Do you recognise your blind spots when it comes to “facts”?

Here’s something else to ponder: How many one-year-old children have been vaccinated against a disease around the world? What percentage would you choose: 20%, 50%, or 80%? Yes, nearly all of the world’s children, 80 percent, have access to some type of basic health care.

This statistic is amazing not only because many people would have thought it impossible only a few generations ago. It also violates the prevalent assumption that certain nations, such as those in Africa or the Middle East, will never have the infrastructure to get these kinds of medicines to children and will hence be doomed to live in poverty for the rest of their lives.

A more accurate worldview would be to understand the world in terms of wealth levels rather than tribes, faiths, or cultures. This is effective because, regardless of faith or culture, a country that has risen beyond the poverty line will quickly witness advances in areas such as education, health care, and basic infrastructure.

Traveling and seeing other cultures firsthand is one of the best strategies to avoid overgeneralization. This is also a terrific way to get diverse viewpoints, which is critical because limited perspectives are another major hurdle to having an accurate worldview.

If you traveled to Afghanistan today, one of the few countries still struggling to escape terrible poverty and low income, you would encounter young people who are preparing for a contemporary life.

Similarly, if you traveled to South Korea in the 1970s, you would have witnessed a country rapidly transforming from a low-income to a middle-income country under a military dictatorship, a fact that challenges the limited worldview that only a fully democratic government can lead to a healthy economy.

In reality, nine of the ten fastest-growing economies in 2016 are not very democratic. So don’t believe that only democracy can lead to economic progress; the reality of today’s global economy demonstrates otherwise.

The world is a confusing place, which is why it’s a good idea to obtain as many different perspectives as possible. It’s also why, as we often do, pointing the finger at a single person or even a single group as the source of a problem is so foolish.

Pharmaceutical corporations, for example, rarely invest in research into malaria, sleeping sickness, and other ailments that only afflict the poorest people. The natural reaction is to blame the pharmaceutical company’s CEO, but isn’t the CEO simply following the board of directors’ lead? And aren’t the board members simply carrying out the will of the shareholders?

Take, for example, the current refugee situation. Many Europeans immediately blamed the traffickers after seeing photographs of dead bodies washing up on shore when their shoddy-built boats broke apart.

If you look into the subject further, you’ll find that the reason migrants are on the shabby boats in the first place is that European law requires a refugee traveling without a visa to be approved as a valid refugee by the employees of the boat, plane, bus, or train they’re attempting to board. However, because this is such a difficult task, it never occurs. Furthermore, because European law allows authorities to seize boats used to transport refugees, no trafficker wants to hire a good, dependable boat.

The last annoying tendency we have is the need to hurry, which leads us to make rash decisions that are frequently incorrect or plain bad. Our most pressing concerns, such as pharmaceutical companies refusing to research certain diseases or refugees fleeing in risky boats, are typically complex and require careful consideration of all possible outcomes. As a result, there is nearly never a simple solution to a problem.

It’s vital to consider all possible outcomes before making critical decisions. This requires sticking to a fact-based worldview, even if well-intentioned people feel exaggerations will help.

Climate change is definitely important, but some people are only concerned with spreading the message of the worst-case scenario, ignoring the best- or most likely-case scenarios. They believe that in order to encourage individuals to act, we must instill fear in them. Exaggeration, on the other hand, may lead to people feeling misled in the long run, which might lead to climate activists losing their crucial reputation.

Facts and truth should be respected in all sectors of life, including education, business, and the media. It’s always a good idea for teachers to double-check that they’re using up-to-date material. So much of our perpetual “West vs. the rest” thinking is based on out-of-date statistics and perspectives.

A detailed picture of the world could be beneficial to businesses and investors. All signs point to Africa as a burgeoning commercial destination, and now is the greatest time to become involved. You’ll not only be helping a community flourish, but you’ll also be ahead of the curve.

Journalists are human, with the same misunderstandings and instincts as the rest of us, and while we should expect them to be as accurate as possible while reporting on the world, readers should not rely on a single source for all of their information. Keep in mind that comprehensive comprehension needs the study of several points of view.

Due to various fundamental but crucial misunderstandings and the fact that our inherent instincts can often work against us, truthfulness is in short supply these days. While many people assume that the world has gotten worse, the truth is that it has gotten a lot better in a very short time.

In practically every quantifiable category, life is better now than it was 200, 100, or even 50 years ago. People are living longer lives, have better access to health care and education, and are less likely to be poor. Recognizing this demands searching for genuine facts and contextualizing it beyond your single news source.

Because the world is constantly changing, do your best to teach your children well. Teach your children what the history was truly like, especially the ugly bits, if you want them to respect facts as adults. They should also be taught how to spot stereotypes that aren’t true and how to hold two seemingly opposing viewpoints at the same time, such as there is sorrow and suffering in the world, yet things are improving for many people. Also, teaching them how to consume news by demonstrating how to spot overdramatic news and encourage them not to become too anxious or despondent.

Check out my related post: How can we fight against fake news?


Interesting reads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34890015-factfulness

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