The Palestinian Paradox

The more a person knows about certain political issues, the less likely they are to present information about those issues in an honest manner

When listening to people talk about the Israel-Palestine Conflict, it’s possible to observe the following pattern. The more knowledge a person has about the conflict, they less likely they are to present that knowledge objectively to a listener. This presents us with a curious paradox that makes it necessary to unlearn some of our educational conditioning.

In the educational system, it’s rare that a student considers the possibility that their teacher is lying to them. In the vast majority of cases they don’t need to do so, and paranoia about the teacher is not optimal from the perspective of learning efficiency, because the most efficient learning method is to accept everything unquestioningly.

The political world, however, is infinitely more cutthroat than any educational system could ever be, and one result of this is people constantly lying. The average politician will lie about absolutely anything if they perceive that it is somehow to their advantage to do so. Truth is not a goal in the way it is for an academic. To the average politician, honesty is a slave morality, fit only for simple-minded suckers.

In the political world, people don’t become experts, because that implies an honest effort to communicate truth. Politicians merely become effective manipulators of truth-like statements. Information is not learned because it has truth value; information is learned because data can be used to manipulate listeners into obeying one’s directives and working for one’s agendas.

The Palestianian Paradox arises in the case of the Israel-Palestine conflict, where there are rarely neutral observers for the reason that almost everyone hates at least one of either Jews or Arabs. The result of this is that people are usually only interested in learning about the history of the conflict in the first place if they have already committed to one side or the other.

Many people hate Jews and this leads to them learning about the conflict from a perspective that emphasises Palestinian rhetoric; many people hate Muslims and this leads to them learning about the conflict from a perspective that emphasises Israeli rhetoric. Indeed, the very choice of descriptor for the disputed area in question gives away a bias (I have chosen “Palestinian Paradox” for the sake of alliteration).

The paradox, then, is the more a person knows about the Israel-Palestine conflict the less likely they are to be motivated to tell the truth about it, because only a person with an established bias would be motivated to learn about the conflict in the first place.

If a person knows a lot about the history of the conflict and the major names involved, they are more likely to selectively omit some of this information when telling you about the conflict for the sake of supporting the objectives of their side. Finding a truly neutral observer is extremely difficult, which makes learning about the conflict difficult, because the more someone is an expert the more likely they are to be biased.

This is also true of many (if not most) other conflicts throughout the history of the world.

In terms of elementalism, the distinction described here corresponds to the distinction between the realm of gold and the realm of silver. In the realm of gold, truth is appreciated for its own value and is recognised as valuable in its own right. In the realm of silver, it is the appearance of truth that matters. The actual truth is hidden away behind the glare of the appearance of truth.

This reflects the distinction between the gold of honest truth-seeking for its own ideal reasons and the silver of educating oneself so that one might use one’s knowledge as a weapon to further material objectives.


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