Truth exists. At least in the perception of most people. To some however, especially intellectuals and among them, many philosophers, truth is a complex phenomenon, probably relative at best, and it may or may not exist, but even if it does exist, it may not be subject to direct proofs. To politicians and most of today’s media practitioners, it is apparently not “relative” but rather “irrelevant”, plain and simple, no need to get existential. As Caitlin Johnstone incessantly points out, sometimes calmly but frequently in intemperate fashion, they believe that only narrative matters. She believes they’re probably right. Unfortunately, so do I.
The irrelevancy of truth not only permeates quotidian discourse and news but also what we pass up the generational link as history. Somehow, “reality is irrelevant and only perceptions matter”. Thus, we are free to construct convenient (rather than factual) premises, torturing logic to provide the conclusions we present as probable, then jury rigging the resulting systems with myriad patches when conclusions fail to comport with reality as experienced. No problem though, the reality experienced is just misrecorded and the process restarted in the hope that behavioral psychology will make the resulting fantasies function as new premises for a pseudo reality that, through the law of averages or some other subjectively manipulable medium, might someday, somehow work, or, as Luis XV of France is rumored to have exclaimed (although it was probably Madame Pompadour), “Après moi, le deluge”, but with a corollary, “and then we’ll blame someone else”.
Veracity, the willingness to communicate based on truth is somewhat different albeit related and is in deep, deep trouble, something as to which both the ancient Trojan seeress Cassandra and the late political philosopher and science fiction author (although perhaps not as “fiction” as we once hoped) George Orwell, warned us. Tangible examples abound, especially today. Take just two examples from the great political issues of this instant in time, “Russiagate” and the infamous Wall. Both are obviously fallacious, incoherent constructs. Consider:
• As to the “Wall” (a concept I’m admittedly not crazy about), its original proponents and once strongest backers, the Clintons, Schumer, Obama and their coterie or partisan echoes have withdrawn from the bipartisan decades long consensus they orchestrated leaving the Republicans and the curiously apolitical Donald Trump holding the “metaphorical” bag. One need not wonder too much as to with what it’s filled.
• As to Russiagate, the society most infamous in modern history for political meddling and insistence that its elected officials are the world’s leaders (i.e., us), hysterically fabricates innuendos as to foreign (especially Chinese and Russian) interference in “internal” United States electoral politics through the “unauthorized” release of information whose veracity is both objectively ascertainable and was extremely relevant to the electoral issues involved. Concurrently, the same Democrats and purported journalists leading the Russia hysteria, fully back obvious bipartisan United States attempts to instigate and support coups in Venezuela and Iran after having more subtly (but more effectively) recently intervened in elections in Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, etc., etc., etc.
Hmmm. That might have consequences, at least some might think so, but, as Caitlin Johnstone might note, not necessarily so if the “inconsistency” is ignored in the 24/7 barrage of misinformative propaganda to which we are all subjected. After all, reality is irrelevant (as Seven of Nine, once of the Borg might note). Perception is all that matters and “perception” is now a well mastered, behaviorist art form.
Sadly, this instant in time is all too similar to the chain of instants in time to which we’ve all been subjected since, well, … time immemorial. The Old Testament and the New, the Koran, the Magna Carta, the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the Pilgrims, the United States Revolutionary and Civil Wars, World Wars I and II, almost everything we’ve been taught about them has been mercilessly distorted; more so since “Identity Politics”, the modern application of divide and conquer, has become a sociopolitical vogue.
No wonder we find ourselves where we are.
“All the news that’s fit to print”. What the Hell was that supposed to mean? Was it a slip up indicating that not all news is equal, that some truths ought not to be subjected to the light of day? Carlos Slim, once the world’s wealthiest man and Jeff Bezos, his successor in that role, control the New York Times and Washington Post respectively, does that tell us anything? Anything at all? Hint, the breach between our wealthiest and our poorest has increased to such an extent that 26 people now control as much wealth as half of the world’s population, billions of people versus billions of dollars and the dollars win. And our “liberal” champions? Hmmm, well Nancy Pelosi is worth approximately 72 million dollars despite a career primarily in purported public survive. And the Clintons? And the Obamas? At least Mr. Trump seems to have earned his billions outside of “government service”.
Just how stupid do they think we are? Perhaps a more relevant question: “Just how stupid are we?”
There’s a saying many, perhaps most of us know: “If we don’t learn from history we’re bound to repeat it” and, as Albert Einstein is reputed to have said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results”. But how are we to learn anything when most of what we are taught, both on a daily and historical basis, is false?
Poor truth, poor veracity, poor us.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2019; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen). Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.