the philosophical approach to Improving the Human Condition
For this blog, a Republic is a system where citizens have a say in the decision of the government , in whatever form that takes (representative democracy, parliamentary, etc). A peaceful republic is such a government, whose primary intent is to pursue peace as the end state of politics.
In the current age of rapidly advancing technology, information is power. One lone individual can order plane tickets, make their way around major cities they've never visited, and look up anything they want, all from their mobile device. The potential to learn is enormous. Different perspectives and worlds are at the fingertips of more people than ever. Too often this information is like drinking water from a fire hose, overwhelming and confusing. It is important for members of a society such as ours to be able to discern truth in the midst of multiple perspectives. The first step towards a more peaceful Republic is learning how to research, digest, and share information.
Researching information appears to be very simple. Enter a subject into google, and many sources will appear. Unfortunately, not all information is made equal. One must pay special attention to whom the information is coming from, and why. Sometimes this does not just involve asking whether the Blaze is a more reliable source than the New York Times. Every publication has a backer. When you find information which appears to be exactly what you agree with, find out who funded the information. Are their special interests at play? Most of the time this can be found out by googling the publication and its history (especially publicly traded companies). If researching a particularly controversial topic, it is best to purposely seek out perspectives from either side of the issue. Look at who backs each side, monetarily and ideologically.
The difficulty in digesting information is most evident when trying to research highly polarized issues. Most highly polarized issues are such because they appeal to emotion, core values, and perspectives of reality. These issues may not have a clear answer. When people have a bias towards one side of an issue, the appealing information is taken in and digested easier. An easy trap to fall into is to take in appealing information from one side, and discredit all information coming from another. Contradicting or frustrating information is harder to digest and may require a shifting of perspective. Instead of outright rejecting dissonance, one must learn to dissect and compare contradicting information.
Sharing information is the easier part. One can start a blog, write a post on facebook, even make a video on youtube. But sharing information is only valuable inasmuch as it does not contribute to the deluge of information already available in a redundant way (only making it more difficult to find information). Beyond that, sharing can be incredibly valuable if the sharing occurs between people of different perspectives.
The ability to correctly research, digest, and share information may seem self-evident to the creation of a peaceful republic, but the current state of information on the internet would suggest otherwise. Many media outlets, much less individuals, tend to share misinformation as soon as it pops up. Many organizations do not conduct the basic research necessary to inform the public correctly. On the other side of the coin, the public does not seek out information it needs to be informed on (media organizations do give people what they want). Most people do not try to seek out how events in places all over the world relate to them, as they are too busy working or doing something else. Social media sites also allow people to tailor content to their perspectives, when there is so much potential for exposure to the broad spectrum of opinion. If individuals can correctly research, digest, and share information, more informed decisions will be made by the citizenry. Although more informed decisions do not necessarily lead to better choices, they allow the citizenry a wider perspective.