December 22, 2020•556 words
Though I'm almost never active there, I occasionally return to Twitter just to see what's happening. What I see there scares me.
Using the power of the internet and by exploiting the minds of people who aren't great at figuring out what factual sources look like, multiple huge groups of users on the platform have been entrapped in various narratives by various charismatic figures or organizations, and are at the point of flat-out denying reality. '''''''Alternative news''''''' sources push them to view the world through a heavily-filtered, propagandized lens -- and they obviously don't know it.
While I'd like to say that my ability to judge facts is better than theirs, the mere existence of those groups troubles me. Their rejection of what I understand to be objective reality (or close to it) is, in their eyes, them avoiding the propaganda, and it is their belief that those sources that I consider to be realiably factual are outright lying to them.
That is exactly my thought pattern. I believe that I am avoiding propaganda, and taking news from credible sources. Of course, I can say with relative certainty that my understanding of the internet is more complex than theirs, but that doesn't guarantee that my understanding of the world is more correct than theirs. I can be able to navigate the web as well as I'd like, but that doesn't really mean anything if I mentally filter out what is actually objective reality as someone else's flawed views or propaganda. It would be possible for me to be in an identical (albeit more complex) filter bubble, one that serves the same purpose as that of the people I'm discussing. Were that the case, I find it unlikely that I would be able to break out of it.
Everyone in these groups is just as human as I am. We are all susceptible to persuasion, lies, and false narratives. I can say with relative certainty here that there is someone out there with a better grasp on the world than mine; what am I missing, that they find concerning? Who looks down their nose upon people like me as I look down upon those twitter users, and what do they know that I don't? I deliberately avoid participating on Twitter because I would feel like I'm sinking to the level of the ad homenim attacks and faulty logic that pervade the platform; who reads my discussion spaces and does the same? I'd hope that the answer would be no one, but I find that hard to believe.
I think that I understand the world pretty well, but I, as everyone else, am a victim of my own worldview. There isn't much I can do about this, much that I could do about this theoretically possible filter bubble that I could theoretically possibly live in, other than continue trying to learn and grow as a person.I cannot protect myself from misguided beliefs when I experience subjective reality in an objective world. I spend a lot of time dealing with certainty and quantities, like in computer science and math, so I guess this scares me a little.
Like with #6, I'm not sure if this is entirely coherent. Oh well. Hope you liked the title - it has not serious relevance or meaning, I just thought it was funny.