I remember back in the days when I heard that a certain food is not good to eat because it causes cancer, and I stopped eating it for ten years, until another research came out that says you can eat it, it’s actually good for your health blah blah blah.
I sat down with that information and i had two thoughts / questions about it;
1. So I stopped eating the food for ten years, denied myself the goodness of the earth for it to only be a lie? How many things have they said that they will change after ten years. I realized living under what experts tell you alone is unreliable and inconsistent
2. I realized research is funded and sometimes they do it to just prove the answers they want / have already, depending on the funder, or any motive researchers may have. So that started my habit of disbelieving and questioning every information I’m told.
There’s a lot of information nowadays, but there’s also a lot of misinformation and fact checkers. We are bombarded with news, information, fact checking and more new information and some that are yet to be discovered or told to us. Sometimes it can feel like no truth is constant or there’s none at all, I went through a season like that, I think I still am.
So if you have been wondering how to stop being misinformed, here are couple tips on what has helped me during this overinformed time in our world;
-Read and listen to both sources and then critically think through the information you have heard.
Listen to people who affirm things that you agree with, also listen to people who you hate or would never listen too under any circumstance.
The thing about social media is the algorithm just gives you things / information that you have already proved to love, you might think that you are learning something new but the reality is you are just learning about thing from people that you already agree with, nothing new from a different source, one that might think differently from you.
It is important that you are presented with both information, in that way you are given a chance to decide which one makes more sense to you.
Also Read : Random thoughts on social media
– Experts are good but what’s their motivation?
My questions deepened when I saw experts colliding, some silenced or labelled crazy when sharing different views on the same subject. I assume they studied similar stuffs so why are they giving opposing views on the same subject. Something must not be right in Mars. So personal research, common sense and intuition is needed on who you choose to believe on the matters that experts talk about.
It’s important to know that a lot of experts are also doing it as a job, so they get paid to be experts on different things, do you own research sometimes, and trust your intuition enough to believe that you are and can be right. Follow the money, you will know experts’ true motivations. And in fact no one knows everything so even the experts could be wrong. Also make sure to check the fact checkers, know their biases on the subjects as well.
– Try to check behind the screen, when a research is done, do the digging, learn about how it was conducted, who is involved, what is their story and stuffs like that. I know that this is hard considering that we live busy lives but it’s crucial before making a life decision that will affect you for ten years like me when I stopped eating that delicious food.
– Observe life in an individual lens not a lens through what you have been told or a community lens.
Don’t look at a situation trying to prove what you were told, look at a situation trying to see the situation for yourself (see it for what it is rather than what you were told it is) and then make a judgement. It is easy to influence a group than it is to influence an individual. It is easy to be misinformed in a clique than it is to be misinformed if you are told something alone and think about it. You know even our friendship circles most of the times as humans we are comfortable having friends who agree with us in most issues but it is important to have friends who disagree with us or present a different angle to things.
At the end of the day, everyone is passionate, the ‘informed’ and the ‘misinformed’, they are both passionate about the knowledge they have and they are all opposing the person on the other side, kind of like fighting for your attention, acceptance and belief in their knowledge, so you have to decide for yourself not just follow a group or a certain person when consuming any information and making a decision.