The habit is dangerous. It might even lead to being an infectious virus which could torpedo a career. The symptoms are easily identifiable. It’s just simply jumping in to conclusions. No waiting for research and discovery there. Seemingly innocuous conduct could make us be the carrier of the unfounded and the unsubstantiated.
A key ingredient of a young professional’s qualities is the concept of professional skepticism, which simply means doubting the veracity of data or information reaching us. Until we check the information ourselves that is.
Believing an email, a share or a link is commonplace today. The passing of the message to another, somewhat nonchalantly has become a sign of the times. Swiftness of social media has made it way too easy for the information to pass from hand to hand and cover a wide swath of an area within no time. News spreads faster. Still the less said about the quality of such content, the better.
Back in time the message which came our way would reach us through conduits which were tested and highly regulated. Be it a book in a library or a lesson by a teacher or even a program on TV or radio. Such information would come through various stages of vetting and follow through. No doubt a lumbering process which led to inevitable news delay. Yet the message would be solid and comprehensive as the information provider would do his homework before such information is released.
True, the system could decide what we should know, when, whether as well as how much. Severe editing of the truth and the propagation of falsehood were not uncommon. It would even culminate in complete news blackout or censorship. The final result was that the news which filtered through wasn’t perfect.
Systems lead to information delay and often make the content badly outdated. Case in point; official CIMA study pack on business law still states that Sri Lanka Parliament has 168 members!
Yes, the way we did was no good. Yet when we enter 21st century, things are hardly better, so to speak. Now we are all news carriers and propagandists. And it’s also yes, that we have no such control or regulations as the carriers of yesteryear had to cope with.
Sense of objectivity is more or less gone with the wind. The modern times seem to root for the subjective and zero analysis.
Final result, highly myopic habits when it comes to dissemination of information, though the world fully well understands that tunnel vision won’t help its cause.
Examples awash. Conjecture is commonplace. Simply type Sri Lanka and Google it. Any would be foreign visitor to Sri Lanka would gladly pass the trip in favor of a less savage destination if he gets to believe the huge horde of articles, images and video content online, about us.
One person’s opinion or idea becomes facts to the other if he decides to take in the data without double checking them himself. When he transfers the same to yet another person, it’s no longer opinion, but a statement of authority, because it’s given by you.
Vested interests, hate speech, propaganda and outright lies survive and thrive in this modern age of communication.
It’s our duty to hold on to the principles of integrity where we do not pass incorrect information to another down the line. But this style wouldn’t do unless we become researchers of the stuff which are sent towards our way. Thus, in a plain sense, integrity means the sense of curiosity to see about the information as well.
It’s no exaggeration that misconceptions could lead to a negative impact on the data collected and the information thus formed becomes the casualty of itself.
Final outcome of misconception is the death of the open mind. And what use of the youth with no open mind?