Thursday, April 16, 2015

The influence of the press, on those led by the influence of others.

A disembodied set of notes from a quotation as jotted 
about the influence of the press on people willing to be led, or unable to
analyze on their own:  for you who read: 
 
Who or what said substantially the following:  Dint here is not on Facebook, 
but there is a jot about Facebook.  Go, sleuths.  Who said substantially this? 
 
First, those who believe everything they read; 
Secondly, those who no longer believe anything; 
Thirdly, those who critically examine what they have read 
And judge accordingly. 
 
The first group is numerically by far the greatest. 
 
It consists of the great masses of the people, 
And therefore represents the mentally simplest,
Narrowed by life, not by birth,
Part of the nation. 
 
It does not exclude the professions,
As those upper reaches are not necessarily by merit,
But also by connection.
 
This group crosses general grades of intelligence. 
 
To it belong all those 
To whom independent thinking is neither inborn, 
Nor instilled by education, 
And who, partly through their own inability, 
And partly through incompetence, 
Believe everything that is put before them printed in black on white.
 
Also those lazy bones belong to it 
Who are well able to think for themselves, 
But who, out of sheer mental inertia, 
Gratefully pick up anything 
That someone else has thought before, 
With the modest assumption 
That the latter will probably have exercised 
The right kind of effort. 
 
Now with all these people, 
Who represent the great masses, 
The influence of the press will be enormous. 
 
They are not in a position, nor they do not wish personally, 
To examine what is offered to them.
 
Their entire attitude towards all current problems 
Can be led back almost exclusively 
To the outward influence of others.
 
This may be of advantage 
In case their enlightenment is carried out 
By a sincere and truth-loving party.
 
But it is evil as soon as scoundrels or liars do this. 

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