Repeated statements seem more truthful than novel ones; the illusion was
thought to be limited to uncertain statements, or those in which people
had no other information available, such as prior knowledge. Are the
myths around Covid-19 in that category?
“Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”. This is a dictum attributed to Adolf Hitler’s close associate Joseph Goebbels. It is said that lies are stronger than the truth. Needless to say, truth is the ultimate virtue. But lies are all around us. Perhaps lies provide a much-needed refuge from the harsh realities of a harsh world we humans have worked very hard to create for ourselves and for those who would come after us.
There is a very disturbing habit that we do not always pay attention to. An American friend of mine I was once having a discussion with about privacy said something that was very convincing. I was complaining about Facebook selling our data to companies such as Cambridge Analytica and many other businesses that exploit this data for marketing purposes. He said we actually do not want privacy. He reminded me how we post pictures of our dinners, pets, gym, children, even a book we may be reading, and so forth.
Many believe that 5G internet caused the coronavirus.
Similarly, we actually do not perhaps want the truth. We may be encouraging lies all around us with our passive behaviour. Take for example the TV ads we see everyday. There is one common element in all of them: Lies. When I was very young, I remember those cigarette ads and I am sure many of us remember them, where a handsome man would win the snooker game, win a fist fight too, drive a car really fast, and even fly a helicopter. A pretty girl around would fall in love with him. And then he would smile and flash the cigarette pack with the girl standing next to him.What the ad was striving for us to internalize was that if you are a man like him or if you want to be like him, you should not only start smoking but smoke his brand.
Now such ads are a form of propaganda and they have gotten more slick, bizarre, and ridiculous. Tea consumed of a particular brand can help our minds think more. Shampoo ads make hair so shiny that one might have to wear sunglasses eventually if they continue to notch up that fake shine. Some ads even show men and women jumping from a flying plane after they have consumed a certain sugar and carbon drink – or a beer. We all know these are all lies but we have so deeply internalized this culture of passive acceptance that we indirectly encourage these lies.