The Holy Scriptures says: …“If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
But, what is TRUTH? Yes, Jesus is saying that knowing Him, as a disciple of faith, you will be given the ability to discern the truth. We believe that it is through the power of the Holy Spirit who will teach us the things we need to know.
People today have concerns about whether to trust what is being told them about the Covid-19 vaccines and other issues that strike close to home. Whether children should be in school; if some foreign nation is planning to demolish our democratic electoral system; who is planning a cyber attack on your bank account or other personal online properties…etc etc.? The list could go on and on. We are in OVERLOAD when it comes to information. We know that when our electric circuits have overload, the power will go off. Is our power to discern truth teetering on the possibility of not being able to discern truth?
It appears that in this information age, the information that we receive is not always what it should be. There is a new term, not “home security”, which we are familiar with, but “epistemic security” which is explained in an article on BBC “Future” by Elizabeth Seger.
“Episteme is a Greek philosophical term, meaning “to know”. Epistemic security therefore involves ensuring that we do in fact know what we know, that we can identify claims that are unsupported or not true, and that our information systems are robust to “epistemic threats” such as false news...
Attention scarcity: As early as the 13th Century – well before the invention of the printing press in Europe – scholars complained about information overload. In 1255, the Dominican Vincent of Beauvais wrote of “the multitude of books, the shortness of time and the slipperiness of memory”.
However, the internet has made massive quantities of hard-to-verify information more easily accessible than ever before. It is difficult to sift through which tidbits are true and which are not. Our limited capacity for attention is simply spread too thin.
Abundance of information and limitations on attention creates a fierce “attention economy” in which governments, journalists, interest groups and others must compete for eyeballs. Unfortunately, some of the most effective attention-grabbing strategies appeal to people’s emotions and existing beliefs, and these sources are otherwise ambivalent about the truth.
Filter bubbles and bounded rationality: A particularly worrisome consequence of the attention economy is the formation of filter bubbles, where people are exposed primarily to their own pre-held beliefs, and opposing views are filtered out.
When facing information overload, people naturally prefer to pay more attention to like-minded individuals in their own communities over unfamiliar outsiders. Using social media platforms, it is easier than ever to form and join communities unified by shared beliefs and values.
The epistemic consequence of filter bubbles is called “bounded rationality”. If access to information is the foundation of good reasoning and decision-making, then limiting one’s access to potentially relevant information by becoming entrenched in filter bubbles will in turn limit one’s ability to reason well...”
So what does all this mean? Who do we believe?
It means that people are so overloaded with information…good, bad, true or untrue…that they don’t know what to believe… what or who to trust. Whenever our media, from whatever source, trims down or leaves out what you, as an an intelligent individual, is allowed to hear, see or read, it is controlling your ability to think on your own.
Sir Francis Bacon, a seventeenth-century English philosopher and statesman, suggests that in order to separate truth from falsehood, we have to empty human minds of overwrought thoughts, fanciful hopes, and misleading interpretations. Even if we do not buy into Bacon’s apocalyptic view that lies are a sign of the end of the world, we know that they erode societies’ structures. Nevertheless, our sense of social security allows most of us to be indifferent to the question of truth. Until and unless the question jeopardizes our lives, we can afford our nonchalance. The question is how long we can keep ignoring the fact that falsehood kills collective good, slowly but surely. (from Rehnuma Sazzard)
What then should we do?
First, there may need to be some life changes. The TV or internet can become our ever-present filter to what is absorbed in our minds and thoughts. Decide to give it less of a chance to do this to you. This requires turning it off or limiting the number of hours that it invades the mind. Yes, I know it is hard…especially at first, but believe me, it gets easier. Often the TV is a background of noise regardless of what we are doing. Your brain, nevertheless, absorbs what is being said and so are your emotions and mental abilities.
We do not try to impose our life style on those who are not wanting to make a change, but it may give you something to consider: We used to watch the evening news regularly…like clockwork. After deciding that there were other things we could do with this time, it became easier not to flood our home sounds and ultimately our minds with other people’s opinions or so-called “news.”
After a month or so to get used to a different routine, it can be truly said, “The “news” and certain programs are not missed.” Yes, we look at the basic news headlines on the internet and decide then…IF it is worth reading or spending any time on it. Usually, we can skip 90%.
At least we will know if the world is getting ready to end. What we would do if it should be true, is anybody’s guess…but probably figure it is just more of the same…how to scare people to death! The most reliable is if the weather person tells us that Florida is going to have a major hurricane…and to get ready! Now, that gets our attention! Even if the hurricane veers another way, which it may do, we feel that the weather channel is trying to be a truthful as possible…and not trying to sell us a “false narrative.”
Prayer is Important
Ask God’s guidance and understanding. Let Him give you directions and knowledge of what is important to your everyday living. Not only WHAT is important, but WHO is important and act on these things.
Prayer: Holy Father, in this world of information overload, please give our minds Your peace and rest. May we always look to you for understanding of TRUTH or what may be a falsehood. May we make You our constant companion of Whom we can always trust. May we look at your wonderful world…relaxing our minds from the all distractions. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.
Turn up sound…good background music for peaceful hours.