Sticks, Stones, And Words

Freedom of speech, and more, on this weeks episode of The Distracted Philosopher.

”Whoever said you lose most of your heat through your head never stood in the freezing cold with no pants on” - The Distracted Philosopher

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People believe what they see, hear, and read. This is absurd.

Our eyes fall pray to optical illusions, hallucinations, and mirages. With Photoshop, CGI effects, and skilled illusionists, how can we believe anything we see? Even science has shown that eyewitness testimony (you know where they say, “That’s the guy! I saw him!”) is the most flawed evidence in a trial because of how our brain and eyes work — turns out, they suck (that’s an industry term).

People hear what they want to hear and read what they want to read. They derive the meaning they want and ignore any possible intent of the speaker or writer. They add or subtract words that do not fit into their beliefs. Not religious beliefs, just beliefs in general, as in I believe eggs should be sunny side up with soft yokes, aspartame kills brain cells, or the end of the toilet paper roll should hang on the outside of the holder (unless you own a cat, then obviously it belongs on the inside). These are things I believe with or without the backing of science. Some people believe completely insane and illogical things like the Earth is flat, up is down, clowns are funny.

Words are not always truthful. Fiction is everywhere. Fiction even exists in non-fiction, because if someone believes it to be true, it can be considered and cataloged as non-fiction. Just because something was written in the newspaper, or you heard it from mainstream media, or the internet, or any media outlet or publication, doesn’t make it true.

People, politicians, government, corporations — they all lie and deceive. Not all the time, sometimes not on purpose, but there are always lies.

This untruthfulness (I looked it up, it’s a real word) extends to social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google Plus (wait, is that still a thing?), Instagram, YouTube, Craigslist, anyone’s blog, and literally anywhere on the internet.

There is satire, parody, exaggeration, sarcasm, fiction, beliefs, half-truths, and complete and utter lies everywhere. But when it’s posted on the internet people seem to accept it as truth as long as it follows what they believe, and they dismiss it as lies if it goes against what they believe.

Some people take everything personally and believe that content posted on the internet is attacking them directly, or attacking their culture, or attacking their beliefs. It doesn’t matter if the content was sarcastic or had no malicious intent. Someone will find a way to be the “victim” of a tweet.

Your employer, educational institution, government, and any form of authority are especially sensitive about social media posts and will use your content to discriminate against you by firing, expelling, blacklisting, banning, shaming — not only you, but they will go after your family members or your spouse or your kids or your friends. They wants us to be afraid to tell a story or share a post.

Those in authority want to control us, pacify us, silence us. They want us to be afraid to say anything. It’s like being in medieval times when someone said the wrong thing to the King and he had them beheaded.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words … words are the most powerful things in existence. They cause wars, peace, hate, love, and they incite people to action to help or to harm. Freedom of speech is one of the greatest things, but it does not mean freedom from consequences from that speech. And one tweet can destroy your family or your career — or in some countries — your life.

You see, people believe whatever they want, regardless of what they see, hear, and read. This is absurd.

You can find links to all the distractions from the show (and some not in the show) on my twitter feed @regisjack.

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This is episode s10e03(368) for Monday, January 16, 2017 and clocked in at 16 minutes, 46 seconds