Who & What to Believe?

I have just finished glancing at the more than 150 pieces of e-mail that accumulated in my “In Box” overnight.  Some are easily disposed of given the apparent subject matter, while other of it needs to be read, at least skimmed, in order to determine if it is worth going into more deeply.  All this is, of course, deeply personal since we each have our own belief system, our own biases, our own self-interests.  I am ‘retired’ so I have time that you may well not have, and I am still sufficiently ‘hooked’ on ‘news’ that I feel compelled to go through this routine daily or at least six days a week in earnest.

The vast bulk of pieces in my e-mail inbox proves to be designed to influence me, that is to sell me something whether that something is tangible or intangible.  My opinion is subject to being reformed every morning if I were to permit that to occur.  If I hadn’t spent a lifetime reaching today where I feel that I can form an opinion and write about it in blog form or discuss it with friends, I would be better off not getting all the ‘news’ I get via the Internet, television, radio and hard copy in my mailbox.  I’d be better off to crawl into a cubby hole somewhere and watch the world go past.

I, like you, am subject to the ebbs and flows of information.  Information that someone somewhere has decided to make available to me for some reason.  In some cases, the information is aimed at selling me a product or a service.  In other cases, the information is aimed at influencing a decision I may be facing.  What kind of automobile can I afford and, of that group, which is best for us?  Who should I vote for from amongst the list of names that flit across media outlets every day?  What do those people each really believe?  Can I believe them completely, and if there is a question, how much of what they say can I believe?  And, unfortunately, there is always a question.

Too often, I fear that we tire of trying to work our way through this mess of information and simply crawl back into a fiction book that I know full well isn’t real…but which is usually much more enjoyable than reality these days.  This is often likened to drinking from a firehose.  We are inundated with information every day unless we live the life of a hermit or are deprived of one or more of our senses and thus unable to be inundated.

I am addicted to information; I confess, but I am not anxious to be cured as is, I presume, the case with addictions as I learned in my many efforts to quit smoking cigarettes.  I did finally ‘kick the habit’ of smoking but I doubt there is a cure for this “information desire” habit short of being rendered unable to partake.  I do not mean to make fun of addiction in any form, but to equate that to becoming overly-dependent upon ‘news’.

How do we get to the place where we believe we are finally able to discern between pieces of information?  I believe that finally happens when we get to the place where we think along the lines of the feeder source with various exceptions that we’re able to discern and take into account as we assess its “believability rating”.  We gather what we believe and discard what we don’t find believable.   We talk with others and weigh their beliefs against our own.  We read the blogs of others and weigh those opinions against our own.

We are ‘works-in-progress’ at almost every stage of our existence.  No matter how learned, there is always something else to absorb, process and decide about.  There are places and people we can patronize for added thoughts, and that is where blogs become useful either to find added sources of “trustworthy” thinking or to eliminate trustworthiness but still keeping an eye on other sources.

Another day in the world of an information addict…

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