Some Thoughts on Disinfo
People seem to be extra-sensitive these days, perhaps because of recent news that (GASP!) the Pentagon is hiring people to infiltrate public discussions, to the problem of disinformation within the movement. It's an issue that is important to take seriously, and the more we understand how disinfo works the better equipped we are to identify and counter it. So....
What is disinfo?
That's a loaded question, and most people who have been doing even a little research into 9/11 or other "conspiracy" type issues have probably heard of the basic forms it takes--straw men, limited hangout, agents provocateurs, etc. Enough time engaging others in the movement and most will begin to harbor suspicions about potential disinfo elements currently in the mix. This is not a bad thing, if kept in perspective. In fact, it is the first important element in countering it, that is, identifying it.
I hear a lot of people (not in the movement) say with no small amount of exasperation and even hopelessness that "so much out there is lies, how can we possibly know who's telling the truth, now that we know we can't trust our 'trusted' media icons?" or something to that effect. While I sympathize, I've also come to feel that attitudes like that represent a kind of intellectual laziness. Kind of like "You mean I have to think for MYSELF? Thinking's is hard!"
No Virginia, there is no Santa Claus, nor is there a font of truth anywhere that you can count on to sort things out for you. And not to make it worse, but it's not just the media that lie. Your friends sometimes lie to you. Your coworkers and boss lie to you. The clerk in the store lies to you. Everyone is a potential liar--that's huimanity for you. But Virginia, don't despair. God made everyone, including you, with a three pound BS detector neatly stashed inside your skull. It's not just there to process TV signals, you know. Of course you could just use it as an antenna to receive and transmit signals reflexively, but you always have the option of playing with and remixing those signals before transmitting them back out to the world. The fact that many people seem not to be doing that shouldn't eter you--sometimes it's good not to be like the other kids, V. Trust me on that one.
OK, so we know the score, and we're up against some heavyweight liars, armed only with our bundle of neurons. Now what? Well, first thing to do is of course start collecting information--it's out there. Good, bad, and yes, ugly--it's all out there for you to find. Some of it is more well hidden, some of it has been pieced together into info-product for you (for better or, usually, worse) and some of it you can weave out of the smaller components lying around. The principle of garbage in garbage out doesn't always apply, either--sometimes disinfo, when identified, provides you with great insight into the way disinfo is packaged. Since disinfo is intended usually to throw you off the track of good info, learning its design by picking it apart and analysing it can make that garbage into a valuable addition to your BS detector's repertory of BS IDs. Kind of like your Virus protection software (which is very unintelligent compared to your brain) collects definitions that need to be periodically updated so as to catch BS software in its many forms. Some virus software now uses heuristics, meaning it can try to identify malicious software that hasn't been defined for it, by analysing it and comparing it with BS it knows about. That's where we have our Nortons and McAfees beat.
So let's review a few principles of BS detection.
The truth has power over BS. A little grain of truth can make the most well-crafted BS collapse like a house of cards. Truth is the enemy of BS, and BS must, to be successful in its assigned task, be able to avoid being exposed to too much truth. This principle is the impetus behind media conglomeration into as few hands as possible. A liar must protect his BS from facts (henceforth understood to mean TRUE facts) that could spoil the whole show. Always look for signs that something is being hidden from you, and assume that what is hidden is quite possibly very important vis a vis the BS you're being offered. Then again, keep in mind that a clever liar will purposefully conceal unimportant or even bogus things to throw you off the scent of the important stuff, which may in the extreme case be "hidden in plain sight" like Poe's purloined letter, which no one coul find because they assumed it would be cleverly hiddden, when in fact it was sitting on the coffee table where no one thought to look for it.
The truth is valuable, BS is cheap. Truth is a limited resource, whereas anyone can produce a ton of BS, so of course in the marketplace of ideas the law of supply and demand is in effect. Truth is harder to come by then BS. You can learn more truth, for example, by paying for a book than by watching free corporate-sponsored television. But cost is not just measured in dollars, nor is value. Your own labor is the most valuable thing you possess. Instead of buying a single book, for example, you could spend a lot of time in a library, spending no money but working your butt off and you will be rewarded with much more truth than if you simply buy and read one book. To extend the example to our situation--you will learn very little truth about 9/11 by watching TV. You will learn more by reading this site periodically. You will learn even more if you buy some books on the subject. You will learn still more if you read this site AND others that are not directly connected to it, AND buy and read books (or go to a library, assuming their collection is ideally stocked) including books not mentioned on this or other sites, etc. Yes, it's work. But it gets worse--it's not just finding all this information and seeking it from far flung sources. Remember Virginia?
