Words put in action affecting your lifestyle, way of thinking and seeing the world? Have you ever wondered why? As the years and even decades are passing by, you wear different clothes, you have different hair style, you listen to different music and so on. Have you made any conscious decisions to choose your political affiliation, or joining an organisation with various values, or even choose your gender and sexuality? Or perhaps you have been far too open and receptive to external stimuli? It could well be that it’s the words placed in action what’s behind of it all. An ideology is a set of belief attributed to a person a group of people, which aren’t necessarily epistemic. (Zmigrod, 2022) Since the last century politics and politicians of all kinds increasingly have been interested in the ideas of all kinds, ranging from anarchism, communism, democracy, conservatism, corporatism, environmentalism, liberalism and if you find any other ‘-isms’, you are welcomed to pinch them in here. And there is one particular kind which have created a lot of controversies, and that is identity politics. The push and pull forces of the left and right movements have created instability, thanks to the infamy of the leaders of society.
So, how are you feeling? When you are feeling far too many feelings your mind can deal with it. Our world is full of all these ideas. And ideas aren’t just that, ideas; they are feelings as well. Some historians look to the past for answers, or rather lamenting the golden past where everything was all safe and sound. Ideas weren’t as intrusive and invasive as are today. Some say for instance, that no other society than the Ancient Greek have been able to give people to be intelligent and happy at the same time. Every other society have offered citizens two options: you can be intelligent and unhappy, or you can be happy and unintelligent. Your choice. In this new age of data, we are gradually becoming aware of way too many things, things that are unimportant to you. For instance, why do you need to know what consumers think about a product or service from a faraway country? Or that there was an earthquake in the neighbouring region. Or perhaps a new potential treatment for cancer have been discovered in a laboratory at the other side of the globe. It’s an invasive data colony trying to occupy your property in your mind and enslave your neuron population by distracting them from thriving freely.
The multimedia and corporations say, you have the right to know all these different ideas from all around the world, because the diversity of things can open you up to think freely. Because you only have one life, and you are better off experiencing a multitude of things. (Holvino et al., 2004) I’m not so self-assured about it, are you? One of the teachings of Ancient Buddhist meditation, was contemplation and observation of rotting animal corpses. This happened in order to teach people that everything in this life is transitory, everything passes away and this is natural. So, this is it. Do you need to take every economic, political, social, artistic, or scientific ideas seriously? Do you need to feel everything wholeheartedly? In the same dead corpse meditation, amateurs of life would say, this is sad and disgusting. Especially considering how our bodies are rotting and decaying away. But a Buddhist monk would reply and say ‘yes, it’s true. But look at the rotting dog’s teeth! Aren’t they look healthy and beautiful?’ This is to say, everything has a positive side. Life is two-sided like the coin. So, if everything is transitory, do you need to know so many of the things in life? Why not just select the most important parts to you and live with it.
We are told that Information is power. Be brave and challenge this idea. It’s clarity that is power! If an information is not valuable and accurate then it is just that, information, or data. Worse, it could be disinformation. And Information is not always scarce. (Gusenbauer, 2021) In the past, information was often scarce. This meant that those who had access to information had a significant advantage. However, in today’s world, information is abundant. This means that anyone with an internet connection can access a vast amount of information. As a result, information is no longer as scarce as it once was, and therefore it is not as powerful. Information is not always actionable. Even if information is valuable and scarce, it is not always actionable. This means that even if you have the information, you may not be able to use it to achieve your goals. For example, you may have the information about how to start a successful business, but you may not have the skills or resources to actually start the business. There is just so much hype about the wonders of online courses, that if you just finish this 6-month short course in management and marketing, your start up can be the next billion-dollar company. Well no. See, how you make a sad and dissatisfied person out of yourself! While the power of positive faith is indisputably a strong one, taking in mega amount of data to boost your knowledge is not a reliable way to smiley faces with summer salary support rendered by 7-point scale.
Information can be misinterpreted. Even if you have accurate information, it is possible to misinterpret it. This can lead to bad decisions and missed opportunities. You know psychologists and psychiatrists have noted during psychotherapies that there are people who only pay attention to negative things in life. (Buda, 2010) All they do is they run between the past and present and associate every new information with old memories of being belittled, discriminated, or dehumanized. Not to mention, they repeat this day in day out, God forbid they forget it. With this behaviour they make sure no positive values can take place. And what happens is that some people really become one with negative information. Information can be outdated. By the time you get your hands on information, it may already be outdated. This means that the information may not be accurate or relevant to your current situation. For instance, we know the age-old information that we need years to develop an antidote for an illness. But in the age of protein folding (at home!) this info is outdated. Thus, covid conspiracy theorists often fall into this category, saying that you can’t develop a vaccine in just 1 year to a novel virus. Well, you can. Thanks to protein folding simulation (Farmer et al., 2018).
So, then. Knowledge is power or clarity is power?
Descriptive and explanatory information is more objective. It simply describes or explains what is, without trying to tell people what they should do. This makes it more likely to be accurate and unbiased. Try telling this to influencers!
Descriptive and explanatory information gives people more freedom to make their own decisions. They are not being told what to do, so they can weigh the information and decide what is best for them. This can lead to more informed and thoughtful decision-making. Freedom, my friends!
Descriptive and explanatory information can be more helpful in resolving conflict. When people can understand each other’s perspectives, they are more likely to be able to find a mutually agreeable solution (Campbell et al., 2004). To understand the words, you are saying before the act you are acting is wiser!
Should you be always optimistic about a descriptive and explanatory information? Well, the empirically based evidence is certainly not if one is a pilot or air traffic controller trying to deicide if a plane should take off during an ice storm (Cameron, 2004). Hence, the reason for sobriety and realism rather than fantasy and illusion when it comes to everyday public life.
Buda, B. (2010). Popper, Peter (1933–2010). Hungarian Psychological Review, 65(2). https://doi.org/10.1556/mpszle.65.2010.2.11
Cameron, K. S. (2004). Positive Organizational Scholarship: Foundations of a New Discipline. Personnel, 49.
Campbell, J. M., Ferguson, J. E., Herzinger, C. V., Jackson, J. N., & Marino, C. A. (2004). Combined descriptive and explanatory information improves peers’ perceptions of autism. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 25(4). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2004.01.005
Farmer, T. S., Bohse, P., & Kerr, D. (2018). Rational Design Protein Engineering Through Crowdsourcing. Journal of Student Research, 6(2). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsr.v6i2.377
Gusenbauer, M. (2021). The age of abundant scholarly information and its synthesis– A time when ‘just google it’ is no longer enough. Research Synthesis Methods, 12(6). https://doi.org/10.1002/jrsm.1520
Holvino, E., Ferdman, B. M., & Merrill-Sands, D. (2004). Creating and sustaining diversity and inclusion in organizations: Strategies and approaches. In The psychology and management of workplace diversity. (pp. 245–276). Blackwell Publishing.
Zmigrod, L. (2022). A Psychology of Ideology: Unpacking the Psychological Structure of Ideological Thinking. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 17(4). https://doi.org/10.1177/17456916211044140
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