( A seven minute truth read)
IN A WORLD THAT IS LOSING ITS GRIP THE TROUBLE IS KNOWING WHAT TO GET A GRIP OF.
There is nothing new about this, other than the manner and the pace it is happening at where facts are deemed less important than beliefs.
For Example: In an age of Post – truth politics we now have a President of the USA that appears not to care whether his words bear any relation to reality.
The declining societal respect for facts, the rise of deceptive partisan media outlets are creating an echo chamber effect in public discussion.
If people only knew the truth, we wouldn’t have the problems of global warming, economic recession, poverty, War, any Famine.
Most people now get their news about the world around them pre-digested and customised by social media. They do not get the breadth of information supplied by an even moderately impartial news source.
Material is allotted them not by whether it is true but by whether they might like it.
Which is institutionally biased, and more vulnerable to the dissemination of lies.
Something must be surely be done about this.
Our post-truth era, in short, need not be an obstacle to taking common action.
Feelings trump facts and the power of truth as a tool to solve problems is being diluted by False News. For example the EU is now in danger of breaking up due to a campaign of blatant misinformation.
The lost of truth has many roots, and indeed it is a human failing not to seek it out. Life at this juncture is practically unimaginable without the technology we enjoy today.
A large amount of social media feeds on getting strangers to follow each other’s random thoughts or tracking our idle page visits to target advertising, and as a society we seem more than happy to provide.
If you OK-ed the latest update for your Facebook app on your phone, you’ve given Facebook permission to read your text messages?
Everybody knows Google has questionable privacy rules, but Gmail is a really good email provider, and most people don’t tend to make their Twitter private.
Today it is almost heresy to suggest that scientific knowledge is not the sum of all knowledge. Unorganized knowledge is the king, driving Climate Change, down to the survival of the cutest.
The continued societal focus on economic growth, both personally and as a society driven by algorithms for profit are all forcing a consumer society.
With the continued societal focus on economic growth, privacy is now arguably subject to consumerism. Critical thinking is sacrificed in favour of having feelings, reinforced by soundbite.
The problem is that Facebook (which has somewhere in the region of 2 billion users) and other so-called net works do not see themselves as media companies and are for the most part run by algorithms that have put artificial intelligence in charge of spreading False News.
As capitalism really gaining a grip on everyday life technology is a society constant. The majority of the Facebook users tend to share every mundane detail of their lives.
The inverted distinction between public and private.
What can we do about it?
We’ve built an awesome, sprawling web of technology with a astonishing bit rates entering the human mind and emotions through eyes, ears and even noses, all creating an accelerating escalation of intensity which is now out of control.
In a world increasingly devoid of person to person contact we are becoming more and more attached to morally ambiguous technologies. Given such biases it is no wonder we are unable to even agree on facts.
Precious little is said about the human, societal and environmental impact of such intense and increasing post-truth politics.
Are we more or are we less?
What is happening to our relationships, to our sensitivities, to our abilities to be moved, to our abilities to perceive?
Content is no longer a fixed format so there is no provenance as to what is true or false. With countervailing views filtered it is no wonder we get like clicks or news to boost hits.
Most of us now get our news on social media with anyone becoming a publisher. This information revolution can now play havoc with political falsehood.
So when Trump says we need to go to war now. We won’t know if he’s telling the truth.
We might even see this proliferation of belief systems and worldviews as an opportunity for human development. We can agree to disagree and still engage in pragmatic action in the world.
Modern democracy is not indeed flawless, but so far it is the most advanced political system the human kind could come up with. However the features of modern democracy for which we consider it as the most ‘human’ form of governance now comes with shortcomings.
These shortcomings like poor access to institutions, low-level of participation, rising level of elitism, ossification of state authorities, etc., are often the root of discontent among the public. Such reasons are making the discontent more than just and as a matter of fact.
But without opposition and discontent, there can be no democracy.
We as an audience must take into account the nature of media and subsequently different sources before making any assumptions on the content itself. Things like lack of critical thinking, an absence of fact-checking before accepting statements, inability to put things perspective and so on, provide opportunities for the rise of unpleasantly phenomena like post-truth and post-truth politics.
The concept of ‘post-truth’ has reached a point of saturation in present-day popular discourse and media punditry. Driven by digitally mediatized representations of reality and social interaction. Resulting in many of our world organisation becoming irrelevant.
Democracy requires a citizenship that meets, deliberates and interacts without fear and hatred. It requires organisations that give people a “voice” and a feeling that they have a stake and some influence in the system.
The pervasiveness of presumed causal linkages between environmental degradation, violent conflict and human mobility has been utilized by policy makers and pundits to shape public opinion.
Democracy now needs online innovation.
When Microsoft created Windows, it created the possibility of multiple lenses or views of any issue. Why not build on that? Before we all become Twit’s.
The problem which remains is purely one of logic.
The world is populated by other people who aren’t you. This is one of the major tools of democracy.
What does post-truth tell us about the current and future state of democratic engagement and of democracy itself?
Truth must no longer legitimize the politics of Brexit and Trump. No matter how democratic it is, the rug must be pulled out from under Post – truth politics. We have lost our power to them; we cannot lose our truth too.
The pervasiveness of presumed causal linkages between environmental degradation, violent conflict and human mobility has been utilized by policy makers and pundits to shape public opinion about the predicament we are now in.
What can be done?
“Take back control”
The least we can do to make the United Nations a place where minds, hearts and nations connect for the sake of so many people all over the world.
Obviously, don’t vote for fibbers.
Bombard social media platforms to remove filters.
Create an Online Political platform for the Truth.
Remember that knowledge is power.
All comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.