Cognitive dissonance is a difficult thing to recognize—most especially when it’s within oneself.
Listening to one of my favorite podcasts recently, the conversation turned to what social media should be “allowed to” do.
A regularly cogent member of the particular team, said a given entity (if not all of them) shouldn’t be allowed to make “algorithmic feeds.”
What that means is, they ought not be able to manipulate what people see, to a particular end.
This—in itself—is absolutely ridiculous.
Each of us has a desire to get others to see the world through our lens. Many do it because they believe their vantage point offers the “truest picture of reality.”
Be assured, my perspective does no such thing. Put another way, you can be certain more than a few people have “truer” viewpoints than my own.
This is why people like me should always tell others, “Don’t just look at me, and what I say. Take things in from a variety of positions, then decide for yourself what appears correct, and what’s not.”
Simply put, my way of looking at things is not the “be-all-end-all,” with which you should be forced to agree.
But there’s a broader point I need to address.
Where the commentator in question really went off the rails, is in the insinuation (intended or not), that algorithmic feeds should be “abolished.”
To begin with, that means a social media company shouldn’t be able to make it so my “friends’” content is not more prominently displayed, than that of a stranger, who happens to be six degrees of separation from me.
The thing that really makes this idea problematic though, is the idea of “abolishment” or “abolition.”
The question must be asked, “Who would be tasked, or trusted with moderating such an edict?”
Anyone paying attention, has watched while people in the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service, have leveled their collective barrels against Conservatives.
It’s taken an extraordinary amount of chutzpah, on the part of various folks, to begin to get people to really look at what’s happening, and start to employ corrective actions to those entities and others.
Many argue the things yet done are nowhere near what needs to happen.
People who have worked in such entities, or similar ones, are saying the FBI (by way of example) should be disbanded, and its resources reallocated to governmental agencies who are not as corrupt.
I—for one—am not sure I believe that’s a meaningful solution.
After all, if the FBI can be (or become) rotten, why do we assume other parts of government to which their resources are moved, cannot do likewise?
The final point though, is this. When you allow folks to have power to abolish, or ban, or whatever various activities, you must be very careful to limit that as much as possible. And frankly, that’s really not enough.
Having drawn lines in the sand, you must be ever vigilant, to ensure those individuals don’t overstep.
More importantly (at least in my way of looking at things), what I want, you may detest.
Does that mean I shouldn’t be looking at things I detest? On the flip side, does it mean I should always get what I like?
I should say neither of these is true.
When I go to a delicatessen, and order ham on rye though, if I find I don’t like how this one prepares the food—that the ham doesn’t taste right, or the rye is lackluster—I should be able to walk away, and try another deli.
I get that gigantic social media entities can be couched as not quite the “only game in town.”
That said, I should be quick to point out that other, smaller ones exist.
If I’m honest, I do still frequent the larger ones.
Even so, I try to make it my business, to visit the “smaller” ones as well.
In doing this, I find my perspective remains more balanced.
I’m not so ready to buy in, to wild conspiracy theories.
I am prone to look at the “mainstream” with a more jaundiced eye though.
Thomas Jefferson was reputed to have said, “A well informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.”
The point of such a statement is this.
Blaming others for your failure, or the failure of your society, or country, when the onus is at least partially yours is not just weak, but entirely unhelpful.
Put simply, we must each look at the World around us from a perspective that says, “I can’t just look for truth here or there, I must confirm what is real by looking all around me.”
It is this methodology that far too many lack.
It’s been said—and I have no idea whether or not this is really the case, though based on what I see, I suspect it is—that Conservatives or “rightists” have a tendency to consume information from a wide variety of sources, where Liberals, or “leftists,” tend to look mostly (if not solely) to the wellsprings that most match their own beliefs.
Regardless the truth of such a statement, we must all work to add variety to our “daily intake of information.”
Yes, you should know, those four fingers are “pointing back at me.” That’s as it should be.
If I had a message to impart in this little piece, it would be that the answer is not to abolish or ban ways of doing things—most particularly not through governmental rules, laws and regulations.
Of course, a case can be made for times when that’s called for (murdering neighbors because they refuse to kowtow to you way of looking at things comes to mind), but they should always be kept to a minimum and deal with only the harshest situations.
As always, I’m more than willing to hear how I’m mistaken.
I should tell you though, I don’t tend to say something in a video, write it, or whatever, because I haven’t taken a large amount of time to consider what I’m putting out there.
That considered, I’d like to know what others think about both what I have to say, and how things ought to be handled.
Feel free to post comments whether you agree, or couldn’t more vehemently disagree with what I have to say.