8 Min Read

Who Told You?

Published on

February 5, 2024

As a Man thinketh in his heart, so is He — Proverbs 23:7

Photo by Philip Strong on Unsplash

Every day, we wake up and face life with a model of the world, a map of reality based on the knowledge we have, perspectives we’ve formed over years of experience, and things we’ve been exposed to. We rely on maps/models of the world because there are too many things going on in the world for us to keep track of, so we don’t interact with the world or reality directly as it is, but via the model in our heads. This map has high-resolution areas and low-resolution areas.The high-resolution areas are things we know and can speak to in detail like knowledge about where we live, our family history (at the very least nuclear family history), where we work, what we do for work, and so on. The low-resolution areas on the other hand are things we guesstimate or extrapolate based on fragments of information we have, and sometimes pure creativity — like what a day in the life of the President of Nigeria looks like. These low-resolution areas are why we have prejudices, biases, and quick-fix or rather half-baked opinions and perspectives on subjects or domains on which we have no first-hand or bankable knowledge.Of course, both the high-resolution and low-resolution portions of the map are needed for “efficient” interaction with the world, and now and then we find that the world does not work the way we think in our heads — sometimes through painful experiences for coconut heads 😅 and other times through the experience of others, we see the gaps in our maps, and we learn and update our maps of the world. Sometimes we insist on our maps and when reality does not align with our expectations, it leads to frustration.The framing and shaping of our maps of the world go a long way in determining how we act and think — and this framing is a function of the information we interact with. This will be the focus of today’s piece.

Photo by Museums Victoria on Unsplash

In World War 2, almost every nation produced propaganda movies to fill the population, especially soldiers, with enthusiasm for their country and, if necessary, “ginger” them to lay down their lives. Given the huge expense of this endeavour, studies were carried out in the US to test their effectiveness; the result was disappointing as the propaganda movies failed to “ginger the soldiers”.The primary reason for this was that the soldiers were aware that the movies were propaganda which discredited the message the movies tried to pass across. Nine weeks later, they ran the tests again and something unexpected happened — whoever had seen the movies expressed much more support for the war than those who had not seen it.This baffled the scientists especially as the expectation was that the message would have waned over time — amazingly, the opposite is true for propaganda; if it strikes a chord with someone, this influence will only increase over time. This is known as the sleeper effect, which posits that the source of an argument fades faster than the argument.Interestingly, this explains why advertising works; ideally, logic demands that one recognizes an advert for what it is — a white-washed and sometimes highfalutin story about a product or service packaged to get the viewer to patronize them, because which ad would talk about the downsides of their product? — and categorize and discredit the advert. But it’s quite possible that after a few weeks, you won’t remember if you picked up certain information from a well-researched article or a tacky advert.One such occurrence of this effect in the Bible is with the children of Israel in the Book of Exodus 1, before their enslavement.

Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we;…..But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel.‭‭Exodus‬ ‭1‬:‭8‬-‭9‬, ‭12‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Isn’t it mind-blowing that at the time of their enslavement, the Egyptians recognized that the Israelites were more and mightier than them? That slave masters lived in dread of their slaves? How could this have happened? I posit that propaganda was at work, especially bearing in mind the history of the children of Israel who came to be in Egypt.Seventy persons of Jacob/Israel were in Egypt (Genesis 46:27), and at the time shepherds were an abomination to Egyptians hence their relegation to Goshen (Genesis 46:34). This also explains why the Egyptians refused to eat with the sons of Israel with Joseph hosted them (Genesis 43:32). Why the Egyptians had this perspective is secondary at this point, but odds are the Egyptians looked down on the children of Israel and even though the Israelites grew in number and might, the idea that they were “less than” remained with them — even though this was propaganda!

Photo by Jairo Alzate on Unsplash

Here’s a funny thing; you see this propaganda still at work even after they leave Egypt and get to the edge of the promised land, only to consider themselves as “grasshoppers” in the eyes of the then inhabitants of the promised land.Of course, the best thing would be to completely avoid propaganda, especially knowing the sleeper effect phenomenon — but chances are, at this stage in life, the maps we operate already have such inputs. One of the ways to correct these areas of our maps is seen in a similar story in Genesis, in the Garden of Eden.After eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, finding out they were naked, hiding themselves when they heard God come into the garden, and explaining without evidence that they were naked, God asked a compound question — and Adam only answers the latter part of that question. The key question, was “Who told You?”.Something Pastor Dami shared recently has been playing at the back of my mind since I heard it — “There is no original thought. You either source from the spirit or source from the physical realm”. Everything you know today was told to you either by a person, an event/experience, or even inanimate objects (cause apparently, some fig trees need to be answered).One of the ways to identify and break free of imaginary shackles created by propaganda is to answer the question “Who Told You?”. Whenever you find yourself in doubt, or thinking small, or thinking what God has called you to is impossible, or that His promises to you are like white elephant projects, or that…the list is plenty, but the question remains the same — “Who Told You?”And when you find that you can not answer the question, or find that the source of the information is like that detergent advert that postulates that dirt is good (not good for you, but good for them), or you find out the source pales in comparison to the knowledge of God (and trust me, they all do) do well to pull it down…!

2 Corinthians 10:4–5For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

Have a Blessed Week.

IG/Twitter: @_it0r0

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