I was listening to a debate on the radio today that really was shockingly ignorant and uninformed. The offended speaker made an outrageously historically illiterate claim where the content was that only one group of people in the world -- those Europeans -- were some sort of universal oppressor, and the host didn't challenge him.
My own mixed Slavic roots disproved the point at least twice over, and I could think of numerous other examples of two groups of people who neither were anywhere near Europe where one was responsible for the oppression the another.
Human beings can be counted on to let power go to their heads as they slaughter in the name of morality. We are indoctrinated to see the world in antagonistic and competitive terms from the moment we hear our first bedtime story -- and as someone who has a keen interest in storytelling structures and reads stories from different times, cultures, and places, no one here can have any virtuous airs about them.
Had I been the one to hear this untrue claim in a debate, I would have pointed this out because all people are the same. When they are left to think they can get away with abusing other groups of people, they do, until that trick runs its course, and then not being able to harm anyone else, they begin to attach each other and self-destruct with wars.
It was one the most ignorant public displays of one person being completely ignorant of history.
But then I wondered if I took one hundred random people in my province, and gave them a basic history test, how many would have flunked it, too.
And then I would have administered the same tests to various media outlets to see how much basic history they actually knew, too.
But I already know the answer. As in, in 2018 with an Internet, society know bupkes. You have people complain about history being "Euro-centric", but then don't know other forms of history, either.
That's why humans never get out of their holes: they keep repeating the same things their ancestors did and other people's ancestors did, and think they are being cunning and original.
I realized this in high school when I took a senior level World History course, and we all had to give presentations. This was the late 1980s, and mine was about the precarious situation in Yugoslavia. My hypothesis was that the country would fall apart and go right into a civil war. My teacher thought I was being silly.
He didn't think history would repeat itself there.
Surprise! It did.
But before I gave my talk, I gave a little quiz to my classmates to see how much they knew about the region.
The answer was next to nothing. You have students getting A's in an advanced senior-level history course who did not know about the region's fate during the Second World War. They did not know about Tito. They did not know the political system, either. They did not know that the capital city was Belgrade.
They could not even find it on the map I had on the paper. At least they knew it wasn't the boot-shaped country.
So how does a teenage girl give a basic talk on a country that might as well have been on Mars?
That was my dilemma. I figured it out, but the episode stayed with me for a long time.
I had no idea back then that one day I would become a journalist, and be one because of that region that had been under attack and control for centuries by various warlords and nations, from Genghis Khan to the Roman and Ottoman Empires. Nazis and their various collaborators had been brutal to that region, too.
There were many lessons there just waiting to be learned; the problem was that people there couldn't see it because they did not have the luxury to do so, always having to battle some crisis or unrest.
And the others, the outsiders, were always arrogantly blind, and thought all those "simple" Slavs didn't have much to offer, even if their territory was alluring.
That collective of former Yugoslavs were always pawns in somebody's war. Their own, or someone else's. Sometimes both at the same time.
But I didn't have to be blinded by the same fear or greed. I don't have to walk on a rigged board.
And I didn't.
Becoming a journalist was always instructive because when you go into a career you weren't fantasizing about, you don't have the red-coloured glasses filtering your reality.
I went in as an experimenter, not a journalist.
I went in knowing that journalists were grossly culturally, historically, scientifically, and psychologically illiterate,
And there are implications to it.
The most important one is when you have a collective who do not know basic things, but fancy themselves to be cutting thinkers who know everything, they do not know how to navigate reality to find truths.
When reality is unexplored and the truth is undiscovered, you have no knowledge base to work from, and that means there can be no wisdom to cultivate.
So you end up having debates based on false premises, drawing rigged conclusions that in no way align with reality.
And then they are vectors who contaminate an information stream.
F.R.E.E.D. is about exploring reality and discovering truths. That is the goal. That is the mandate.
It makes no assumptions. It does not assume that one group of people are better than another group of people. There is no pecking order. You do not assume women are superior to men or that men are superior to women.
You find facts. You do not think one group of people are beneath you or another group of people are superior.
You find facts.
You find facts by exploring reality. You do not use some propaganda narrative tripe to try to rig perceptions and interpretations.
You find facts by discovering truths, and the more truths you discover and the more reality you explore, the more you can see both and not use sophistry to pretend those qualities do not exist.
Journalism could have been the greatest profession ever created.
It turned out to be one of the worst in the modern era.
Because it closed its eye shut when there was a threat of seeing reality, and thought building a wall of lies would save them.
It never does...