23 May 2017

Post-truth

"After much discussion, debate, and research, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is post-truth"
What the heck is post-truth??! According to Oxford Dictionaries it is an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. Post-truth has gone from being a peripheral term to being a mainstay in political commentary, now often being used by major publications without the need for clarification or definition in their headlines. Post-truth refers to a time where truth has become unimportant and irrelevant.

I want to deny it with everything I got, but I can't. Ultimately, I know it to be quite true. How exactly did this come to be? Don't expect me to answer, because I'm the one who asks questions, not the one who gives answers.
General population get swayed by all the sensationalism around, be it political speeches and campaigns, be it commercials and ads, be it stories and movies. Stories are supposed to sway the audience, that's its purpose, to sweep them to a different place, a different time. Commercials are supposed to sway the audience to feel like buying whatever that is they are advertising, that's its purpose. But is the purpose of politics and democracy the same? Are we so empty that we crave to be swept by emotions and feelings when there should not be? There are things in life that should be decided based on facts and reason. There are other things in life that should be decided based on how we feel. Mixing things is just a recipe for disaster. I mean, strong feelings tend to pull to extremes, strong reasoning tend to balance things out. That's what I believe. Feel free to feel otherwise.

Politics should be fair, yet it is not. Justice should be blind, yet it is not. We get swept up in those beautifully crafted speeches that make us look away from facts. Facts, that need to be cross examined under light of its sources. There is not one truth.
"In seeking absolute truth we aim at the unattainable and must be content with broken portions." -- William Osler
The more I read, the more I know, the more I try to be impartial, the more I realise, I can't be completely impartial. Our own experiences, stories, friends, connections are what makes us unique, and also what makes us partial.
My point, everything we see is biased and presented to us from an angle. The presenters want this to be your angle, but that does not necessarily mean it should be. We are fast to judge, slow to realise our bias and mistakes. I try not to be so judgmental. And yet, I find myself noticing my unconscious judging from time to time, inevitably. Judgement based only on feelings are lacky, at best. Judgement based only on facts, fail to be human. The thing is, we are losing the balance. Do we look at our leaders and see what they are doing or see what they say they are doing? Do we look at our peers and subordinates and see what they are doing or see what they want us to see they are doing? I start to question every piece of information I receive. I start to question the source, the perspective, how much emotional weight and ideological bias it has. I have to. Their opinion is not necessarily mine, and to form one, I can't just stick my head in one direction. There are invisible filters everywhere. It is not necessarily a bad thing, but everyone should also have their own filter and know when to look beyond, if necessary.
 Don't we owe it to ourselves, to know the truth or as much of it as possible? Doesn't society condemn lies? So why does this not matter anymore? Specially in such a large scale?

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