Oh the Confusion: When Fear and Lies Conquer

This is a piece about the rarity of logic these days. In fact, logic has become so rare that bearers of such a scarce commodity have become an endangered species. Now do not assume that I count myself amongst the logical, far from it; I have admitted to insanity a long time ago. I just have an opinion. Like I always do. But I am not the only one. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone should. The opinion is not the problem, but rather how you build it.


Tangled Web of Illogic

If a known liar says that 1+1=2 does not make him any less of a liar. Currently, we are in the middle of the world’s largest opinion pretzel. Things are so complicated and intertwined that I personally believe that anyone claiming they understand the whole picture is delusional, or full of it. I envy people who are at present unwavering in their political/world convictions and beliefs.

Because of this we find people deliberately, or unknowingly -out of a lack of desire to properly research- overlook critical context, which translates into things like people referencing an at best shady foreign “news” network because it happens to be championing their case, without paying heed to the fact that it is only doing that because it is the mouth piece of the conservative Republican right wing in its country that happens to be mostly against Islam, and tends to represent it to its followers as radical Islamists only, in order perpetuate an unrealistic fear of Islam to serve their conservative purposes. This means that historically they do not believe in, nor do they acknowledge, the kindness or pacifism of what is now being labeled as “mainstream Islam” (for propaganda purposes of course), but we over here just know as Islam. This same “news” network also happens to be against their current leader, so it gives them great pleasure to point out the egg on his face as he backs the wrong horse once more.

Let us make it simple: if a known liar says that 1+1=2 does not make him any less of a liar, nor does it make the equation any less true because it is being presented by a liar. But why is that? It is because you know through other sources (other sources being a key component at this point), you know independently without having to rely only on the event at hand that the presenter of the equation is known for dishonesty, and you also know through other irrelevant sources that the equation is unequivocally true. So what would be the logical thing to do? The logical thing to do would be to dismiss the liar as a credible source, even though what they happen to be sharing right now is the truth, because they have lost their credibility due to the lack of faith in them through repeated shady actions –their habit. However, the equation is still true and is worth using, so you are only half way there. The next logical thing to do would be to find another worthy source to corroborate that 1+1does indeed equal 2, completely independent of the liar source. 


Who Do You Trust? Or, How Ridiculous Can You Get?

Because of all the murkiness and “political” lying, the underlying tone now is that of a lack of trust. Calling, or worse, truly believing someone is a traitor or subversive (in the negative and destructive sense) comes all too easily to a lot of us these days. While I cannot justly blame them knowing what we now know, I still think any distrust needs to be tempered with careful thought. I am not saying be naïve and blindly believe in everybody (although the default setting should be both trustworthy on the sending end and trusting on the receiving end); what I am saying is: give people the benefit of the doubt, while realizing that they could end up failing you. Do not be too hasty to be the boy who cried wolf.

Do not be so forthcoming with your believing, and therefore stamp of approval, just because what is being presented to you is: a. sensational enough; b. provokes all sorts of emotions and butterflies within you; and c. falls within what you already might believe.

The history of humanity is littered with fear-induced witch-hunts, such as the incident that first created this term to begin with –the Salem witch trials that first started in 1692 Massachusetts, USA, during their colonial era.Monty Python said it best in their classic farce Monty Python and Holy Grail, in a scene depicting a witch-hunt of the dark ages, where “the powers that be” are supposedly “scientifically” proving to the masses that the woman they have captured is indeed a witch. The scene goes as follows:

Sir Bedevere: There are ways of telling whether she is a witch.

Peasant 1: Are there? What are they? Tell us. Do they hurt?

Sir Bedevere: Tell me, what do you do with witches?

Peasant 1: Burn them.

Sir Bedevere: And what do you burn, apart from witches?

Peasant 1: More witches.

Peasant 2: Wood

Sir Bedevere: Good. So, why do witches burn?

Peasant 3: ‘Cause they’re made of… wood?

Sir Bedevere: Good. So how do you tell whether she is made of wood?

Peasant 1: Build a bridge of her.

Sir Bedevere: But can you not also build bridges out of stone?

Peasant 1: Oh yeah.

Sir Bedevere: Does wood sink in water?

Peasant 1: No, no it floats! … It floats! Throw her into the pond!

Sir Bedevere: No, no. What else floats in water?

Peasant 1: Bread.

Peasant 2: Apples.

Peasant 3: Very small rocks.

Peasant 1: Cider.

Peasant 2: Great gravy.

Peasant 3: Cherries.

Peasant 1: Mud.

Peasant 2: Churches.

Peasant 3: Lead! Lead!

King Arthur: A duck.

Sir Bedevere: Exactly. So, logically…

Peasant 1: If she weighs the same as a duck… she’s made of wood.

Sir Bedevere: And therefore…

Peasant 2: A witch!

(I strongly recommend you watch this scene if you have not; reading the script is nothing like watching them in action.)

Hindsight is twenty/twenty, which is why we now know that this is ridiculous, but back during their time, this kind of illogical logic was used, and the disturbing thing is we still tend to use this non-method to this day, if it means reaching where you want to reach behind a façade of “scientific thinking”.


The Fear Switch

Fear mongering is a powerful tool. It has always been my opinion that fear is what truly makes the world go round, not love, not even hate. Fear is the most powerful human emotion. Everyone fears something. Once you are able to tap into that fear and switch the survival instinct on, the brain switches off, and logic evaporates. What you are left with is a machine willing to do pretty much anything to survive. This is how we are wired –to survive above everything else.If you notice, all ideas, so-called principles or ideals upon which any fear-mongering, sensationalist, and alarmist schemes are based on are never specific or clearly measurable, but rather are always obscure, and subject to interpretation –usually by the controlling party, in order to customize their actions, and those of their followers and allies as desired. Obscurity and lack of clarity also helps stoke the imagination of the scared masses, further building their source of fear.

I think I need to invent some sort of face palming machine, my muscles are cramping up.


So now what?

I am not belittling what we have been going through, and continue to go through, nor am I ignoring the toll this is taking on all of us, but all of that does not go against having enough self-awareness to be able to want to not be taken for an emotional ride at the expense of your sanity, psyche and integrity.  Aristotle labeled an educated mind when he said: It is the mark of an educated (and in other tales an enlightened) mind, to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. It is high time that Egypt started training its logic muscle, we are in the logic Olympics right now, and the prize is the integral unity, albeit flavored by everlasting diversity, of the whole of Egypt. Let’s show them once more how it’s done, shall we?

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