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Michael's Metaphors of Life Journal

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Recalibrating Our Truth Meter

April 3rd, 2021 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, does it only compute through the lens of fear?

The question of whether it is valid to compare our brains to a computer operating system is often debated. There are obvious similarities as well as differences. Our brains cannot process large amounts of data as efficiently as a computer. On the other hand, computers cannot make the creative leaps that our brains are capable of achieving.

Yes, I know that we are only just tickling the surface of artificial intelligence and what its’ horizons may be. But that is a debate for another day.

What I am pondering today is a comparison of a different sort. The IT world appropriated the term virus from medical science. There is an entire industry built around detecting computer viruses and protecting our operating systems from them.

It occurs to me that the metaphor can be turned around and pointed back at us. New considerations arise when we allow ourselves to conceive of our brain as an operating system with its own inherent vulnerabilities.

A fundamental difference between a computer’s operating system and our brain is the variable of emotion. It is what makes us human. But emotion does not always adhere to reason. This is not by definition a bad thing. But it is a source of vulnerability.

If you feed false data into a computer, it simply will not compute. But if you feed false data into our brains and attach it to emotion in the process, our brains can be tricked. Emotion becomes a catalyst that blurs the line between truth and deceit.

In the same way a computer virus can disable an operating system, information wrapped in negative emotions like fear becomes a de facto virus which can compromise the brain’s operating system. We lose the ability to objectively evaluate information and detect inherent inconsistencies in it.

Truth, like so many things in life, truth is not an absolute. The same can be said of deceit. They sit at opposite ends of a sliding scale which is constantly shifting. We are all gifted with a truth meter. But it can lose its calibration when emotion gets pulled in where it does not belong. Unfortunately, there is no diagnostic program we can run to determine if our brain is infected.

What can we do?

We can be on our guard when we are fed information cloaked in fear. Filter out the fear before you evaluate the integrity of what you are being told. If the data only computes when viewed through the lens of fear, chances are good that it is bogus information served up by someone with ulterior motives.

Our truth meter is always engaged. My request is simply that you make good use of it.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

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