We live in an age of interaction and communication. Technological advances, to which we are inevitably subjected, allow anyone to access a huge amount of information in a matter of seconds. From the comfort of where you live and without much effort.
This hectic development has allowed events unfolding anywhere on the planet to spread at breakneck speed, immediately becoming a subject of global knowledge that is very difficult to keep out of the way. This is a whole new scenario in the history of mankind, for which its impact is not yet known as to how we interpret what surrounds us and the veracity that we can impart to our “social knowledge”. .
If this is a question that has aroused the curiosity of many philosophers of old, the historical situation in which we live prompts us to resume with renewed interest. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss one of the most popular explanatory theories about this extreme: Clear’s Law of Recurrence.
What is Clear’s law of recurrence?
Ideas, understood as the representation of a phenomenon in subjective terms, have the capacity to remain impassive in the face of the passage of time. Those who decide to take any idea, as living beings, end up giving in to the inexorable finitude to which we are all doomed. However, these last beyond the death of those who defend them, as if they were just a vehicle to endow them with the strength they need to pass from the mouth of the one who speaks them. to the ears of those who hear them.
Ideas can take endless forms, In addition to being made of one of the fabrics that make up human reality: politics, science, religion or any other. Moreover, they have the power to unite people for any purpose when they are aligned in the same direction, but also to bring about the most insurmountable of abyss between them. This is why it is said that people with similar beliefs tend to feel attracted or, in any case, they end up looking more and more alike as they share time.
If all ideas are worthy of respect as long as they do not harm others, there are also some which are directly wrong or which do not correspond to reality in the best possible way. Sometimes this inaccuracy (whether deliberate or not) extends its negative influence to large people or groups, who are degraded by stereotypes or stigma. This has happened frequently in people with certain mental health disorders, unfairly labeled by others as violent or irrational.
Another interesting example of this emerges from what has recently been called fake news (Or fake news). These are questionable rumors, or outright lies, that take on aspects of truthfulness to be published in recognized media or to have been revealed (supposedly) by someone about whom the company projects the best expectations.
The most common is that after them you end up discovering a third-party interest (political rivals, close enemies, etc.), so the initial intention is usually overtly malicious.
Certain ideas, whether to lie or to stimulate social debate, are often the cause of heated discussions in which rarely either party is willing to give up its position. And this is because the evidence tells us that the goal pursued by such dialectical frictions is never to reconcile positions in order to seek a balance between the two contenders, but is limited to “reaching reason”. This is all because of the simple fact that they are often widely spaced checks and balances in the spectrum of opinions on the subject at hand, thereby minimizing any possibility of persuasion or influence.
Clear’s law of recurrence postulates something which is certainly very bad news for the party that opposes the idea being debated or discussed, by the end of the scale he would advocate “suppressing” the consciousness of every being. human: the percentage of people who believe in an idea is directly proportional to the number of times it has been repeated in the past year (even if it’s not true)
Thus, the moment we decide to engage in a discussion with another person whom we deem “hateful”, we perpetuate their perspective of things on the “white canvas” of social opinion.
How important does it matter?
The phenomenon just described, for which there is abundant empirical evidence in the field of social psychology, this is especially important in the internet age we live in today. And this is because the spaces in which debates once took place have shifted to a completely virtual environment, in which most of the subjects that interact are completely unknown.
This lack of information makes it easier to generate a poisonous attribution for those who say something that offends us, in such a way that the idea we do not agree with extends to other characteristics of the defender, Which one ends up judging in a manner equivalent to the emotional reaction provoked by their convictions.
In situations that occur in “real” life, it is much more likely that somehow we will learn a little more than what we have in front of us. This makes it easier to effectively persuade the “rival”, or it is this that convinces us with their arguments, especially if we perceive a similarity of personality or values. This is diluted in online conversations, as the ignorance and uncertainty of one another is “filled” by inferences from what he is saying, embodying in him all the evil we attribute to him. naked idea he brandishes. In short: “if you think it’s because, in the absence of more data, he’s a bad person.”
This means that, in order to maintain sanity and elevate the ideas that we consider to be the most valid or ethical, we participate in intense and irreconcilable discussions that increase the number of times “gross” the problem that we hear “attack” is shown in the eyes of others. As a direct consequence, it would also increase the percentage of people who believe in it; since all of this (according to Clear’s law of recurrence) is linked to its availability and recurrence.
In short, it follows from this law that attempts to fight against beliefs that are judged negatively (pseudosciences, political orientations, etc.) are not only ineffective in the vast majority of cases, but also contribute to their unwanted expansion within of the population (because they increase the availability in the scenario where they are usually published). This way, without even realizing it, we feed by repetition on the terrible monster we wanted to defeat.
it is one of the mechanisms by which the virality of fake news or other events of questionable credibility that become popular on the net is enhanced. This is even more evident in the case of platforms (like Twitter) that allow you to visualize the issues that are most talked about at a given time (or trending topic), because their mere appearance on these lists gives them a certain prestige without the need for them to explore much more deeply why they are here.
In conclusion, new technologies are an ideal framework for the dissemination of all kinds of ideas, as they facilitate an exchange of views rarely resolved by consensus and only increase the number of times the question (for the better or worse)) is mentioned. It would finally boost the credibility people place on it.
So how do you fight an idea?
Ideas are abstract beings, that is, they are not objectively found in the reality of those who usually process them. In this sense, they are only found in human thought and become evident to others through speech or writing, and this is the only ecosystem in which they are kept alive. Silence is a toxic environment for ideas, Since in him they have no nutrients to feed on and affinity beliefs with which to reproduce. In other words, silence is the one that kills them. Slowly but without mercy.
If we want to fight an idea, because we consider it contrary to our innermost principles and values, the best way to carry out this task is ignorant. But not only that, but it will also mean making our deepest convictions heard, and letting them reach the ears of those who wish to hear them. Best of all, in this process, any attack you receive will be nothing more than a valuable ally.
- Nekovee, M., Moreno, Y., Bianconi, G., Marsili, M. (2008). Theory of the dissemination of rumors in complex social networks. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 374, 457-470.
- Turenne, N. (2018). The specter of rumors. PLoS ONE, 13, e0189080. doi: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0189080.