Most people are searching for the truth. Everyone desires information purity. Does such a thing exist?

Every written word, spoken word, image, photograph, and motion picture presents only small portions of reality filtered through a human’s mind and technology.

What a person see’s with her own eyes, hears with her own ears, or writes with her own hands is a product of narrow senses, faulty logic, and cultural interference. Much more lies outside of a human’s senses than what she can capture and summarize mentally or physiologically.

Truth is an opinion arrived upon after sampling inputs. We each review and summarize information with our mind, and arrive at a definition that may include the truth label. A trial court is a good example of the struggle between opposing viewpoints. In the court of law, opposing forces present evidence to sway observers to form an opinion confined within the narrow questions presented. The judge plays referee, filtering the presentation of information.

Is evidence presented by opposing parties in a court of law always truth versus lie, no. Preponderance of evidence rules the day and the same logic applies to the court of public opinion, whether we like it or not.

Public opinion is the ephemeral result of leveraging many people to similar conclusions. Opinions wash across the public consciousness like a single wave over beach sand. The next wave arrives and erases all traces of the previous opinion.

An ounce of truth and a pound of lies equals what? An ounce of lies and a pound of truth equals what? Both equations equal information. Information always carries varying amounts of accuracy and inaccuracy. Assumptions, observations, opinions, and conclusions do not come with absolute guarantees, and we must remember this when weighing what we read and certainly what we see.

Like the water we drink, though it appears clean and clear, carries many chemicals, some that can be greatly harmful, some beneficial. But even too much water, the life giving liquid, can drown a consumer with deadly consequence.

Lead in water is unseen, but in small enough quantities it may not be immediately harmful. But lead ingested in small quantities over long periods becomes harmful. Many elements in water very dangerous to human health are not detected by our senses, so we rely on filter technology to protect, sample, or warn us.

Safe drinking is often illusive. The first glass of water from the tap may have chromium-6, and the next may possess none. The first batch of ice cubes may contain high levels of arsenic, but not the second.

Many of us filter our drinking water, but not every filter works the same and no filter eliminates all dangers. Some of us convince ourselves that the bottled water we drink is clean because it is processed in a factory somewhere where it is probably clean, perhaps filtered, and managed by experts. Some of us drink the water delivered through pipes and pumps to our locations thinking nothing about the original source or its condition upon arrival to our glass.

Many assumptions, blind trust, delusion, and great ignorance accompany our consumption of water, an element necessary for the human being to sustain life and health. Information consumption is analogous to drinking water. Many consumers hope information is not filled with toxic or harmful elements to the extent that we suffer instantly or later.

Many people assume that the information they consume is in pure form; it is an act of faith as much as assumption. Information is usually methodically packaged by the sender and fervently accepted by the consumer. People like to define their favored information sources as true, and will staunchly defend favored purveyors. Our consumption of information, like swallowing water involves varying levels of faith and trust in regard to its source and ingredients.

Instead of defining information as true or false, we should use the description of accuracy on a sliding scale. Our information product arrives with varying  levels of accuracy, assumption, expertise, opinion, illusion, cultural infusion, deception, misdirection, and of course nifty packaging. Often we pre-conclude that an information source is trustworthy, and then assume all messages delivered are true. We must always remember the billions of dollars spent on testing then adjusting the packaging of information to make it acceptable, palatable, and believable for a target audience.

Individuals must learn to filter their information with a similar diligence to filtering water. And like water, filters do not detect or prevent all toxic elements. We swallow what arrives from the electronic tap (TV / Radio / Print / Web) piped into our home often with nary a thought. Too often we choose our favored information sources based on nothing more than the packaging.

Pure information? Pure water? No absolutes exist for either.

Vigilant, unceasing filtration is necessary. Stay alert.

Dutifully yours,

The Drill Sargent

Now drop and give me twenty!

“Copyright © 20MAR17 by Steven A. Schwab”