You need to do your research

How many times have you heard this phrase while discussing politics with someone? They pull some random claim out of their ass, insist it’s true and tell you to ‘do your research’. People on all sides do it, but there’s a problem…..

The problem with the whole ‘do your research’ statement is that very few of the people who say it have actually really done it. Sure they’ll have some random tidbit of information they were told to pass along by whatever political muppet they ascribe to, but very few of them have anything more than a superficial understanding of, well, anything. It’s very much the same problem when they ask things like ‘where do you get your news?’. What people don’t understand is that the important thing is not knowing the most recent event, it’s about having the capacity to process that information. See, no matter what news source it is (except maybe Fox news) a person who actually has the capacity to process that information will be able to tell the difference between fact and speculation, between opinion and information, between an educated guess and an attempt to draw baseless suspicion and paranoia. To me at this point, the moment someone say’s ‘do your research’ they have proven they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

Simply put, they’re doing it wrong

Every alt-righter, conspiracy theorist, podcast recording muppet with something to say etc. is guilty of the same general thing- they spread half truths that they have spun together into an intricate web of bullshit. So their followers, who have been convinced that regular news and media outlets are pure fiction, seek out alternative sources (that align with what conclusions they have already made without any research). They get this half baked information and think it’s them ‘doing their research’. It’s not them doing their research, it’s them repeating someone else’s shitty research. They’re getting their information presented in such a way to encourage a (generally false) conclusion. Even then there are some that take the extra step and look things up themselves, but there is more to doing real research than simply looking up supporting facts.

New information is pointless without a solid foundation

It comes down to one simple factor, is the person capable of processing that information to a logical and rational conclusion? Often the answer is no. People think understanding simply comes from scraps of information, whoever’s got the more ‘pure’ information is the winner or something. Real understanding comes from having a foundation to build it on. You can give someone the same information, explain it to them a dozen times, but if they aren’t capable of processing that information then they aren’t going to understand. What research people really need to do has nothing to do with the current events, the current trending topic on the facebook sidebar. People need to instead work on building a foundation. Research human psychology, philosophy, ethics, political systems, history, science, something deeper than just the current discussion. The deeper your understanding of the subject matter in general,  the better position you are in for processing relevant information when it arises. You’ll be able to look at any news source and filter through the bullshit yourself. You’ll be able to hear about an event happening, learn the actual details and come to a conclusion yourself instead of just waiting for someone with a mic to tell you what the conclusion is. Otherwise you’re simply repeating what you’ve read/heard and honestly that is when humanity can officially be replaced with an app.

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