I’ve been struggling with the idea of trust, both in my own life (after a few setbacks and disappointments) and also in public life. In our rapidly evolving world, trust has become a scarce and precious commodity. As we grapple with this concept, several questions surface. How can we discern the truth in an age where misinformation floods our screens? How do we know if the information we consume is complete and accurate, especially given the vastness of the internet and the ever-expanding landscape of AI-generated content?
Trust is in people and ideas. The first question is whether you can trust a proposition.
o Does it make sense? Does it satisfy the scientific method? A great many propositions about climate, gender, race and so on are simply ideological. Don't be afraid to ask hard questions, and compare the theory with the evidence of your own eyes.
o Is somebody pushing an agenda? Cui bono? Who will benefit if I happen to believe what they are claiming?
o Is it written? Are there books about it? Even though people try to ban them, and Amazon may no longer carry them, you can know about books on every subject. Thank God you can still find them if you look.
o Is the idea under question something supported by people you trust? Trust ripples out in circles.
When it comes to people:
o What is their track record? What are their bona fides?
o Is their tone polite, receptive to rebuttal? Or are they shrill and insistent?
o Are they willing to engage in dialogue?
o What is their circle of acquaintances? Who supports them?
The Internet, and especially Substack, have ironically expanded the circle of people that I trust. I was already very skeptical of academia, medicine, and especially government. It is reassuring to find a circle of similarly skeptical people.
We will probably disagree on this but. Truth resonates within us. This is why I trust you. I can “feel” it. Maybe it’s not easy for everyone to do that but I think that’s whats necessary in these times. And it’s not about getting it 100% right all the time. It’s about holding truth dearly.
I've always believed you put trust where it belongs, in yourself. One of my more popular articles from a couple years ago made this case. Read it with a grain of salt :-) https://bagholder.substack.com/p/my-way-21-08-25
You’re in the “ Matrix “ now whether you like it or not.
I find that one of the big problems is the rush by public figures to express a public opinion. In this way, Mark Ruffalo becomes a trusted source (as do people like Ted Nugent and Adam Baldwin on the right). Did I just compare Ruffalo to Nugent? Yes, I did. I think both dudes are popular sources of inaccurate, mistaken, and incomplete information as well as outright propaganda.
Maybe we should hang on to those hardback encyclopedias after all!
The bit about the accuracy of factual information and the knowledge about whether or not it is complete speaks to me as a Deaf person in my everyday interactions with other people. It is a problem that I've lived with my entire life, and I get fragments of illumination when I realize that my teachers, my peers, and my family never gave me full information ever because I was forced to speechread or use interpreters, who could never translate communications satisfactorily. This current age of AI-generated content feels like that.
I hope you or someone come up with the answer to this dilemma as most of us are floundering with this issue. There are less than a handful of journalist that I trust to verify facts to the best of their abilities but not more than that. No one seems to care as long as their particular narrative is upheld. Predominately though, I trust no one completely-especially governments. Wouldn’t it be nice to be born with a bs meter?