I believe, one of the biggest challenges we have right now is the answer to the question:
“Where can I find the truth?”
or even the question could be
“What does truth even mean now?”
With trust being at an all-time low towards all kinds of institutions (based on a lot of research like Edelman’s) and people having the need for “control”, there are more conspiracy theories than ever. On top of that, those theories spread with the speed of light thanks to #socialmedia and its algorithms that bring you even more of the same, once you show interest in a certain view.
This puts us in different rabbit holes that are not even visible to us. Hence there are “alternative facts”, different truths for different people, and a lot of polarization.
We are seeing the implications of this all around us from how we react to Covid19, to vaccinations, to what happened at our Capitol on Jan 6th, and a lot more that may not even make the news.
Being the naïve person I used to be, I thought the majority of people believed in science and there are facts that are backed with evidence which we can all accept. At least among the educated ones. Now I notice people around me or on TV or on social media, those who I believe to be more educated than others sharing theories and made up stories that have no evidence to back them up. I find myself puzzled having no idea how to react. Even worse, I see some coming up with even more conspiracy theories in real-time as we are discussing the consequences of these untruthful beliefs.
We have to resolve this for the betterment of our humanity, for unity, for understanding each other. But how?
One major decision we can all make is to take the responsibility to do fact-check, research the source of what we read or watch before we share with others. That can help us at least not become part of the problem. I know this is only the tip of the iceberg though. What else can we do to understand the motives and psychology behind the believers of made-up stories or conspiracy theories so that we can make a change?
I personally started reading a lot about this. I am so curious. I want to understand, not blame or shame. I read through some very scientific papers a friend of mine sent that tells me, for some, it is coming from a need to control in a world where everything looks crazy.
This article tells condemning these people makes things even worse, so that is not the solution either.
Here is even one explanation from a mathematician.
Are you thinking about this challenge as well? What do you think? I feel like people with different expertise need to look at this from all angles to help us all out. If we do not address this, it looks like it can cause a lot more harm to humanity.
Where can we find the truth? Is there only one truth? What is constitutes a fact?
Questions lingering in my mind especially in the last year.