Have you ever had the experience where you thought you knew something was true and then you heard about something else that called into question everything you thought you knew? Most of us have unless we are really close minded.

Fans of progressive radio and TV host Thom Hartmann will recognize the question in the first sentence above is a paraphrase of a question posed in promotions for his TV program “The Big Picture”. His point is that we often move through life interpreting facts so as to support our view of what’s really true. This generally works until we encounter something we just can’t resolve its differences into our beliefs. At that point, we need to step back and consider a bigger picture.

What do most of us do when that discrepancy happens? Many people ignore the aberrant facts. That’s a lot easier than shifting our beliefs!

In a recent article here on Conscious Bridge, I spoke of the psychological concept of the illusion of truth effect. This is experienced when we are presented with something repeatedly and begin to believe it’s true, whether it is or not. The key to our buying into the illusion is the repetition factor especially where we have no personal evidence to dispute its truth.

In other words, if we don’t know better and we simply hear something a certain number of times, then we accept it as true. Then, if we believe it’s true and then get new information, we tend to meld that new information to fit our existing belief – or ignore the new facts altogether. Only when we can’t ignore them are we forced into revisiting our original belief.

There are other factors which discourage our potential for revamping what we already hold as true. One big factor is our cultural norms – if most people hold the same belief and our media, politicians and other people of so-called authority are the ones who have been repeatedly telling us that our belief is true – it’s tough to buck that trend. We don’t want to be seen as not fitting in.

However, sometimes there are truths that we hold to that we just have to call into question. Sometimes we have to stop and consider if what we think is true – is really true. You may have your own list, but here are a few of my “questionable truths” for your consideration.

“There is no credible evidence for UFOs or aliens ever visiting planet earth.” – – People who “believe in UFOs” are ridiculed. Mainstream media (except maybe the History Channel!) never discuss aliens or UFOs without a wink or a smirk reminding this that we should not take this stuff seriously. I don’t believe everything I am presented on the topic, but there is clear and credible evidence for UFOs. Anyone who says otherwise really hasn’t looked into the topic. Here’s a link to a previous story I did on the subject.

“There is no evidence that genetically modified food as any negative impact on human health. The truth is GMO food is necessary for feeding the rising population on earth.” – – A close look at these statements show they come from companies like Monsanto and others who have a financial incentive for the widespread use of GMO food. These companies have influenced the FDA into allowing GMO foods to be introduced for human consumption without any adequate testing on human health. There is much evidence that GMO farming does not increase crop yields. Here’s a link for more details on the other side of the story. (And, even though I strongly believe that GMO food should clearly be labeled, I do have concerns that the whole labeling debate is redirecting our attention away from the real issue – that GMO food is not necessarily safe!)

“The best way to create jobs is to cut taxes on the wealthy.” – – There are some politicians still making the statement repeatedly even though our own Federal Government’s nonpartisan Congressional Research Service study has shown this not to be true. Here’s the link.  The one page summary at the front gives you the essence of the overall report.

I could go on, but my point here is that we need to be conscious consumers of information. It’s easy for us to accept things that we have been told as true. We need to question what we believe. This ability to question what we are told is part of the critical thinking skills built through an effective educational system. Hence, our need to invest in the education of our citizens.

Humanity and its evolution upward to a positive future requires that we not be complacent, that we not simply accept what we are told, that we keep an open mind, that we have the skills to critically evaluate information – and the ability to change our minds when new evidence shows our old beliefs are invalid.

Mark Gilbert

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Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!