Why Its Important

Posted on June 7, 2011

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We received a comment to the effect that this blog is a waste of time, that it is, in essence, an old-fashioned notion, to examine and expose lies to the light of day. To be exact: “I’m not aware of any thoughts of this sort being in vogue since the Age of Enlightenment.  Writing seems to have become more grounded since then – and for good reason.  I wouldn’t go knocking myself out trying to disentangle the threads of truth from lies.  Everyone subscribes to his own philosophy, often regardless of facts.  Persuasion is the trickiest thing of all in the proposition – a tendency exists for people to dig into their ways even more when presented with facts proving the contrary of their belief.” (marcusjulius)

Not “in vogue since the Age of Enlightenment?” To parse this, one first needs to ask the question: what does whether something is “in vogue” have to do with whether something is or is not a lie? We are unaware of the requirement of being “in vogue” to conduct a critical analysis of, and an exposure of the various forces that impact lives in this “post-Enlightenment” period wherein we currently reside. It matters not the era in which one exists, it only matters that one be willing to confront one’s time and place with open eyes and without self-delusion.

And if the “Age of Enlightenment” was a good time to speak of the differences between truth and lies, is this now the “Age of Endarkenment?” It may very well be, but we believe it necessary to continue making clear the distinctions between lies, truth, and opinion. It is indeed true that these things can become entwined, but when the writer says that “Writing seems to have become more grounded since then…” meaning the “Age of Enlightenment,” one presumes, it again becomes necessary to ask why is attempting to out lies considered “ungrounded?” We believe, rightly or wrongly, that lies are a form of theft, and no one likes being robbed. It doesn’t get much more grounded than that.

Nor does it matter that “Everyone subscribes to their own philosophy,…” A philosophy grounded in lies is not philosophy, it is delusion. Belief can operate in two distinct ways – as a guide, or as a method of denial. Does each of us have the right to either or both of these forms of belief? Certainly. But we hold that a lie is a lie, whether one has chosen to believe it or deny it, and it remains, however “archaic and quaint” an idea, necessary  As far as “knocking ourselves out” goes, we (yes, there is more than one doing this blog) chose to focus on this issue because we have been feeling “knocked out” by all the lies flooding the system currently. We believe the concept of truth – both facts and beliefs grounded in facts – are the antidote to the poison of lies, whether in our political system/s, our community discourse, or our interpersonal relationships.

We also feel, for whatever it may be worth, that lies corrode the self. They feed on more lies, they steal trust, and they cause otherwise intelligent, rationale beings to make decisions that too often prove faulty, and may indeed create consequences far worse that the lie itself, Anthony Weiner merely being the latest example.

As for Marcus’ last item above, that “a tendency exists for people to dig into their ways even more when presented with facts proving contrary to their beliefs,” let us ask another question: is the purpose of outing a lie to reform the liar, or to clear the air? To warn fellow citizens about the lie, so they may have a more informed choice in the formation of their own beliefs, or to try and shake someone from their own chosen delusions? We are not fools: we know full well one changes only when one is ready to do so. But we also know there are many purveyors of lies in the world today, and many have platforms that permit extremely wide dispensing of these lies. This, then, is a small voice among the cacophony, but a voice nonetheless, and all such voices that care deeply about truth winning out over lies must do their part, no matter who thinks it is merely tilting at windmills.

Perhaps the Don has something to teach us, still.

 

 

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