Some can claim that they are not fooled by the media but are then sucked in by their Facebook algorithm. That 9/11 was an inside job but were relieved when Osama Bin-Laden was killed. Claim to not be racist but sympathize with anti-Semitic tropes. Believe Princess Diana was murdered but is still alive today.
We are so busy constructing our own realities that we ignore the objective one. All of us. Without exception. We all believe we are rational actors. That each of us is right. And when things don’t work out, we think that external forces must be in play–preserving our egos and natural sense of self.
Here’s the point for today’s lesson: When is the last time you changed your mind about something you hold to be true? When have you been persuadable? Knowing what you know now about something, can you/will you pivot? The things we hold sacred, did you find it yourself or were you taught those things from someone you trusted? Does the scientific community agree with your assessment? If not, why not? Why do scientist believe what they believe?
Legendary screenwriter William Goldman said, “Nobody knows anything.” We are still constantly evolving and learning more each day. What was true yesterday may not be true now. You can go test Newton’s laws of gravity and it held up for a long time until a few holes were discovered. Which then led to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. It’s a process of better understanding, not a finish line. For better or worst, we don’t have all the answers to some of life’s most important questions.
Read one book on a subject and you will be above average in understanding a subject. Read 10 and you can be an expert. Read 100 and you can be a world expert. The problem is that most people won’t read more than one book a year after college. That’s it. If you have not read even one book on the topic, how then can you claim to understand how something works?
But no one wants to seem ignorant among their peers. Status roles are in play. So, we have to trust experts. The world is too complicated not to. You can’t possibly be a mechanic, an engineer, a doctor, a microbiologist, a programmer, and the head of IT. The problem is picking the right experts to follow. The good news is they have never been so many to find.
I have found particularly with subjects like history it is more difficult to understand why things happen the more you study. The world is just too vast and complicated. Bigger than anyone us to fully understand. Unexpected things happen. People make emotional, irrational decisions not logical ones. When people claim to know the answer, they simply are dumbing things down because they are looking through the world in one lens.
It’s much easier to believe in a Covid lab leak theory because after all there is a lab conveniently built in Wuhan where it was originally detected. Simple to understand. It’s much more difficult to understand the science of virology and epidemiology. It could take ten years of studying before any of it could make sense. (By the way, Wuhan’s lab was built there precisely because they have had previous outbreaks there, at least that is what they want us to believe, right?)