The notion that some (a lot of) people are from gullible to straight-up stupid is an oversimplification that does not allow us to constructively approach the problem of having them in our lives. Let’s try to deconstruct it a bit.
Everything starts with children’s conditioning. Children are forced to accept certain concepts on a basis of their origin. It could be an authority, some old and heavy book, or just old enough saying. The parents do not have the knowledge (or the skills) to convince their children toward what they believe to be right and true. Most probably the parent’s childhood has been pretty much the same indoctrination, and they have come to be descent and moderately successful people, right? Suppressing critical thinking and authentic curiosity is no less child abuse than physical or emotional ones. On top of that, the parent believes that he/she prepare their child for the “real” world where they will be forced to accept many concepts for many reasons as political correctness, belonging to a social group, or anything which is not the value of the concept itself. There are so many flavors of these concepts: religious — “accept Jesus in your heart” and you feel loved all the time, nationalist — you live in the greatest country in the world and everything you want from life is justified, because of that. Approaching these concepts from a phycological point of view, one could classify them as delusions, or denial of reality and still, they are the norm in many societies. Now, combine all this with a low level of education, lack of information (or misinformation) about the world, and accelerated social and technological changes. As result, we have flammable social conditions prone to explode in social unrest (e.g. 6th of January 2021).
There is a paradox: delusional people suppose to have happier and troubleless lives because they construct their reality the way they wish. But discrepancies between the real world and the constructed one create an uncomfortable feeling that something is wrong (because it is). A person with critical thinking would revise his/her view of the world and make corrections so the model would be more adequate. What if your critical thinking has been surgically removed and you are not able to correct your view. The only way to get back to your happy bubble is to reaffirm your delusions with even more extreme claims, which in the social sphere is known as fake news (and conspiracy theories alike). Fake news is not a new phenomenon, but now we are often shocked by the ridiculousness of some fake news. There are two reasons for our surprise: first — there are so many places you can get decent verifiable information, and second — the contemporary society has so many requirements in order for anybody to function, that the efforts to compartmentalization one needs in order to protect his/her delusions become extreme, hence the severe discomfort, hence the extreme fake news.
Do I have an inclination about a solution to that — no, but I know that it has to start in childhood. Do I think we are doomed as in the movie Idiocracy (2006) — who knows? (write some comments if you do)
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