At the moment, (since our governments seem un-interested in carrying out an
open review of the events surrounding of Sept. 11
) it is up to us citizens to carry on the search for the truth, ourselves.
In doing so, we are confronted with a basic challenge:
How do we discern the truth, from so many conflicting stories? -some of which
cannot be trusted for accuracy... and others, to varying degrees?
How do we discern solid information from soft?
Without the central source of information-gathering, (normally available to us
in society, through government, police, etc.) and with the mass of the
mainstream media prejiduced against an independent inquiry,
Let the following be but a contribution to a list of reminders about effective
research, (and a reflection of the principles guiding the research you see
In terms of social events, institutions, power... opinion becomes fact,
(generally) in two ways:
by logical argument, (what "makes sense" to us personally); and,
to what extent an opinion is agreed upon by others around us.
Obviously, there are exceptions and limitations to this approach.
To a certain extent, logic, (like beauty) lies in the eyes of the beholder.
If something doesn't make sense to me -or appeal to my own interest- then I am
not going to keep reading; yet sometimes, we can reject concepts or information
which are actually worthy of our interest, agreement, (as is our nature, as
This is why we study, contemplate, communicate: to learn more.
This is also why we consider the opinions of others: because they reflect the
condition; and the
opinions of a certain group or society
to offset the weaknesses, bias, or imperfections of our own, singular
Thus, the collected body of opinion in a society is a significant measure of
truth for us as individuals, and a fundamental
of our own opinion's value.
At the same time, however, it's also possible for the members of a society to
be so profoundly mislead about certain truths, (for the social discourse to be
so corrupted) that an individual who chooses not to be so misled must make
in their own thinking.
They/we must be willing to "stand alone" in the midst of society, to maintain
positions which are deemed "unpopular."
Yet we should also not be tempted to reject the opinions of the "the many,"
out-of-hand; rather, we need to
those opinions so that they are congruent with our convictions -that the
notion of a unified society, (as an expression of truth) can be preserved.
Obviously, in such a situation, we individuals run the risk of insulating
ourselves from the opinions of others: of turning whatever "society" says, into
an agreement with whatever we choose to see.
Such a danger cannot be helped or averted. It is the natural consequence of an
unbalanced social condition, which can only be righted by the combined efforts
of individuals who deny neither their own convictions, nor the conviction that
the truth of
remains the ultimate test of one's own, (regardless of how distorted the
expression of all may be).
An example of such a
may be in our choosing to see the mass acceptance of a corrupt government
policy as an expression of economic insecurity, fear, naivete, and propaganda
-rather than a well thought-out, conscious conviction.
may sometimes err on the side of the ideal or the convenient; while it may
always be subject to review, transformation, etc. it is an essential ingredient
of our willingness to
what we hold to be true in the experience of others -to hold up our
convictions to the mirror of "the many"- even as we hold up that mirror to a
Such is the dance we cannot do without.
In certain social circumstances, we may have to be satisfied to know that only
one or two other people truly understand what we are trying to say, (if we are
so lucky). What makes such a momentary satisfaction
, is our willingness to ever-seek its expansion in a wider, more-inclusive
, by which we organize our thoughts, to make them understandable, lyrical, or
otherwise effective, may stand as the medium by which we attempt to adhere to
the logical instincts within humanity as a whole; but given that the most
absurd, unfounded arguments can also be made to sound, logical, reasonable,
objective; and given the strength of our conviction, the ultimate
of our opinion's
lies in our willingness to do...
By referencing our work, (opinion) to that of others, this does not necessarily
mean that showing
voices in agreement with ours means it is more true.
Often, it is a matter of finding
voices, which carry the weight of many other voices with them; though it's
often only after sifting through a large amount of material/opinion that the
voices start clearly speaking to our ears.
Quantity of data alone is not sufficient, of course; often a reliance on
quantity can tire even the resolute reader; we must strive to be -and to look
for- writers who can present substantial amounts quantity with a simplicity of
Style too, and readability can suffer, when we reference our work: an ongoing
challenge, this remains.
By giving accurate references, as to where we have gotten our information, we
allow the reader to judge the value of that information for themselves; for
clearly, there are other considerations to a claim of "fact" than the "fact"
Credibility of Source
In general, first-hand experience is more-credible than second or third; and
opinions of trained experts in a particular field are more substantive than
Yet there are exceptions.
Those who experience an event first-hand may be so drawn into it, emotionally,
that they are unable to see the external causes, (background circumstance,
causes) with equal precision; thus, while the validation of an occurrence still
stands, one’s capacity to draw the meaningful conclusions often demands an
extra level of scrutiny.
In a similar vein, experts within a certain field tend to have the opinions
most relevant to events and issues pertaining to it; and it’s also true that
those with specialized knowledge can be so blinded to the broader consequences
of their viewpoint, that they retard a meaningful understanding.
Many are the examples of medical doctors, chemists, nuclear engineers who
justify or downplay hazardous practices and programs, while hiding behind a
wealth of statistical data.
Further: simply because some television personality calls someone an
"expert" doesn’t automatically make them one.
Another relevant component of "credibility" is access.
Generally, mainstream media sources with a lot of financial resources and
government connections have a certain "credibility" that lower-budget
sources do not; that is, they are able to
the sources of influence, and/or insure on-the-scene reporting.
