What 2020 taught me is that we humans don't really actually care much at all about facts.

in #humanity3 years ago


There are an infinite number of facts in the wide wide world and we can't possibly process or even glance at all of them. What we care about is meaning. What matters and what does some happening mean? To me, for my family?

What should I do and not do? How should I act in the world? Facts don't answer that. Science doesn't answer that. They don't tell us how to behave, what is right or wrong or what is more or less effective based on our goals and values. That last part is what all the fighting and confusion is actually about.

We no longer have a shared narrative.

Underlying everything is meaning. What does this mean? Especially what does this mean for the future. It really is just a bunch of stories, and narratives, because that is what we all respond to, and that is what we all do in our own heads, because there are way to many facts to know or even think about. We assign meaning, write stories and look hopefully for confirmation of our stories and that they will work for us by guiding our behaviour.

The people who watch and report aren’t really watching and reporting, they’re interpreting and selling. The media filters out a tiny fraction of the facts and tells us why these particular facts are the ones we need to pay attention to, vs. 1 billion other facts and events of the day, and why. They tell us what facts matter and more importantly what the facts they have chosen mean. Within one single event even, they pick certain facts, ignore others, and tell us what the meaning is and why we should care and see it the way they see it. If we do it makes them feel better and it makes them money. Win-win for them. Crazy-town for us.

The more fear, anger and outrage produced by the assigned meaning, the better for clicks, eyeballs, TV ratings and money for them. And the more we feel baffled that everyone doesn't see the same facts we do and assign the same meaning we do.

The reality disconnect is based on meaning, not facts.

Reality, which boils down to what human nature is and isn't, is undefeated though. Stories that are about wishful thinking that us humans could just be all different than we actually are have an inherent built-in expiration date. They also can and often have created mass destruction trying to force the story to be true before the last page is flipped on that particular story though.

Some people will keep wishing while some will just shake their heads in dismay. That too seems to be a part of human nature. It's both a feature and a bug, pro's and con's.

My advice for sanity?

Focus on what matters, what is meaningful to you. Nail down what is truly important to you personally, not in the whole world or a whole country. Write your own story and let shit sort itself out on it's own. It will. Then be willing to adapt your story as new data comes in while declining to live any story propagated by anyone else, including media, social media, politicians and all other people in general.