The lies we believe

2 yr (edited)
7 Min Read
1373 words

In 1938, Orson Welles read War of the Worlds on air and created somewhat of a panic as the reading was interjected with fake news reports that fooled people to believe that aliens were indeed attacking. Following the broadcast, there was outrage expressed due to the format used, especially as it leveraged the importance of news as part of the ruse. There are a couple of takeaways from this story.

  • Firstly, very few people were fooled during the reading
  • Secondly, many people still believe that many were fooled

Yesterday, I posted a fiction story that I wrote a couple years ago with some updates included for Showcase Sunday and just like the first time, the only major clue I left that to it not being real was the tag #fiction. And just like the first time, some people did believe it was real.

This is the way we are programmed.

The story was about Facebook acquisitions and what they could mean for the direction of the company, and the world. While fiction, the companies mentioned are real acquisitions and I added the links for them and they are rather disturbing, which prompted me to write the story in the first place.

The thing is that we are already primed to believe the story as we are (especially on Steem) quite negative toward Facebook and have witnessed them multiple times over the last years abusing their data, power and reach. While fiction, the story is believable enough that it would raise some questions in the audience and lead them to consider the possibility.

I am pretty sure with some time spent crafting the support material it would be believable enough that it could get some traction in various circles and once it had some traction, it would be able to collect more. Just like the reading of War of the Worlds and the subsequent outcomes, a story can be engineered to become a cultural meme, even if it has zero truth to it.

This is the area of conspiracy and propaganda.

With the support of the internet, it is relatively easy to create an environment where ideas can be interjected and grow as all kinds of groups with all kinds of predilections and beliefs can be collected by their data and targeted. Once the ball is rolling, an idea can splinter and serve a spectrum of people and gain the supportive mass to drive it into the psyche of many more through shares.

Don't buy the hype.

The internet is all hype, isn't it? News services are monetized by clicks and what gets clicks is what captures the mind of the consumer, the irrelevant, the outrageous, the unbelievable. It works because we want to believe in the extremes of the world and because it gets support, the extremes will get broadcast and snowball as if the frequency of event s much higher than it actually is, or the chance of failure much lower.

Just think how uncertain the future of Steem is as a currency and community and how many people are relatively negative on it. Then consider that there are 2300+ cryptocurrencies currently trading and Steem is one of the most utilized among them and, boasts one of the largest and most active communities with a host of applications that overshadow nearly all others in usage.

The thing is that everyone wants to believe that they are buying the next bitcoin, the penny token that will move 100,000% in the next decade, or two years. Because people want to believe, it is easy enough for pretty much anyone to build an idea, falsify or skew the results and sell the hype.

How many people bought into Bitconnect?

All that is needed is a story with enough points of reality to get it considered, to make it seem as if there is the chance that it is real and then, get a few people with some credibility onboard to shill it, and there will be many who will buy-in, some heavily. While few believe in the Nigerian Prince email these days, there are still some people who fall for these kinds of scams because they are greedy and human nature will always provide the question, what if...?

It is much like the "Don't think of an elephant" conflict.

There was outrage in the US (of course) at the recent Joker movie, because people felt they had been "tricked" into feeling empathy for a psychopath. They are right, they had been tricked, but not to feel empathy, that is on them. What is ridiculous in the outrage is that everyone goes to the movie to be tricked, the entire concept is to sell the unreal - tricked into believing in fantastical creatures, that two actors love each other or that light-speed space travel is a reality. We are primed to be made the fool and we go into the experience knowingly.

But, as most people would likely agree, the easiest to believe and the hardest to shake are the movies that are close to the reality we know or believe, the stories that could happen under the right circumstances. Tell a true story and the Blair witch project is not a low budget horror, it happened.

We are driven by the stories we hold and once true stories are interjected with increasingly gritty lies in an environment like the news, a tech forum or your favorite crypto source, the narrative is controlled. It is called Native advertising, advertising cloaked through matching the look and feel of the expected reality. We buy in because we have already bought into the source earlier, already said yes many times before - and as any salesman knows, once primed to say yes, the sale is made.

On the internet propaganda is supercharged by the ability to segment and target as well as firehose information to mass audiences simultaneously and instantly. Some will latch on and spread it further through their own networks who are already more likely to believe and, now they are getting it linked by a "trusted" source, even if that source never did any duty of care, or read the story at all. It is easy to click share and there is very little personal cost for most people to do so, nor for being wrong.

We see this in financial advice all the time where on very limited information people make recommendations and then on even less information, people will make a purchase or a sell. When done at a global level through the mainstream media, massive populations can be swayed to behave predictably. And when proven wrong in time, those same advisers will backflip and provide a new perspective that people will support because they want to believe.

Bitcoin is dead.

Is it? Who is your source and what is their agenda? How many people were turned off crypto because some fool on the whatever news they watch said it was going to fail? How many didn't invest into computing, mobile phones or internet services for the same reasons? How many jumped on the bandwagon at the height of the hype?

Control the narrative.

However we look at our behaviors, we act according to our belief system and support the content that supports it. While my story is fiction, I have very little doubt in my mind that it is closer to the truth than what is purported by the MSM. The stories that are reported upon are designed to create support for against something, to dictate our behavior, to get shares and clicks, to cluster us, separate us, polarize us, turn us against us.

When we spend our time eating what we are being served, it means we do not spend our time developing, growing, collaborating, evolving and taking responsibility for the world in which we live. We are caged by the information we have chosen to consume.

We want to believe we can win. We want to believe we are smart. We want to believe that we can spot a fake. We want to be deceived.