Thinking is hard. That is to say, it's harder than just looking for and absorbing information (that is never 100% perfect, or very rarely anyway.) The best students at the best colleges are almost without exception great collectors of information (since that is easily taught) but in fact rather mediocre thinkers, since that is like exercise--learning how to do it is one thing. Doing it and getting results is something totally different. Why are most young people poor thinkers? For one they have not been doing it for very long. They have not yet learned from experience how best to process information. Sure, some of that has to do with natural ability, but not nearly as much as "smart" people would like you to think. We have a tendency in America to console each other by commiserating for example about how hard math is, when most of us never really had a chance to learn it properly (yes, it's true, most teachers teach because they can't do anything else, not because they are good at teaching.) So we're led to believe that we should leave thinking to "brainy" people and be content with not being geeks, having girlfriends, social lives--all those things which are seen as the trade-off for being smarter than your peers. Well, here's a newsflash--those epople who everyone thinks are so much smarter than everyone else are, for the most part, NOT! Does someone become a chemist because they are smart, or because they were able to sit through chemistry classes? Guess what--you don't have to be samrt to do most things that people think it takes a smart person to do. You have to be disciplined. You have to sit your ass down and forsake lots of fun in order to memorize things (which we can all do) so that you can perform repetitive tasks, mostly trial and error, in a lab somewhere, and make more money than a trash collector while pretending to be smarter than them as well (which you may or may not be.)
So thinking is hard, but not in the way people think. It's hard like exercise is hard--you have to enjoy doing it. You have to do it with an eye towards results, and if you do not do it well enough, and want to derive the benefits from it, you have to try doing it differently. After a while, you become good at exercise. You do less of it for more results than those fat women who spend hours upon hours on the stairmaster and somehow never lose weight. I don't mean to be mean here--there are perfectly reasonable explanations that do not involve glands. These women are packing muscle, which weighs more than fat, onto their legs. Look at a fat person's calves sometime and look at the muscle mass there. Don't take this example to seriously--it's meant to illustrate the importance of thinking, and exercising, critically as opposed to dutifully and repetitively. So thinking is challenging, and we get out of it what we put into it, much like the seat of thinking itself--our brains. But what else is there to think about when thinking about thinking?
Dichotomies can be your friends your enemies. That is not meant to sound pretentious. There is a real significance to the number two, which is why dichotomies are so common. Democrat/Republican, for example. Chocolate/Vanilla. Black and White. What is the point? Well, dichotomies are binary, meaning they are based on two values. Another important number is 10--we use the decimal system. Once we reach ten in our counting we start back at one by adding it to ten so that we can get eleven. Why did we pick ten? Because like children, we started counting with our fingers, of which we have ten. So why is two important? Is it because we have two eyes, two hands, two testicles/ovaries, two nostrils, etc.? Who knows! Is it because, like our computers that use ones and zeroes, our neurons basically use the same ON/OFF binary system to construct thoughts? Maybe! I don't know! The point is that we have a natural tendency to think of things in terms of binary categories, when reality is not nearly so simple, even if we, at our core, are. We also fixate on ten with our top ten lists like George Carlin was quoted as saying in a thread here the other day. These reflexes can help us understand how and why we think in certain ways. They help us categorize things, but they also limit our vision sometimes, and our creativity.
A very smart person once taught me his method for encouraging creative thinking. It was to stop occasionally, especially when, for example, coming up with an idea for a story, and question oneself. So my story is about a man. What kind of man? Well, my first though was a white man. But why not a native American? And why a man, why not a woman? It means to think about how you think and actively challenge yourself to think outside of your reflex tendencies. It's not something you want to obsess over, just think about it once in a while as an exercise to keep your creativity sharp.
So what does all of this have to do with detecting BS? Well, a good liar is a creative liar. And a good lie detector has to be just as if not more creative. We can easily be misled, even by ourselves, if we are complacent--if we look for comfort and the path of least resistance. If we're more interested in making friends than with challenging our orthodoxies and those of others. If we look to fit into a group instead of having the courage to potentially alienate them. If we make the mistake of using our thinking to seek rewards, instead of thinking of thinking as its own reward.
As we awaken our fellow people to the reality that they have failed to think about, for which reason they have been easy prey for liars, let's do more than talk AT them. Let's speak WITH them, learn as we do, and help them learn. Once enough of us are similarly engaged, the principle of emergence will take over--something much greater than the sum of its parts (us) will begin to happenn. And this, my friend s and erstwhile adversaries, is what the powers that be fear the most, because it represents a revolution from within their own controlled reality, and that is one thing they, in their arrogance, never considered possible.
Onward truthers! Glory awaits... really.