In Memorial, Let’s Commit to Truthfulness: Less Elusive Than the Truth.

It seems at times that there’s no middle ground anymore. Under the cover of the freedoms that we owe in no small part to the people we are supposed to remember today, the so-called culture wars are fought with the tools of the ad man, lawyer or scam artist, not logic or a commitment to truth. And it seems to be getting worse. In this country I don’t think we are in a position to talk about the truth. The very definition of the concept runs the gambit from the empirically demonstrable to a single person’s unshakable perceptions. Objective reality is not the gold standard, not that it ever was. The egalitarian nature of modern information technology has created a world where web hits, connectivity and snarkiness outguns expertise in shaping modern opinions. Passionate screed replaces scholarly instruction. We demand that all information come to us in the form of infotainment. USA Today sized bits of fluff. We are far too busy with life’s demands such as the latest Jersey Shore episode or who’s leading the series, to have time to consider things like personal liberty, global climate change, national debt abatement, and the world economy.

We’ve lived immersed in marketing and propaganda for so long that the spin doctors finally have what they want: reality and truth are completely obfuscated by spin. We can’t even agree on a definition of truth. We live in a world where somebody can put down the ‘reality-based community’ with a straight face. Not a great way to remember our honored dead.

But I think there is a way out.

We may not be in a position to agree on truth, but we can commit to truthfulness. To honesty. We can decide to share our own feelings, fears, and motivations instead of the canned responses that we get from the spin doctors. We can demand this from our leaders and ideologues. We can insist that saying something does not make it true. We can insist on facts, not factoids. We can insist on proof not reproof.

I’m enough of an optimist to believe that if enough of us did this, with empathy in our hearts, in time we might just find the truth.


pboyfloyd said...

I don't know Pliny, I think that the deliberate confusers like us confused.

mac said...

pboy is right in as much as it serves those in power to keep us ignorant.
It is our job to demand more.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

I think that's the key - demand more and set the example