From time to time I post an “Epistemology 101” piece to share with readers my own process.
Now that “fake news” has been engineered into a massive new meme,
I am again moved to share on this topic.
As the new year begins, we are ever more inundated by “news” from all sides and various sources. Unless we are very aware, have plenty of time to investigate, and seasoned at experimenting with how to read “sources,” we will likely just go for one “line” of reasoning and forget the rest. That line may be mainstream, or it may be some version of alternative. In any case, what we’re looking for, what we seemingly cannot help but seek within the invisible matrix of our 3-D world, is “certainty.” One way of seeing, a single overarching perspective that we can “stand on.” One irrefutable, rock-solid point of view to provide the foundation for all our other beliefs and actions.
Fundamentalism is not just confined to religion, where “god” and/or a “holy book” is the single source. Fundamentalism is our way of life, what we are taught from birth: to look for one way of seeing that will make sense of all the others. But what if there is no one way of seeing? What if the universe expands as we penetrate its horizons with our intelligence?
What if, there is no “end” to anything? What if it all just goes on and on, the play of consciousness — and of life!
If that’s the case, or even if that might be the case, then we might want to alter our search for “truth” in news to recognize it too, as a form of play. I suggest we learn to see it as a game, with apparent rules, the most important being “how to read sources.”
I’m one of those who has both time, energy, and dedication to pay attention to the “levels of veracity” within various sources, many of them contradictory. Here’s how I go about it.
Whatever news source (whether a person or an organization) comes into view, I pay attention to that source for awhile: what kinds of stories does this source run? What kinds of subjects? Financial, geopolitical, psychological, cultural, spiritual, fear porn — some combination of the above? Does the source have an obvious agenda? A less obvious agenda?
If the source is a person, then How comprehensive and/or detailed is the author’s point of view? Does he or she seem “purely” cynical or “purely” idealistic? Is there any room for ambiguity? Does the person utilize only left-brain reasoning, or right-brain intuition, or a combination? And one more consideration I must note here: what about the timing of this story? Cui Bono? Why this story now?
If the source is an organization, then if curated, then what kind of slant is promoted, and does that slant change over time? (An example, here: I used to rather enjoy the eclecticism of huffpost, that is, until as it was bought up by yahoo and narrowed its editorial focus. By the time the presidential race rammed up, it was all-Hillary, all the time, with lots of posts slamming Trump.)
My own ongoing educational process involves reading from a wide variety of sources with many different, often contradictory slants, sifting through them, and then coming up, possibly, with some kind of provisional point of view which, always, always, is subject to change when eclipsed by an even wider perspective.
In the case of the long-standing tragic Mideast mess, the following post is the first I’ve seen that actually left me less confused. Really an excellent read.
And this morning, I put the above post in the following larger context, also an excellent, and very clear and cogent read, summarizing the many-tentacled octopus grip of the American/NATO Empire:
Meanwhile, neither of the two above posts would qualify as “news” to MSM sources that pretend to label as “fake news” anything other than their brainwashing. Here’s a fine compendium on how — what I would call for now, provisionally — the real fake news sources go about it: