Blinded, Bamboozled, and Hoodwinked by Information

Never in history has so much information been at the fingertips of so many human beings. And yet never have so many humans been so confused, so dismayed, so driven to addiction and a compulsive aimlessness.

Modern humans confuse data for information, information for knowledge, knowledge for truth, and truth for wisdom. So easily misled and waylaid by purveyors of false data and false knowledge, yet so certain of the rightness of our mashed up beliefs and clapped together causes.

Data Information Knowledge Wisdom Pyramid
Wikipedia DIKW Pyramid

The data signals never stop: 24 hours of highly processed and inbred news – opinion – internet – social media shaded by the warped reflections and highly processed backwash of the same from friends, acquaintances, and coworkers. But what does it all mean — and more importantly — where should it all lead in terms of personal action?

Beliefs are Cheap, Actions are Risky

Everyone has a full load of beliefs, many of them quite passionate. But what are these beliefs worth, and where are they likely to take us?

In fact, beliefs are much like fecal waste. They are a natural mind byproduct of the digestion and processing of data. Excremental as they are — they form the foundations of our future actions. Given the neglectful and absentminded way that our beliefs are typically formed, this nugget of information should frighten you — but it probably doesn’t.

A More Thoughtful Formulation of Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom

The sad nature of modern societies — from widespread addiction to a fetish of victimhood to a growing urge to societal suicide — testifies to the need for better pathways to forming knowledge, ideas, understanding, and wisdom.

Modern Children are “Raised by Society” not Parents

In place of largely absent parents, the role of “child-raiser” has been taken up by schools, videogames, television, movies, internet sites, social media, and other self-interested parties who have no real concern for the child. As a result, the minds of children develop in a willy-nilly way — always distorted and dysfunctional, but the nature of the distortions and dysfunctions somewhat random and arbitrary.

Through it all, the child is deluged by the data stream, and is pushed compulsively from rapid to waterfall, with no control. By this process, children arrive at college and “adulthood” without any solid way of understanding the larger world. As a result, they are too often at the mercy of parasitic mind-warping professors and others who seek to subvert the energy and innocence of youth to their own purposes.

But for the children of passive and neglectful parents, this is nothing new. The difference is that at the early adult stage, these older youth are expected to be able to think and fend for themselves. The future existence of society depends upon new generations of young adults being able to take up the responsibilities that those generations who are now retiring are letting go of.

Unfortunately, society is awakening to the reality of new generations that are almost entirely unprepared for a life of mature self-direction or for personal and civic responsibility. The consequences of this ingrained perpetual helplessness and incompetence are just now being perceived, but they are bound to get worse.

Everything Links Back to a Lack of Cognitive Foundation

The newborn child has the ingredients he will need to learn how to face a demanding world. But he must be given the opportunities and experiences necessary to learn his lessons well. And quite early in life, he must learn how to learn. He must learn to teach himself so that he can navigate his own way through the challenges and rites of passage which a good upbringing and education will lead him to.

The foundations for this learning must go deep and be strongly placed.


The article above is adapted from an earlier posting on Al Fin Next Level blog.

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