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Say goodbye to the information age: it's all about reputation now - Gloria Origgi | Aeon Ideas

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Say goodbye to the information age: it's all about reputation now - Gloria Origgi | Aeon Ideas
There is an underappreciated paradox of knowledge that plays a pivotal role in our advanced hyper-connected liberal democracies: the greater the amount of information that circulates, the more we rely on so-called reputational devices to evaluate it.

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Paradox of knowledge

The increased access to information and knowledge we have today does not empower us or make us more cognitively autonomous.

Instead, it makes us more dependent on other people's judgments and...

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From Information to Reputation

There is a fundamental paradigm shift in our relationship to knowledge from 'information age', moving towards the 'reputation age'.

This shift involves valuing information only if it has a...

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Reliant on reputation

If you are asked why you believe in, for instance, the big changes in climate, you might answer that:

  • You trust the reputation of scientific research and believe that peer-review is a...

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Assessing 'fake news'

To question and assess the reputation of an information source, ask:
  • Where does it come from?
  • Does the source have a good reputation?
  • Who are the a...

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Empowering your knowledge

According to Frederick Hayek's book Law, Legislation and Liberty (1973), 'civilization rests on the fact that we all benefit from knowledge which we do not possess.’

In a civilized c...

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Living in the age o doubt

Living in the age o doubt

We live in a time when all scientific knowledge (the safety of fluoride, vaccines, climate change, moon landing, etc.) faces coordinated and vehement resistance.

The acces...

We now face risks we can’t easily analyze

Our existence is invaded by science and technology as never before. For many of us, this brings comfort and rewards, but this existence is also more complicated and sometimes agitated.

Our lives are full of real and imaginary risks, and distinguishing between them isn’t easy. We have to be able to decide what to believe and how to act on that.

Marcia McNutt  - Geophysicist

Marcia McNutt - Geophysicist

“Science is not a body of facts. Science is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not.”

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Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy Theories

In the earlier times, conspiracy theories were a convenient way to cover up the inadequacies of the government, and putting a set of helpless people as a scapegoat, cloaking the misdeeds or mismana...

We Love A Good Story

The organic and unpredictable nature of conspiracy theories had led many researchers to investigate the cause of the phenomenon.

  • Successful conspiracy theories always tend to invent a great villain, have a backdrop or a backstory, and a morality lesson that can be easily understood by most.
  • Great stories are by nature more magnetic and appealing than the truth.
  • Human beings think and understand in stories. For thousands of years, fairy tales, legends, anecdotes and mysteries have helped our brains make sense of the world.

Collective Hysteria

Every society has its own, unique anxieties and obsessions, and the conspiracy theories that gain good mileage are the ones that tap into these primal fears.

Example: Many people fear vaccination of the children due to fears that the mass drive to vaccinate such a large population has some ulterior motive, like a mass medical experiment. The dodgy past record of the health care system, and the fact that the vaccination is free of charge, of course, adds fuel to the fire.

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The Way We See The World

Each of us looks at things differently, and it's largely based on our thinking patterns, education levels, inherent bias, self-identity, and real, first-hand experiences.

Higher Mind Vs Primitive Mind

Human beings tend to have two kinds of conflicting mindsets:

  • The Higher Mind, the conscious truth-seeking mind, has made human beings an advanced civilization.
  • The Primitive Mind is our hardwired, thousands-of-years-old survivalist part, the one that's still stuck in the dark ages.

The Psych Spectrum

Our Higher Mind and the Primitive Mind always have a tug-of-war like conflict. The degree of the conflict can be placed in a spectrum, which is called a Psych Spectrum.

If the Higher mind is in control, we are placed higher in the Psych Spectrum and have the Primitive Mind under check. If we are placed at a lower degree in the Psych Spectrum, then the Primitive Mind is under control.

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