Victims of the Information War
Never in history has the uncritical absorption of information been as dangerous as it is now.
At all times, the high and the mighty tried to mislead the weaker representatives of the human race in one way or another to get certain benefits. However, in history has the uncritical absorption of information been as dangerous as it is now. Control over the coverage of today’s reality allows you to construct the desired tomorrow’s reality.
The world has changed. Today’s political, economic, and social processes are determined by informational processes. Success in all these spheres depends on the effectiveness of the communication policy no longer in the tenth, fifth, third, second place, but in the FIRST place. International, intergroup, interpersonal competition takes the form of an information conflict, which becomes an information war in its most acute phase. Globalization and rampant internetization cause a decrease in the threshold of critical perception of information and make this opposition massive and difficult to control.
And, at the end of the day, it does not matter if we are talking about the war of Ares (ordinary armed conflicts), the war of Athena (the struggle of economies), or the war of Christ (the struggle of ideas). In all these cases, modern warfare is the so-called sixth-generation warfare, in which the attacking side tries to deprive the defending side of the will to resist before the active phase of hostilities begins. That is, it is about senses and values, and therefore about the so-called informational and psychological influence which will be different depending on the level of intellectual development and psychological stability of the object of influence.
The aggressor acts cautiously at the initial stage of an information war because the target society, even if it is not too educated and harmonious, still requires evidence before believing that 2 x 2 = 5 even in quiet times. As long as the ability of opinion leaders to think critically remains quite high, so far the informational and psychological influence is carried out at the level of attempts to logically substantiate illogical statements. That is, by persuasion.
As the influence increases (increasing the flow of bad news – real and fake, increasing the degree of emotions during their coverage, increasing tendency of coverage), the number of people who can maintain clarity of thinking decreases. Frustration, depression, and fear are conditions that contribute to uncritical perception of information. Therefore, the suggestion becomes the main method of the aggressor very soon. The information signal transmitted in this format is perceived as an incentive for immediate action, bypassing the stage of logical understanding by the data consumer.
The influence of suggestion is carried out not in conscious but on the subconscious level. Moreover, it is purposeful. The number of sources of (dis)information is artificially increasing, the activity of its presentation grows like an avalanche, the authority of sources is unjustifiably overestimated, facts or fiction are presented in small doses with a certain placement of accents to complicate or make impossible attempts at logical processing on a conscious level.
In the case of Ukraine and considering the peculiarities of the present moment, it is necessary to understand very clearly that no one (no king or God or a hero) will help us to protect ourselves and our loved ones from malicious informational aggression or unintentional but misleading public hysteria of public figures, experts, and journalists. It is not beneficial to anyone because the creators and transmitters of any messages do not pursue public interests (this is an illusion) but group and personal interests. Any information for a wide audience goes through three filters:
- geopolitical (in accordance with the geopolitical preferences of the owner of the resource and its key patrons-partners-customers);
- economic (in accordance with the selfish interests of the owner and those with them);
- worldview (in accordance with the value system of the editor’s office and a specific journalist).
Therefore, it is a matter of personal information security for each of us to learn the simple rules for destructive influences diagnostics. The first signs that the information received from one or another source is an attempt to manipulate our consciousness or subconsciousness are simple:
- high repetition frequency of the same message;
- mosaic nature of information presentation, individual facts or “facts” taken out of the context of events;
- anonymity or veiling or odiousness of a source;
- inconsistency of the name of the material or video sequence with the voice-over text;
- excessive emotionality of content presentation i.e., epithets, allegories, and metaphors;
- unambiguously accusatory tone – abuse of negative stamps (corruption, discrimination, bureaucracy, derogatory nicknames for those who have a different opinion);
- unequivocally praising tone – abuse of pompous concepts (“freedom, equality, fraternity”);
- irrevocable statements without logical justification;
- direct calls to action without prior logical justification of the reasonableness and expediency of the action;
- replacement of concepts (“coercion to peace” instead of “war”);
- ignoring well-known facts that contradict the statement contained in the material;
- inconsistency of expressed judgments.
If at least one symptom is present in the information message, it is a pause for thought. If there are two – consider the information critically (compare different sources having previously understood their generic and true nature) with a high degree of probability of refusing to use it as a guide to action. This will already be a small victory over those who seek to subjugate our will to themselves and use us as senseless and speechless biomass for their insidious purposes.
In fact, there are no more mass media today; there are mass communication media – targeted and owned by “one who pays the piper calls the tune.” Accordingly, “swallowing” information without “chewing” it and believing everything seen and heard in the mass media today is a “criminal” naivety regarding yourself and your loved ones. A vivid example of the victim behaviour of a rabbit walking into the mouth of a boa.
But the rabbit can stop looking the boa in the eye. And we can observe information hygiene:
- limit consumption of potentially destructive information;
- refuse to speak in stereotypes imposed on us;
- take time to think about the news that seems important;
- form a basic context of events, not coloured by emotions;
- evaluate any new message as another touch to the objective picture of the world;
- imagine the desired future and think whether the model of behaviour that is so strongly recommended by the mass media or popular bloggers contributes or hinders its creation.
The society that is most protected from informational aggression is that which is harmoniously developed and has basic media literacy skills. Ukraine has yet to grow and grow to this level; God forbid that we have another historic chance for this. But each of us can take a small step on this path today by not relaying (verbally or in writing) dubious information, not using a fashionable label to designate a dissident opponent, checking who owns this or that mass media. In this way, we violate the plans of the scriptwriters of current horrors regarding the psychological processing of our society. The best medicine in an uncertain time is common sense, the high concentration of which should be maintained with all your might in a tired brain and wounded soul. There is just no other way to avoid the fate of the information war victim.