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The most important moments in your day is what you chose to read and watch and whom you choose to interact with. We may be hesitant to think about ourselves as automatons, but the old saying, Monkey see monkey do, is still operative, even with us. We are influenced by what our friends think and do and they too are influenced by that they see and others do. What they think is highly influenced by what they have seen in the media they chose to watch and observed in the people they chose to be with during their daily lives. Therefore to find out what you believe and hence what you will do relative to some particular thing, ask your friends what they are watching, reading and whom they have been visiting with.

What your friends choose to watch, read and do is highly dependent upon where they came from historically and what they chose to study in school. That is easily found out by you and probably already known in detail but what is easily forgotten is how much it influences their thoughts, decisions and behavior and thus how much it influences you.

Most human interaction is conflict resolution in the form of mild argument and discussion of other people’s statements and behavior. It is a process of creating in-group us, versus out-group them, even though the out-group them is recognized as part of our greater in-group us. These other people being discussed are, at least momentarily, out-group so we can look at them more abstractly with our minds. Or so we believe, but for the most part our conversation is just bickering over a common ground based on common assumptions about mutually understood things. That is why on the Trustworthyness Scale it rates such a middle ground TST~5-8 and is only slightly better than news broadcasts for accuracy TST~4. It is supprising that people trust news sources as much as they do because most people from personal experience of being on location of some published news event know how conflicting with their own experience is with the reported views.

We all think of ourselves as independent thinkers and yet if anyone of us carefully observed our friends and compared their prefrences on anything to our own and these compared to humanities preferences they soon find just how controlled by the in-group’s views we really are. And perhaps worst of all our group bases a lot of what we commonly believe on what information our chosen media provides to us. We know it is biased and yet we believe because our friends believe.

Once I saw a news reporter interviewing some upper level but not diplomat level UN person about his thoughts on a New York Times article about the Event being discussed. The UN interviewee said he hadn’t read it. The shocked reporter asked why he missed it. The diplomat said he had other sources and didn’t have time for reading newspapers. The TV guy was clearly shocked, You never read the New York Times? How can you be informed on what’s going on?  UN guy says, I have other sources. The TV guy was dumbfounded repeating himself, uh uh?  Then the UN guy repeats, I have other sources!

What interested me wasn’t that the UN guy had inside information which he depended upon and valued but that he obviously didn’t value the New York Times enough to even bother reading it. This was horrifying to the TV reporter and if the interview hadn’t been live would surely have been edited out. But the insiders information is what drives important decisions and what the newspapers deliver to the public is what sells newspapers. Sometimes there is an overlap of information but not always and even the insiders don’t have all the inside information that the top level insiders possess.

The public’s observations and decisions about events are thus made well after everything important has already happened and new events are being decided by the inside decision makers. Even the insiders of the world are dependent upon their ingroup for their behavior. The thing to be learned is that you should choose carefully who and what you pay attention to and what you interact with. There is an old saying, People believe the newspaper they pay for. This concept can be expanded to everything.

People most value what they pay most for.