It occurs to me that most of us haven’t the faintest clue of how to research. And it’s become increasingly problematic in these strange times where many reports are vastly exaggerated and even fabricated.

For many, research consists of turning on the TV and watching the news.

But we’ve got to remember what TV was made for – for entertainment. Otherwise, programs would not be punctuated by commercials, which are cleverly placed to feed our consumerism.

And rarely if ever are programs – even so-called “serious” programs – not punctuated by commercials. I’ve only seen it once.

A book does not interrupt you to sell a product. And even if it does, you’re welcome to skip over the pitch.

“Because I saw it on TV” is about the weakest argument you can make for knowing something. It’s like saying you opened the fist page of a book once, and now you know all its contents. That’s not research.

“Because I saw it on TV” is about the weakest argument you can make for knowing something. Click To Tweet

TV does not exist to educate you. You may learn a thing or two watching, to be sure, but not the deeper truths lurking beneath.

Research is about taking responsibility for yourself. Letting go of learned helplessness. Acknowledging that your life and your freedoms matter to you.

If we do not question anything and instead agree with everything, then aren’t we just mindless drones carrying out the orders of authority?

It’s easy to succumb to laziness. I know that all too well, and I’m not immune to YouTube or Netflix binges.

But I can honestly say I have put hundreds of hours into researching topics that matter to me, including current events. Revisiting everything I thought I “knew.” All the things I was taught as a child. And often coming away with a different perspective than I started with. Because it’s inevitable when you uncover the truth.

That’s the mark of true research – when your perspective changes. Because you saw reason to challenge the oversimplified, never verified, incomplete answers you were given as a child. Rather than living in an echo chamber that reinforces what you think you already know.

You couldn’t have been given all the answers as you were going through school. It’s impossible. No one would impose such a gruesome, R rated world on impressionable children (though we still subject them to a lot). They were given the G or PG rated version of history.

We were given the G or PG rated version of history.

If you come away from school satisfied that you know the facts, then you have not engaged in research at all. Because everything was presented to get something specific across.

“I don’t understand the point of history or social studies,” said many a student, including some of my friends.

Don’t you get it? You were given a narrative to follow. Because someone served to benefit from it.

And when I say “benefit,” don’t jump to profit or malicious intent. We all do things because we stand to benefit from them. Even when we do things that benefit others, we still stand to benefit from the feeling of having done good.

How silly and foolish to think we could outgive the divine. It’s impossible. We will go through this life having taken more than we gave, no matter how much we gave.

How silly and foolish to think we could outgive the divine. Click To Tweet

You can trust the narrative if you wish. But make it a well-researched, educated opinion rather than blind faith in everything anyone has ever said.

I urge you to do real research from now on. In all matters concerning life. Even those you think you know inside and out. Especially now.

And do not begin with the news. Because the media deliberately makes stories as dramatic and controversial as possible. They get paid by the number of eyeballs that see their story, and they get paid more when they hold your attention for longer.

Whether they report on facts is for you to decide. But do not accept what’s being said blindly. Look into matters for yourself.

Begin with sources you do not typically explore. Begin at the library. And dig as deep as you can. Because the answers are there. For now. They may not be for long.

Engage in true research. I urge you.

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