Modes of distortion

Someone once spoke about distortion fields, perhaps as it related to physics. Maybe also I heard about it discussed in relation to personalities – possibly in the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. But, regardless, there are these fields through which fact can be misconstrued.

Noam Chomsky, circa the 1970s, said, “With a little industry and application, anyone who is willing to extricate himself from the system of shared ideology and propaganda will readily see through the modes of distortion developed by substantial segments of the intelligentsia [here meaning “social class, which includes historians and other scholars, journalists, political commentators, and so on…”].”

He continues on to say, “social and political analysis is produced to defend special interests rather than to account for the actual events.”

And, while possibly true fifty years ago, how amazingly poignant it seems in this day and age.

Maybe unconsciously, we rely on the media we consume to inform our perceptions of the world and our lives. Study after study has showed that which media outlet you consistently turn to will eschew the results of questions regarding safety and national defense; the economy; problems and solutions to crises; etc.

Chomsky suggested that it was easy to see through such propaganda. Again, fifty years ago, disinformation was perhaps not as rampant as it is today. And at the time, it’s doubtful he could have imagined the amazing influence of the internet on societal discernment. 

But we are living in interesting times, and it seems that there are those who can be easily swayed by such distortion fields. It’s important to find trustworthy news sources, to keep with reliable information, and to ask the question, Is there a reason this information is being presented like this?

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