Truth Vs. Reality — By John Reed
Truth vs Reality
A recent letter here posited a hope for “truth” to be heard, regardless of media, politics, and such. A noble desire, one I share. But there’s a difference between the abstract truth of reality and our perceptions of it.
Since the time of the Greeks, if not before, philosophers have struggled with these concepts. Plato’s “shadows on a cave wall” illustrated how we perceive reality through the filters of our senses, preconceptions, and emotions. One example would be this: people with color blindness see the reality of red or green totally differently from the rest of us, if at all.
In more recent times we hear of “confirmation bias” where we see things matching what we already believe…even if others perceive those “facts” differently. The most pernicious examples surround the last couple of presidential cycles.
Information released over the weekend appear to show conclusively Hillary Clinton’s campaign paid to attempt to link her opponent to various unsavory types in Russia. Her admirers will claim “witch-hunt” while Trump supporters will find vindication that their guy was illegally targeted.
After six years, the point would seem to be moot. And yet, if true, it would certainly explain, if not excuse, Trump’s railing at those he felt went after him, his staff, even his family and youngest son. If they were willing to use the FBI, CIA, and the courts to push a fake script, it’s not really that far a leap to assume vote tampering in 2020.
If major sections of the government you’re supposedly the head of are actively trying to get rid of you, paranoia is a short trip. None of this of course addresses the former president’s narcissism or inability to look past his own narrow viewpoint, but it serves to once again highlight the differences between abstract truth and perceptions.
It’s been said they history is written by the victors. The Confederate prison at Andersonville has become the historical example of the barbarity of the southern cause. Camp Chase and Camp Douglas are barely known, yet had massive death rates as well. The difference? They were in the North.
For centuries our schools have been tasked with pounding facts into the heads of our kids. Now that the entire globe’s knowledge base is available to any child’s fingertips, we should now teach them how to interpret those facts. By better understanding where that information comes from and what was the purpose and mindset of the sources of those “facts” the next generation will be in a better position to decide how to perceive their own version of truths.