Forward Views by Stella Constance: The Quality of Information Gathering: Where It Can Lead Us

By Stella Constance

When people research information (data), it is often to improve their own lives, or that of family, friends, and/or community members who can influence them – often determined by their proximity to impact them. Some data gatherers and disseminators, ranging from media to Internet sites nowadays believe that the importance of information should be measured by its popularity or mainstream acceptance, regardless of the multitude of factors that can affect or change that perception. When people create an information gathering community, they often create hierarchies and rank within them that can limit possible societal outcomes based on the belief system of the ones towards the top of that pyramid – the actual decision/policy makers.

Neutral information gathering that collects non-biased information about the world and its people should be based alone on “they exist” or “have existed” by the activities or tasks that they have done and can be sourced (fact checked). Their drive should be to assist their fellow citizens of the world with their information gathering and then left to them to interpret that information as they see fit, as functioning citizens. Whereas, what we are witnessing today, it is the information gatherers and disseminators – which is evolving media and websites to appear more like editorials or even worse, tabloid material, as information are not even fact checked completely. When negative information is gathered, there should be a reason for it: to help make changes for a healthier, more stable society as it helps stimulate discussion for solutions that will stabilize society from violence, hypercompetition and turmoil to a more peaceful and balanced societal existence – which we are not seeing much today in their role as data facilitators.

People want information about other people for differing reasons: some of those reasons, as we are seeing, are appearing to be more predacious in its nature. What becomes even more fascinating is that some do not want to hear the whole story from the perspective of the subject, because they are seeing and interacting with the said human or animal, as one would with an object – to be used or discarded – which indicates the psychological state of the data gatherer/disseminator. One has to wonder, when we witness such dysfunctional community behaviors from others, whom we know in real time or in the virtual world of the Internet: how do they behave with their own family, friends and community members? As an old proverb goes: “the apple does not fall far from the tree”, as their dysfunctional goals continue to create preventable morbidity and mortality cases, starting with the people whom they try to influence.

People need to remember and hold others accountable, as to WHY they do what they do (their intent – short and long term). We need to create a better world, by being more cognizant about how we CHOOSE to use information about our world and other humans. There is no good deed that is too big or too small. It is the very thing that makes the world a better place. We make the choice by what we choose to create or influence in the world: whether it be pockets of helping to build healthy harmonious communities, unifying individuals and groups — or choosing to build instead, pockets where others are suffered, creating fragmented individuals and groups. This is an ethical issue, which is not going away, as history itself will show. Here’s a parting thought from Mahatma Gandhi on Truth (what constitutes proven data), and finding one’s life purpose through social service: “Realization of Truth is impossible without a complete merging of oneself in and identification with this limitless ocean of life. Hence, for me, there is no escape from social service; there is no happiness on earth beyond or apart from it.”

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