The Effort Of Understanding

I am fortunate enough to have discovered long distance running in my forties. I ran my first marathon when I was 42 and my first ultra 2 years after that. In the following years I finished races longer than 100km, and then even 200km. Beyond the adrenaline rush, and the psychological benefits of stretching your physical limits after all of these races, there is another, more subtle, but more enduring benefit.

It’s what happens in training. The race itself is just a one time event, and, like I said, the burst of joy and the satisfaction of finishing it are not to be ignored. But it’s still just a one time event. Once you’re done with it, you’re done with it. But what made you finish that race will still be with you after the finish line. Strength and endurance are not a one time event. They are skills you hone over long periods of time. And that requires constant effort and discipline.

Where am I going with this? Well, like the title said, I’m going to talk about effort. Specifically, about the effort of understanding. Bear with me, it’s gonna be interesting.

You’re Being Told A Shorter Story Than It Really Is

In the world we’re living right now, we rely on information to make an accurate image about reality. But this information is not fundamentally true. From the event or the object that generated the change, the accompanying information goes through a lot of modifiers until it reaches us. In this process, a lot of the truth value of the information is lost.

Because our current world puts so much emphasis on money (which is nothing more than a collective hallucination), the truth value of any information is modified in order to maximize the financial profit of those who are carrying it on. When you’re exposed to any type of information, on any channel, you’re told (based on some previous profiling made on you by that channel) a much shorter story than it really is. You’re presented only with that part of the information that will elicit a response, an engagement which will lead to an increase in the profit of that channel operator. Being it a website, a news channel, an underground chat group, there is always some sort of the profit that must be maximized, and in that process, parts of the information are eliminated, skewed, modified to generate a response.

Propagating information is a transactional activity, just like any other business. So what we are always getting, in terms of truth value, is never fundamentally true. That’s just the way it is.

It’s like instead of accessing a panoramic view of reality, we’re just seeing stripes, the rest is obfuscated.

Now, this is just what we get if we passively take in information. Because, if we put in some effort, we may start to uncover some of those hidden stripes.

It’s like in ultra-running. In the beginning, you’re only able to run continuously for 5 or 10km. That’s your limit, that’s your view of the reality. Whatever is beyond that is obfuscated to you. But if you put in the effort, if you build strength and endurance, the panoramic view becomes wider and wider. You get to run 30km, then 42km (a full marathon), and even distances longer than 100 or 200km.

Similarly, by making an effort to understand how information is propagated, your reality view gets enlarged beyond your craziest expectations. Of course, you will lose the comfort of being fed comfortable news. You will lose to comfort of getting confirmation biases at every corner in your information cloud.

Also, since you’re not putting money in the information carriers pockets anymore, you will be marginalized. It may feel strange in the beginning, because it will feel like the world stopped (or even like the world “changed” dramatically), but it’s actually a blessing. You’re not in Kansas, anymore, Dorothy, and that’s the bad news. The good news is that Kansas never really existed. It was a simplified, custom-made version of reality, served to you by information carriers, in order to maximize their profits. That’s all what Kansas really was.

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