Truth and falsity

In the world right now, truth is at a premium.

This is the era of half a billion viewpoints on Twitter, where everyone has an opinion.

It’s the era of the Instagram filter, where not only is it possibly to skew the photos we take, but it’s actively encouraged by the platform itself.

It’s the era of the echo chambers of the Facebook News Feed, where we are routinely exposed not to counterpoints, where we might learn something new, but to the things believed precisely by people like us, which makes it inevitable that polarisation ensues.

It’s the era of fake news, when some of the proudest and most longstanding media institutions in the world stand accused by the President of the United States of making everything up. (It doesn’t really matter whether the news is fake or not; what matters is that enough doubt is planted in the minds of enough people to make the effect the same.)

Brene Brown, the great author, teacher and TED speaker, encourages us to speak truth to bullshit.

On belonging, she writes,

True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.

I believe that we have a sixth sense for the truth. Or at least that we have a sixth sense for when something doesn’t ring true, when something seems off, when something sounds fishy.

The truth — our own perfect, imperfect truth — is the best we have to go on.

John Keats, the poet who died almost 200 years ago at just 25 years of age, concluded his Ode on a Grecian Urn with the immortal lines:

Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.