Monday, October 10, 2005
This is my stunned deer in headlights look. I had just finished learning how to salsa dance and I was thinking, 'How can I use this to conquer the world?' Then, a bright light flashed and the thoughts ran away. More world conquests are thwarted that way.
| posted by Jae at 6:11 AM |
Kay commented at 9:41 AM~
Jae’s ASC, or ‘absolute societal compliance,’ rant several entries ago has gotten me to thinking about ATT, or ‘absolute truth telling’ (actually I was thinking about the parameters of truth telling before that entry, but it inspires a handy acronym).
When did we become so ambivalent about the truth? At what point did statements of public record (even when they’re understood to be fiction) trump actual events or realities?
I’m not talking about the mutable, subjective truths that are best discussed over a shared joint. I’m talking about garden variety statements of fact bandied about in a reality where falling trees do make a sound whether or not anyone is within hearing range, and objects do continue to exist whether or not anyone is within viewing range. Ya know, the realty to which most of us are acclimated.
Having said that…
… Nor am I talking about the best-left-unspoken truths. To varying degrees, most of us would agree that a certain kind of lie is, well, expedient. It keeps social interaction moving along. I don’t necessarily need or want to know your true feelings on every topic. If you don’t want to come to my party because you find my friends and me tedious, “I’ve got other plans” works for me. Usually. It’s clean, painless and… I get the basic idea.
ATT can interrupt the rhythm of social interaction. We humans are well equipped to read the myriad other signals that allow us to understand the truth of most social situations. We play-to that ability -- some better than others (evolution’s a slow process).
No, I’m talking about the big policy-defining truths. I’m mystified by our tacit agreement to ignore the big fat lie as long it has a fan club.
I’m going to trot out the OJ verdict here, not because I think it’s the best example of a popular lie, but because I want to quote my favorite comedian, Chris Rock. He said, “After OJ was acquitted Black people went, ‘we won, we won! What the fuck did we win? I go to my mailbox every day and look for my OJ prize.”
The point is, just because a lie is popular, doesn’t make it any less damaging. Get in the habit of agreeing to them, and the fabric of our shared reality begins to tear.
Maybe it’s the fault of the media – particularly the news media. Inasmuch as its role is to inform, I guess it’s doing its job. But it’s urge to report what our leaders say, without verifying the veracity of what they say, keeps us informed, but not enlightened. It’s understood that democracy can’t work without an informed electorate. But I want to refine that notion – Democracy can’t work without an enlightened electorate.
To paraphrase Jae’s ASC credo: I say “yes” to truth telling, especially the big things: don't start wars by telling lies; don’t name a thing the opposite of what it’s intended to accomplish in order to sell it. If the thing has merit, it will sell itself, if it doesn’t have merit than it shouldn’t be sold; try not to be a complete ass and understand that shared reality is what makes a society work.
Renegade Eye commented at 6:29 PM~
I believe you.
Want to ?
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