Many people today conflate knowledge with intellect, but without doubt, an appeal to critical thought reveals that knowledge is different than intellect. In a world that is increasingly becoming more and more digitized, access to knowledge is less of a problem than ever before. Unfortunately, in a world in which government officials have increasingly censored dissenting voices and built Orwellian nations in which doublespeak is all too common and authoritarian iron fists are stamping out all dissent, a world increasingly filled with propaganda has been the result. Consequently, our better access to information has unfortunately also been accompanied by a much greater ratio of disinformation to truth in all available information and thus, necessitates a much more critical eye to ferret out and discern the truth.
In fact, President Obama in July 2013, legalized the use of propaganda inside the borders of the United States for the first time since 1948 by repealing the Smith-Mundt Act that prohibited journalists and state officials from spreading propaganda inside US borders. Of course, this repeal of the anti-propaganda law didn’t mean that prior to July 2013, the US media was free of propaganda, but by removing any punishment for the use of propaganda, President Obama certainly encouraged the proliferation of disinformation, increasing the propaganda: truth ration in the media as well as in information available online.
As a consequence, the global academic system of exam administration, in which very little critical thought, and strict regurgitation of memorized information is tested, leaves us all extremely susceptible to believing that all ingested information online and in the media is truth. However, unfortunately, not only is knowledge different than intellect, because of the changing duplicitous nature of journalism and the proliferation of the percentage of disinformation online, knowledge is massively different than intellect. Resorting to “googling” questions to access information is likely to leave nearly everyone blind to truth and living in a kingdom in which the one-eyed man can rule among a populace of the blind. Instead of just reading and ingesting information as truth, today, one must always filter all information through the lens of critical thought, seeking out dissenting views to information presented in the mainstream media to provide context to a usually heavily biased perspective.
Furthermore, even within the context of seeking out information that fills in the many holes along the continuum of perspectives about a topic, one must be wary not to blindly ingest this information, but must still apply one’s critical thinking skills to this information to sift out all information that does not measure up to the standards of documentation and verifiability. This singular filter, in it of itself, would eliminate the majority of information presented in regard to certain political topics that have as its only sources anonymous and unidentified State officials. Secondly, we must filter all information we encounter through a progression of increasingly critical filters to have any chance of arriving at truth, and at times this process will necessitate deductions, that if unvetted, must lead us to not be married to our conclusion.
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