Social issues can only be remedied by a collective acceptance of those opinions we view as opposing our own.
In the digital age where symptoms of trickle-down cruelty are now a pandemic, one of the most prevalent signs of willful-ignorance is as it concerns factual information. Factual information is, unarguably, readily available at the fingertips of anyone who decides to seek it. This untold source of power is being readily and purposefully ignored, however, and even when choosing to be ignorant over being knowledgeable people somehow manage to see themselves above others, and even factually correct.
Unless you have some sort of physical ailment preventing you from accessing, reading, and retaining information on your own, ignorance is a choice!
You'd sooner believe a lie that supports your feelings than accept realities that prove your expectations and beliefs wrong. From a knowledgeable perspective, this behavior is born of fear and self-doubt.
— Kyler J. Falk
When Is Information Not Available?
I'm not going to go down the rabbit hole here, you know the one that holds the stance that, "No knowledge can be factual if it is the victor who writes the history books," so no need to worry about some conspiracy theory-esque input. However, not all factual knowledge and information is readily available even if there are sources who claim it to be. All too often we see sources presenting emotional arguments as facts, and those who agree will take such anecdotal swill to the grave as unarguable.
Take for example when news sources break down a politician, or other reputable person's personality and the way they present things. They go out of their way to establish nonsense titles like, "professional body language interpreter," and calling anyone they can label, "expert," to attempt to give as much credence as they can to anything they want to say. When a, "professional," is handing you information from their, "field of study," it would make sense that you are more inclined to believe them.
Alas, there is no way to factually interpret someone's body language in a clear, concise, and fair way without writing an entire novel about each possible set of movements. Equally so, for anyone who has been in an important enough position to give a public speech, we all know that we sometimes slip up and say things we wouldn't have otherwise meant. You can be sure that there is no way to present the facts behind what you meant once the information has already been delivered, and everyone is going to run away with their own interpretations and present them as fact.
It is upon you to recognize when anecdotal information is being wrongfully presented as factual, and realize when abstaining from arguing is necessary. If you can't observe it with your own eyes, question every fiber of its factual existence!
How to Avoid Common Pitfalls of Knowledge
Any time someone presents something as fact, unfortunately, it must be taken with more than just a grain of salt. Most people will not go out of their way to consider that someone is simply trying to persuade them to have an emotional response, rather than a response grounded in logic, and it isn't until you call them out on this that they take any time to reassess their situation. By the time they reassess themselves the conversation has devolved into an argument filled with ad hominem and straw man arguments.
This is a common pitfall of knowledge in the digital age, because discussions and debate are occurring on public forums where you know an entire crowd could be watching. Rather than give in to that knee-jerk emotional reaction to everything being said, you could take the time to do some research and cross-reference information. Why come into an argument half-cocked when you can obliterate the other side with factual responses each and every time you respond?
Well, I'll tell you why you're going off half-cocked and firing from the hip; it is because another pitfall of knowledge in the digital age is the need to feel like you are superior, as if you aren't missing the knowledge you so boldly began to speak on. It is understandable that you want to respond quick, concisely, and outright destroy your opponent, but that is just promoting further anecdotal debate rather than presenting concrete evidence. It takes 5-15 minutes to read a well-researched article, and about 3-7 minutes to produce a well-worded response; take those 20 minutes to be knowledgeable, if not for your competition then for yourself.
Individuals are the biggest pitfall of knowledge; use knowledge to spread facts, not as a tool to hurt others.
I'd sooner walk away from an endless maze than argue that there's no way it could be endless. Anecdotal arguments are just that; an unforgiving labyrinth with no decisive winners.
— Kyler J. Falk
How to Turn Knowledge Into a Tool for Good
We all have useful knowledge to offer, even if it is just anecdotal, but they key to making knowledge a tool for good lies in your intention, patience, and confidence. In the book, The 48 Laws of Power, we get to observe and learn exactly how knowledge is used as a tool against us, and the knowledge that provides the most power to hurt lies in keeping everyone around you ignorant. To use knowledge for good, you must first learn exactly how knowledge is used to contort and manipulate for bad.
Take time to ask yourself before engaging in the exchange of knowledge, "Am I being a part of the problem, or am I promoting healthy social exchange that I would want to take part in all the time?"
If you want to hurt others with facts thinking it will do good for the longevity of society, you're wrong and need to abstain. Now, I know it is easy to hurt someone despite having no intentions to, this is due to the sensitivity of the current social paradigms in the world, but that means it is equally upon you to dial yourself back even further. If you think you are more advanced as it concerns your ability to solve issues through speech, your ability to take in and retain information is exceedingly outstanding, I'd highly advise you pick up this book on Speech-Language Pathology.
In conjunction with The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, this advanced clinical resource will help you in addressing the way you approach others through both text and speech. As a consumer of this resource myself, I suggest it to anyone who wants to claim that they are debating for the better good. This is because, surely, anyone who wants to promote the greater good is also willing to do what it takes to refine their practice.
Only once you are knowledgeable in every facet of presenting information can you seek to call yourself factually knowledgeable in every regard!
Don't Be a Part of the Problem
The next time you are wandering the figurative battlegrounds that are internet forums and/or taking part in political discourse make sure that you abstain from throwing fuel on the raging fires of cruelty; because if you are not out to understand where everyone is coming from and remain calm in the face of an onslaught of performative cruelty, then no one is going to hear what you have to say anyways.
Rather than rushing to read and respond to every harsh bit of criticism you receive, ensure that you stop and take a deep breath, analyze context, then present everything in a fair and impartial way. Nothing feels worse than entering a conversation with good intentions, then leaving that same conversation with a heavy heart, full of pity for your opponents and yourself for having stooped to their level.
Have that confidence that is so necessary, the confidence in your methods and knowledge that will never leave you questioning yourself. Express your feelings and share the compassion that so many would try to stomp out of you with every one of their biting words. Facts, reality, self-confidence, these are the tools at your disposal where your adversaries would seek to make them into tools of your own demise.
We cannot move into a brighter future if we are fighting each other on behalf of those who abuse us collectively. Stand together in a show of unity, or fall divided by those who could care less.
Kyler J Falk (author) from California on May 19, 2020:
Too true, MG, and at the very least if someone is going to try to speak with any authority on a topic the least they could do is utilize the myriad of resources available to them.
Thanks for reading!
MG Singh from UAE on May 18, 2020:
I agree. The old saying' ignorance is bliss' does not hold any water in the modern world. The Internet has changed everything and now ignorance is not an excuse at all. The world is moving at a fast pace and it is the duty of everybody to make use of the tools available to keep yourself informed.