Filter Failure & Critical Ignoring

“As important as the ability to think critically continues to be, we argue that it is insufficient to borrow the tools developed for offline environments and apply them to the digital world. When the world comes to people filtered through digital devices, there is no longer a need to decide what information to seek. Instead, the relentless stream of information has turned human attention into a scarce resource to be seized and exploited by advertisers and content providers. Investing effortful and conscious critical thinking in sources that should have been ignored in the first place means that one’s attention has already been expropriated (Caulfield, 2018). Digital literacy and critical thinking should therefore include a focus on the competence of critical ignoring: choosing what to ignore, learning how to resist low-quality and misleading but cognitively attractive information, and deciding where to invest one’s limited attentional capacities.”

-Anastasia Kozyreva, et al. “Critical Ignoring as a Core Competence for Digital Citizens.” Current Directions in Psychological Science. Volume 0. 10.1177/09637214221121570

One of the red flags of conversation is that you have to give “both sides” consideration. Or, the person you are talking with suggests that you need to do more research in the topic, particularly if it is along the lines of their argument.

Here’s a radical idea. Arguments have to earn their place at the table. All opinions are not equally valuable, and if you want consideration, you have to do the work and not tell the people you are trying to convince to do the work for you. If your perspective is anti-vaccination, Earth is flat, etc., don’t be surprised when you are ignored.

I don’t have to care about your pet issue, particularly when it is objectively wrong. Even if you are right, about your religion, politics or conspiracy theory de jure, you aren’t entitled to anyone’s attention. You earn attention by caring about people, not ideas.

Or, to make an analogy, you are not entitled to sex with someone, just because you are lonely. What is true of the body is also true of the mind. Congress is based on consensus.