Mainstream News and Thinking For Yourself

People have forgotten how to think for themselves. Are you one of them?  You are if you still watch and listen to mainstream news. Mainstream news is little more than baby pablum put together and spoon fed to you in nice, neat sound bites to make sure you never get the whole truth. Mainstream news is useful for only one thing – to get an idea of what the people in power want you to focus your attention on. It doesn’t matter whether it is truthful or not. It doesn’t matter that it is shallow or heavily biased. It doesn’t matter that the entire background and much of the story is missing. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not. It only matters that you spend your precious consciousness focused on it because that means you’re NOT focused on anything else that might tell you the whole truth – or develop your ability to discern the truth for yourself.

In the same way that we now have to bag our own groceries, do our own bank deposits, pump our own gas, figure out our own healing programs, and put together our own music, we now have to put together our own news. You have to do your homework when it comes to the news. Look around. Dig for info. What shows up? What fits together?

There is a ton of misinformation, bias, disinformation, nonsense, fear, propaganda, and crap out there. There have been plenty of times I threw my hands in the air and thought, “This is ridiculous! Everything I read or watch contradicts the thing I just finished reading or watching.” But learning how to put the news together is like anything else, you have to start somewhere. You will pass through stages.

The first stage is usually shock. You think the majority of what you are reading and hearing can’t possibly be true.

The next stage is overwhelm. Who and what should you believe? There is too much to even begin to assimilate a small amount of it. You drift from one extreme website or YouTube report to another.

The third stage is sorting.  Some of what you read begins to sink in and you begin to see certain themes again and again, read certain sources frequently, and develop a loose framework of ideas about what is actually happening in our world.

The fourth stage is arguing. You begin to get a fair but flawed picture of what is going on in the world and try to tell your family and friends – who are not really interested and who sometimes accuse you of becoming a conspiracy theorist. You back away in embarrassment and uncertainty.

The fifth stage is going deeper. Stinging from the criticism of family and friends, you expand your reading and listening in order to get a more accurate picture. You listen to all sides of a topic and a wide variety of reports – pro and con – about events taking place or continuing to unfold, and you begin to develop a well-rounded picture of what is going on in the world. You find yourself following certain threads more closely than others. You also begin to recognize who is grounded and accurate as well as who gets totally caught up in hyperbole and melodrama.

The sixth stage is discernment. By now you have a number of sources you go to regularly. You know how to listen to what is being said and what isn’t being said, and you are putting pieces together to make a fairly accurate assessment of the situation in many areas of life on our planet.

The last stage is thinking for yourself. At this stage, you have a sense of the history and background in the issues of our time. You know who is pushing one set of ideas and who is peddling a competing set of ideas, and you’re pretty clear about how each source is most likely to present the information at hand, what their positon and their biases are. You also know what your position and biases are as well. In other words, you have begun to know yourself, achieved the ability to see, hear, and think for yourself, assess what is likely to come down the pike, and to make appropriate decisions. Nothing is more critical for you in the development of your own consciousness!

15 thoughts on “Mainstream News and Thinking For Yourself

  1. Thanks for this Penny. I love your work, I agree with what you say. However I get confused with the huge amount of alternative theories (many of which contradict themselves too) and also how some people also believe alternative views without investigating. How do you suggest navigating a sea of alternative opinion, most of which is almost impossible to prove. Thanks, Tom

  2. Hi Penny, sorry not sure if my first message got through. So I mentioned that I love reading your work, and your blog. I agree that most of the news isn’t true, but what confuses me is the sea of alternative theories and ideas. How can one discern what is true and what is not. Most are impossible to prove. I have spoken to many supposedly wise people many of whom have different views about whats happening. The alternative community seems to have an abundance of theories. How can one discuss these with any level of certainty?

    • Thanks, for the comments, Tom! I started to reply, but it ended up being a whole new blog entry. It will be posted tomorrow! I’m thinking I might create still another entry, or series of entries, that share some of my own ups and downs in the world of alternative news. It has certainly been an interesting journey!!

  3. No I am not one of the pablum swallowers! I’ve missed your posts, and yes, I have been going berserk with how bad mass media coverage is. People just look at me that I’m crazy to suggest things that are 180 to what they’ve been ‘listening to’. Their minds are shut, their lights are turned off, and they turn away to go back to their hurry-to-survive work-a-day lives. It’s always the NEXT candidate that will save them from their fate..memories are exceedingly short and their hope-switch flips for them.

    • Sigh…I have missed having time to write. I opened my farm as a B&B a couple of years ago and it has steadily consumed more and more of me. I had a couple of people here for a short time and thus had a taste of what it would be like to be free to write, travel, speak, and teach…but now it is all back on my shoulders. At any rate, I know exactly what you’re talking about when you say that people look at you like you’re crazy when you suggest that things are 180 degrees from what they’ve been listening to! Hang in there…the wake-up is under way!

  4. Hi Penny, lovely to read your posts as they give much food for thought. It occurred that through the use of digital media I might be making up the news as I go along. Firstly, my attention goes where my interests are, this gets amplified by digital media through the use of filters and algorithms that push related content at me. Mmmmm! When are my thoughts my own?

  5. Penny – thank you! This is exactly the journey I’ve been on this past year in particular and so appreciate your clear telling of it. I have had a struggle trying to pass on what I’ve been learning and yet each must learn on their own. It is not easy to explain to others how there is so much going on and yet each must dig in, go through the shock, sort out, discern, follow threads and also in the end find a way to be at peace with all that is occurring.
    I will be sharing this with those who are starting to ask “what is going on” and it will help give them a road map and explain what I have not been able to articulate.

    Many Blessings, Isdra

    • Isdra, lots of us who are seeing a little deeper, hearing a little wider, and understanding a little more comprehensively are having the same problem – family and friends who don’t want to know the truth because it frightens them and they have never really learned, never had permission to think for themselves.

  6. Penny: Hello. A dear friend sent me your article. After sharing it with one of my friends, I was inspired, somewhat motivated if not drawn to make contact. This initiative is an empowering notion that I am honoring for some unknown (unconscious) purpose, most likely precessional. As a kindred big picture perceive r, you put into words what Greg and I were discussing today, serendipitously. Your S.O.S.A.G.D.T.Y. mnemonic is deliciously palpable to digest and comprehend. The so called challenge is to ‘wake up’ to what misinformation is bombarding me. It feels like I ‘must’ go against my own thinking, realizing that my own thinking may not, if not, is not ‘my own’ thinking, but conditioned thoughts from the parents, teachers, elders, others and media. Learning to think for myself is ‘scary’ initially. When I go deeper to that place inside where that ‘scary’ feeling emanates, what really is the message is that I experience being alive when I start to think for myself! Hmmmmmm! ( As a specialist in ‘Noticing’, I would like to suggest that you write this article in first person. As I have found, you may experience a magical perceptual shift when you write articles in first, second and third person.) Penny: Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • Hello Ron and thanks for sharing and for the suggestion about writing in first person. I have a pretty good idea what that does, but I have NO idea what S.O.S.A.G.D.T.Y. means! What is it?

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