All too often in this day and age, it seems that people take what they see on social media, on other websites or in newspapers at face value. They seem to think that just because it’s published somewhere it must be right.
There’s been an ongoing battle which I’ve seen on various social media feeds, which I probably first noticed in the run up to the Independence Referendum in Scotland a couple of years back, and which seems to have got worse through the Brexit campaign and has (hopefully) reached its peak before and after the US presidential election. That battle is all about people posting / saying things and others reposting or making comments to the effect that they believe what’s been written. To me, there doesn’t seem to be any kind of thought process going on for many: it’s on the internet so it must be true, let’s get outraged about it.
Siddhartha Gautama (that’s Buddha to you and me) told his followers not to blindly believe what they were being told, but to actively question everything and assume nothing. That was nearly 2500 years ago, when the mass of information that we have today wasn’t available, so why would things have changed since then?
Another reason to keep checking the facts, doing your own research and thinking, is that things we knew as facts years ago may have changed. We knew that the world was flat, and that if you went too far you’d fall off the edge. We knew that if we went too fast we’d die, so we should walk everywhere. We knew that man couldn’t fly, that the stars revolved around the earth, that the moon was made of cheese, that the gods lived at the top of mountains which is why you couldn’t reach the summits, that you couldn’t split the atom… and so it goes on.
Rather than blindly follow the masses, rather than jump on the populist bandwagon, ask yourself if what you are reading or hearing is true. Do your own research, look for the facts from multiple sources, make your own mind up: don’t let others do your thinking for you.