Wise old-timers used to say, “Believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see.”
But it’s hard to believe anyone actually lived by those words.
More and more Americans get their information from monitors, rather than from direct experience.
And non-technical information on our monitors is mostly hearsay or opinion.
So presentation becomes everything.
The more convincingly you say something, the more loyal followers and influence you can generate.
Almost nobody has time to carefully compare various expert opinions before making a choice or decision.
We’re buried under thousands of small instant choices that need to be made.
So we leave our biggest choices to unseen leaders of our status quo.
Almost nothing of what we see affects what we believe.
Many beliefs are defined by what we “hear” online, from the people we choose to believe.
Fifty years ago, playwright Clifford Odets wrote: “All of us should have the values of a St. George. But there is no St. George without a dragon. And we don’t have a dragon.”
That’s more true than ever today, when the only dragons are the beliefs we disagree with.
And in our Photoshopped, overly-engineered world, we can no longer believe what we see.
So we’re 180 degrees from the old-timers’ advice:
We now believe nothing of what we see, and only half of what we hear–the half we happen to agree with.