The Fake News Wars leads us to the question: how do we discern what is “real” and what is isn’t?
Is real news, for instance:
- Who got murdered?
- Justin Beiber just put out a video?
- The first lady’s beauty regime?
- The list of Oscar nominees?
- Trump’s bad three months as president?
- The Anthony Weiner scandal of the day?
- False coverage of Soros-led anti-Trump rallies?
- Comparison of inauguration audience size?
- Coverage of violence, hatred and crime?
- Transgender bathrooms?
Or would real news more likely cover:
- The collapse of the bee colonies?
- The truth about GMO’s ?
- The discovery of a space base in Antarctica?
- The suspicious deaths of journalists and scientists?
- Nuclear reactor dangers?
- The spreading radiation from Fukushima?
- The suppression of technologies that would eliminate the reliance on petroleum, thus nullifying the need for pipelines and wars?
- Wikileaks substantiations of frauds, hoaxes and lies perpetrated by the powermongers upon the public?
- The proliferation of US military bases and violent interventions worldwide?
Only you can decide what is true and what isn’t, and let the process of that decision be guided by your own, growing powers of discernment.
But what is discernment, really?
Checking in with Wikipedia, which despite it’s mainstream slant, describes many things well:
Discernment is the ability to obtain sharp perceptions or to judge well (or the activity of so doing). In the case of judgment, discernment can be psychological or moral in nature. Within judgment, discernment involves going past the mere perception of something and making nuanced judgments about its properties or qualities. Considered as a virtue, a discerning individual is considered to possess wisdom, and be of good judgment; especially so with regard to subject matter often overlooked by others.
How does one acquire discernment, much less wisdom? The most basic, credible means of obtaining knowledge is through direct personal experience. Wisdom, it is said, is gained through repeat practical decisions related to this experience.
When lacking the opportunity to gain information through direct experience, we then go from what are known as empirical sources, to firsthand accounts of experience. For these to be taken as valid, they must be unbiased and lacking an agenda. This, even among friends is very hard. A friend will tell you a story about falling off a bicycle, for instance, while making himself the hero. This is his bias, and points to his agenda: the desire to appear brave in your eyes. Those who are discerning will ascertain these things, and take it into account when weighing the facts. This sifting and sorting and coming to knowledge is the path to wisdom.
Back to discernment, as defined by Merriam-Webster:
The quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure; an act of perceiving something; a power to see what is not evident to the average mind.
Sounds like discernment is a superpower skill that we humans need to develop, and fast.
Is discernment gained through reading or listening to what other people tell you is the truth? Or rather–lacking the opportunity for firsthand experience– does developing our discernment involve going back to a primary source in order to ascertain the truth for yourself?
Warning: To trace information to its root source while ascertaining bias and agenda can be a complicated and protracted endeavor. This is why we have “news sources” in the first place. Yet, by placing power in someone else’s hands we enabled them to betray our trust.
To avoid doing that ever again, we must be willing to question all of our belief systems and preconceived ideas.
Because we have been unable or unwilling to do the work ourselves, we have been led into a box. It is time to kick that box open and lay it to waste.
But what is the answer to our need to obtain accurate information and determine what is accurate and what isn’t? Is it possible that the process of discernment has a spiritual component?
Perhaps the recent revelation of the fallibility of our once-trusted news sources is actually the path to personal betterment. To borrow a term from the spiritual-but-not-religious crowd, perhaps this “betterment” is part of our own, individual ascension process.