Everybody Knows Everything

It wouldn’t likely take much for me to convince you that social media has become a cultural mine field of bare-knuckle tribal street fighting and pseudo-intellectual posturing. A place so hostile that a humble, honestly logical opinion isn’t welcome – because invariably some partisan will come along posthaste to set you straight, armed with something freshly googled up to denounce your heresies. This is because in the age of information everybody knows everything – just ask them, they’ll tell you! Everyone’s a constitutional lawyer now! Everyone’s an epidemiologist, a climatologist, and a psychotherapist . . . because the next best thing to being an expert yourself, is knowing how to google up the experts who already agree with you.

Not only does this conspicuously lack intellectual honesty – it’s perversely reductive. Such a mindless parroting of information, as if we were merely disembodied avatars of tribal ideals – will only ever be able to foster a shallow and disingenuous discourse. How could it not? This is the tipping point of banality and superficiality, an entire culture feigning erudition and intellectual refinement as if they were nothing more than fashion accessories – while we’re all being herded into our contrived intersectional identities, until fear, anger and resentment consumes all.

And given the ubiquity of information, spreading out like buffet of data – it isn’t so much about the validity of each individual factoid, but it’s in how the narrative is assembled. A narrative that invariably seeks to semantically redefine language, so that the prevailing cultural agenda can be insinuated as self-evident. This is precisely how summary judgements of differing opinions, without even the least bit of honest examination, can be blithely made – because it’s about the group-think talking points . . . and not actually about the content of the ideas.  This is because the underpinnings of ideas are seldom internalized as a coherent whole . . . instead we choose to rely on the shallow sentimentality of sound bites and memes to speak our truth.

Undoubtedly, critical thinking is conspicuously absent in the circular logic at work in this type of confirmation bias that now inhabits much of popular discourse – but this, for me, would only be a rhetorical critique. What is far more evident to me is the hollow expectation of the individual to disappear into the drift and sway of faddish cultural shifts – having absolutely nothing to ground them, whatsoever. For where there is no transcendent anchor to hold us fast, no overarching meditation to captivate our hearts and minds – all that remains is the transient vacuity of our own self-involved opinions.

Therefore, the fully formed person isn’t preoccupied with masquerading as a pseudo-expert in the world of Google make-believe – the fully formed person makes their meditation in the humble desire to “know him and the power of his resurrection, and share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” ~ Philippians 3:10. So that they may say “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”~ Psalm 19:14. In this way, the confessions of our faith are in contrast to the vain posturing of those pretending they know everything . . . as our meditations lead us to one humble confession “Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

. . . so let us walk a more humble path.

6 thoughts on “Everybody Knows Everything

  1. Good post. It is frustrating living in a world where everyone thinks they are an expert even though they are clearly not.

    That this doesn’t effect the fully formed person Ian great insight. Fully formed people know what their identity is so they don’t need to pretend to be something they are not.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like to think that I have not grown into someone too cynical. Still, I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that I’m a black and white kind of personality ….in other words, “opinionated”.

    Once I decide something is true, proving to me that I am wrong does usually take “an act of congress”…or “God”. Mind you, it can happen, but my husband will tell you, not without one heck of a debate.

    Anyway, I think what frustrates me about or culture nowadays isn’t so much the ability to find some narrative we can latch onto and claim as “truth”. I was raised in a family of teachers and, thus, I firmly believe in the “rightness” of being able to research and defend one’s stances. Still, these days, there is this sheer lack of desire to educate one’s self about differing perspectives BEFORE “choosing a side” (and then clinging onto it for dear life on social media). How can critical thinking even happen without at least examining the reasoning of what others have to say?

    Likewise, in a world where there is certainly knowledge of both good and evil, how can one really choose to follow Christ…or any creed…without steadfastly studying His wisdom, His works, His Grace? How does one not also study the history of His church? How His legacy has effected our collective history? Furthermore, how do we truly CHOOSE Him without being open to studying all manner of religious and non-religious ideas?

    Perhaps as children we are blindly led towards whatever faith and truth our parents or community choose for us. But, as we grow and learn about both the good and evil in this world, one’s truth, like faith, must be continually examined, considered, and actively pursued. When faith and truth are found, they should resonate deep within to a place few, save God, can touch. Their righteousness should speak in voice our individual soul cannot ignore or cast aside… not because we refused to acknowledge and consider other notions, but because those other notions have been equally examined, studied and considered, and found to be wanting.

    Beyond my faith in God, I suppose this is why there are, in truth, very few things I’m utterly sure about. Don’t tell my husband that, though. I’m still trying to teach him that his wife is always right.

    Liked by 1 person

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