Living in a post truth

Living in a Post Truth World

Recently I was having a conversation with a friend about the trend of “fake news” and the failing of democracy. About how as we are more connected than ever it seems more and more like we tend toward truth losing meaning and how it has gotten to a point where your version of the ‘truth’ really depends on your political leaning.

For example, a Trump supporter is going to believe that the media is spinning fake stories in order to discredit the president. A hardcore Democrat is going to believe that Russia got Trump elected. In both of those beliefs there is a truth at the core, the problem is it is becoming more and more difficult to get to that truth with all the noise.

That is how the death of Democracy begins. When truth can be what you want it to be facts stop to matter. When there is no fact in political discourse that’s where we devolve to emotion and fighting. When people don’t know what to believe that is where truth dies. If we enter into a world where any truth you don’t like is “fake news” we enter into a world where nothing matters.

It is getting to an almost literal Orwellian point when it comes to truth. If your political party says 2 + 2 is 5 then 2 + 2 is 5 for you. If tomorrow they say 2 + 2 is 3 then that’s what it is and what it always has been. Even with evidence to the contrary people will believe what they are told to believe in order to support their side. It is this kind of tribalism that leads to the end of a democracy.

Now, up here is Canada it has not yet gotten so bad, we still have discourse even if it is starting to go the way of the United States I think our system will be more resilient. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t know how to live in a post truth world. At the end of the day it really comes down to us. No silicon valley company or government agency is going to save us. Everyone has an agenda, the key is making sure that you can parse the kernel of truth in that agenda.

One thing I like to do is to get my news from more than one source. Look for sources from multiple outlets and don’t just believe something because you read a headline on Facebook. That also leads to another point, don’t just blindly share articles on social media without fact checking them, don’t be a disseminator of harmful or fake news.

Another tip is when you find yourself having an emotional reaction to a piece of news maybe examine why you’re having that reaction. Is it the news itself or is it the way the outlet is presenting it? Maybe take a step back and try to examine something more before blindly sharing or acting on something you read.

Spend some time thinking about what really matters to you, not what people tell you should matter. Ask yourself “why” and question your own beliefs and assumptions. Think. Just think about things and try not to operate on emotion alone. One of my core beliefs is that every person is their own master. No one should be able to tell someone else what they can and cannot do as long as what they are doing is not harming or infringing on someone else’s freedom. That is a belief that I use to form my stances on political issues.

That doesn’t mean I don’t examine that belief regularly. For example, if you save someone from killing themselves you just infringed on their freedom to die, but you also saved their life, is it right to save their life? These are the kind of questions I ask myself to challenge my beliefs, and that’s an important thing to do to make sure you’re not just following something that’s been mapped out for you by others.

The fact is, we live in a post truth world now, we need to adapt to it or accept the cost.

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