"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life.
Don't be trapped by Dogma which is living with the results of other people's thinking.
Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become."
- Steve Jobs

Friday, April 07, 2006

Decisions decisions

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

6 comments:

Sperestillen said...

Wolfgang von Goethe isn't totally correct. In some cases he is right but there are some things that can be proven, and the person who refuses to listen generally does so because they are too bigoted and prejudiced, and doesn't want their comfortable personally-held beliefs shattered into a myriad shards by things called 'facts'.
Published By Sperestillen - 07 April 17:43

Sperestillen said...

Couldn't resist saying this, in the vain hope that maybe you'll listen.
You have areas of expertise in which I'd never accroach, e.g. your job for one thing, and rats for another. You know things about them I could never know, and probably hope I never will know. You have a great deal of experience which would negate any argument I might have as regards their care and treatment, and so on. Naturally any opinion I have in those regards would have to be deferred to your experience and knowledge of these matters. And I would do so. But then, I'm not a hypocrite.

Now let's look at it from the other side.

Your American friend is obviously extremely experienced, and highly qualified, in matters concerning aircraft and probably in areas you wouldn't even begin to understand. But you sit there and tell him he's wrong regarding the effect of an airplane impact into a building. A subject of which you know nothing beyond that which you've read in your anti-Bush propaganda leaflets. And let me just reiterate. I am neither a Bush lover nor a Bush hater. I have no feelings either way.
I have a great deal of experience, and the qualifications to back them up, in other matters. For example, ancient documents and so on. Considering the years I've spent on these subjects it's reasonable to expect that I know what I am talking about, and there aren't many people who can argue against me. I know, perfectly well, the differences between rhetoric and dialectic, and the need for proof to back up any argument, the burden of proof. But you, with no knowledge (beyond your own personally held beliefs) and absolutely no experience in these areas, sat there and told me I was wrong and made out that I didn't know what I was talking about, refusing to accept what I had to say. And you did it for no other reason than that it didn't fit into your own world view.
That's rather insulting, both to him and to me.

You complain that people don't click on your links to hear your side of things. Well they do, or at least I did. But do you bother to click on links that people send you, to hear their side of the argument? So far you haven't done so with anything I've sent you, instead citing that you're too 'busy'.
You haven't really any argument then, if you display an attitude that is prejudiced against another person's viewpoint before you've even established the facts. Have you?

Mad Old Rat Spinster said...

Dude, before you diss me for not reading your document yet, I recall that you never bothered to watch those two 9/11 films. For each expert you threw at me from your Word document, the videos threw up the more experts who say exactly the opposite. Structural engineers and workers from the steel company that built the framework of the Twin Towers, not to mention architects of the towers themselves came forward, to say "this was unusual, something was afoot". So one side is lying! For every expert who has one view, there is another that has the opposing view. And you slag me for choosing the view that doesn't fit your ideals. Just like the Yank who slags me for not wanting to shag Bush. How am I meant to choose from one panel of experts and the next if they are both presenting plausible FACTS as to what happened??

Mad Old Rat Spinster said...

PS show me some photos of plane wreckage outside the Pentagon on that pristine lawn that was unmarked by the crash. Compare average plane crash photos with the Pentagon photo - there is fuck all there! Evidence is right in front of you, a perfect CIRCULAR hole in the wall - not a plane-shaped hole! Where are the wings, where are the engines?

P R O J E C T 2 5 0 1 said...

If there's one thing that I love to do more than anything it's to walk into a raging argument that has nothing to with me and to submit my two pence at the most inopportune of moments. Not quiet what I'm able to do here, things seem too civilised for my liking but I'll continue anyway.

Sperestillen makes a good point regarding experience and while I'm sure that he (I use 'he' only assumptively) has plenty of it he misses the point of the blog entry itself. Who are we supposed to believe in anything. Sources can be cited to prove two different and yet plausible sides of any same argument but it is down to the individual to find out this information on their own and to judge for themselves the truth that they accept.

You can't argue with that person about what they hold be to true or the value of credibility that they place within a certain source. The reason that this is that all that you can do is give them your opinions, your own assessments of a given situation and hope that they award them with credibility. While the two have you have both produced sources for the other to view and consider, they may choose to ignore them since something that they have heard already, something that has convinced them of another subjective truth has a higher value of belief placed within it by them.

In short, arguing with each other will get you nowhere at all. Sperestillen, you can argue about experience and specialisation but the fact is that a persons ability and judgement mean nothing if the audience who listens to them doubts them. They might be wrong to do so if the matter can be proven empirically, as in the case of aeroplane mechanics and physics (religious theology does not fall into this realm) but it doesn't matter. If somebody requires the fulfillment of another requisite in order to take something as truth
then they have every right to doubt it until it has been satisfied.

Rache, you strike me as extremely sceptical with regards to the American government and it's affairs and you are well within your rights to do so based on what has influenced your opinions. What I will say however is not to remain so closed to new possibilities. For example, if someone lived without ever seeing the sky was convinced that they sky was green then they could not be considered a fool for doing so. If they saw the blue sky however and still believed it green, then they would start to look verily foolish indeed...

Long story short, the two of you must agree to disagree and kiss and make up. Let's all be friends and go out for ice cream!

Mad Old Rat Spinster said...

Very well said Michael. And as regards America, I've yet to see the blue sky .... been watching a TV prog I taped ages ago about Rupert Murdoch and his media empire, mainly Fox News network, and how when he took it over he started to use the whole network to spout forth his right wing opinions, how he used it as in instrument to spread his own opinions to the American Public, how newscasters and reporters that objected or refused to go with it were sacked and villified, how interviewees are interrupted and told to "shut up" if during their interview, they dare to say anything that opposes those right wing views...and so much more stories, memos, interviews with employees, and blatant proof of the biasness of this news station - all the while projected under their banner of "Fair and Balanced". So the American public who CHOOSE to watch Fox News will ultimately end up having the same opinions, because they trust that what they are watching really is "fair and balanced".

The same can be applied to the stuff both myself and Sperry are reading about Bush, Iraq and 9/11. We trust the sources WE choose to read are right and true, and once in that mindset it's very hard to let go and reverse your opinions. I fear Sperry just gets pissed when people choose not to bow to his Superior Knowledge of the World, as demonstrated by several Blog tantrums with other people and Blog shutdowns over the past year!

Timmy sweets, unblock me from MSN and let's just agree to disagree!!