We know, however, (from our experience with the mainstream) that the
more-powerful institutions often ignore or even cover-up details which may
conflict with their corporate/establishment bias. It is more often the smaller,
independent sources which consistently dig for the truth, (though such
trustworthy voices are still often hard to find, in a media landscape awash
with small-scale sensationalists, and big-time wannabees).
When critically assessing government, corporations, and other centers of
influence, it makes sense not to base our larger analysis on mainstream
sources; yet those sources are often an essential component to critical
research –because of their access, and also precisely because of their tendency
to tout the government line.
That is, when we find an article in a mainstream publication that gives
evidence to a critical analysis of government, it is often in spite of that
source’s best intentions.
They may feel compelled to report on a controversial subject, as a kind of
pre-emptive strike, (to deflect critical opinion) or at ease to report on
something rather routine –without realizing the significance of that fact, to
those who see it from a different angle.
In such an instance, where "they" and "we" do not agree on
what the facts mean, the facts themselves tend to stand more-alone, naked,
less-adorned, than do the shades of opinion alone.
Even the most brazenly-apologetic mainstream source has to speak the truth some
of the time, in order to maintain access-credibility, (and sell advertising
space). It remains for us to find the story within the evidence of the story.
Having said this, of course, it would be a mistake for us to base ourselves
solely on referencing our work to the opinions and experience of others; for
journalists can (and do) line up an impressive array of "opinions" to
give the appearance of a debate, when, in fact, they are all carefully
orchestrated to support a single point of view, (usually the government’s).
Nor should we attempt to be absolutely objective in this process, or avoid
taking sides. It’s sufficient that we present the other point of view as a
reference to our criticism, and let the reader decide how well our underlying
bias is grounded in objective reality.
In a serious investigation, the dilemma remains that, we can overlook no piece
of reporting, or evidence –out of hand- for it may become relevant later on;
yet it’s also problematic for us to base our search for truth solely on the
information we provide, (i.e. on the amount of it).
There is a saying that may be appropriate: "less is more."
There is no limit to the amount of information that can be placed before a mind
to ascertain the simplest thing.
By itself, information is simply dis-empowering, disheartening... enticing us
into an endless sea of questions, with no way to the simplicity that true
We need to be able to discern the most
data from the secondary; and to do this, we need to be able to turn to the
heart, the gut, the inner voice –not as a replacement for the mind, but as its
It is this inner voice which allows us to turn off the TV, the computer, the
mental chatter, the external gab, (when we need to) and let the evidence find
its measure of relevance in the weight of our whole, living BEING.
To summarize, it seems that for our research to be credible, we must base our
work primarily on it being well-referenced, (to credible sources); and second,
on being both logically explained, and heartfelt.
As often as is possible, we should reference a statement of fact to a
particular first-hand (or media) source, and we should also reference where we
got that statement from, (if we got it from another source, such as on the
Although statements of opinion and logic still hold their own, intrinsic value,
that value is ultimately limited, unless it is accompanied by a reference to
the source of evidence supporting it.
Here now is a listing of the main internet sources I have thus far used in my
research, (a few which I have avoided) and some thoughts on how I have
Naturally, this is just a beginning. I do not claim this to be an exhaustive
I merely present them, so that you can be in the best position –to assess my
outlook according to your own.
I have found it rare for authors to consistently reference their statements of
fact to specific authors and publications; those that do, tend to focus in one
small area of a subject in order to establish what may be generally called
"proof," or "hard evidence."
It seems to be sign of real investigative work that progress comes by
effort -needing to take into account the doubts and alternative possibilities
that may arise in the minds of many other observers.
While it's also necessary to combine this with an overview of the larger
picture, generalizations are not the foundation of a real investigation.
Numerous articles and sources tend to have references to one or two pieces of
evidence; then proceed to make wild, bold statements without a reference to the
source. Credibility thus quickly diminishes, (though portions may still be
Some sites can have credible contributions mixed in with a lot of junk –which
has the effect of discrediting the good stuff, and making the weak stuff
At the same time, inconsistent sites can also reveal important material, links,
etc –if we are able to make the distinctions, sift through, and find them.
Ultimately, the possibility ever remains: whether a once reputable source may
eventually become a source of dis-information –either through unconscious bias,
or conscious design.
That an author might end up twisting what was once valuable evidence, (into
some narrow theory) cannot be helped; this doesn’t discredit that evidence, if
we can find credible references to it elsewhere.
A word may also be said here about the "left" and "right"
sides of the political spectrum.
Without getting into a lengthy analysis of what "left" and
"right" means... there are elements within both communities which
offer a radical and relevant criticism of the modern state.
In general, the "left" approaches this from the viewpoint of the
dis-enfranchised, (workers, minorities, women, the poor); while the
"right" approaches it from the viewpoint of individual and local
sovereignty –against "big government."
Out of these two basic positions develop the sometimes opposing, sometimes
agreeing critiques of economics, foreign-policy, gun-control, corruption, etc.
In order to gain a full spectrum of all the available, relevant information,
(from both right and left) we may need to sometimes by-pass and disregard
information alongside that is skewed, uninformed, or even absurd.
Judge for yourself: