On The Weirdness Of Misinformation

To expand on the topic of how important it is to discriminate, I can tell you firsthand how difficult it is to deprogram yourself if you do swallow a lie or some other misinformation. My husband and I grew up hearing that a glass of red wine was beneficial to your health. It specifically prevented heart attacks. Science speculated that it might calm a person down, thus extending their life. Or perhaps grapes are just damned good for you. Look at the Italians, the news said. They drink wine in Italy and have a low rate of heart attacks.

Now I believed this, as did my husband. It did not make me drink wine, I’m a teetotaler but when my husband got here, he thought it would be nice to have wine with dinner so we do, most nights. “It’s good for your heart, P!”

We’re old so we use these small glasses. They hold 5 oz of wine and I may not even fill them but we do drink wine and have believed it to be beneficial for what? 20 or 30 years? But then news about the scientist who faked the data that concluded wine was good for you breaks. We’re sitting there at dinner and I told my husband, “Wine isn’t good for you after all. They faked the science,” I explained.

~~~
Two weeks later, we’re eating dinner with our small glasses of wine and I realized it’s just too much trouble to deprogram my mind around this. I will continue to believe a glass of wine is good for you, probably because it’s the path of least resistance and I am not the first to do such a thing.

Back in the 1960’s some charismatic psychologist convinced people that schizophrenia was caused by mothers who were frustrated. Somehow these mother’s made their children hear God give them instructions…it was all the mother’s fault. This made no sense but like I said, the guy was personable and quite good looking and really that’s all it takes to lead a good percentage of people right over a cliff which is exactly what happened.  This guy was revered as an expert.

Eventually his theories were proven to be bullshit via exhaustive (real) scientific study but even hard core proof did not sway some.

I bring this up because I know people in their 60’s now, who believed this guy in their youth and they still do. You just can’t tell them any different and I can’t mock them because I’m gonna have wine with dinner tonight, and pretend it’s good for me.

In short, people don’t want the truth in many cases. Especially when they’re heavily invested in a lie. It doesn’t matter if the lie was something they were told or something they told themselves.

~~~

These last posts are courtesy Pluto’s transit to my natal Mercury. I will try to quit now.


Comments

On The Weirdness Of Misinformation — 34 Comments

    • On the schizophrenia, it’s interesting what drove the man who ultimately proved the genetic connection. He knew a woman with a schizophrenic child who was being persecuted. He knew her to be a good mother and could not stomach seeing her be blamed.

      Two things about this story amaze me. One that it happened, not that long ago. Two, we have similar situations in this field now.

      I’m a grossed out beyond belief but I don’t have sufficient motivation to attack this sacred cow. Instead I just study the mass delusion like a science experiment.

      I’m not proud about this but I do have to pay the bills. I figure if the universe wanted, Elsa P to do something, there would be signs.

  1. Oh no! Don’t quit!

    & red wine is high in antioxidants… & they ARE good for you =)

    Everything in moderation & you can’t go wrong I say.

  2. I was just thinking about the butter vs margarine “debate”. This has been going on for years & YEARS. Seems from one week to the next, one or the other is going to kill you. “Proof” through some new study or another shows this, only it changes ALL THE TIME.

    Point is, you can’t believe a thing these days. If you have common sense you get through… if not? Well…

  3. What’s even harder to change are the subconscious ‘false’ beliefs that we have. Limiting beliefs that go waaay back, that we’ve invested an entire lifetime believing they are ‘true’. Facing these and looking at them with an adult perspective can shed the light on their falseness, but many people don’t bother.

  4. I get from the article that they found 145 cases of falsified data. They haven’t said yet that the falsified data included his red wine research.

    But I may be reading it wrong.

  5. @Tam – It doesn’t really matter for the point I am trying to make. Regardless of what is uncovered, I am very likely to continue believing a glass of wine a day provides a benefit, simply because I heard this when I was a young. True or not, my generation believes this…which is the phenomena I am trying to point out here.

    To me is means, once you’ve been made stupid by misinformation, you’re well screwed so it’s best to fight this on the front end if possible.

  6. Life is an illusion. Saturn Venus ASC Aquarius 12th and Mercury Jupiter Pisces 2nd. The local news pisses me off. Every day it’s some new study that proves eating one thing saves your life, and in six months they have a study that the same thing kills you. All bullshit. Drug companies – don’t get me started.

    It’s all propaganda to get society buying/doing something like lemmings.

    I say, eat what you want. You can never really believe any study. The “studies” coming out today to push a certain agenda or a certain food are so biased it’s obvious they know they can publish anything and there will be people who will believe it.

    Bacon was so bad for us, and I believed them and purposely avoided it. Suddenly, they put bacon in everything. Did the pig-farmer lobbyists succeed in pushing pork? My mother took us to Chili’s and there wasn’t too much on the menu that didn’t have bacon in it or on it. What happened to it being so unhealthy?

    No integrity – anywhere.

  7. Elsa I swear this is just a fantastic post!! Please don’t stop, this could be called your series on “Mass Delusion” and perhaps the astrology behind it?

