Truth has been in the news a lot lately. I’m speaking tongue-in-cheek of course, since you’ll never find the truth in the news. It’s being said we’re in “the post-truth era.” What the heck does that mean?
What people mean by ‘the post-truth era’ doesn’t refer to the search for truth at all. What they’re really talking about is the post-fact era, in which presidential candidates and their supporters make up their own facts.
After two decades of hearing and adhering to the nonsense, ‘speak your own truth,’ and ‘create your own reality,’ the mainstream media is shocked, shocked, that a huge portion of the body politic no longer subscribes to conventional notions of reality.
And pundits, as much on the progressive as conservative side, continue to weave intellectualized webs out of half-truths, and believe whatever they want to believe.
If you listen with both ears, you can hear the lamentation of the former gatekeepers of news and respectable opinion weeping over their lost positions as determiners of the national narrative and purveyors of acceptable facts and truth.
Trumpian lies are merely an Olympian liar’s masterful circumvention and manipulation of the acceptable and respectable narrative.
It’s true that the Net poked a billion little holes in what used to be called journalism. But the journalistic craft and the ship of state were sinking long before the new technologies amplified the worst in human nature and the American character.
When a thinking person listens to Trump supporters, it’s easy to dismiss the distortions and outright falsehoods they parrot as so much irrational nonsense. But a decent person asks, what lies below the lies?
Is it economic dislocation brought on by globalization, and white, Christian America losing its domination, as the conventional progressive narrative has it? Or is there something deeper—a loss of meaning, connection, belonging, and the cross-party belief in America’s exceptionalism? Is it the refusal to face the end of tribal/national identity itself?
Take this idiocy, in a New York Times op-ed condemning Trump’s ‘Idiocracy’: “Resistance is not about some sort of clairvoyant condemnation of acts yet uncommitted, but rather about the resilience of memory, the rigidity of morality and the depth of wounds.”
Such blather not only reflects continuing denial, but the very self-righteousness on the part of liberal elites that helped propel Trump to victory. In addition, it is deeply and willfully false. Pundits still refuse to face the fact that their image of America does not conform to the reality that’s now slaps them in the face every day.
It’s indecent to put down the few who predicted Donald Trump would be elected President of the United States, and who wrote about the underlying reasons why (which go far beyond conventional liberal analysis in the States) as indulging in “some sort of clairvoyant condemnation of acts yet uncommitted.”
That’s a sneaky way of saying, ‘Because I am so shocked by the election result, no one could have foreseen and understood it.’ Is such egoism much different than The Donald’s?
Bill Moyers once said, “A people can perish from too many lies.” Institutionalized falsehood and denial are the long festering, underlying reasons the demagogue and authoritarian-in-waiting Donald Trump was elected.
It’s true that some fake news stories and conspiracies have been fed to the mob. But the news has always been fabricated to some degree. Not by making up stories whole cloth, but by what is deemed to be news, and by conformity to untruths that underlie the mythology of nations.
Therefore it’s only mouthpieces for the status quo that say things like, ‘the truth was blurred, then sidelined, in an online tribal cacophony.’ Here’s a little secret that every 15-year-old knows: The dichotomy between the Net and the Old Media no longer exists except in their minds.
It’s facile to blame Donald Trump for ‘threatening to kill many of the ideals that we hold dear—decency and decorum, inclusion and empathy, truth and facts themselves.’ It’s much more difficult to examine the basic causes and conditions in the culture and body politic that gave rise to Trump, not to mention the eight years of professorial half-truths from President Obama.
Besides, ideals have nothing to do with truth and facts, and are an escape from what is. The ideal and the image are intrinsically fictitious. What’s necessary is to question and have the intent to face facts, inwardly and outwardly.
To find the living truth beyond personal interpretations and conformist narratives, it’s essential to ask: Can one see without the screen of memory, association and interpretation, if only for a few moments every day?
To see what is true and false, and the true in the false, one has to be able to observe without the observer, question without the questioner, and think without the thinker.
To see what is, the fact of things, which is changing every moment, is a never-ending process. Those who believe in ‘the absolutism of truth’ are incapable of seeing the truth.
Thought, however rational, can never bring the truth. Truth is in the understanding of what is, and transcending it.