The past week of political arguing, coupled with a few other things I've been pondering, have got me thinking - "what on earth should we believe"?
Today at work a student handed in a book all about the food industry, that debunks all the myths that you see the press raving about, ie genetically modified fruit, packaging and transport of food destroying the environment etc. I had a quick flick through and it was amazing how this book made you totally believe the opposite of what the fearmongering Mainstream Media would have us belive. For instance:
Fears of antibiotic resistance in animals spreading to humans is calmly answered with "The use of antibiotics in young animals keeps meat prices low and does not materially contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans."
Packaging and transporting food is environmentally unfriendly is answered with "Packaging enhances the shelf life of products and reduces wastage during transport. Transporting food allows society to take advantage of different environmental and socio-economic conditions that exist in different places."
The whole book is designed to convince us that the modern way of processing and plastic-wrapping food, is a GOOD and BENEFICIAL thing for our world today.
Now some people may read this book and be convinced, while others will pooh-pooh it and continue with their own initial beliefs. Beliefs that came about because of something they saw on telly or something they read in the media, whether it be a commercial popular website or one of these "truth" websites that claim to give you the "real" news.
Why did they choose to believe the nasty scary version of life, rather than the other "it's safe really, you can trust us" version? Why do I choose to believe the "it's all a conspiracy designed to rip us off" version of events? Because I've read this or seen that on telly, and choose to believe what it says.
I guess having first hand experience of something will definitely cement your opinions, ie if you worked in a chicken factory for a week you would know that all the press is true. And if you were on the front line in Iraq with inadequate body armour you would know the news reports denying inadequate body armour are crap. But unless you can GET first hand experience you will have to trust what people tell you.
Shame we can't all spend a week eavesdropping in the Oval Office, No 10 and Congress .....
Whilst arguing with my Yankee friend he was throwing facts at me about how great Bush is and how the Iraq war was justified and how the Twin Towers WAS a Bin Laden plot....but for every fact he threw at me, I could find another one on another website that said totally the opposite.
So it's all really our own minds and characters that ultimately decide our opinions. Depending on how our views on the world have been built up, we then read something and either believe it, or not believe it. But our views have been built up by what we have seen or read or heard about in the pub/on the telly/on the internet, so you can go round in circles!
Common sense plays a part too I believe, for instance - I refuse to believe that spraying fruit with a cocktail of chemicals before flying it to Jamaica to get packed, then flying it back to the UK for Asda, is a good thing - both for our bodies or for the environment. And no amount of debunking books will change my mind. I also refuse to believe that a 757 punched such a small hole in the Pentagon, as the photographic evidence to ME seems irrefutable.
If we were to try and find the source of everything we read in the media, and try and find out if it was true or not, we'd go insane. You just can't track it all down, and if you did and someone said "it's the truth, honest" then again it's up to ourselves to decide again. So we are back to the saying in my earlier blog:
It is always better to say right out what you think without trying to prove anything much: for all our proofs are only variations of our opinions, and the contrary-minded listen neither to one nor the other."~~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe