When the President of the United States gets most of his news and information from Brietbart and Fox, and not from the information gathering services that the US has to inform the president and other leaders in our government, then you have skewed and pitched ideas filling the heads of people who need the best information they can get to think straight. You get bad decisions. You get wild attacks and fights based on delusory illusions.
You get information disease.
First coined by deprogrammers Conway and Seigelman in the late 1970’s and early 80’s, their concept described
“a new class of information-processing disorders caused not by germs, drugs, illness, or any recognized physical abuse, but by the manipulation of information. Their concept proposed that basic human capacities of thinking and feeling can be altered solely by information and communication.”
Information disease is not just for religious cults. It can come from political groups, too. And it is not just a disease that one can catch from Scientology. Any time you engage in daily information gathering from only one or two sources, with only one narrow viewpoint allowed, then you are likely to catch information disease.
It’s said that the basis of nutrition is a balanced, diverse diet. And that “infection” only occurs when one type of microbe dominates what should be a diverse population.
The same is true for information. The Internet, while allowing people to find their niche interests and gather together with others who are like-minded, can also wall-off those niches and barricade out other information which could help to maintain a proper context.
It goes like this:
An idea like: “A misunderstood word can be one thing that blocks your understanding of a sentence or passage.”
Becomes: “A misunderstood word is the cause of all failures in all activities everywhere.”
One is a sensible idea in its proper context.
The other is a diseased idea which has had its proper context removed.
This can happen in niche circles on the Internet.
An idea like: “Scientology is a cult that can bankrupt you and divert you from your true purpose in life.”
Becomes: “Scientology is a criminal organization where anything good in it is actually very bad.”
The second idea lacks context. It does not allow for facts that the niche finds offensive or threatening to its ideology.
As you know, an ideology must always be true – especially when it’s not. Where an ideology is not true, its adherents must take steps to enforce it’s “truth”, such as through threats, social coercion, censorship, and disconnection. And if those can not stop the threat, then fair game must be used on people who continue to communicate their threatening ideas.
Anti-Scientologists on the Internet have now developed an ideology about Scientology that they must protect through the above means of social coercion. Where their ideology is not true, it must be made true through these means.
A broader perspective, a wider context, and an array of diverse sources of ideas and information are the cures for information disease.
If others in your niche will not allow these, then you must get them for yourself.
Or risk becoming Donald Trump.