Knowledge Is a Scary Thing; Most People Shy Away from It
"Very few really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds -- justification, explanations, forms of consolation without which they can't go on. To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner." -- Ann Rice, in The Vampire Lestat _SourceI ran across the Ann Rice quote on page 28 of this slideshare presentation on energy policy. This is a theme that has been covered repeatedly in the Al Fin blogs: the truth is both dangerous and difficult to find and assimilate.
If the truth were not so dangerous and destabilising, there would be no need for the layers of bureaucracy in governments, academia, big media, religion, and corporations.
The control and obfuscation of the truth is a growing industry in the modern world, and far more instrumental in determining your beliefs than you would like to think.
It is not important what you believe. It is only important that you learn to think and judge the relative trustworthiness of information, relative validity of arguments, and relative likelihood of conclusions. The process of testing ideas, arguments, and beliefs has been ignored (or blocked) at the highest levels of policy-making on national and global levels. Unless that suicidal approach to policy-making is changed, economic and societal ruin are inevitable.
This is one example of obfuscation of truth by insiders, which could lead to significant economic destruction at the trillion dollar level. Similar obfuscation of "truth" is occurring on a daily basis at every government office, in every big media outlet, in large numbers of university and K-12 classrooms, and inside your own head.
First you need to realise that "truth" is a verb, rather than a noun (an ongoing dynamic process rather than a static object).
A million years of biological evolution did not prepare most humans for this rapidly growing and critical challenge. But it is important that as many people as possible be empowered with these skills -- the earlier the better. Once the brain has fully matured -- around age 25 or so -- most people are reluctant to change their minds.