Have you ever wondered about what makes people do what they do? Have you ever wondered what it is that draws people into specific ideologies or beliefs?
Why do anti-vaccers’ oppose the vaccination of infants? Why do liberals or conservatives (or libertarians) choose the political affiliation they do?
What draws a person to join a cause like Black Lives Matter, or Antifa? Why does a communist believe so strongly that their cause is just? Why do Christians and Muslims believe in a god, and why do atheists reject that belief?
The more we think about and explore the reasons behind the choices people make and the beliefs they hold, the more we come to realize that – in the realm of philosophy and ideas, there is often an element truth on both sides. Often however, that element of truth is buried in a mire of politicized ideas and rhetoric.
I’m sure you’ve seen good people defending terrible ideas on a wide spectrum of issues. Though they usually receive these label’s, they’re not “bleeding heart liberals” or “conservative nut-jobs”; many people aren’t trying to kill babies, nor do many people hate refugee children; so why are we drawn into such polarized politics, why are we so at odds with one another?
Often, when we look a little deeper than the incredibly superficial layer of rhetorical buzzwords, we find that people who do have what many would consider fringe or crazy beliefs, often have good reason and evidence behind the stance that they are taking.
Often in our societies we support or oppose certain ideas solely because of what’s called the “wisdom of the crowd.”
For example, many of us believe “climate change” is real, or not real, because of the general consensus of the people we listen to, the media we consume, the social media we follow, etc. Very few of the people who “debate” on Facebook, or vehemently defend a certain point of view on social media (or in general conversation) have done much (if any) research on the topic.
How many of the people touting the need for government intervention in humanity’s role in climate change have read peer reviewed studies, and counter balanced that with studies from opposing viewpoints? How many are closely following the updates, the disagreements between experts in the field, and the effects of the policies proposed, and how many have just been inundated with a narrative from media, politicians, business leaders and celebrities – many of whom I’m sure have political reason to say what they say on the topic. The same applies to the other side as well, those opposed to climate change, those who say it’s a hoax, how many have done their “homework” and how many are also just following the crowd.
It can be so difficult, in a world that is overwhelmed with opinions and glutted with information, to do the necessary research to be informed on the issues society faces. We each have limited time in the day, and pressing matters to attend to that directly affect our day-to-day lives.
I’ve found that, even when I’ve put in countless hours of research into a topic, it is still easy to doubt what I’ve learned and know when faced with the overwhelming “crowd mentality” and consensus being pushed in media. When you hear, something said loudly enough, and often enough, it becomes accepted not on its merit but rather, because of how often its heard. In marketing, they that a customer must see your offer at least 7 times before they will engage with your business. It’s the same with ideas, if the people you respect, and the media you watch, is constantly pushing an idea, eventually you will begin to just assume it’s the truth; after all there’s no way so many people could be all wrong, is there?
We hear so often that anti-vaccers are irresponsible and crazy, that climate change deniers are either on the payroll of “big oil” or again, crazy and anti-science, we also often hear that Donald Trump is a white supremacist. Now, some of these may be partially true, or have aspects of accuracy, but to the person looking for fact-based truth, often the loud voices and mainstream consensus come up lacking, especially when you dig a little deeper than the rhetoric.
I’ve chosen random examples here; my intention was not to suggest support of (or the lack thereof) of anything I’ve mentioned so far. The reason I bring any of this up, is because this is what the “What Are We Thinking” column will be covering.
The purpose of this column is to do the research, and get to the root of popular ideologies and issues; I want to break down big questions get past the rhetoric.
I want to hear it straight from the “horse’s mouth,” and find the truth behind ideas, ideologies, beliefs and scientific theories. I want to ask the questions that everyone is thinking, the ones everyone wishes they could ask.
To the best of my ability I want to explore:
- Political ideas; dissecting them, to better understand what aspects are beneficial to the people the idea is intending to serve, and what is irrational or illogical.
- Activism; getting to the root of the issue, past the rhetoric and marketing, and really trying to understand the ideologies and intentions.
- The religious; I want to get to the root of a persons belief, understanding why they believe what they do, how that effects their view of the world and what they base their belief on.
- I want to explore political ideas and the theories and philosophies behind the communist, libertarian, conservative or liberal; I want to ask why they believe their ideas are true, and try to understand their motivation, end goals, and what brought them to choose their philosophy.
There is so much more we will uncover together; philosophy and the history behind ideas, the foundations upon which those ideas are built. With you, I want to gain a better understanding of the world we live in, because, I believe that only then can we begin to tackle the issues we face.
I want to ask questions, difficult, pointed questions, and research, and interview, until the best possible answer is discovered, and the closest thing we have to truth is found.
This will be a bi-weekly column, and will be published every second Sunday. My vision is to be able to explore the questions I’ve had, as well as questions that are too politically incorrect, or controversial to explore.
I will also be looking through the comments to see your questions.
If you’ve had questions on your mind that you don’t have time to research, or if you’ve heard arguments or statements that you are pretty sure are wrong, but haven’t been able to directly address them, I’d love to hear about it, and maybe together we can explore those ideas and answer those questions.