consistent.

Sociologically, such arrogance gets rewarded, even! People seem to need authority figures, whom they can feel they trust. There's something Freudian about it, the desire to give up and rely on the parent-figure to worry about everything.

It's amazing how much people long for it, too. Society is totally reliant on the illusion of authoritative experts and leaders. People will forgive all kinds of sins, incompetence, and betrayal, if only someone will provide them what they need -- the comfort of believing that there's someone they can trust, with a steady, competent grasp on the truth.

I think you're on to something, here -- this seems to be a fundamental force in politics, psychology, and sociology. Good thread.



posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 05:29 AM
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Good morning to you too Mavrick


Ian: It seems to tie in with comfort doesnt it? It just seems so much easier to rely on others to do the thinking for us.

And thats a good thing. She studied biology for years, so I´ll rely on her knowledge in that area. He´s been a consultant for 20 years, so I´ll rely somewhat on his input.

But the extent to which we let others determine things does seem wildly exaggerated.

There are people who will only buy a book if it is endorsed by someone with the letters PHD in his name.



posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 05:42 AM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


Yes, comfort, in that people don't want to have to worry about everything, but also a matter of capability, in that they can't.

Consider the amount of 'expertise' needed to keep the modern world running. Could any one person know it all? 100? 1000? We need our 'experts'.

I think the point that most people are scared by this is when they develop a particular 'expertise' of their own, in a narrow field. Then they look at the 'popular media', and see how the knowledge of that field is portrayed there. What a disconnect! What childish and inaccurate simplification! 'Experts' who are in the public eye start to seem like liars, talking down to the unwitting public and feeding them convenient simplifications.

Then, it's a short step to project that realization to things one isn't an expert in, and realize it might be the same for every field. Suddenly, the popular conception seems like a total facade, a contrivance for children. And people still eat it up!

So yes, convenient, but not satisfying, and if one worries about it, certainly not comfortable, for those who can see that at some level, we're all just snowin' each other.



posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 09:03 AM
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I would sincerely say that anyone who has something to lose, such as respect or status, has to be questioned in their authoritativeness. We are creatures of ego and live in a system based on such. So some, or perhaps most, will strive to protect their ego by appearing or believing to be much more certain of something than they can truly be.

Honestly, is any knowledge outside of personal experience anything more than hearsay? Certainly, some things can be proven, but unless we are able to prove it for ourselves, we're just taking someone else at their word.

Part of the comfort in taking the word of another is that we don't have to accept responsibility for it. We can't truly be wrong and so we avoid uncomfortable confrontation and feelings of inferiority.

[edit on 28-10-2008 by TravelerintheDark]



posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 10:48 AM
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...Hmmm... I think there is something here that also correlates to how comfortable people are with the feeling/realization of their own insignificance. ( i.e. I have seen people who, when on fungal journeys, freak out when realizing that we are but grains of sand on an infinite beach, if you will).

Then there are those that find that concept completely liberating, empowering and a relief. My thoughts are not fully formed on this yet...

(later) The pattern I see is a correspondence bewtween those who 'freak out' -- and are, in general, staunchly encamped in an ego-centric/ego-focused mode of perception -- are the ones who also are inclined to not only bow to authority, but doggedly defend it. Even, and esp., when the authority is not theirs...

Those on the other end of the spectrum, not so much.... I think that is all I have to say about that right now, but reserve the right to revisit.




[edit on 28-10-2008 by TheWayISeeIt]



posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 02:36 PM
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I have a couple conflicting thoughts on this . . .

First from a historical perspective, as a species and a matter of survival, we seemed to have placed our "brightest" in a position of authority. It just makes sense to have the smartest member of the tribe be in a position of authority . . . how long would the tribe survive under the rule of the ignorant? As "we" moved into an age, in which religion ruled the land, intellectuals were seen as a threat to biblical authority . . . they were demonized. Now we see "leaders" (G.W.B) that proudly proclaim they "aren't that smart" . . . and we still look to demonize leaders that have a aire of intellectuallism, as being "too smart" or "elitist". However, the old archetype of "following" the "wise" leader remains . . . so, instead of following the advice or consel of a "wise" leader, we autonomically "follow" regardless of "wisdom" shared.

Further demonstrating this principal . . . Milgram's experiments. We know we are conditioned to believe, trust, etc. those in a position of authority, even to to point of comprimising our personal ethical beliefs. Our leaders know this . . . and use it by providing blanket statements and absolutes, as opposed to "ideas" or "guesses". Two things happen if they speak plainly and with "wiggle room" . . . "we" start to see "cracks" in the leader's ability and begin to question them AND it creates a vaccum for another "more intelligent" (if only by perception) leader to fill the niche.

