Monday, September 18, 2017

Gullible’s Travails

These days, adults talk revolves around the deadly addiction of juveniles to the Blue Whale Challenge. The internet game reportedly consists of a series of tasks assigned to players by administrators over a 50-day period, with the final challenge requiring the player to commit suicide. Adults are baffled that ‘intelligent’ children too are swayed as they don’t apply their thinking. I ask them, ‘do you?’

It is true that in the age of the internet, the gullible are ones who do not apply the test of thinking before embarking on actions triggered by the virtual world. While craving for recognition or depression due to non-acceptance or plain bravado could be the basic reasons for succumbing to such a deadly challenge, it is obvious that lack of the spirit of inquiry that leads to gullibility.

Out in the virtual world we find careless forwarding of fake messages, many of which are life-threatening as they fuel hate and prejudice against other human beings. While the Blue Whale Challenge can be singled out and countered out in various ways, the gullibility of even well-meaning persons is creating a bloody ground for discrimination, lynching and killings.

Most of the gullible, when confronted with the falsehood of their viral posts, defend their irresponsible travails with the argument, ‘I ‘only’ forwarded it!’ But it is pertinent to note that we forward only because we agree (even if without applying discretion). We must check for the veracity as well as reconfirm the message before believing it. And even after confirming, we should consider whether it is worth passing on.

The antidote to venom is often in the venom. For the falsehood on the internet, we can try to check its validity on the internet itself. At the same time, we must use a questioning approach to check the reliability. Most importantly, we must examine the information for its relevance to positivity. After all, negativity leads to the travails not only of the gullible but also of the unconnected innocent.

In the virtual world, check before you carelessly forward
Gullible’s travails lead to a deadly target that’s backward!

~ Pravin Sabnis

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