We just don't want to find out we were.

War of the Words.

[ a Steem original ]


War of the Words

I like that summary!! We love to believe what we want to believe.

If you say something that is 90% true, and 10% believable fiction, people think ... well, I know that most of that was true ... so it must all be true. It's a tactic that's been used by marketing for years to nudge people in the right direction.

For me, the most memorable story I know of a similar phenomena was back in the 1930's, a man convinced some doctors that you need bacon for breakfast. The rest is history... (One Source there are many)


People are easy to manipulate when they want to be manipulated.

"you have lovely eyes"

"do you work out?"

Pander the ego, make people feel attractive, intelligent and correct and they will buy in.


First off: In the link back to yesterdays post the Y got left off of Sunday, so link does not work quite right.

I wonder how many people will comment on this follow-up post. I always love to look at the tags, and I still wonder about fiction/non-fiction, and why the primary word is about make believe, and the secondary (non-fiction) is about reality.

We are so conditioned to accepting what is written as the truth when it is on a TV screen, or a computer monitor, or in a newspaper. We question about books, because they most often do put up front or on the spine what type of book it is, in newspapers and TV, and to an extent, (a growing extent), anything on the internet is viewed as the truth, as non-fiction.


Thanks, it should be fixed now.

and I still wonder about fiction/non-fiction, and why the primary word is about make believe, and the secondary (non-fiction) is about reality.

I have never been able o work this out either. I remember asking the librarian as a kid and she didn't provide any insight. Perhaps it is because as a species that passes information through stories, the fiction is more important than the fact for the memory.

and to an extent, (a growing extent), anything on the internet is viewed as the truth, as non-fiction.

The internet offers a truth for everyone, no mater the kink, there is evidence to support it.


My wife always struggles with the Fiction/non-fiction thing; I think for this reason. The real one should be the base word.


Seems the word fiction came first by a long way and had established its position for prose a few hundred years before "non-fiction" came on the scene.

They could have just used factual though.


Hmm...Should I believe this post?




I don't even believe myself... 😂


Haha, yep, that's about right huh?


I'm a skeptic, so I believe nothing (usually) until I can touch it or see it for myself. Words will say exactly what you want to hear, no matter what they say.

We have been conditioned to not trust anything. Yes?

I like what @galenkp said... "Is this post real"

I can read you all day long, you have a true gift. You and your golden keyboard.

!tip .20


We have been conditioned to not trust anything. Yes?

I think this is right, except in reverse. We have been conditioned to believe and then in the last decade or too, question the narrative - it is still a trust in what we are told situation. We no longer trust experts, but we are happy to trust random people on the internet on how to cure cancer.

I wish I had a golden Keyboard :D


Impressive. I missed the tag. But as far as the story goes I would not put it past corporations to try to continue controlling the masses. Me on the other hand tend to see everything as a story. Whether it's true or not. For some it is and affects their lives to an unbelievable point. I take in what works for me and discard everything else. I will on occasion bring such stories to people's attention but other times I figure why bother because no one really wants to think for themselves.


But as far as the story goes I would not put it past corporations to try to continue controlling the masses.

They have been doing it for years, and even getting caught.

I take in what works for me and discard everything else.

This is how we mostly operate, isn't it? The problem is that these days we can filter (or they can) out pretty much anything that goes against us until we are living in a bubble.


So how should we operate? Is, "as a man thinket..." a wrong mindset?


Not much we can really do except learn how our hardwiring works and perhaps avoid the manipulations the best we can.


One of my favorite aphorisms comes from a perennial recommendation, Mark Twain, who averred that it is far easier to fool someone than convince them they have been fooled. It is an endemic feature of humanity that our eusociality drives acculturation empowering successful intersocietal conflict. War is a particularly profound feature of our species, and public grasp of forces that affect our behaviour extremely tenuous at best, while vital to entities effecting societal control.

Given the ongoing consolidation of society, it is of extraordinary import as institutional power is increased by orders of magnitude by this consolidation, and individuals less eusocial are highly likely to be increasingly negatively impacted going forward as this process completes. Even for highly eusocial segments of society, it is unlikely this transcendental transfer of power to institutions will result in positive consequences, as the more eusocial an individual is, the fewer resources are required to encourage their production.

In other words, ordinary folks are probably going to suffer a reduced quality of life as institutional power increases in competence to parasitize their production as a result of reduced intersocietal competition, and this is driven by eusociality, which is the tendency to believe, say, and do what society, as effected by it's overlords, prefers rather than to use reason and data to seek individual benefits.

Genocide and inquisitions are demonstrably potential and publicly available information indicates that a central plank of global societal consolidation is population reduction to ~a billion or less. This does not paint a pretty picture for me of our short term future.



The fabric of society is always in a flux state, it is just that in the past it used to be much more localized. Through our new ability to communicate and message en masse globally, the ability to align behaviors across wide and diverse groups means that the shifts move faster with more spread.

There have always been hierarchies based on resources, currently the most valuable mine is that of data.

2 yr (edited)

Good timing. Is the rumor that Jason Sun buys Steemit a lie some choose to believe? Or the truth? How can we tell, besides confirmation (or denial) from both sides?

Great read! Wars are being fought on controlling the narrative. Manipulation reaches new dimensions, with ever increasing speed and reach limits.


The timing was indeed pretty good on this one :D

All wars are a subversion of the truth.


All wars are a subversion of the truth.

You bet! From pretexts for starting them, to propaganda and then the winner's claim to write or re-write history.