Influence Insulation

A tremendous thirst for knowledge, an insatiable intellectual curiosity, a joyous love of learning. You need this in order to gain wisdom and information, but it’s not all you need. You also need a healthy immunity to demagoguery.

The point of gaining new information is to change yourself, of course. You want to evolve your thinking, see the world from new angles, and perhaps change your behavior as a result. But you still want to be in the driver’s seat, motivated by your values and your reason. You can’t do that if persuasive information immediately hijacks your brain and starts steering you around.

To a certain extent, you have to look at even the products of your own culture like an outsider, and anthropologist. You have to examine the attempt at influence even as you remain uninfluenced. But you should expose yourself to the info!

Some people are afraid to even read things written by sources they believe are “bad.” And they chastise others for doing so. “Why do you read that? Don’t you know that those people are the bad guys?” Even ignoring the obvious tribalism – so what if they are? If the “bad guys” want to broadcast their message, reading that message can give me plenty of meta-information, even if I don’t absorb the message itself.

The more you can read things critically, the more things you can read. The more things you can read (or watch, or listen to, whatever), the more likely you are to be able to collect a set of information that’s most helpful & accurate.

And it isn’t likely to have all come from one source.

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