Thoughts on the prevalence of speculation and how its being taken as fact

Here’s a thought I had:

Recently, I have been emphasizing how speculation is far more prevalent than we think.  I tend to think that the bulk of what we hear is speculation.  There is so much speculation that its hard to tell what is true or not or even what to believe.  In fact, the prevalence of speculation has caused a prevalence of points of view which has caused an uncertainty in things.

Not only that, there is a tendency where we are accepting speculation as truth.  I tend to think that this has caused a general dilemma in knowledge, truth, belief, and so on. which, it seems to me, is becoming and increasingly bigger problem.

SPECULATION

By “speculation” I mean a “statement about something which may or may not have any meaning or relevance to you or your situation”.  It can consists of things like:

  • A “casual observation”
  • An opinion – a statement of an understanding that one has
  • Idle statements of news, information, etc. with no real intentions
  • Chit-chat – people just “stating things” in conversations and, accordingly, its not “thought out”
  • Gossip
  • Blabble – people just saying things for whatever reason, usually without any real motive

In general, speculation is not intended to find or state a “truth” but is motivated by other reasons.  It often sounds, though, as if it is stating a “truth” which is part of the problem.  This is particularly true nowadays with all the science, technology, and so on.

Examples of these other reasons that motivate speculation include things such as:

  • The social situation.  A good examples is the tendency to “follow along” with what other people say.
  • Hysteria, worries, concerns, etc. that are prevalent at the time.  Stating things about something difficult makes us feel more “in control”.
  • A following of the “powers-that-be” or “status quo”.  This refers to interpreting things according to the current prevalent point of view.  For example, in the U.S. people often tend to interpret things in the context of the American Constitution and democracy.  Whether its right or wrong it doesn’t matter.
  • A reaction to conditions.  By stating and explaining things about ones condition, it creates a sense of control or a means to have a “handle on the situation”.

One of the things these reveal is that speculation is a reaction to the immediate situation as a way to “deal with” the immediate situation.  Some qualities of this reaction includes:

  • The need to “flow with the situation”
  • To deal with any conflict
  • To get a “handle on a situation”

What we seen, then is that speculation is a means of associating with the current situation.  One could say that speculation is a “thought association” with the current situation . . . using thought as a means to participate and associate with ones situation.  A person states this or that – speculation – as a response to something that is happening and as a way to relate to it.

In this way, speculation does not reflect a “greater point of view” nor does it intend to.  Having a more narrow outlook, and focused on the immediate situation, it lacks a breadth and width typically.  As a result, it does not discover or state any “great truth” behind things.  In other words, speculation does reflect a deeper view of life such as what we see with religion, philosophy, and science . . . it has too narrow of a world view.

TAKING SPECULATION AS FACT

But, nowadays, there is a tendency to take speculation as if reflects this deeper view of life, as if it is a statement of “fact” or as reflecting a greater world view or as a great truth, as if it were written in the Bible.  This tendency, it seems to me, comes as a result of the prevalence of things like:

  • Education.  This makes people “believe” everything they are told.
  • The prevalence of knowledge.  This gives the illusion of “truth” in things.
  • The myriad forms of information.  This makes it hard to tell what is true and what isn’t.
  • A mass mentality.  This makes people “blindly follow” things.
  • The prevalence of media.  This makes people exposed to an endless amount of speculation, to the point of nausea.

With these cause are things like these:

  • A confusion between “truth” and things that aren’t necessarily meant to be “truth”.  An example would be taking a “casual opinion” as if it were scientific truth.
  • Excess.  There’s so much that one can’t “digest” it or make sense of it.
  • A tendency to “blindly assume its true”.  Statements are taken as being true without question.

These tend to create a condition where “anything is believed” no matter its source or intention.  As a result, speculations are treated as fact and even gospel.

THE MYTH OF SCIENCE, THE FORGOTTEN IDEA OF THE “EDUCATED GUESS”, AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE “GUESS”

Contrary to what is generally assumed, most of what is called “science” is, in actuality, speculation.  I have always been bothered by how many scientists talk as if all that they state is “scientific truth” . . . its not.

