Alexander Pope wrote that ‘a little learning is a dangerous thing’ and ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread’. Was he extolling the virtue of caution or perhaps he wanted us to realise the importance of getting all the facts before coming to a conclusion?
Either way, he was addressing our tendency to assimilate information without integrity confirmation or ‘taking things on face value’. This grey area in our perception has been manipulated by power brokers since even before the Nicene Creed in the fourth century, perhaps one of the most infamous examples of censorship and adulteration, whereby the years of Christ’s life between the ages of 12 and 30 were swept under the mat and the ‘Gone Fishing’ sign was put up. What you don’t know mightn’t hurt you but it sure can make you subservient.
The ability of media moguls to shape popular opinion is largely due to this selective myopia that is applied to controversial issues. ‘If we want your opinion, we’ll give it to you’.
Of course, collective consensus is the comfort zone of the bourgeois and who would question that the Earth is flat and the centre of the Universe? Apart from the usual suspects like Copernicus and Galileo, most of us would not want to rock the boat, content to belong to the conformity inherent in mutual security.
The Bay of Pigs incident in Cuba was possibly as close as we came to MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) as we hopefully ever will. The collapse of the Berlin Wall was highly symbolic of the chink in the armour of power perpetrated pedagogy, the overthrow of government in Egypt a testimony to freedom of information courtesy of the Internet and whistle-blowers being offered asylum are all signs that ‘having the wool pulled over our eyes’ is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain by those with vested interests.
‘It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and the myths that surround it’ to quote twitter.com/johnpilger.
With more freelance writers now than ever before, the cloak of massaged messages is being cast aside. With restoration of 20/20 vision we are regaining our ‘sangfroid’ in the face of distorted truth.
Contextual misrepresentation, scandal and trial by media will come undone as more and more of us begin to realise, as did the taxi-driver helping a lady up 6 flights of stairs carrying her luggage only to be paid the exact fare, that it may be correct but it sure isn’t right.
There’s more to it than meets the eye.