Why do we expect the truth?

thank you snopes.com

There wouldn’t be any fake diamonds, had we not assigned a huge value to diamonds that look a certain way.

We need to redefine the value of truth, to try and shift human behaviour patterns away from self assessment of truthiness and more towards the relativisation of truth itself.

There is no truth for free available online. There is no truth for free available offline. There is no truth for free available between random people. There is no truth for free available in your own home.

Truth is expensive, hidden, complex, not that useful and not that safe.

To quote Megan Taylor, whenever you read something just repeat:

My name is “No”
My sign is “No”
My number is “No”
You need to let it go

Megan is right. Those “No”s will help a lot but at much more than being an impossible to date love interest. You’ll be hard to be seduced by fakeness.

Why? Because we are hardwired to be positive.

And, in the end, it simply isn’t worth / Your while to try and clean your life away. / You can’t. For, everything you do or say / Is there, forever. It leaves evidence. / In fact it’s really only common sense; / There’s no such thing as nothing, not at all. / It may be really very, very small / But it’s still there. In fact I think I’d guess / That “no” does not exist. There’s only “yes”.

So sings the cleaner in the Yes movie.

Yes is the default we’re built for. That is why we’re gullible by default. If we weren’t, we’d question the milk we suckled on as babies.

I was reading an interview with a porn director some fifteen years ago. The guy was very chill and lax about life, and when asked what was the one thing that defined him he said: “I don’t read newspapers!”. The interviewer, expecting something raunchy on sex or nakedness or free love, mumbled, I presume, “… why?” to which the porn director replied something of sorts:

I don’t get it how people expect the truth by paying a dollar for it. Institutions, governments, armies, secret services, they all exist for one thing only: to find out the truth or to hide the truth. And they spend hundreds of millions of dollars for it. How then do people come to expect being given the truth for one dollar?

And add to that another thing which I vaguely remember from a movie:

I became a writer because early in life I discovered that if you write something down people will believe it. It is as if they think: “this guy wouldn’t have bothered to write this if it weren’t true!”.

We are preconditioned to expect being told the truth and somehow there might have been a period in our existence when some incipient human society resembled Ricky Gervais’s world in “The invention of lying”. After all lying is sophisticated.

However, animals lie. The most striking liars are bonobos and chimps. They effectively hide the truth.

So, I wondered, what was it that conditioned us to be yes primates?

Well, what I knew is that intelligence is aroused by novelty. There is a reason why most intellectuals lean to the left in politics: the more you look into the future and into the past the clearer it is that only as a collective we stand any chance at preservation.

I think we’re gullible because we expect species solidarity in face of the merciless nature. Fake news is an act of treason towards the entire humanity. I mean, I can doubt my neighbour about how much milk he milked from my sheep, but that is relatable. But by default I don’t doubt that one would drive the entire ship into the iceberg on purpose killing all of us and himself in the resulting disaster.

We favour sanity.

“Now, Kalamas, don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought: ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that: ‘These qualities are skilful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness’ — then you should enter & remain in them.”,

Thank you internet website about real Buddha quotes. This is key.

Parents teach children to tell the truth, while at the same time children are not being told the truth. At all. Starting with Santa and ending with where did grandma go after she died. Why? Because in that relationship we’re guided by knowledge that the truth only has real value as a means of larger coordination of efforts among humans who don’t know each other, because:

— truth is another name for shared reality

We don’t know the world directly. Neither physics, nor math, neither chemistry, nor biology teaches us what the world is, rather how the world is. This means any exact science is important because it teaches us how to perceive the world, not how to live in the world.

The answers to “what”, in relationship to the world, are our musings and collective agreements. From religion, the first philosophy of man, to poetry, our song of introspection. Why? Because, so far, we live our entire life reaching out from inside this imaginary consensus existing between our feeble and barely pieced together peace treaty of unrelated bacterium with some crazy energy unleashed inside sheets of insulating myelin. Frankenstein exploring the universe.

Truth is not a default state of good. Truth is not valuable intrinsically. That is why we know that if God exists, it must be the ultimate truth and that it is also good and bad, calm and angry, benevolent and vindictive, without absolutely no contradiction.

From this mishmash we call body and mind, truth is a lot of times subjective, counter intuitive, morally wrong, causing a lot of harm and many possible deaths. By describing what the world is, truth is impartial and does not attend to neither individual, nor collective happiness.

All we can derive from truth is potential long term well being.

Which is exactly why it is being hidden and fake news fill the void left behind.

So as …

“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.” ― Jonathan Swift

… I believe the advice that people should learn to filter fake news on their own will never do much good. Making sure the little truth everyone has access to is indeed genuine, is not the job of collective wisdom or social outsourcing, but the job of society to guarantee and attend to insure.

For preserving the authenticity of truth a government should work to discourage intentional disinformation. For making more truth available private entities should consistently live up to their social responsibility promises. For knowing the truth individual people merely need to stop using truth as a means of imposing their view on the world, and instead use their truth to help everyone else view the whole world for what it is.


To the M, to the D, right to Mr. MZ

Mark Zuckerberg should also address the real issue about truth in fake news. Apparently as he writes here:

… he is very concerned with misinformation.

Misinformation is a non problem. A straw man.

Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth. Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, information that is unintentionally false, Google says Quora advises.

A fake news disinforms not misinforms.