For something to truly be “scientific” it must display qualities such as:

  • It must be demonstrable
  • It must be repeatable
  • It is demonstrated in a controlled environment
  • It must be measurable

Very little “science” fits those categories.  Really, one could say that only some aspects of physics and chemistry would fill those qualifications.  All the other forms of science is nothing but what I call “I & I”.  This means:

  • Inquiry.  A deliberate and organized inquiry is undertaken.  It often consists of observation or tests.  This tends to give a direction, based on the motive, and a format based on how it will be interpreted.
  • Interpretation.  This is the interpretation of the result of the inquiry.  Typically, though, this is only taken from a specific point of view.  In this way, all interpretations are actually “biased” in some way.

What “I & I” creates is what is often called the “educated guess”, a term I haven’t heard in a long time.  Most of “science” is nothing but an “educated guess”.  This means that despite all the fancy explanations, all the fancy associations and clever notions, and all the technology, its all still a “guess”.  This fact needs to be remembered.

We could go on to say that any explanation, regardless of how or why it is created, is nothing but a “guess”.  This includes things such as science, religion, philosophy, opinions, speculations, and points of view.  Our conception of the world and life is, in fact, nothing but a guess.  I think it wouldn’t be far from the truth to say that we are literally “guessing our way through life” and its always been that way . . . humanity lives in a state of “perpetual guessing”.

It seems, to me, that the question isn’t if our “guess” is correct or not . . . its whether its relevant to us and our lives.  In other words, we need the “best guess”, that works for us and our condition.  Its this that makes it “right”.  This means that any world view or conception is very “specific” to us.  Its not going to fit for everyone.   One could say that a good and healthy world view is one that is “tailor fit” for us individually.   Because of this, there will never be a “one way” or “one explanation” of the world and life.  That’s just the way it is.

THE PROBLEM OF THE MODERN WORLD, BELIEF, AND WORLD VIEW

Speculation seems to be replacing belief systems, culture belief, traditional belief, and so on, all of which have largely fallen in the modern world.  After the fall of these what is left?  All that’s left, really, is the speculations of people.  As a result, speculation is replacing these belief systems primarily because they are “just there” or, perhaps, because they are “all that’s left” after all the hub-bub of the modern world.

But, as I said above, speculations are not firm enough for a “world view”.  In this way, the prevalence of accepting speculation as truth is causing something like a “narrowing” of the world view.  In some sense, we are getting smaller and smaller in our conception of things and ourselves.  In many ways, we are getting dumber and dumber as a result.  Many people, for example, have become “believe-all’s”, believing everything they are told without question.

In addition, most of speculation reflects a point of view that is only relevant for those people.  When you take another persons speculations, and accept it as fact, it means that you are usually taking views that are not relevant to you or your condition.  In this way, the speculation does not “match” you or your condition.  This creates something like an alienation . . . its like “living in another persons shoes”.

A SPECTRUM OF INTERPRETATION

The fact that speculations are good for immediate conditions but not for a greater world view suggests that there is something like a spectrum in the interpretation of things.  Perhaps it could go something like this?

  • Speculation – this refers to responding to ones immediate conditions and day-to-day situations
  • A way of life – this refers to an overall view point of view of life, of looking at ones condition form a distance (it does not deal with the deeper meaning of life)
  • The greater belief  – this refers to a deeper meaning in life such as is what is found in religion

Its like a spectrum going from small (speculation) to massive (the greater belief).  One interesting point is that it shows that, at each level, there are different interpretations.  In other words, the interpretation of life depends on where you stand when you look at life.  A person, then, has different interpretations, not just one, as if often supposed.  My observation has shown this to be true.  When you look at something in the smaller context you will see it differently than when you look at the same thing from a greater context . . . that’s just the way it is.

In the modern world the greater belief has largely fallen, the way of life is there at least to some extent, but speculation is prevalent.  This means that we have become increasingly narrowed to our day-to-day lives.  As I said above, the prevalence of speculation is making us “small” and to look at things in a small way.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

This entry was posted in Education and learning, Modern life and society, Philosophy, Science and technology and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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