Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Nothing Is Written In Stone -- Fake News


There a book on categories titled "Women, Fire, And Dangerous Things" that I have mostly read ... the title refers to Aborigines having only three categories to assign things to. Lots of languages give words and things gender ... we all do, a ship is commonly a "she". The author of that book, wrote a book on "frames" (a form of categorization) titled "Don't Even Think Of An Elephant".

Categories are really important -- we are VERY finite beings living in an effectively infinite universe, getting more infinite by the second -- this post is certainly adding to "information" (so is the stream of bits coming out of the Hubble telescope), but how to categorize it may be hard. For example, 735229327 is data, 735-22-3327 may or may not be a Social Security Number. I don't know, it isn't mine -- if it was, it would be a more specific sort of information.

We can most often only comprehend the universe intellectually through categories, so it is important that the categories we pick have some relation to reality.

The linked article discusses the increasing horror on the left that some people are getting confused by categorizing some things on the Babylon Bee site as fact/truth rather than satire. Specifically, that Democrats are calling for flags to be flown at half mast because of the death of Iranian terrorist leader Soleimani in a drone strike, and some people think it is truth rather than satire. The post discusses the obvious difference between this and the treatment of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert being treated as "major news sources" -- as those of minimal classical education have known for eons, it always depends for all of us on "whose ox is getting gored" ... "whose interests are harmed".

My studies continually show me that I'm an idiot. I'm reading "American Ulysses" now and discover that Grant (not known as particularly educated) and his beloved wife Julia often communicate with references to classic literature and history that I'm barely aware of  -- that Alexander the Great accompanied his father into battle at age 11 for example. Much of our current "reporting" shows that our supposed "elite" doesn't understand the critical importance of at least the existence of epistemology ... if for no reason beyond getting just a whiff of humility.

I began to realize the depths of my stupidity back in the '80s when I discovered National Review and started to scratch the surface of my ignorance ... "The Closing Of The American Mind" was one that scraped many scales from my eyes to the fact I had (and have) much to be humble about!

Is "Nothing is written in stone" a lie, a great truth, a useful metaphor/saying, "Fake News" ??? All of them depending on who is using the phrase/conext?

How might we decide? Especially since we "moderns" are so blinded by the constant bombardment of media, "entertainment" and general distraction of our material based existence and generally unaware of the rich history that allowed our vacuous culture of consumption/entertainment to exist -- well covered in "Amusing Ourselves To Death"".

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