  8. Elsa- don’t quit it! I love mercury- pluto posts :)

    Isernia- totally agree. I personally love all meat except pork, but i’ve never avoided bacon. I had my health and blood checked recently- doctors said it was ‘very good’! I mainly eat meat+ vegetables+ fruits+ avoiding carbs like spongy type of bread which i don’t even call a bread. Real bread is rye bread for me:) I think the more natural food, the better. Vegetable oil based fats like margarin are the reason of cholesterol. When i saw the process of vegetable oil making it made me sick- there is nothing natural there- unless you consider petroleum good stuff lol please don’t confuse with the olive oil- it is good and it doesn’t need mixing with petroleum.

    For me the most scary thing is the quality of drinking water because hormones and steroids can’t be cleaned with any filters. Knowing that with generations and increasing use of contraceptives there will more and more hormones left in the water, this is quite worrying.

  9. When you write about these matters, Elsa, it is a relief. Literally a relief of a great internal pressure that builds up in me over time.
    Spending every day carefully outlining facts/detail that = X. Only to have the people around you proclaim, “Z!” because they really, really need X to be Z. It grinds a person like me down.
    Just reading your posts reminds me that this is real phenomenon–I’m not broken. I’m not crazy.
    I mean, I *know* that–I do! But constant, unending exposure builds up that pressure over time.

  10. I think people would rather have their egos pacified then hear the truth. There’s just too many stubborn people in this world.

  11. part of it’s confirmation bias- we’re more likely to remember and believe information that supports what we already believe. i think it’s a sort of resistance imperative for psychological stability or something. can make scientific advancement difficult, but it also means that it takes serious evidence for people to really change their minds, most of the time. which is not necessarily a bad thing.

  12. Obama, right? …you’re talking about Obama, pure bullshit – sometimes failure to deprogram will kill you live and learn, …or not.

  13. I love these posts too. It’s wearying trying to work out what really does go on, because who has the time to research everything?
    Yes eggs were another one. We were told for 30-odd years that eggs were dangerous and we shouldn’t eat more than a 1 or 2, then some other scientist announced the data was all wrong and eggs are fine. And spinach; the decimal point was in the wrong place and it doesn’t have hardly any iron.

    Information gets distorted as passed along; it’s just human, even without the active motivation to change it. It’s very difficult to report something exactly as you were told it. Everyone reframes. If a piece of information has to pass through 30 people to get to its destination, it will be different by the time it arrives. We still struggle with the myth that scientists will be different. Nothing & no-one is ‘objective’.

  14. Great Post Elsa. It goes back to saying that you can have three people in the room – and they have three different ideas about what reality is….

  15. Elsa your story reminds me of what older family members used to say about cigarettes. They were told for years cigarettes were good for you, actually physically good for you but socially good too, and for a lot of them it was just too hard to deprogramme from.

  16. The interesting thing is that the beliefs you hold (true or false) produce realities in your life that are in line with that belief. That is why placebos (harmless sugar pills) ‘work’. Doctors and scientists have done extensive experiments on this phenomenon with patients by giving them the proper medication in some cases, and placebos in others (the patients didn’t actually know that some of them were being given placebos), and have determined that the ‘cure’ rate was round about the same for both the patients who were given the placebos and the patients that were given the real medication (ALL of the patients BELIEVED they were being ‘cured’).

  17. Holy shit, that article about cat feces is shocking as hell…I mean, I knew it was getting in the ocean and infecting dolphin brains…but.

    speechless here. Schizophrenia runs in my family, and we’re all cat lovers.

  18. Maybe the health benefit comes from sitting down to dine in a relaxed manner with your spouse, which a glass of wine might facilitate. There is just too much multitasking demanded of us these days! Cheers!

  19. It’s so true. It is more efficient and practical to be skeptical up front than to try to unlearn it later. This is sinking in now as I get older. Most of my life I’ve been that kid in the hot air balloon, quick to embrace new-fangled ideas. It helps to be a contrarian, also helps to embrace your inner Virgo-Pisces, who can forgive previous mistakes.

  20. I try to stick to Thomas of Aquinus “Remedies for Sorrow or Pain” from the 13th century.

    Thomas speaks of five ways for reducing sorrow or pain (1) delight, (2) weeping or groaning, (3) the sympathy or company of friends, (4) contemplation of truth, and (5) sleeping, taking baths and a glass of red wine. It still works wonderfully

  21. The good news is that you can also fulfill your POSITIVE expectations using this formula, even if your positive expectations don’t seem to gel with the ‘reality’ that you are currently experiencing (how did that ‘reality’ get there anyway? – that, my dear Watson, is the question). So if you are automatically cynical or skeptical as the first reaction, perhaps in order to keep yourself ‘safe’, or to avoid ‘disappointment’, or to be ‘practical’, or if you focus on the worst possible scenario first ‘just in case it happens’, you are not doing yourself any favors, because you are creating that reality as you do so.

  22. As someone remarked above, red wine is rich in anti-oxidants (richer than white) so it’s better for you esp in boosting the immune system. It’s a relaxant so probably does help the heart by reducing stress levels – stress is a major cause of heart problems

    the other way red wine helps our health is that it’s powerfully antisceptic so helps kill bacteria (that’s why we marinade meat to keep it longer etc).
    During the First World War, men in the English trenches were dying in huge numbers in the first year not in combat but mainly from dysentery and food poisoning. The French were not dying of these things. It was then realised that the French soldiers all put red wine in their water (which would be well water etc, in those days, or from a village pump or even the river). Once the Brits followed suit, they no longer dies of these digestive disorders

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