Project 313 – Post No. 115

A perusal of Facebook and Twitter had me notice something disturbing.

Disturbing because it’s ubiquitously present despite my limited exposure to either platform and disturbing for what it says about people; it simultaneously says people are not very astute and are also looking not to understand but to denigrate.

I’m talking about links to “Someone destroys Someone” videos. 

Say you are deeply religious and want to avoid the intellectual challenge presented by someone critical of religion. Well then, you might be inclined to click on a video titled “Ken Ham destroys Sam Harris” . . . the implication being that Sam Harris’s best arguments are conclusively and summarily demolished by Ken Ham’s deep insight and knowledge of one of the 5,357 interpretations of the Bible.  

Don’t worry if you don’t know who those people are; substitute any two people of opposite opinions. For example, Ann Coulter and Rachel Maddow, Charles Schumer and Mitch McConnel, President Trump and just about anyone with half a brain, Nancy Pelosi and anyone who’s halfway in touch with reality.

I could go on, but you get the idea. If you are naive, an ideologue, or have no independent thoughts, you might be tempted to click on those links (there are plenty for each party, each contentious issue, and for just about anything that can be simplified for non-thinkers). But, for the rest of you, here’s what you’ll find if you click on those links . . . 

. . . nothing; no substance whatsoever. Those clips are there to serve one of very few purposes. . . indoctrinate one’s followers, satisfy the beliefs of non-critical thinkers, generate income through amassing views (clicks), or just regurgitate incomplete and often faulty arguments devoid of any critical thinking.

Often, because I can see the associate still photo (typically, of a debate or news clip), I’m already familiar with the source material and I know, not merely suspect, there is no “destroying” going on by either side. The clips have been edited to make one side look better than the other, and that’s only if you agree with that side to begin with. 

That’s because most debates of any importance deal with complex issues that have no clear answers or even clear positions and any hope for resolution depends on compromise.

Here’s who typically clicks on those . . . if you hold to a dogmatic belief about something, you’ll likely to click one of these offerings because deep down you suspect that perhaps, just perhaps, you and your views are full of crap. You thus click on those links to get “good” arguments against detractors to your views or you click on those links to hear “good” arguments in support of your views. 

What you should be doing — instead of clicking on those links — is seek to understand the particular issue and why smart people — people not you — hold differing opinions. 

Here’s a suggestion; instead of looking at a two minutes clip, seek out the original material; seek out discussions on the subject, seek out people who support your views but also recognize the weakness of the position while trying to arrive at some sort of consensus with the opposition. Support those people because they are the only hope for progress.

But, if you come across a link titled “plumber dismantles Trump’s crap” . . . well, OK; that one is probably worth one click.

And now, the photo:

Project 313 115

I wrote the above but I know full well that it’s a bit like talking to a lava wall . . . even if it’s a pretty one, it’s still a wall. 

The funny thing is, I’m often not arguing a particular side per se; rather, I’m trying to get one side to even acknowledge there are parts of the opposing arguments that have some validity. 

Sometimes, it comes down to the two sides not agreeing on the basic definition of words or, if agreeing on the definition, on how those words should be applied.

More often than not, what sounds like a wall is something else . . . loyalty to your group. No matter what — and because your group demands it — there’s just no way you’ll agree or even listen to opposing views with an open mind. 

Doing so might anger your group and get you cast out of social and professional networks, often with substantial personal and economic consequences. 

Really, we’ve entered an era where totalitarianism is practiced by both sides of the social, economic, and political divide and no matter who gains temporary power, we find ourselves in a totalitarian regime. 

Honest, it’s best to be like the geckos in the corners and keep a low profile . . . Gecko Hunting Party Testing Effectiveness of Stealth Technology.

Gecko Hunting Party Testing Effectiveness of Stealth Technology

And . . . that’s it

Some of these posts will likely be longer as the mood hits me, but most will be thus; short, uninteresting, bland, and relentless.

You can read about Project 313 HERE.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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