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OK, all hail the hypocrite. In I walk on my beautiful high horse, like a poor mans Donald Trump. So, before it all comes my way, I get it, I am guilty for two reasons*; firstly I have almost certainly used ‘Reasons Why’ in some of my posts, and secondly this post is one of them.
So you will see it every where on the internet, everyone knows something you don’t, and everyone has the answers to everything. Not only do they have the answers but they have a very specific amount of them. These posts are the ‘Reason Why’ posts, they are complied reasons as to why you should or shouldn’t do something, it is even the title of a new programme
which everyone is jumping on the bandwagon of.
So where does all the knowledge come from, and why is this terminology used so regularly? I hear no one ask.
Thanks for the question, well it basically comes down to button pushing. Us as humans like to crave knowledge, and answers. We want it all, nom nom nom*. The problem we have is that in solving problems and learning we like to put in the minimum amount of effort humanly possible. We don’t want to invest hours reading a big book, researching, or experimenting, when we could just Google something and find out there are just ‘4 Simple Ways To Be Happy!’. We love the idea that happiness is so close, or beating depression is so easy, or even finding the ‘answers’ to more trivial matters.
So these titles push the buttons of the lazy person inside of all of us. It offers a quick solution to often complex problems. There are a few problems with this, let me give you a few reasons why*. Firstly, these solutions or reasons why something is happening or not happening come from sources of poor credibility – me included, I have literally done no research for this piece.
That means you have people confidently, clearly and simply proclaiming things who have potentially zero expertise in the area. Not to mention rather dubious motives i.e. they want hits on their blog/website.
People just want to hear what they want to hear though. I know I have searched the internet, from reasons why to reasons why until I find the one that is what I want. The words I’ve been looking for – ahhh validation. I was right all along. Some stranger with no expertise has confirmed what I always knew. This behaviour though, is pretty much the some kind of behaviour that surrounds
that morally corrupt and bullshit ‘science’ of horoscopes. You read Barnum statement after Barnum statement, until you find something you want to hear.
You would think people would be wise to the idea that there are not always a specified number of simple solutions to often complex problems, however we also know this not to be true. Not only because people still keep clicking on this things, but also because it got a man into power in America. He offered simple (but wrong) solutions to complex problems from a position of zero expertise and with dubious motives, but still got into the White House.
If this behaviour can get a man into the White House, it can get a few clicks on the internet. This behaviour will continue whilst there is something to gain, whether that be hits, clicks, likes, followers, subscribers, or voters.
What the big deal Paul*? People can write and read what they like.
Well that is true, and people can eat what they want as well. But when we give people and the market complete control over what they market and consume, we get fat, unhealthy and sad. Something I wrote about here. I think this is the same with knowledge consumption. The market pushes simplicity, it pushes easily consumable knowledge, which is in no way required to have any foundation in fact (or reason). You then get people coming away from a situation with the idea everything is simple, and with knowledge founded on shaky ground but said with confidence and conviction. Long and short of it; it makes people stupider, or at minimum makes people question less and research less.
OK, great, so now that I have hypocritically alienated myself from fellow bloggers, as well as saying everyone is stupid, I can now get on with my day. It should be noted though that the only way to combat the issues here is to realise that the internet is almost an entirely true free market. And in a free market the only way to vote is by choosing what you consume/buy.
If we keep buying battery farmed eggs, they will keep making them. The harder choice is to pick up a thick book, or a research paper and try to understand the problems in detail before coming to conclusions. This is more difficult, but so much more beneficial. To find out more check out my post ’17 Reasons Why Reading Research Papers Is More Beneficial Than Reading ‘Reasons Why’ Posts’.
*Going to give reasons for everything.
*This is figurative, humans don’t eat knowledge.
*See what I did there?
*Ah, yeah. Anyone who missed the news my name is Paul.
P.S For anyone who is not great at following subtext, the point of this post is to mimic these other posts by confidently and hypocritically stating many things without any credibility, research or knowledge.