Information and Disinformation – “How Carrots Helped Win World War II”

Where does human behavior come from? Behavior comes from our perception of an event or a situation. Where does perception come from? Perception comes from information received, be it from personal experience, newspaper or media. If our behaviors are influenced by information, how can we be sure that what we receive is information or disinformation?

Controlling Perception

It is possible to control human perception, the best way to do this would be to filter or censor the type of information that the public receive, or by using deceptive tactics such as subterfuge, propaganda or misinformation to make the public believe something that is not true.

author joanne reed
this is your quest
night sight can mean life or death
information and disinformation
The “Carrot Myth”

The “Carrot Myth”

According to conventional wisdom eating lots of carrots will magically enhance your vision?! While there is a little bit of truth in this, the ‘Carrot Myth‘ was engineered by British Intelligence and popularized and reinforced by the British Ministry of Information – the government department responsible for publicity and propaganda – during WWII.

During the 1940 Blitzkrieg , the Luftwaffe often struck and bombarded London under the cover of darkness. In order to make it more difficult for the German planes to hit targets, the British Government issued city-wide blackouts. The Royal Air Force (RAF) were able to repel German fighters in part because of the development of a new secret radar technology. The on-board Airborne Interception Radar (AI) was invented and first used by the RAF in 1939 and had the ability to pinpoint enemy bombers before they reached the English Channel. To protect their secret weapon, British Intelligence invented a propaganda campaign that claimed that British Pilots could see in the dark because they ate a lot of carrots!

There is no denying the fact that carrots, by virtue of their heavy dose of vitamin A (in the form of Beta Carotene) are very good for the health of your eyes; but this truth was stretched a little by granting carrots the “superpower” of improving your night vision and give you the power to spot enemy planes in the dark?! The truth is that eating carrots does not help you see better in the dark any more than eating blueberries will turn you blue. That said, the carrot campaign of subterfuge helped hide a new technology that was critical to the Battle of Britain, a major campaign fought entirely by air forces and the first defeat of Hitler’s military forces, and to the eventual Allied victory.

author joanne reed
this is your quest
information and disinformation
Joanne Reed – Author of “This Is Your Quest”

Information and Disinformation Overload

Today, we are living in a world of information and disinformation overload; data about almost anything is available at the click of a button, we are constantly bombarded by streams of information (and sometimes disinformation), making it very difficult to know what and who to believe.

Hoaxes, hysterias, misinformation and scams have been around a long time. Con men and Ponzi schemes are in every corner of recorded history. You might think that our access to vast oceans of information on the internet would change that, but it hasn’t. In fact, humans are just as gullible and easily led as ever. Skepticism is just as rare as any other time, and most people are willing to believe something they read on the internet, heard second or third hand, without subjecting their curiosities to even the most basic fact-checking.

It is important to remain skeptical. Some people may dismiss you as a cynical, but that’s likely to be the person who’s actively trying to influence you or sell you something. There are no awards for coming to a conclusion the fastest, so take your time, and don’t form an opinion based on emotion. Here are some quick ways to keep yourself in check:

  • Check your sources
  • Understand the difference between opinion and fact
  • Beware of anecdotal evidence
  • Ask a lot of questions
  • Question your beliefs
  • Turn to history for clues

Skepticism is healthy. Be discerning about the information you receive and the medium through which it is transmitted, they are skills worth developing.

And this, my Dear Companion, is Your Quest!


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How to Have Superpowers and Remain Resolutely Human.
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You can also purchase my book ‘This is Your Quest’ online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Nobles (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Or check out her Amazon Author Page here.

32 thoughts on “Information and Disinformation – “How Carrots Helped Win World War II”

  1. Looking at some of the questions on Quora makes you wonder – where have these people been living? to ask such stupid questions that are so easily researched.
    Which explains, I suppose, how people get hooked by one opinion thrown out on facebook or twitter when so much information is available online to compare and evaluate (eg: authority of writer? reviews of web site? date of last update? alternatives?)

    1. Thanks Cathy for taking the time to read my blog and for your comment. We all have a brain and the capacity to think, evaluate and connect the dots, but too often people forget to think for themselves letting someone else (someone with an agenda) to do the thinking for them. Hey people, get your power back!

  2. Everyone should read this post. There is so much propaganda out there that it’s difficult to find the truth anymore. The carrot analogy is a good one. I once read that companies wanted to sell eggs, so they advertised that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. It eventually became common to believe that we shouldn’t skip breakfast.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    1. It’s funny that a lot of intermittent fasting gurus out there will say that breakfast should be skipped now, and even lunch should be pushed late. I was on the IF regimen for a while, and I would often hear back from people whom I told, “But breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”. Hahah… I think there is more than one right answer to how we eat and live our lives.

      1. So true. People believe the media hype, and then for some reason they can’t be convinced otherwise. You’re right, we aren’t one-size-fits-all. We each do what’s best for our body makeup and lifestyles.

    1. I think I have done that already in my book “This Is Your Quest”. You should check it out! Part Two – Page 39 : Things are not aslways as they seeem. Chapter 4 -Page 44 – Conventional wisdom used to tell us the Earth was flat. Chapter 5 – Page 47 – Symbols can be deceptive. Chapter 6 -Fallacies . Chapter 7-Page 67 so you think you are free?

      1. Awesome! Is this a conventionally published or self-published book? (Not that there’s necessarily much difference today. You’re a clear, concise writer so that may be of interest!)

      2. I am a published Author. My publisher is based in Florida. You can purchase my book online (paper copy and electronic copy available). Best to purchase directly from my publisher. Easy purchase can be done directly from my website click BUY NOW Booklocker button

      3. I will, indeed, very soon! I am currently not published and, therefore, tragically destitute lol…but I will soon. I love non-fiction with interesting dynamics to them. I read Robert Bly’s Iron John: A Book About Men some time ago and found that, even though I love writing fiction, reading it seems a waste of time lol! Sadly.

      4. If you read my book I promise you it will be time well spent. I am taking my readers on an Epic Journey through history and myriads philosophies learning valuable lessons along the way.