Truth: The Greatest Elusion

Post-truth is when feelings trump the blatant facts that surround us. This concept has gained power as the years go on. In Lee McIntyre’s Post-Truth, he states, “… when the Oxford Dictionaries named it 2016’s word of the year. After seeing a 2,000 percent spike in usage over 2015…” (McIntyre 1). Many factors have contributed to this staggering spike. Social media, movements, and generally the disinterest in what is correct. With the events of the past few years and how we behave every day, we clearly live in a post-truth world. What that means for the world is that feelings take precedence over what is right. But what does that mean for those who still believe in facts? A post-truth world spikes a considerable amount of caution in factual individuals. A Post-Truth world means that information is being falsely constructed, people view facts differently, and that information is being believed blindly.

In a normal world, a fact is stated, and a credible source must be shown. However, a post-truth world flips this concept upside down. Those who believe in facts must scrutinize the source for bias. Sources are more believable if numerous unbiased sources make the same claim. Furthermore, those who don’t believe in facts don’t care about what was stated. They care for if  the fact follows their beliefs  is the fact presented in a way that appeals to them? The presentation of facts is truly what differentiates a post-truth world from a normal one. A post-truth world means that facts no longer have any weight. Stating “2+2=4” could cause a potential uproar under the right circumstances. Fact-checkers may whip out a calculator or ask if you used Mathway.

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However, people can hardly be blamed for questioning if 2+2 really is 4. Trump made numerous false claims about his “successful” inauguration. McIntyre states, “Trump offered a string of fresh falsehoods: that he had the biggest electoral victory since Reagan (he didn’t); that the crowd at his inauguration was the largest in US history…” (McIntyre 2). These are all nice things to hear. Americans want to believe that their nation is happy and supportive of their country’s newest president. However, McIntyre continues to explain the various lies Trump makes. Trump exaggerates the crowd size, the crowd’s enthusiasm, and other details. Stunts such as these can easily be deconstructed with research. There are two very important acts that occur when controversies or events transpire. Those being spreading disinformation and confusion.

Caroline Jack’s Lexicon of Lies: Terms for Problematic Information provides insight into these acts. “Disinformation is information that is deliberately false or misleading.” (Jack 3). Famous figures, scientists and many others spread lies. In Chapter 2 of Post-Truth, McIntyre goes over many discrepancies in science. For example, a common reaction to unfavorable results for a scientist is that the results are “biased (McIntyre 19.) That is a bold claim, and false claims are dangerous in such an important field. Scientists are the pioneers of truth. The fact that post-truth invades such an important field shows that is how our world is. The most common reason seems to be pride. A major issue is also that once information is on the internet, the power is left to the people. Even if a disclaimer revealed the disinformation’s true nature, a large group of people would believe the disinformation. There could be a robust amount of information disproving the information. However, there are numerous factors. Most people do not conduct research. They may not hear the new information or do not care. Although, those who do hear are just as dangerous.

The wide accessibility of the internet has been a boon for many reasons. We can find entertainment, easy information, and communicate. Before the internet was available, most people had relied on word-of-mouth and their social circle. People who believed differently than the community often risked being left out. Also, the lack of internet made it easier to influence the public’s opinion. People couldn’t just Google what was happening. They also were unable to rely on their Twitter feed to tell them what to believe. Now, Google gives the power to search for credible facts for one’s self, the overwhelming social media presence negates any positive effect from the internet. This is due to the difference in effort of research and using social media. Finding trustworthy sources takes time and is often out of the public’s reach. The most trustworthy sources are left to colleges and companies. On the flip side, seeing a new post on social media can happen within seconds. Then, that person has joined a conversation that could be way over their head initially. On the internet, anyone could be hiding behind a fake alias and causing a stir. It doesn’t help that children are also able to view and spread their opinions on such matters. The internet can also create safe places. The people who would be outcasts due to silly beliefs now find a group to support them. Overall, the internet allows for a more widespread conflict of beliefs.

In the end, a post-truth world makes everyone confused. In the hysteria of a controversial topic, a post-truth world almost creates a no-truth world. The cyber confidence created on social media leave out room for differing views. The constant spread of disinformation makes it hard for the public to unify their beliefs. Overall, the state of society leaves a lot to be desired in how information is received. Although there is proof of disinformation, people really don’t want to hear it. Often, the truth is stated, but no one can find it within the fog.

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Truth: The Greatest Elusion. (2022, Aug 29). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/truth-the-greatest-elusion/