Being purposely uninformed

I think this is how they want us to feel, beaten down and defeated, so their vision of the future, walled cities guarded by Blackwater troops against climate refugees, endemic poverty and violence, is safe. It might be too late, but then why do so many people get up every day and say fuck that, and volunteer at their local food bank, debate at their trade union, vote Labour, join BLM, fight for the YPG, etc? We need the hope even if most days it feels like slow torture. The future is not decided (yet), and if nothing else then demographically we are in the ascendant - it’s keeping this in mind that is most important.

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but now a lot of the news you see without looking for it is curated, opinions stated as news, or just woefully inaccurate. It’s still effort for a lot of people who aren’t so inclined to go and fact check everything they are presented because what is put in front of them might be nonsense. That and misleading headlines and people taking things like a clickbait headline at face value.

Also I think it’s important to differentiate between ‘wilful ignorance’ and someone abstaining or reducing the amount of news they consume due to mental health issues.

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different echo chamber though.

One is through broadcast (so not really an echo) and moreso now it’s actual echo of conversations and being surrounded by people who think similarly to you because people generally delete, block, hide or whatever those who feel differently to one another. Leaving you with people on your social feeds where most peoples daily interactions happen who like each others posts and comment patting each other on the back for their ‘correct’ opinions.

Which is what pretty much everyone has done throughout this thread.

Any more than in the past? With minimal effort I have a hugely broad range of news sources and information that I can (and do) consume - it’s much, much easier to do that now than, say 15 years ago.

Isn’t it like 70% of people don’t read past the headline or summat daft.

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I toyed with this idea as my anxiety levels were at an all time high last year and it was affecting my life. However I’m genuinely interested in it all having done a Politics degree and morally it felt wrong to completely disengage - it almost felt like a dystopian sci-fi novel where that’s what they wanted me to do.

I’ve kept myself to ‘reputable’ news sources and tried to avoid Twitter like the plague so far. If you take a step back from it and return after a few months it genuinely seems batshit insane and not good for your health.

I’d certainly say that the misinformation is on a larger scale perhaps due to the ease of it. It’s also a great thing (two sides to the coin) because now it’s easier to hear diverse voices who would before not have had a platform. That said I would say more people encounter ‘news’ through facebook or similar than did before via tv news or newspapers which you would have to elect to watch/read.

I completely disagree - I think echo chambers are easier than ever to find. I saw a graph which looked at the political discourse online over the past 10 years and it had completely polarised i.e. people were only communicating with other like-minded individuals, not engaging with the other side and only reading/listening to material that supported their own views.

The echo chamber is realer than ever. You only had to look at Twitter during Brexit - I thought ‘Leave’ was a complete impossibility based on what I saw there.

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Tbf marckee I think that last paragraph banks on everybody caring enough to read that much stuff. I do but that’s cos I’m a weirdo. Also it’s not so much reading a wide range of news sources as knowing how to read them, being able to spot the bullshit or bias while still appreciating the broader thrust of particular articles.


This wasn’t what I initially saw (I’ll try and find it) but this is similar to what I mentioned

I think this is a whole other thread/topic in itself but I think Marckee is generally right here

the hard data of online activity may point to people being isolated from other points of view while online but it doesn’t make any comparison with the offline world or the pre-internet age

show me the spidergram of how many 19th century English village churches invited Rabbis or Imams to preach the Sunday Sermon for instance

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I think it’s fine, so long as people know enough to treat others well and vote correctly

You see, I think that you’re assuming that echo chambers exist equally on both sides. I would argue that they don’t.

One thing that has become clear is that Leave voters and Trump voters get their news and information from a much smaller range of sources and that those sources too have smaller reaches in terms of where they get their information and whether they do research.

It’s not an echo chamber to be open to other points of opinion, to be boosting underrepresented voices, or to be sharing well-researched, informed opinion.

People on the right sneered at the liberal/left twitter echo chamber, but it’s not those on the left on twitter, or in cities, or in universities who are more unaware of what is going on in the world.

I’m not so sure. You’re a few years younger than me so may not remember, but regular news bulletins (say 6pm, 9pm news on the BBC or News At Ten on ITV) used to get 15-20million viewers each (!) a night.

That’s true. I think technology is a great place to open up views beyond the traditional media that we consumed previously. However it’s not in the place it could be and that’s pretty dangerous at the moment e.g. the amount of bots online purposefully creating discourse and discontent, the right-wing echo chamber.

I understand your point but the last para fails as analogy because an Imam or Rabbi believes in something completely different to a Catholic priest, it’s not just a case of different political views, but they can still agree on the existence of an Abrahamic God.

I propose instead that we think about how many times the 1922 Committee had guest talks from PIRA fighters.

had a related conversation/argument with the TV last night about climate & environment issues;
she works in Fashion and has been going to a lot of sustainability courses/lectures & reading a lot about just how much the fashion industry contributes to the global environmental catastrophe we’re all in - cotton accounts for 75% of global pesticide use & something like 600 billion tonnes of non-biodegradeable waste for example

She was absolutely convinced that if people were simply aware of these facts and figures then they would change their ways but I countered that the evidence was all around us to the contrary; some people don’t give a shit & for many frightening news switches them off …and things like climate change seem far too remote a problem for people who worry about how to feed & clothe their kids & for whom a £3 t-shirt from H&M or a Tesco Value box of a dozen battery farmed eggs is a literal lifesaver

clearly the global consumer capitalist model is unsustainable and pretty much all the political horror stories that fill the news are small and not-so-small pre-shocks to global catastrophe - be it nuclear war, economic collapse or environmental collapse (or a multi-ball thereof)

and the same time the world is full of beauty and love and sunshine and amazing music and amazing art and moments that just make your soul grow if you let them

so I guess the dilemma you’re presented with is making a choice or finding a balance between growing your soul or staring down doom.

The vast, vast majority of people are totally powerless to do anything to effect structural change in the world so I do not begrudge them turning away from that struggle but it’s hard (for me personally in any case) to try and make your soul grow while turning your back & disengaging from social, political & environmental issues/questions

it’s a tough one and the structural form of capitalism is designed to make it impossibly so


Some of the happiest and most contented people I know are those who are a bit thick/ ignorant of the world around them. I am sometimes jealous, but then I think…can you imagine being happy, and what happiness/ contentedness means within that sphere of reference?


Nobody needs to eat eggs, I don’t believe there is ever a justification for battery eggs. However, being able to buy three children’s outfits for £20 in primark is a lifesaver for many families.

What are the more ethical alternatives to cotton?

my general point is that the conversations in society & how society is arranged have ALWAYS been segregated around ‘basic truths’ fundamental to groups that form the core of their identity and their impermeable membrane if you like and that is still pushed IRL in all sorta of class & wealth divisions & spurious notions like #BritishValues etc

At no other point in history has the general public had access to the wealth of information it has now, at no other point in history has the general public had the ability to generate the wealth of data that our modern digital society is creating today…but we have to organise it (or organise around it) somehow

I think this idea that we’re all in facebook bubbles and it’s killing our understanding of life or something is nonsense, or at best overcooked. It’s like going into a library and grabbing the children’s books and jamming them into the microfiches of legal case history because you think they’re too compartmentalised and need to have dialogue with each other

I dunno, maybe a crap analogy but basically just because we can map & quantify interactions in a new way doesn’t mean the interactions are quantitatively new