Dictionary.com has selected ‘misinformation’ as the WORD OF THE YEAR!! It says : “The rampant spread of misinformation poses new challenges for navigating our lives”. 

Some years back we used to say that we are living in an “Information Age”. It may not be an exaggeration now to say that currently ,we are in a “Misinformation Age”!!

The reliability of any information, data, photos, images or video clippings are all suspect.  Fake news has become the order of the day!

The serious part is that we end up taking some important decisions based on the torrent of such misinformation.

The dangers are many:

  • We can end up following a wrong therapy
  • We would happily swallow tablets without knowing long term effects
  • We will vote for an unworthy candidate or a wrong party
  • A young student will take up a profession he is not fit for

…the list can go on…..

Some incorrect information may be spread intentionally.. for self interest, while some others may be what the person genuinely believes in and wants to share for the benefit of others.  The former are defined as “Disinformation”   by Dictionary.com and the latter are called “Misinformation”!!  If you trust a source , even the Disinformation received by you and then shared becomes Misinformation!!

Over periods, Science keeps correcting itself with newer discoveries. This is fine. In some cases, however, the guillible millions are taken to ride..like in case of the way the dangers of Cholesterol were misrepresented for years, allegedly  to push the sales of Statins !

The bombardment of information affects our Belief system. I am reminded of a workshop on “Rational Emotive Therapy” during mid 1980s at Cibatul by Dr Phadke. His words still ring in my mind. To illustrate the effect of belief system on our emotions and actions ,he cited example of how different groups of people responded to the murder of Indira Gandhi. A large part of the population felt extremely sad..a few even committed suicide. For them , this was a great/ a strong leader who was required to keep the country strong and united. Then there was another section of the society who believed that she was the cause of the problems their community faced. They were dancing and distributing sweets!! The Belief system of the different groups was shaped by the set of information that they kept receiving over  periods of time.

The intensity of the Bombardment is perhaps 1000 times greater now, with the reach of a variety of social media channels available to almost the entire country..and the world at large!

How do we protect ourselves from this onslaught? How do we make sure that we base our decisions on the right kind of information?

Well, there are no easy answers.

The only option that strikes me is the need to verify an info. from different sources. It is like a reference check that is done for a job candidate or while choosing a bride/groom!

More suggestions..? 








8 thoughts on “Misinformation

  1. Anand Bhaskar says:

    Jagdish bhai, a great note . For the society today it has become as big a malice as Drugs perhaps as today’s generation is online 2 to 3 hours a day and these young minds are constantly bombarded with misinformation and influencing their impressionable mind akin to Mind influencing drugs … so as per me very serious .

    • Jagdish Shah
      Jagdish Shah says:

      Thanks Anand! Feel good to hear from you!

      Yes, this is a big malice and is going to become increasingly serious.

      Right thinking people will have to apply their minds to find some ways for protection. This is required not just for the young minds.Even the elders have to guard against its influence.

      Thanks again for your prompt response

  2. Vikas Shirodkar says:

    JLS indeed we live with misinformation and people with agenda spreading disinformation. Faith and belief are now at the gallows and the reaction of many is to doubt everything and everyone. However having accepted this possibility of mis and dis information we still have to chart a course over the choppy seas. I have always felt it is easier to trust and believe all…. And if you are let down…. Why trust all over again. In the long run it always works out. You must only keep the faith.
    This is my take on the interesting topic you have taken for this blog. Thanks for sharing, caring and…. informing.

    • Jagdish Shah
      Jagdish Shah says:

      Hi VS: This is really an HR veteran’s reply!

      i am with you wrt the need to trust every one …but that is at a personal level.

      How can i trust what is said on a channel, when i know it is ‘sold out’!

      and look at many of the politically inclined whatsup messages.. they r meant to propagate only the idea of their masters

      anyway, thanks for your insight on the topic!

  3. Nikhil says:

    Information can be defined as data presented in a specific context.

    If the context changes, the information changes

    Where both data & context are quantifiable the possibilities of putting a “spin”are remote.

    Misinformation thrives when either or both are defined in a subjective manner.

    In matters of communication it is what is received that is important.. not what is sent.

    This brings me to my final submission:

    The word “Information” is also used as a proxy of “perception “ : which is data as seen from the prism of one’s subjective predispositions.

    As the universe actually exists between ones ears , it is only here that fact can be seperated from fiction!

    • Jagdish Shah
      Jagdish Shah says:

      Nikhilbhai:Thanks for your views.

      The reality of our times is that a ‘spin’ is applied in a majority of cases.

      What do you expect when a good part of the media is bought out ?

      Are we not seeing it on almost daily basis? For example, those who are against NaMo will pick and choose some part
      and the other side also does the same.

      Actually, “perceptions” are the result of “information”.

      The whole game is about winning the battle of perception and we all can become a pawn in their game , if not careful

  4. Meena says:

    Yes. My question is similar. How do I know the source is unbiased and does not have any hidden ulterior motive or agenda when providing me with the info. So may be hear all sides and then come to a decision or choice I am comfortable with ?

    • Jagdish Shah
      Jagdish Shah says:

      thanks Meena.

      as you mention, there are no easy answers..in BK we call it ‘Power to discern’ or “parakhneki shakti”.

      Meditation can help develop a very clear intellect ..based on which one can make better judgement.

      i had once heard Dadi Janaki (Head of BK ,who is now 102 years) saying that in all her life she has never been cheated by anyone..she is able to guard against any negative motives!!

      For us , lesser beings, we have to try and get more info from many sources before taking an important decision!

      Thanks again for your feedback

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