Find the truth with flow charts.

We face competing stories on the internet and in main stream media. We can’t always tell what is true when faced with these stories.

Some people deal with this truth ambiguity by going with the story that they hear the most often. Some ask their friends what they believe. Some choose to believe whatever they think serves their interests best. Some try to accommodate power structures in their lives like what the government says or what their boss says. Some pick a story to favor while holding doubt about all stories as a general principle. Those approaches don’t get closer to an understanding of what is the truth.

And most of those methods of trying to weigh the value of information aren’t actually going to produce a good analysis of information.

To handle a mix of true and untrue information, flow chart analysis can help you.

Start by writing down information that you are sure of and write down how you came to your conclusion. It is helpful to use first hand sources and to write down what they are. Write down how knowing that one truth means that other competing stories aren’t true. Keep track of who has told you something that you have determined isn’t true. Remember that source was misleading.

Next write down various stories that you think might be true but that have competing stories in the coverage that you are reading or hearing. Write why you favor one story over another. Then acknowledge your confidence level. If you can’t decide between two competing stories, write down what it would mean if each is true as opposed to the other. That can stem your sense of ambivalence and indecision. Continue trying to determine which story is true or whether neither is true.

Ask yourself whose interests are served by your being in a state of ambivalence and uncertainty. Remember that your interests are better served when you know what is true so that you can act based on what is true. Remember that after everything becomes clear, a sure course of action is likelier to present itself.

Remember that misleading people with false information is not ethical or in the best long term interests of society.

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