Reading the news is a rather interesting venture on the first day of April. There are reports of Russia annexing Alaska, recipes posted about cooking eggs in urine and of course a whole bag of tricks from Google. I will admit that one of the links in the previous list actually got me. All of them together got me thinking about reading the news on any other day…
I’ve been (slowly) making my way through The Trivium (non affiliate link…just there for your convenience) as part of my quest to develop better critical thinking skills. It hasn’t been an easy read and as is pointed out in the introduction, the difficulty it has given me is another sign of how much we have lost in the last century. What was once a standard school text about a pretty basic life skill (thinking) is now not only nearly forgotten, but becoming unapproachable.
There is a quote from the book that I think is applicable here:
the human mind is made for truth and instinctively seeks the truth; that it often embraces error along with truth because it fails to distinguish the error that is mixed with the truth
It’s easy to avoid mistaking the “gotcha” stories put out on April Fools for “real news” because they always contain a little more error than they do truth. But what about the other 364 days a year – when the error is scaled back just a bit and there is just a little more truth? I think we far too readily accept those stories – error and all.
We all might be better off if we read “news” every day like we do today – with a dose of healthy skepticism and the assumption that someone is trying to fool us. That may be closer to the truth than we’d like to admit.