The time for castigating the Other indiscriminately is done. Sober analysis and in-depth understanding of the opposition’s positions are mandatory.
The election cycle just ending has seen the mainstreaming of what was previously the Alternative Community in both its Right and Left factions. In my own search for knowledge and truth, I have engaged both communities, in-depth, for almost 30 years.
There is truth in many of the things they know. There are also many lies and distortions. Disinformation is big business and Big Brother has vicious siblings, as many people previously unaware of such things now know conclusively. The only difference between the Alt Left and Alt Right is race. They hold the same basic, conspiratorial truths about the world and the USA to be self-evident.
But in order to move forward and actually believe that doing so is possible as a union – and not Balkanized factions – it is necessary to share basic understandings. In addition to the MSM version of things, the exoteric or outer reality, there is also the Conspiracy version of things, the esoteric or inner reality.
It is impossible to argue effectively if you dismiss someone’s beliefs out of hand. If you’ve ever studied debate or have taken higher academic classes you know you have to know both sides of an argument in order to counter. Be prepared to have your belief system challenged. Be prepared to dismiss ideas out of hand after reading one sentence. When that happens, read the second. Then the third. Check them, and the article, for facts vs. emotional appeal and judge it on the merits of the argument and how well the information is bolstered by known sources, historical, cultural, scientific or societal.
The point is to engage dialogue by understanding the argument. Of course, when engaging demagogues and trolls, reason is useless as is the engagement, although the experience can be worthwhile in exemplifying a type to avoid in future.
And who knows? As you seek information, your own understanding is increased, new synaptic connections formed, your neural net broadened, which hones intuition and is always a good thing.
You’ll also find that being aware of the Fringe pushes it back further and the more you know the more you realize that you don’t know. And that is ok. It is about the journey, not the destination. Engaging this process with the understanding that life is a learning tree and the branches spread out from you in any direction you choose is recognizing the wonder and beauty of life itself.
The Light banishes the Darkness and Knowledge is Power. But differentiating between the true and false lights is a mandatory skill-set to cultivate, especially in these days of emotional appeals and foundational fear.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” – Shakespeare