If We’re So Smart:
Lately, there have been many articles on most media platforms about how we humans are purposely manipulated by other humans. On the surface, that seems a bit crazy. After all, we are the most intelligent species on earth, right? Yet, we see suckers being born every day.
The Silly Season
Let’s start with the misleading and outright false statements being made during this hyper-partisan election cycle. Neither end of the political spectrum is clean on this, so I’m not taking sides. We are all being manipulated by those who would have us support them. I see no way to combat this other than the hard work of doing our own research and not taking the statements of either party as being entirely truthful. Assume we are being manipulated.
There Is No Box
It’s all too easy to get boxed into an echo chamber where all we hear is from “like-minded people.” I do not see how it can possibly be useful to not know what others, who do not think like me or have my experiences, are thinking.
I find that more colleagues and friends state that they “never” answer their phone unless they know who is calling. Following that rule saves an incredible amount of time for me. At last count, I had just under 3,000 contacts in my file. Whenever I meet someone in person or am introduced to someone by a trusted colleague, I put their information in my contact list. The odds are very high that if a name doesn’t come up when the phone “rings,” it is someone who I do not need to speak with. If it is a legitimate call, I will, of course, get a voice mail and can decide how to respond.
Based on the number of calls not answered, and the very few voice-mails I receive, I can only conclude that I have avoided a considerable amount of time-wasting interruptions.
If I want it, I have it, or I’ve decided what I want doesn’t fit in my budget. Therefore, I only buy, I do not let myself be sold. How about you?
My sense of things is that to the extent that we can be aware that we are susceptible to conspiracy theories, clickbait ads on the Internet, and the comfort of echo chambers, we might be able to fight back against the manipulators. Developing a keen skepticism and the discipline of confirming, as best we can, the information we receive before passing it along will help us combat becoming a sucker.
I believe we have a chance to save our democracy and keep a vibrant capitalist economy if we:
- Seek information from and strive to understand those with whom we disagree
- Never answer the phone unless we know who is calling
- Only buy, never let ourselves be sold
- Ignore what others have or do and find our own happiness
I don’t believe it is hyperbole to say our way of life depends on us evolving defenses against the manipulators who desire that we do what they want instead of what we want for ourselves. Most of us can follow the mantra that “in today’s modern economy if I want or need something, I already have it or have decided it isn’t in my budget.” Therefore, anyone trying to sell me something does not have my best interest at heart.