A Wellbeing, Critical Thinking blog
By Kenneth Alexander
War of Words: Why Cynicism is your best Path to Hope
Friends, foes, believers and disbelievers alike, lend me your ears!
If you are drawn to this line, you are likely a disappointed idealist whose trust in people has rendered you hopeless. Like me, maybe you believe that information in the mass media is an end to a means, learning how civil society should behave, or perhaps attending public gatherings is your forte of giving change a chance. Maybe you are a television, newspaper or magazine fanatic, or perhaps you find solace in the Holy Books. Herein, I will mostly be discussing the digital age of information. However, if dissemination of information in the digital age is of no interest, you will find something more familiar (gossip anyone?).
So without further ado, my first topic and my favorite is digitalized communication data, debatably unparalleled, the epitome of entertainment, political, social, health and education news.
Gloom & Doom
As those who’ve subscribed to, viewed or read digitalized news information you already know, stories of children crying, politicians lying and seniors dying is indeed a ‘sign of the times’. Children of illegal immigrates separated from parents, American children living in extreme poverty; Political party rivals legislating under the same government roof are devout enemies and elderly Americans are victimized by society and the state. Every man, woman and child for his/herself—God for us all. The will and actions of the people just make no sense. They continue to elect the same leaders over and over again and conveniently ignore positive change, or worse, self-serving elitists, leaders drunk with greed are perverted and corrupt.
For anyone unfamiliar with digitalized communications state of affairs, here is a small sample (optimism ahead): “Families have difficulty achieving reunification [with their children] and receive few resources. Children experience substance abuse, self-destructive behaviors, legal involvement, and internalizing and externalizing behavior problems” says the American Humane Association. “Mother Jones.com says “70,000 Kids Will Show Up Alone at Our Border This Year. What Happens to Them?” In contrast, The Guardian reports: The government’s “Sure Start” program appears to be succeeding in its aim of improving the chances of children born into deprived families….
“A new professional class of unaccountable movers and shakers is controlling the flow of power and money in America” says New American Foundation.org. “Democrats have cast Republicans as relying heavily on a handful of billionaires to boost their chances of taking the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has repeatedly denounced conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch from the Senate floor. Reid’s allies run the Senate Majority PAC.”
The number of elderly Americans of the nation’s population is growing, and Americans who reach age 65 are living longer. Abusive physical actions, withholding medicine and/or medical care, food, or misuse of money, property or the possessions of the elder as reported at Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs of Louisiana.
Nothing Positive to Say
Dr. Leon Wieseltier, Ph.D. says one-hundred years of culture in America is “Insurrections of the Mind” fashioned by “too much digital, not enough critical thinking and more physical reality.” Audiences are watching television, texting, listening to music and surfing the internet mistake those activities for critical thinking. Dr. Wieseltier goes further to assert that the democratic society (an open society) places an extraordinary intellectual responsibility upon ordinary men and women. Because people governed by their opinions and what they think; the quality of ideas and the quality of formation of beliefs determines the fundamental character of society, that a thoughtless citizen is a delinquent citizen. The analysis is accurate, and I think the gentleman is on to something paramount here. But humans are interconnected with emotions that seek to know and to feel.
Indeed, humans do not suffer by having too much feeling. Now, it is not a filibuster to argue that the human heart and mind are and does two different things; too much of either is the make-up of monsters which all societies have experienced throughout history. To raise the level of this discussion, let’s include the ‘gut.’ Gut feelings that this information or that data are critical and must be absorbed.
No Way Out
The internet is an efficient tool that provides unlimited information sources that create a platform for internet users to access information quickly, mostly in a real time manner. However, the internet audience is faced with other than honest and reliable sources of information, especially when news conflict due to the vast amount of news agencies on the internet. Moreover, powerful visualization techniques
From advertising to academic disciplines, representation of knowledge through knowledge visualization has become a popular widely used, and abused, way to report information. Increased fast availability of news has caused problems of accuracy and reliability that is being used, as an undisputable fact, to cover-up deliberate journalist’s ethics violations. Meanwhile, advertisers and marketers, with the use of ‘content’ oriented journalists, has manipulated new formation of words to mislead and deceive the public. Promotions that are unclear and misleading can lead consumers to purchase goods and services, or makes investments with negative results.
And, the so-called academic community is not exempt from ‘miscommunication’ errors, e.g., Wikipedia is open to anonymous and collaborative editing, so assessments of its reliability usually include examination of how quickly false or misleading information is removed.
Which brings me to the question you should be asking yourself by now. Having read my take on digital age communications, you must be wondering, who is actually responsible, how can it stopped and, what kind of person dedicates himself to a blog view of such things when nothing matters in the long run? Why bother when attempting to do anything is pointless and shooting for the stars just burns you up in the atmosphere?
The thing is, I don’t agree with ‘the need to know’ in the digital age of communications theme. People, it’s a brilliant age of technology designed to improve the ‘bottom line’ in an age of thinking human beings. Targeted audiences of digital communications (that’s you) are an indecisive crowd preconditioned by ideas of patriotism, enigmatic convictions, and of course, holidays that replace critical and speculative thought processes. As a result, I should assume that the need to know, in the digital age, is a little skewed. I am a man of great skepticism, and I don’t see that changing anytime in the near future.
So let’s embark on this digital age of communications adventure together. Because, understanding, reason and critical speculative thought, I have little optimism, and (I hope) lots of people interested in what I’m discussing.
On a final note, here’s our question(s) of the day: how do you see yourself in the digital age of communications? Why? Would you put down your iPad, iPod or turn off your internet connection, which is a part of yourself? Leave your answer in the comments, and in the meantime, sleep tight, you puppets and sheep. (Brownie points if you can make me less cynical and more optimistic. Okay, bye for real this time.)