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rumors start with wise men

  People usually think Rumors stop at the wise, and ignorant ordinary people are the makers and disseminators of rumors. However, the author of the book “The Birth of a Monster: The Monster Event of Gevaux in France in the 1760s” tells people that the intellectual elite Classes are the makers and efficient disseminators of various rumors and “legends”.
  It may seem surprising at first glance, but it makes sense when you think about it: in the pre-modern society, rural people lacked an efficient communication network, and it was difficult to sublimate local events into national sensational news based on word of mouth alone. To have such network resources and energy.
  In this way, in an era of universal mobile Internet, the world is flat, everyone has the same network communication resources, can all beings stand on the same starting line as the intellectual elite to compete for agenda setting and content including rumors? What about the right to disseminate?
  not at all. As shown in the incident of wild beasts wounding people in Gevaudang, France nearly 300 years ago, the same absurd story has different communication effects when it is announced. Only the intellectual elite can give full play to the “rhythm” function, just like the so-called Internet big V now. On the one hand, this is because they occupy the high ground of the public opinion field and the hub position of the communication network, and can exert the multiplier effect of communication; on the other hand, it is also because of their cognitive framework and speech processing system, which can provide common The packaging and blessing effect that people can’t match.
  This is not to say that intellectual elites tend to create gossip, but that their intellectual level recognized by the public will increase the gold content and credibility of information, and those fragmented information are often analyzed and logically processed by them Only after empowerment can it be disseminated. This is because of their wide range of cognition and multiple sources of information, as well as their ability to discover connections between seemingly unrelated things, which are beyond the reach of ordinary people.
  When it comes to the case of a wild beast hurting people in Rewodang, the intellectual elites do not reject that the beast may be some kind of unusual monster, which seems to be in line with the “bad opinion” of the villager, but in fact it is not, precisely because they experienced the early stages of enlightenment After being baptized, he has an open mind towards extraterritorial knowledge, and that knowledge is full of information about alien creatures that were unheard of in the Old Continent before. Therefore, in their own view, not excluding any possibility, it is not a sign of closed mind, but a symbol of open mind. Maybe the beast of Gewodan is a kind of alien creature that is on the run, or it has undergone species mutation or hybridization of new species. The knowledge resources relied on by similar explanations are undoubtedly beyond the cognition range of rural people. Therefore, although the conclusions are similar, they come from different sources. The latter is not comparable to the former in terms of brilliance and credibility.
  And the cognition that they cast the aura of “enlightenment” and “progress” has thousands of pairs of ears to cater to, which is also related to the specific space-time atmosphere. As the author puts it, “In an era of adventurous, boundary-breaking ideas proliferating, readers and observers from all walks of life are willing to think about Jewodang beasts beyond familiar natural forms.”
  This can’t help but remind people of the fiery 1980s, which was regarded as an era of new enlightenment. Aliens, the mysterious Bermuda Triangle, and other popular knowledge points are talked about for a while, not only do not regard them as strange talk, but as a symbol of knowledge and vision, especially there are many people who exude strange power and chaos. Authentic and false science magazines support these trends of knowledge and concepts.
  In addition to the “troubleshooting” of curiosity, the author also lists many other ups and downs that have contributed to the myth of the monsters in Redanvaux. For example, the conflict of religious concepts led to the rise of apocalypse, the nobles hoped to defeat the invading monsters to get rid of the aftermath of the defeat in the Prussian-Prussian War, and the royal family wanted to highlight Intervening because of love for the people, and newly emerging newspapers distorting facts in order to gain attention.
  These pushing hands and their various operating methods have traveled through time and space for nearly 300 years, reminding readers in a strange way: no matter how the social ecology and technological means change, no matter how the stage and actors change, the generation of public opinion and The way of communication always makes people have a sense of deja vu. Not only that, but the Rewodang case also reminds people that in a society in crisis, it is easier to magnify various anxieties and tensions, distort the cognitive framework, and improve the effectiveness of “rumor” dissemination. At the same time, people’s measures to deal with the crisis are more likely to be deformed, either going too far, or making mistakes. Mismanagement by the government often makes the situation worse.
  In the case of Rewodang, in order to highlight the country’s great investment, the royal family intentionally or unintentionally condoned the media and the parties involved to exaggerate the monster’s super power. When the situation could not be contained smoothly as scheduled, the face of the royal family and the prestige of the government suffered a double blow. Since then, the downplaying method of trying to turn major events into trivial ones has instead painted more mysterious and unspeakable colors on the monsters of Redanvaux and the incident itself. In the meantime, elites from all walks of life criticized each other and dumped the pot, which intensified the tearing of the public opinion field, making the truth more and more invisible.
  Social trust is also a kind of capital. Once a run is encountered, a liquidity crisis will also occur. The consensus of the elites and the benign interaction between the country and society are the last guarantors in the liquidity crisis. If this layer of defense is not maintained, the consequences of rumors and conspiracy theories flying everywhere are not difficult to imagine.
  With the improvement of people’s technology of hunting wolves and the transfer of excitement, the heat of the Rewodang incident gradually decreased and disappeared, until it was recognized by people in modern society as the last ignorance of pre-modern society. So far, the intellectual elites have turned back and described the generation of the legend of the monster as the result of the superstition of the countrymen, and completely left out its embarrassing role in the generation of this cognition.
  However, the image of monsters has not completely faded out of the Western cultural vision, but will reappear in new forms such as Frankenstein during rounds of social upheavals. In the author’s view, this is due to the decontextualization of monster legends, that is, the image of monsters has become a cultural symbol that can be retrieved from the original specific time and space.
  In fact, on a deeper level, the lingering difficulty of monster legends is not due to the problem of decontextualization, but because people recontextualize them time and time again according to the changing reality.
  The continued popularity of monster movies like “Han River Monster” and “Resident Evil” reflects people’s deep-seated fear and anxiety that the world may spin out of control. Knowledge has opened our eyes: How could our ancestors have known the rapid progress of genetics and the disastrous consequences of genetic mutations like we do. Once again, just like those “pseudo-enlightened people” in the Rewodang monster incident, the expansion of cognitive boundaries has become the soil for generating fear.

  Monsters or monsters can be regarded as people’s inner demons, which can transform into various forms in different time spaces and moods. It is a product of anxiety and a refraction of the remaining irrational residues in people’s minds, which stubbornly reappears time and time again, and makes people fully doubt whether we can ever reach the state of rationality once and for all.
  Recent fears about whether artificial intelligence will get out of control, and whether we will be enslaved by it, indicate that the image of a new kind of AI monster is being generated, and AI itself may actively participate in the generation of its image and the spread of related ideas or rumors .

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