A Meditation On The Concept Of Truth

I’m going to tell you something. It is something important. I may even believe it. Depending on how I seem when I am telling you it, you may believe me. Once that transaction has taken place, you and I have established a fact. That fact should be as unshakeable as a mountain. It is the truth now.

Tomorrow, next week, or next year – the distance does not matter – I will tell you something again. It may well be the same thing; it may well be another thing entirely. You have a fact from me, and it is unimpeachable. The thing I tell you now is in direct contradiction to that fact. What is true now?

You have a choice: you can either ask me what has happened; or you can accept that this new fact is the actual fact, and that the old fact is nothing more than a distorted memory. Send the old fact down the memory hole, and move on with your day, safe in the knowledge of the new fact. Or don’t.

You have made a decision: either I am a man of my word, and the situation with all of these facts is merely an example of the changing nature of reality; or you can lose faith in me, my decision making faculties, and the grip with which I hold the concepts of honesty and fidelity. Your decision to make.

You may choose to assume that my version of candour is the same as yours. This would be a mistake on your part. Every viewpoint is unique, and all motives are concealed. I may be telling you the truth from my point of view, but how I am telling you it may change your view in a different direction.

I may want you to agree with me on a wider concept; I may be trying to change your world view. I can tell you that something has happened, but with the perpetrator painted as the victim. You want to stand with the underdog, and so you project your understanding on to what I have told you.

When we tell a thing to someone, why are we doing that? Are we doing that to simply pass on the information? Are we attempting to make a connection with a fellow soul? Are we attempting to change the fabric of reality with our new facts? How much do people ever really believe us?

You cannot fact check everything which you are told, so what do you do? Do you listen to the people around you to see what their reaction is to the things I have told you? Does that correct the fallacy or does it amplify it with its own voice added to the mix? We all live in our own echo chambers.

Human beings whip up anger in each other; we are the herd mentality. The more we fear, the more fear we project. The darker our nightmares, the darker our days seem. There is always one person who thinks we are living in the end times, and that things are only getting worse. And they’ll tell you.

I may be making it up as I go along, endlessly treading water, just to get through the day. In which case there is no truth, only expediency. Narrative is more important than consistency, as yesterday’s message has already been forgotten. Anyone choosing to rake it up is cast as a relic of a dull past.

There is no longer any objective truth: there is only a response to the events of the day. We start out with a position which is set in stone, but we then have to put it to the test, and that exposes the flaws in an argument. We change our argument in order to save face, and to perpetuate ourselves.

I can change reality to fit my narrative, by gaslighting. I can preach that you are insane if you do not accept the consistent truth of what I have said, and people will believe me. Perhaps even you will believe me. Once you do, I have control of the debate, and the war has ultimately been lost.

You know, deep down you know, that the internet never ever forgets. You know that there is proof, and that the proof will out. You know that if you brandish the proof and tout it hard, long enough, that we will all see the truth of what has been said. You are delusional; you need to grow up.

You stare slack-jawed in to the maw of the beast as it spews its filth in to the agora, and the rest of them lap it up, like hungry dogs. You cry at the lack of consistency, at the betrayals being done, all in plain sight. You rely too much on the immovability of fact; perception is built on shared fears now.

You look around for a hand to hold, but there are none. Every face has turned now; turned to face the dying of the light. And they stare in rapture. The protestations of truth and fact have become nothing but static now: a hiss in the background, a function of hearing itself. Just give it up.

You search and you search and you search. You look all through the day and the night for a voice like yours; for someone else who heard the first truth, and will share with you this moment of terror. You will find them, and they will be your new echo chamber. They will offer you the gun to wield.

I’m going to tell you something. It is something important. I may even believe it. Depending on how I seem when I am telling you it, you may believe me. Once that transaction has taken place, you and I have established a fact. That fact should be as unshakeable as a mountain. It is the truth now.

The problem is that human experience is relative, and we are easily convinced, especially if those around us echo the same views. In the same way that listening to a terrible song over and over again can make you accept it, repeated exposure to lies makes you immune to their effect on you.

I’m sitting here, wishing for a better future, but I know that it will not come. I know that the choices we have made have led us here, and I fear for the future. My mind is gripped by an ennui I am hard pushed to shake. I want to curl up and let it all pass, but I have better things to do with my time.

The problem is that we have seen all of this before, and we did not identify with the people in that story. We failed to see that they were us, and that the people who had been demonised by history all started out as relatively ordinary people, doing relatively ordinary things. Never telling the truth.

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