The conflict I see in the OP . . . when talking about teachers and scientists. I think this "blind" following has more to due with ignorance and laziness. To any student of science, a scientist (expert) speaking with certainty (about any subject) isn't seen as absolute truth. The student of science knows, through understanding of the scientific method, that this certainty is supported by research and evidence. It is not spoken as absolute truth, much like a teacher is conveying what is currently accepted and not teaching from a "absolute truth" position. The issue here arises when those less informed, see any public debate, take direct statements that have data and evidence to back them up and ASSUME that the manner in which they are delivered means they are "absolute" and "unchanging".

I agree that we (sic), far too often, take what is said as "gospel" without doing our homework. However, I disagree that we should see our "leaders" and "teachers" present from a position of half-knowledge. This would just create an environment where the ego is fighting for superiority . . . everyone's opinion would hold equal weight . . . and quite frankly, that just isn't feasible or fair (to those that actually have said knowledge).

But . . . what do I know? I know this is my opinion and should be taken as such . . . just like the proceeding posts.



posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 03:53 PM
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Originally posted by TheWayISeeIt
...Hmmm... I think there is something here that also correlates to how comfortable people are with the feeling/realization of their own insignificance. ( i.e. I have seen people who, when on fungal journeys, freak out when realizing that we are but grains of sand on an infinite beach, if you will).

Then there are those that find that concept completely liberating, empowering and a relief. My thoughts are not fully formed on this yet...

(later) The pattern I see is a correspondence bewtween those who 'freak out' -- and are, in general, staunchly encamped in an ego-centric/ego-focused mode of perception -- are the ones who also are inclined to not only bow to authority, but doggedly defend it. Even, and esp., when the authority is not theirs...



[edit on 28-10-2008 by TheWayISeeIt]



It can be liberating not to know...it really can. Blissfully carefree and ever curious to learn.

But it seems that by the age of 18 or so, most have already made up their mind as to "what is what" and walk about pretending they are "in the know".

In fact...BILLIONS have stopped questioning reality.


[edit on 28-10-2008 by Skyfloating]



posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 08:01 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


Two things,

1. This should be moved to the "Rant" section in BTS.

AND

2. The "Authorities" very rarely know what they're talking about, well, guess it depends on the subject and where they got there education, or research from.

I have a friend who has a master's degree in theology, he doesn't know where he stands on some rather simple Christian issues. Why? Because he is too afraid of offending either side to give his true honest opinion, so he hasn't ever truely made up his mind, sorta like how politicians always dance around issues, they tell you what you want to hear instead of the truth about what they plan on doing once they're in office. I know for a fact Teachers don't know jack about what they're teaching most of the time, they just follow some government instituted curriculum, of course they give there own opinions and put there own agenda/slant on things though.

Truth is, check out peoples claims for yourself, unless it's something that could potentially be harmful to you, like trying to communicate with a being you know nothing about in an intimate way that execedes that of any other being you've ever met.

You know the whole "don't talk to strangers" thing your parents always told you as a child? Well, do let a stranger into your innermost being, especially if you believe they are more powerful than you, cause they can jack you up.

I honestly put personal experience above what the "Authorities" say, simply because people always have agendas and always what to make money off of things.

Kinda like Mythbusters, they claim that this or that "myth" is busted, like they are the final authority on things or something, when I've seen things on there show where a supposedly "Busted" "Myth" actually happened to me.

Always check the authorities claims for yourself, don't just take there word for it.

-Lahara



posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 08:45 PM
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This thread brings to mind an old Zen saying.
"If you don't get it from yourself, who will you get it from?"



posted on Oct, 28 2008 @ 10:17 PM
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Originally posted by lw2525
This thread brings to mind an old Zen saying.
"If you don't get it from yourself, who will you get it from?"



Ever hear of an STD?

Lol, I guess that has some truth in it, depends on how it's meant though.

-Lahara



posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 12:31 AM
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There is such a blanket of ignorance over the world right now, that techniques like speaking in absolute terms are not even needed in some arguments. I've seen some discussions come down to "who can sneer the most at the other person" --- bluffing and half-truths are rife in today's age of ignorance.
IMHO, it's pretty important to read up on Logical Fallacies. Having a handle on them helps you articulate to yourself and others when and why "an expert" is full of crap. There's a lot of info on them on the net.
What freaks me out is the amount of times the news will tell us "experts say" that such and such is true. What experts? Who funded the study?
It doesn't matter though, because "EXPERTS SAY"
Fluoride is a good case in point. Ask anyone who believes fluoride is good for your teeth to say who said that and when. Pretty much no one can cite a study. I believe the original head of dentistry in the U.S who said Fluoride is good for your teeth has now retracted his claims....



posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 01:23 AM
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I think it was Socrates that said something along the lines of "it is critical for the philosopher (or any rational being for that matter) to admit that they don't know." paraphrased ofcourse. Just say these three words: I don't know. Humble yourself. Authority figures seem to have a problem with this. The more authoratative the person or entity supposedly is, the harder. Descartes said the more he learned, the more he realized he didn't know anything. The more you learn, the more you realize how much we don't know and how much there is out there to be learned.


