Thursday, September 13, 2012

On The Contemporary Truth

On The Contemporary Truth

We live in the era unlike any other in human history. The period of abundance of information and constant communication between beings across the time zones.  To the extent where daily newspapers and news telecast are rendered opinion mouthpieces because they can no longer deliver the latest piece of information to the masses.  Only 20 years ago, Tanzania had no TV station, and handful of state controlled media.

This way of communicating is entirely new to human beings; we are social animals in physical sense, in the presence of physical things.  Technology is challenging the paradigms of physical-ness. How do you explain an introvert person with 3000 friends on Twitter? With this abundance of raw and refined information in our disposal, increased human-to-human interactions, there is need to redefine The Truth in todays context.  Is The Truth even important anymore?

Elsewhere, in during different eras—The Truth is defined differently. Let us revisit those definitions.  “There is no difference between The Truth and reality”.  Others put it “The belief is true, if an only if it corresponds to a fact” But more pragmatists thinkers simply put it “The Truth is the end of inquiry” or “The Truth is satisfactory to believe”. The definitions presented above present the dynamism of The Truth and how it can be viewed differently, I am from the school of thought that The Truth is one, it can neither be destroyed nor fabricated.  However, I realize that this is very idealistic and na├»ve definition of The Truth, albeit the correct one. The presence of evidence is The Truth’s bailout. Provided that the evidences are true. The Truth can be obtained or proved in the court of law, but lack or presence of The Truth is exclusive with the legal victory.

The Truth has always been elusive, because of many reasons. For starters, humans tend to generalize partial evidenced statements as The Truth.  For example, “smoking cigarettes can cause lung cancer”. This is not entirely true, and in a real world where The truth is the end of inquiry, we can safely conclude that smoking cigarettes does not cause lung cancer.  I am not suggesting for the path of living free of uncertainties, I am merely pointing out the challenges facing the contemporary humans with sensory overload in dealing with The Truth.  

In this era of information overload, The Truth is not craved in stones anymore. The Truth changes between socioeconomic classes, The Truth depends on your Tweeter TimeLine or your Facebook Wall. The Truth depends if you read Uhuru or Tanzania Daima or if you watch MSNBC or FOX NEWS. The Truth is predetermined by your level of education, background, environment, genotypic make up, political, and religious beliefs. Just presenting the facts alone, is not enough to sustain the support or opposition of The Truth. The persistence and the manner of the presentation of the fact to the subjects is the sole predictor if the fact is The Truth or not.  I am convinced that human brains were not initially wired to view The Truth in this way, but the forces of evolution are steering us in that direction.

This phenomenon was initially a challenge and now a gold mine for folks looking to win any popularity support. Including elections. There is no need to be truthful anymore.  The only reward for being truthful in classical sense is to feel good about oneself or for religious and moral gains which have neither materialistic nor recognition values in our contemporary society.  The challenge for humanity on this context is momentous; opinions have became the new entertainment and each one claim to carry The Truth. We are obviously not evolving fast enough compared to the technology that we are inventing. Only the quickest to adapt will prosper.


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