Recently I was on the Internet looking up some books that I’ve read to see what other people had to say about them. I came across one book and a lot of people had said it was very fraudulent and that actually the author was not the kind of person you’d want to associate with. This got me to thinking. There is so much information in our world today circulating by word of mouth, literature, media and now the Internet, which is a combination of all these and more. Anyone can write anything they want to, I mean look at me I’m doing it right now. Who’s to say if what I’m writing is credible? How do we discern between the legitimate honest writer and the words of a fool twisting meanings to trap gullible knaves like myself? With the advent of the Internet we also have to take a new approach to gaining knowledge and accessing information from others.
In life, the best way to know anything is through one’s own experience right? The next best thing is to go to a trusted source of knowledge and wisdom, friend, family or professional. Still we always must be aware that human beings are perfectly flawed creatures, each one with areas of ignorance, fear and suffering. Sometimes we really have to go with our ‘gut’ feeling about something others have said. What about when you want to find out about something that no one you know has experience with?
On the Internet when researching topics of interest you can do a few things to try and decipher if a site is credible. When looking up something you know a little bit about, look for sites where the creator gives evidence of credentials. Of course these can be faked as well, but then you can make further searches about that person’s site and see what others have to say about it. If you don’t know anything about the subject in question, do a Google search. If a site is well regarded it will usually have a lot of links relating to it from people who have accessed the information and found it to be helpful.
The main idea is to be aware of the possibilities out there in this overabundance of mouths spouting so-called wisdom. The nature of humanity is to be curious and to want to understand the existence that we are part of. Charlatans will take this into account when constructing their stories and concepts. There are so many scams on the Internet not including the people whose opinions aren’t based in fact that believe they are sharing the ‘truth’.
In this age of exaggerated fear, sensationalist terror and melodramatic theater, we must be very careful not to be sucked into believing what we are being told. If the massive media corporations are giving us a subjective view of reality based on their personal interests and beliefs on what News is, then of course individuals can also express distorted perceptions of reality on the Web.
Do your research well. Don’t cut corners. Question everything you read. You don’t necessarily have to be a cynic or even a skeptic. Just realize that it is very easy to open a mouth and speak, and speaking is probably one action that our society could do a lot less of. Maybe if we listened a little bit more instead of speaking so much, we wouldn’t need to search as often for the information that we need in life. Be awake and aware my friends. Keep those thinking caps on!