[edit on 29-10-2008 by CapsFan8]



posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 01:45 AM
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I suppose it depends on what type of authority you are talking about. Those with authority AND power? We don't have a choice who those people are at times. Police, judges, professors, bosses or even parents. The "rules" apply there, and we can become without "comfort" if we disobey them. The first authorities of those type we learn to question are our parents or our teachers. Once we are of age we can rebel against them in small doses to see what happens. The police and legal authorities, not so much. What book we read based on authorities is a choice we make. What doctor we respect. Who we think makes the better car. What politician and political party we vote for. We can't all be experts, there isn't enough time. That's why we honor the Olympic swimmer, because he devoted ALL his time, (at the detriment of what?) to achieve greatness in ONE thing. I believe any "expert" is probably very, very ignorant in other areas. They have to be. We trust so that we can depend on them to guide us, while we go off and become "experts" elsewhere.
When we TRUST them to do the right thing, and we find out they fail just like we all do, we become angry at ourselves for giving that trust, or we are disgusted that they are not as deserving of what we thought they were. We allow for authority in order to create a natural pecking order. Those who are "good" at something are given that power. When they fail, we have to reevaluate the pecking order again. Demotion.
The highest version of this is choosing God as the ultimate authority. And then giving "certain men or books" the symbolic trust in him/it. The authority to translate it's meaning. I never liked religion, because I didn't trust the men with their books and power and flashy dresses. It never sat right.
Allowing yourself to question things is the greatest gift you can give your mind. The truest form of Freedom.



posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 11:23 AM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
*Rant*
The root of a conspiracy-theory-mindset would seem to be us having believed in an "authority" and then having that trust broken later when realizing the authority doesnt know as much as we hoped...

*End Rant*


that's one of the more polite rants I've heard

more of a philosophical challenge - so - I think it does belong here

the whole concept of knowing is a challenge for me - I've been through so many different threads dealing with this question lately - coming from completely different angles

and no matter how bizarrely different they are from each other - they all strike me as having a kind of integrity and their own truth

maybe that's just me - I think truth is everywhere

I see a link between knowledge and certainty - and if you're not certain - you feel more comfortable aligning yourself with someone who is

maybe it's just human - and part of our whole evolution gig to need and trust a leader - that one person who seems to know what to do

but, I also think there is something important in the concept of "The Wisdom of Crowds"

it goes against the grain of the anti-sheeple people I know - and it's not like I don't understand why

trust is a problem - you can't always trust - but - you also can't always not trust

so, if the crowd can often enough come up with the better answer, then the individual hands that authority over to the crowds choice - even if it's an individual or institution

but - not always - there are always those people who question everything

so between the wisdom of the crowd - and the wisdom of the questioning individual (or group) - to me it's always seemed that there's a constant process of trying to create balance

it will always look off balance - no matter who's looking

and it swings from one extreme to another - but between the extremes there are periods of balance - where people mostly agree - and significant changes occur - we see and think differently - as a group - and do things in a way we never have before

so I think you need both - the crowd - and that pain in the ass individual that's always pointing stuff out that no one wants to deal with or think about - the yin and yang of humanity

ATS get's to be that annoying individual on a daily basis - which is why I read through the conspiracy threads

it's not always the way I think - but it never hurts to question - anything and everything

which is why the conspiracy groups are always undoing each others hard work

edit to add: I wonder what amazing choice will be made by the wisdom of the crowd next week



[edit on 10/29/2008 by Spiramirabilis]



posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 11:33 AM
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Is it a rant if it's true? Hmmm.

Anyway, it reminds me of one of my all time favorite songs:

Indigo Girls - Closer To Fine


I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains
There's more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
(the less I seek my source)
The closer I am to fine


No one really knows what it's all about and that's half of the fun...



posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 02:10 PM
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Great OP.

I think the one thing that we really come here for (ATS) is to work past a lot of the lies we're told by "the authorities."
Questions are always valid.

It's one thing to tell us "we don't know," but it's another thing completely to fob us off with ridiculous stories just to keep us from asking more questions.



posted on Oct, 29 2008 @ 10:37 PM
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Any scientist worth his/her salt would gladly admit it when they don't know something. Science doesn't claim to know everything, and it doesn't.

[edit on 29-10-2008 by Syntax123]

[edit on 29-10-2008 by Syntax123]



posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 04:02 AM
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Originally posted by Syntax123
Any scientist worth his/her salt would gladly admit it when they don't know something. Science doesn't claim to know everything, and it doesn't.



Scientists themselves more often than the followers-of-pop-science.

However, Im really sick and tired of reading "X is the way it is" only for that "hard fact" to be refuted by new research a few years later.




[edit on 30-10-2008 by Skyfloating]






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