Terabytes of information --- video, audio, text --- comprise our new era of communications. Too much to sift. Some truth, some lies, some obvious...much not. It's that last part we aren't coping with.
Humanity, I mean.
We know that there are those who lie, but there are also those who are our friends or allies. We prefer not to think of these latter as even possibly lying to us. It's natural --- we want to trust those we care for.
But in an era where anyone can spread a lie, without even meaning to, we become sinlessly complicit. Rumors, anger and fear, interpretations of data we do not wish to scrutinize closely, because doing so means questioning the source --- usually, our friends and allies. Even if there is no intent to mislead, no actual sin, we don't want to accuse. After all, we might be wrong when we do so, and do we really want to risk friendships or alliances over miscommunication?
And so because of the initial miscommunication, which has passed virus-like into our minds, we accept falsehoods as true because we know no better.
Nor is this state of affairs endemic to only one set of ideals. It is tempting to say that only one's opponents lie, that only they are misled, because this reinforces our existing belief structures. Our own comfortable lies naturally form an illusionary bedrock, upon which we lay the foundations of our politics.
It's not that no one is lying to us, or that everyone lies. It's that everyone wants the facts to speak only in their own favor.
Like children on the playground after a fight; each with a story either carefully or hastily fabricated to take what little is actually known, and portray it as best suits their own desired ends. Getting someone else in trouble, pointing the finger, avoiding the blame.
As we age, as we absorb and emit more information, the same schoolyard mentality persists, merely growing more complex. And why should it not? Who can read everything about anything? Even if they did, they would only have the totality of the views and knowledge passed on from those whom they've read and heard from.
It is not even that everyone is equally wrong or right. It is that most people can't really be bothered to try and find out which is which.
And why should they, when there are so many bloggers and reporters and commentators and politicians with fingers ready to point in whichever direction is preferred?
In an age where all the world's data seems at our beck and call, we would rather give up and hand the reins to someone else.
Someone we trust. Because they'd never be wrong. If they were...we wouldn't listen to them.