…ore of our time to that media — compelling creators to meet the expectations of a growing audience. But engaging with all this media can strain our brain, argues Nicholas Carr in The Shallows. In ode to Thoreau and Postman, Carr notes that “as we reach the limits of our working memory, it becomes harder to distinguish relevant information from irrelevant information, signal from noise.” We become, like the telegraph, “mindless consumers of data” with no purpose.
Why is trust so important? Baier suggests one key facet: trust is unified. We don’t simply trust people as educated experts in a field — we rely on their goodwill. And this is why trust, rather than mere reliability, is the key concept. Reliability can be domain-specific. The fact, for example, that somebody is a reliable mechanic sheds no light on whether or not their political or economic beliefs are worth anything. But goodwill is a general feature of a person’s character. If I demonstrate goodwill in action, then you have some reason to think that I also have goodwill in matters of thought and knowledge. So if one can demonstrate goodwill to an echo-chambered member — as Stevenson did with Black — then perhaps one can start to pierce that echo chamber.