Over many years (no less then 3 decades and more!), I have had to take stock in myself and what it is that I believe. Usually, this follows a established pattern of awareness, learning, discarding, modification and adoption. What I believe and hold to be true has had out of necessity and of evidence, had to change.
We all tend to ‘believe’ in whatever actually works for us. It has to fit our lives reasonably well, otherwise we are simply too uncomfortable to change much. But when it does, it does not always last indefinitely, especially if there is new information or awareness that challenges the belief.
I have found the process discovery and learning very worthwhile, as I think everyone should. You don’t start out knowing everything and much of what you know when you are young is simply wrong. Usually, it is part of the programming that comes from your culture and the institutions and media that have governed your life. Their job is to present what is currently acceptable versus what is established truth. For that, you have to make the effort to find out for yourself.
Much of the alternative media ‘movement’ is allegedly about unveiling hidden truth(s). Much of it is utter bullshit. I’ve long been known to reject a thing or two here that has been embraced as ‘truth’ by the alternative media. The fundamental problem with some of these ‘truths’ is their nothing but myths with no basis in facts.
In the modern and ancient world, manufacturing myths serves a very useful purpose. Just like gladiator games were used to distract the discontented, myths serve the same purpose. They take on a life of their own and become the new reality for their followers. Myths are also very profitable and serve to exploit their adherents quite well. We should all know these simple things, but there is something else that should also be in our awareness and caution: Manufacturing myths can create a new reality. A new history which would not have been experienced by anyone can be entirely fabricated.
Changing history (the past, to be specific) is a common ploy by revisionists. But going forward, into the future, to a history that hasn’t happened yet, is what I’m referring to. That can be manipulated at will and often is. It is done by manufacturing myths which become adopted beliefs, which in turn are replicated millions of times over by real people engaging in real events. You’ve just created a new history. You’ve modified the future. No time machine was required. Just persistence, patience and the ability to manipulate people.
This has been done countless times (since I was born) and innumerable times since the ancient world. It is much easier now because information is both ubiquitous and so tightly controlled. The Internet has become a type of ‘hive mind’ for people to turn to for any concept, question or answer. It’s also a fantastic propaganda tool that permits anyone with a cell phone or a keyboard or a camera to portray their reality. Viral videos become Internet sensations and a means for social activism and rage. But you’d be a fool to think that you’ve witnessed the whole story. This swiftly becomes part of the manufactured myth characteristic – independent media, no matter what the source, is more authentic and more revealing. And sometimes it is, but sometimes it is not.
These tools, accurate or not, have become part of the modern vernacular. The Cult of Trump for example, is simply an extensive extension of the manufactured myth. So is climate denialism. So is climate mitigation and adaption. So is almost everything you’ve read or seen or heard. A great deal of this is simply myth – promoted deceptions intentionally or accidentally orchestrated to portray a ‘reality’ for your consumption.
But it is not the truth. And ultimately, that is what matters to the inquisitive and learning mind. If you have one. Not that many people do anymore, or so it seems. Parroting beliefs (often totally false) and attacking en masse against truth tellers is a national sport. The harm this has caused is actually stupendous, the country and the world is most definitely much worse off because of it. But it persists to this day and is increasing in its effectiveness, precisely because manufacturing myths preserves the new reality desired.
Those realities are in competition for one another. They do not all mesh up nice and tidy. It’s your ‘job’ as it were, to sort them all out and decide which myths you will adopt and which you will reject. Or better yet, abandon the myth-making-adoption paradigm altogether and do something else with your life. Like become a reality-based person.
It’s not a particularly common choice. The prevalence of social media and its legion of addicts prevents the obsessed with grasping deeper roots and discarding those things that have no real substance. Social media, in particular, explodes with myth making, the lies and deceptions are already quite legendary. But the popularity of the platforms guarantees billions of humans will be deeply ensnared within its ever evolving matrix of myths. It’s not a place where you can go to find out the whole truth about anything, but you can be infotained with senseless and inaccurate snippets and useless commentary.
I’m not singling out social media as the devil-in-disguise, or even the main stream or alternative media as the spawn of Satan. The weakness of all forms of media is its inability to tell the truth. It can only tell what its author can convey. And that is rarely, if ever the whole truth, and that is precisely my point.
It would be useless to explain why this is (popularity, money, greed, manipulation, editors, bias, etc.) so I won’t. If you are the sort that really wants truth, then you will have to ferret it out and be willing to modify your own beliefs as you uncover it. Knowing that myths govern most people and their beliefs is a first-step. Knowing that media is but a fragment of the whole truth, and usually a distortion of actual history, is another step. Being honest with yourself and adhering to a dedicated effort to learn more is yet another step.
Most people seem to be parrots these days, endlessly yapping about something they read or heard. They’re unwilling to investigate their own commentary, which is why most commentary found online is nearly useless. It’s usually highly inaccurate and wrong. Being a parrot is applauded, being a thinking, capable researcher or investigator isn’t.
I expect – as I have come to expect, that articles like this will be widely ignored and glossed over. Today is national Celebrate Empire Day in America. Part of the myth making that I’m talking about that isn’t based upon facts. Refusing to accept the lies and distortions of manufactured myth is a beginning to understanding and enlightenment. I’ve learned to keep it to myself when in public. The very few who will actually read these words will have probably learned to do the same. I do not live in the same reality that others find themselves. That is a key to understanding. I perceive the world very differently, because I chose to engage on a path of learning, discarding myths and false beliefs along the way. Given the chance (not that I will), I would do it all over again, only much, much earlier in life.
But it’s never too late.