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Against the current

by Tatyana Weyrens

What governs our lives? What makes us make the decisions we make? Have we gone with the flow and no longer have the strength to get out without someone else's help? Do we "swallow water" and feel that we can't even catch our breath? Can we soberly judge what is good and what is bad for us, and can we recognize the lies that aggressively attack and intrude on us?


Today, the world is ruled by highly developed technologies - it is easy to communicate. We have iPhones and high speed internet constantly available. We are informed. We can find any information at any time. Everyone can read and learn literally everything that interests him from countless sources.


We know very precisely what is fashionable to dress, how we should look in order to be liked, to be invited everywhere and to be preferred for company.


Here I will focus on three directions in which it is possible to be "slipped", deceived and manipulated. One is related to information, the second to communication and the third to self-acceptance. The first defines what comes as an understanding of new things and events around us, the second defines the relationship and relationships with people around us, and the third - how we look at ourselves. To a large extent, things are connected and overlap, but I will now try to distinguish and analyze them to make them easier to understand.


Information

Let me start with a few questions. The word "information" means a message, information about something, information. How are people informed today? What are the most common ways of information nowadays? Do you think all the information available is telling the truth? How can you be sure that the source you are reading or listening to is telling the truth? In what ways do you think some sources manipulate public opinion and distort the truth? How do you think it would affect your life if you took everything said and written for truth?


One of the most popular scams we fall into most often is exaggeration. This is one of the usual ways to distort reality. This is a tool in which adding to the truth aims at a more impressive / scary / remarkable effect. Most often it is in the headline or introductory information to draw attention to what follows in the message. Thus, the reader or viewer is already reading or watching with an attitude and prejudice that prevents them from accepting information critically.


Another trick is to hide part of the truth. Thus, the fact is also given another meaning by manipulating the consciousness of the recipient, not providing him with all the information, and all this in order to create settings and attitudes in society that serve a higher purpose.


A third option is purely and simply a lie, in which a quote, photo or other type of information is attributed behind a big name or event, which only hints at the truth, but in general totally distorts it. For example, a few months ago a quote from CS Lewis from his book The Letters of the Soulmaster was circulating on Facebook, which had nothing to do with the truth and attributed to this author words and thoughts he had never written in this book.


The same effect is achieved with a superficial comparison, which at first glance is quite accurate, but due to the fact that public opinion agrees with the superficial layer of information, it does not go deeper to think about whether this remains true at the next level. , but takes the comparison for granted and continues to spread it.


Most people do not even think about the possibility of being manipulated and blindly believe what they have read or heard. Sometimes these things are so amazing, but just because they are published and seem convincing, we already believe unconditionally. One has to check things out and think without allowing oneself to be deceived. The sage in Proverbs 14:15 says, "The ignorant man believeth every word: but the prudent man keepeth his steps."


Communication

Do you like to communicate with new people? Are you easy to comment on, especially under posts you don't agree with? Would you say the same thing if the man was standing in front of you? When you express an opinion, do you think about the consequences? Which is more important to you - peace or the trumpeting of the truth you believe? How often does this give you the results you want?


I know of a case in which a girl who does not look good and is poorly accepted in the real world, presents herself on the Internet in a way that is contrary to reality and, accordingly, her photos there are highly filtered and processed. There she is beautiful and accepted, praised. In this world, of course, she is fine and she lives entirely in it, until the next artificial selfie and the next cannonade of boasting beneath it. What do selfies or photos with a repetitive pose communicate? In my opinion: "I like myself here. Like me too! I need the dose of serotonin for today. ”I know from my own experience how often it is checked how the likes are progressing after I uploaded a new profile picture.


And what do we communicate when we congratulate on the Internet the holidays of the people we live with, to whom we have woken up? Couldn't we have told them personally, hugged them and really shown them our love? The publication communicates otherwise. It is aimed not at the person celebrating, but at others on the Internet, who are invited in this way to like the status, to contribute with their comments to increase the feeling of happiness in the publisher.

It is similar when we write a status to a newborn baby or a deceased relative. They will not read it. Again, we write because we subconsciously want everyone else's attention. Their comments, sympathy and empathy will help us feel better. At least temporarily.


One of the problems we can get into is the systematic waste of time aimlessly digging and surfing the Internet. I fall into this trap too often. In 80% of the cases, I leave there angry and tense and keep asking myself, "Wasn't there anything better I could do now with this time I've spent here?"


Self-acceptance

What do you think has most shaped your image of yourself, of your own worth? But sincerely. Are you influenced by the opinion of others, by generally accepted norms? What is your criterion to make sure you look good? And what are the characteristics of a well-received person - everyone's favorite, the soul of the company?


Years ago, I was in a mass communication course and I was amazed at how creating advertising is a whole science of how to manipulate the user. The target group is important (men, women, children, housewives, families, businessmen, etc.) and a team of people is constantly researching the psychology of the consumer to know exactly how to present their product.


I was surprised at how it relies on several basic principles, one of which is "identification". Take, for example, an advertisement for a hair shampoo. Choose a beautiful model with long (mostly straight because it reflects light better and shines more) hair - a natural gift from God and we are all convinced that using this product will automatically give us just as impressive hair, and the fact that everyone turns to watch it will certainly be the effect that we will cause.


Or another trick - if you use this product, you will have the hearts of the opposite sex or success in any environment (say in business). Happiness and acceptance depend on whether you use the right razor or just this toothpaste to have a bright smile…


However, if we do not have this success in the eyes of others, this figure, hair or smile, it turns out that we can not be happy, that there will be no one to love us for ourselves and that appearance is everything. Isn't this a very big soap bubble?


Very often we are pushed by the idea that we should not wait, but to seize the temptation, to enjoy life, to live for the moment. We are told that we can have literally anything. This sounds great and tempting, but there is one drawback - it is not true and when a person is confronted with this discovery, he can be very seriously disappointed, disgusted with himself, may begin to dislike even more. I really like what the character once said in a movie: "Don't look at fashion magazines - they will make you feel ugly!"


The truth about us is written in the Bible - we are all unique creatures of God. Do you know that there is no one like you in the world? A person like you has never been born - with your exact eyes, with this smile, with the way you move or look when you think about it, with your understandings and talents… You are a unique combination and this is exactly the beauty . I am an artist and I can tell you that the value of a work of art, and you are just that - works of art - is not in how beautiful and proportionate it is, but in how rare it is. If it is unique, even if it is quite ugly according to the aesthetic criteria of this world, it has an incredibly high artistic value and in most cases collectors do not want to part with it at any cost.


The Bible also tells us that our motives and actions have meaning and effect, and we, as God's representatives in the world, are responsible for that. How do we treat the information we receive, how do we communicate with others? Is there anything we can fix because…

"Does the fountain pour out sweet and bitter water from the same hole?" (James 3:11); "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he did." (1 John 2: 6)


** Translated using Google Translate

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