I feel like we’re living in an oxymoron, like this world doesn’t quite make sense anymore. Words are flying about in the media such as ‘post-fact era‘ and ‘post-truth era‘, highlighting the fact that social media has become a platform where opinions have become truth. Anyone can post anything online. Everything that we think is normal and true was sold to us as an idea at some point in order to achieve something for someone else.
Think about this, everything that we read is an opinion. Even scientific hard facts are only taught to you or introduced to you in your life because it’s someone else’s opinion that you need to know that information. The perspective you have of the world around you is an accumulation of your experiences and only exists in your head. That means that we all live in different worlds to each other. A perspective can make two identical situations seem completely different.
Children are growing up in a world that their parents have never had to deal with. How are parents meant to teach their children how to deal with uncomfortable and tricky situations that they don’t even know exist, have never been through and have never been taught how to cope with themselves? So much of the world around us automatically gets stored in our subconscious and we have no idea that we’ve absorbed certain influences, that our actions are the results of tiny stimuli, external and internal, that we weren’t conscious of receiving. How do we know what’s right or wrong any more when we have thousands of opinions shoved down our throats on all levels of our consciousness? How do we sort through it all and make our own decisions about what we want?
The old saying ‘ignorance is bliss’ is completely redundant now; knowledge and awareness is the key to taking control of our lives. It’s more important than ever to engage in the world around us and to question our own actions and motives as well as other peoples. Through the internet, we have access to almost anything, however there are software and algorithms that exist which monitor your online presence (interests, hobbies etc.) and tailor your online experience (adverts, search suggestions. newsfeed article suggestions) to what they think you’re most likely to read, click on, buy, advertise for them. This creates the illusion that you know more than you actually know because you think you’re being exposed to a variety of articles/adverts/newsfeeds, when it’s actually highly tailored to suit your online preferences. It also makes you think that everyone else is thinking the same thing as you. Well, it’s time to start questioning. The only way to reduce the amount of influence that external stimuli have on you is to be aware that they exist then question them, then you get to decide what will benefit you and what won’t.
Most information has a bias or an angle, a concept that someone is trying to sell. So now you’ve started to question the motives of what you read on Facebook, in newspapers, watch on the news, adverts in the street etc. you can take another step and start to dissect your own opinions and work out what you actually believe in and what was just fed to you passively. Ask yourself what’s important to you.
Now you’re aware of how influence-able you are as a human being, you can start to learn in a more efficient way, take information on board in a more analytical way and form opinions in a more well-rounded way. This has the potential to open so many doors. How many things in life have you written off because you have this belief that it’s not right for you, but when you dig a little deeper you realise you don’t have any good reasons for why it’s not right, you just believe it. This is your chance to shrug off old habits and thought patterns that aren’t serving you at all, and to embrace a more wholesome and healthy way of thinking that will provide you with the best opportunities you can give yourself.
This is the fun part (because I’m a massive sponge and love to learn stuff). This is where you start looking outside your box and you realise that all the amazing, crazy, hilarious, thought-provoking stuff that other people have done can make a huge difference in your life. Stop accepting what you think is normal. Learn new things, question the status quo, make changes happen, get inspired.
I joined the Green Party a few weeks ago which is a huge step for me because I’ve never really been into politics, I was never taught it at school and my parents weren’t interested in it really. I never understood how it affected my life. But I do now, and even though it took a bit of effort learning about politics and economics as a beginner, I love that it’s opened up this door for me in terms of the potential direction of my life and what I want to do when I’m older.
Same with travel. It makes you reassess everything you thought was normal about behaviour and societal constructs. It makes you more adaptable and accepting of different versions of normal that you haven’t come across yet, which can seem strange to you at first, but you come to realise that strange isn’t a bad thing, it’s a chance to learn.
TED talks are a fantastic way to broaden your mind and appreciate how amazing our world is and the people that are in it
Documentaries (there are loads of great ones on Netflix)
Social skills in a Digital Age is a qualification to teach people emotional intelligence with regards to the digital world, an extremely useful tool for people of all ages and a great certification to prove social, online awareness
The New Scientist which is one of my favourite websites!
The National Geographic is another of my favourite websites 🙂
People. Talk to people, be interested. Listen to learn, not to reply. Ask questions, don’t be afraid of being wrong, the only way we’ll learn is to ask and it’s admirable to admit that you want to know more.
My flatmate is doing her dissertation on the impact of being obese when pregnant and it’s more damaging for the health of the baby than most people realise. It hugely increases the chance of genetic diseases and for the child to develop health problems later on in life. The only way to combat this is to educate women before they get pregnant.
Coconut oil is so far the most effective treatment for Alzheimer’s. Why isn’t this common knowledge already!? Someone is diagnosed with Dementia every 3 minutes and it affects billions of people worldwide, yet pharmaceutical companies can’t sell coconut oil therefore it’s not seen as a viable treatment. Same as cannabis in treating cancer. Just because it’s not medically accepted doesn’t mean it won’t work for you, there has never been a death from cannabis, and it’s saved many lives. The use of cannabis to treat cancer is another dissertation topic which I was extremely excited about as I know people that have had success with it.
Did you know processed sugar is just as addictive as cocaine; and sugar is way, way worse for you than fat. New studies have shook up the nutrition and medical community showing that a high-fat low-carb diet decreases your chances of getting cardiovascular disease compared to a low-fat, high-carb diet.
Remember when everyone thought smoking wasn’t damaging to your health?
How meat and dairy is full of hormones, toxins and damaging chemicals, is the largest contributor to global warming, and leaves third world countries starving because massive amounts of deforestation and land use are occurring to rear cattle and not grow crops for its own people?
That the rise of mental illness is because our brains aren’t evolving quick enough to be able to cope with the changing world around us, and we’re neglecting our mental and spiritual health in favour of immediate satisfaction.