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Are We Losing Our Ability To Think Independently?

I see so many people repeat what they’ve seen on TV like it’s fact, that it got me wondering if we are losing our ability to think independently or really even think for ourselves at all?

Case in point, a friend that I know works in the financial industry.  He told me exactly how he perceived what caused “The Great Recession” and I agreed with his logic.  Now just a month ago, he’s telling me and entirely different story because he was a documentary on it.  Well, a documentary versus living through it with connections to what was happening… hmmm.

Here is a man, that actually was part of the financial system, saw and heard what was going on, but since seeing the documentary, changed his tune and blamed it all on the banks.  It really was more than that banks…

Oh sure, there were some unscrupulous lenders, but if you think that they were all like that you are sadly mistaken.  I think that it was mainly the construction of the complex derivatives that caused the problems and made it so the rating companies didn’t have a clue (nor did the companies peddling the stuff), but I digress…

The thing that kills me is my buddy, who was much closer to the financial downturn I ever was, basically forgot what he lived through and instead change his entire mindset based on a documentary!  Like those documentary creators were unbiased and were in the middle of what was going on more-so than he was…

It reminds me of the “Jedi mind trick” from Star Wars.  “Believe what you watch, you will” says Yoda…

The thing is we’ve all been influence by what we watch on TV.  I know that after watching certain movies I get pumped and want to work out.  I’ve even acted out a few dangerous scenes when I was younger with friends (ah, those teenage years).  Now that I’m older I realize how incredible stupid that was of me to do.

I wonder how much of our life is misguided by fantasies and make believe magic that we watch on TV and the movies than reality.  Most of us look up to actors, not really innovators in our country that improve our lifestyle.

The real question is how do those of us in the middle get back on a productive and reality based track again (if we were ever on that track to begin with)?

Perhaps less TV and less online time is the answer?  Perhaps trying to think outside of the box a bit (or a lot) more?

Hard to tell, I’m still experimenting myself…



13 Responses to Are We Losing Our Ability To Think Independently?

  1. I think there is such an overload of info out there now, it’s so easy to let your opinions change on a dime without really thinking about why you changed your opinion.

    You have to first make sure the info you get is accurate because there is so much bad info out there, and then really consider things. People have more of a tendency to react than to think these days.

    • Definitely! People are looking for a reason to crucify other people. I hate new shows that cast an even in a very incorrect and lacking facts light. There is usually a reason something happens, and unless you were there, who are we to judge…

  2. That’s sad that an educated man who lived through the recession closely connected to the mortgage/finance industry could change his tune so easily. There are so many factors that went into the financial downfall that if I had to pick only one, it would be greed. Greed from homebuyers, from corner lenders, from banks who took on the corner lender loans. Although fear plays a large part as well.

    • It was the perfect storm. I was kind of surprised that I had to explain to him the CDO part of the downfall. This was the part that Warren Buffett warned the industry about, and only him as far as I know. Of course, I’m sure there were others…

  3. I remember when I was a young child, my cousin would pick up every newspaper he could read. In New York (during the 50s), there were quite a few. As background, my cousin was a high school dropout (during the Great depression), but he was very smart and read everything. I think it is still true, we need a lot of resources to get the whole story.

    Polically, I am a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. I watch every news show and read every paper, magazine and online resource I can. The more I read, the more I have the resources to make a good decision. Unfortunately, too many people get their information from one resource and just accept it. We should question more and realize there is bias out there. This way you can be independent.

    • I totally agree! I like to hear at least two opposing side of a story too. Usually the truth is somewhere in between. Luckily, over the years I’ve learn to read such stories and use common sense to derive what I consider the most probably reality.

  4. While I guess I would be suspicious of a friend radically changing his mind, I think that there’s too much of an impetus in American society towards always having the same mindset as you’ve always had. I think that this is unfortunate, because it doesn’t allow for things like growth and development.

    • Yeah, you have a good point. Sometimes my friend says thinks like that just to see what other people will say about an issue. It’s a definite negative about him. Still he persisted for quite a while. At least at some level, I think he is second guessing his original thoughts on the matter.

  5. It is so easy for some folks to get caught up in what others print or film because for some reason they take whats shown as expert advice. Even as expert advice, those experts are still humans who have their own opinions that are influenced by “facts”. Bottom line, take everything with a grain of salt and ask question.

    • Very true! I like to hear stuff, but in the end I go with what makes sense to me. Usually it’s a combinations of the stories presented to me, although sometimes some sources are obviously either flawed or lie too much…

  6. Very interesting article. Our society is highly brain washed by our media and celebrities. It is a sad state as the cult of celebrity and media has done more damage to average Joe’s life than those big banks.

    • Totally agree, and most people will never realize it… That’s what is really sad… Being damaged and never realizing that it happened. I guess Jedi mind tricks really do exist…

  7. I think a lot of it comes down to incentives. Yes, some of us just watch too much TV and don’t think independently, but let’s take a look at the financial crisis: Maybe you know that it can all blow up one day, but as an individual actor, why *wouldn’t* you take advantage of cheap loans and easy money?

    If we want to fix the system, we need to start by fixing the incentives, and that’s a bit hard with funny money. 😉