Is It Possible?
In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell (unconfirmed)
Is today a time of universal deceit? A year ago an issue of Time magazine released acover story that asked the question: “Is Truth Dead?” Since then we have been reading about a “Post Truth World.” Perhaps one could argue that a post truth world is a world of universal deceit. Post truth is defined as relating to a situation in which people are more likely to accept an argument based on their emotions and beliefs rather than one based on facts. Oxford Dictionaries declared “post-truth” as its 2016 international word of the year, reflecting what it called a “highly-charged” political 12 months.
“I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” This is an oath required of witnesses in court. Maybe it should be required of politicians in congress. Actually, the voting public does not even expect politicians to tell the truth. And it is not possible to require, and we don’t expect, citizens to tell the truth. But shouldn’t we at least expect the president to tell the truth? Or at least tell the truth most of the time? But in order to tell the truth, one needs to know the truth. This is the interesting question about our current president. Is he lying or does he believe what he is saying is true?
Now post-truth has expanded well beyond the president. Post-truth has become the new normal (a previously unfamiliar or atypical situation that has become standard, usual, or expected.) “Don’t confuse me with facts, my mind is already made up” Can anything be done about our post-truth world? Or do we need to learn to live in a post-truth society? If telling the truth is a revolutionary act, let’s have a citizens’ revolt. But it will take a major revolution, because: A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth Is putting on Its shoes. Mark Twain.
On March 8, Vox, a general interest news site, published an article: “False news stories travel faster and farther on Twitter than the truth” by Brian Resnick. A huge new study shows why Twitter’s fake news problem will be so hard to solve. Resnick says: False news on twitter spread faster, deeper, and more widely than true news. False news is more novel and more emotional than true news. That’s always going to make it more clicky. I wonder if this is a problem that social networks can ever really fix.
Is a major truth revolution likely, when truth telling will outnumber the lies? Having a truth telling revolution won’t be easy because people will believe to be true what they want to be true. And, like the president, many politicians and citizens actually don’t believe they are lying, but believe they are speaking the truth.
Men, women and teenagers are marching in protest. The media is beginning to challenge. Politics is a hot topic in many arenas, including education, entertainment and sports. A Post Truth, new normal is being widely challenged. Can it become a “telling the truth revolution?”
Any predictions or suggestions?