When knowledge is a dirty river

Analysis and Opinion

By JoeAm

Back in the last century, the main sources of mind-pollution were salesmen, politicians, and preachers. They shaded the facts to favor their interests. Otherwise, we sought and got decent information.

Today, everyone is a salesman, politician, or preacher. We thought computers and the internet would give us data, but it’s giving us dirt. Trolls and memes, hard opinions based on lousy information. Sensitivities, defensiveness, ego, and anger. Everyone drags his own pulpit around, and his own encyclopedia. You can’t tell people anything new, you can only tell them what aligns with their bias.

The interpersonal framework of ethics, patriotism, and moral goodness has been replaced by a framework of greed, power, and self-interest. Mainstream media have lost their journalistic objectivity in favor of survival and self-interest. Clicks and benefactors slant the news. Media outlets are just one more preacher shouting at us and passing around dirt with a collection plate that seems to have snooped into our private lives and figured out what it is we want to buy.

Cameras are everywhere and their ability to identify us is improving. Facial scans and an ID number is all it takes to follow us around. Data are not benevolent, giving us knowledge. Instead we get darkness, dirt, and loss of privacy.

Well, there are tools, I suppose. Masks and VPNs, signing off of Facebook, and using the machines less. Research rather than opinion. Listening with skepticism but not cynicism.

Leaders display evidence of having succumbed to the new framework. Who really is ethical and transparent anymore? Bluster, blames, excuses, threats. Not knowledge. Not patriotism. Not sense. Instead, we get “loyalty” and “unity”, the two most common autocratic tools of suppression known to man or wolf.

One must work hard to even recollect the outdated concepts of knowledge, compassion, sacrifice, and service. The only nation that seems to hold to those notions these days is Ukraine. Ukrainians know that anything else leads to their subjugation and loss of all freedoms and their very soul as a people. Other nations want them to compromise.

What a weak species humans are. Little better than maggots swarming over a dying Mother Earth.

When a human is locked in a dungeon, he can either develop intellectual and emotional vigor, or go nuts. Scratch dates on the wall, exercise, work out mental problems, write a book in one’s head and memorize it. Or wither and die.

I don’t know about you, but I fully expect to adapt like Robinson Crusoe, taking each day as blessing and an opportunity to build something meaningful whilst not being eaten by head-hunters. I’ll obtain the best knowledge I can by filtering today’s mud through screens of logic, test, and verification, and by reading a lot.


The cover photo is from a stunning collection of paintings done by Filipino artists using pigments from various Philippine rivers. “A Filipino ad agency, TBWASMP, commissioned nine  artists to create 22 pieces of art that depict a scene from the riverbank in the area . . .” See other paintings at: https://www.wheninmanila.com/amazing-filipino-artists-used-dirty-water-color-for-these-stunning-paintings/

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