Humans are stupid.
We are easily manipulated by our basic instincts of fight or flight. Our complex brains are capable of composing a reality that is completely false. What we perceive to be true is what we believe is true even when it clearly isn’t.
Despite these failings, we humans have the capacity, unlike any other creature, to reason. We are capable of learning new things, being open-minded to new ideas and radically changing our behavior. We can find reality, but too often, we refuse to question our reality.
Lately, this has been troubling me. In particular, our country has succumbed to one of two completely opposing realities: those who support our president and those who do not. Neither are entirely right or entirely wrong but it seems most people are unwilling to accept anything other than what they already believe.
Not a day has gone by recently when this has not left me dumbfounded. For example, President Trump began tweeting and then telling the public recently about something he has called “Obamagate.” Essentially he seems to claim the Obama administration tried to sabotage his election and then his presidency by making up a story about a Russian spy operation that helped elect him president. It is ludicrous. First, if any of what Trump believes is true, Obama really sucked at orchestrating such a scheme since Trump was in fact elected. And secondly, shouldn’t the FBI want to at least check why the incoming National Security Advisor (then, Michael Flynn) was talking to the Russian Ambassador a month before the President was sworn in? I mean, if there was any chance the incoming National Security Advisor could be a Russian asset, I think we should know.
What is the most astonishing about supporters of the President is that many seem to believe most of what he says when basic logical reasoning says otherwise. The President never admits he is wrong about anything when that is simply impossible. All humans make mistakes. Anyone who claims they don’t could probably get a long list of their shortcomings from their best friend in five minutes. The President constantly complains about being a victim, but how can you be a victim if you are the leader of the free world?
Don’t get me wrong, many opponents of the President fail basic logical reasoning as well. For example, many believe Trump will postpone or cancel the election this fall. It’s not possible. The president does not have the authority to do it. Theoretically, Congress could postpone it but even is incredibly unlikely.
Too many of us are allowing our basic instincts to override reason. Instead of thinking critically about something we see on the news or social media, we have tended to take what we hear as the truth when it confirms our reality and false when it doesn’t. While this has always been a failing of human nature, modern technology has allowed us to remain completely immersed in a reality that reinforces that reality, rather than challenges it. And if your perception of reality is not challenged by any media you consume or person you associate with, you have created a reality that is not real.
Those of us who are fortunate to live in the United States have a lot of freedom to speak our truth. A free-flow of ideas often produces greater results for everyone. Unfortunately, a consequence of freedom of speech is deliberate misinformation. Humans, however, have the capability to discern the truth, we just have to try.