Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
I am often reminded, these days, of the words attributed to former CIA Director William Casey (1981-1987): “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”
Whether or not he said it, he wouldn’t be the originator of such an idea. That one would be the Father of Lies, himself (1-eternity), but the population he manipulates includes all nations, tribes, tongues, and eras.
It’s just that in this era of nearly instant communication and by many whiz-bang technological platforms, the lies get around faster and just about everybody has some kind of whiz-bang gadget full of them.
But most people with any level of awareness by now understand the possibility that what they are reading, hearing, and/or viewing is infused with lies, however cleverly disguised as truth.
The problem is, and it is another old-school issue: what is truth?
And it might be particularly harder to discern in our era due to the carefully laid plans of vice and men, you might put it–from way back when, too.
By this I don’t mean that the lies are better or more carefully crafted and sold, I mean truth has been hacked.
Just as computer hackers have the know-how to break into computers and alter systems and security features, truth hackers have also been up to such no-good, particularly in recent centuries. For example:
- “Situational ethics or situation ethics (that) takes into account the particular context of an act when evaluating it ethically, rather than judging it according to absolute moral standards. With the intent to have a fair basis for judgments or action, one looks to personal ideals of what is appropriate to guide them, rather than an unchanging universal code of conduct, such as Biblical law under divine command theory…”
- “Reflexive Law,” i.e., “law…based on the process of norming new standards/ethics/morals via consensus of all stakeholders rather than what New (legal) Thinkers deem old-fashioned ‘command and control’ type laws (i.e., here’s the rule and here’s the consequence if you break it).”
- The “rule of emotion” now seemingly more important than the rule of law, as well as, arguably, the rules of reason and common sense.
- And one can’t forget the core doctrine of the Age of Enlightenment, i.e., “God is dead,” therefore, any such absolute foundation for rules of law, reason, and common sense has become anathema at least as such gods of philosophy as Nietzsche, Mainlander, and Hegel suggest.
In such ever-shifting sands of mankind’s notion of “truth” the systems and security features that are the basis of successful civilization, let alone logic and law, are at serious risk. But not to worry, there’s always the…
- Darwinian Theory of Evolution (just so we don’t forget that empirical evidence that often reveals truth could be very dangerous when it comes to exposing truth about how time and matter began), wherein some nebulous primordial goo takes precedence over God or at least some other theory–and here is the most convincing part–the core doctrine of this notion relies completely on Darwin’s theory that “macro evolution” (the magical switch from one species to another) took place over billions (maybe even gazillions!) of years (before humans even came into existence and came up with the notion of years, let alone, well, how to count them). So, unaware of options (see next bullet point), who can argue with that! Unless the basic premise is examined, of course, and subjected to rigorous debate by other scientists. But wait! No need to worry about the possibility of that check-and-balance, either, because…
- Information on alternate theories such as Creationism, even Intelligent Design has been suppressed and left out of most modern textbooks. Interesting read on this, here. If they don’t know, how can they think otherwise, let alone believe otherwise?
So modern truth hacking has some pretty potent philosophical underpinnings–and at the speed of light (or, if you will, darkness).
BONUS CONCERN: if the sands of knowledge, reason, theory, law, and mores keep shifting, that is to say “evolving” (Darwinism has many handy applications) this creates fear. AND, if God is dead (as the “really smart people” claim) humanity is eventually without any solid foundation at all, which is a pretty scary situation, so people begin to look for any “savior” when chaos inevitably emerges.
Trouble is, this savior may or may not have our best interests (intellectual or spiritual) in mind–it/they could even be AI–with no morals or ethics whatsover programmed in!
Unfortunately, history tells numerous cautionary–and bloody–tales about many such saviors, whether human or human-like.
Desperately Seeking Truth
So once again, the most powerful of all attributes of human nature (elements of our own system and design, you might put it), free will, confronts us with options:
We can go with the shifting nature of mankind’s incredibly brilliant, creative and crafty imagination in claiming that there is no God, just some random, mysterious, magically-real origin of the physical universe (and let the irony drip there for a few minutes), or
Well, just maybe there is a real genesis of not only lies but also truth.
And that genesis is described in Genesis.
Then, we can see what we think.
Next choice: believe it or not.*
P.S. What we choose can make it a whole lot easier to discern truth**–or a whole lot easier to be led by lies.
**Here is one of my favorite commentaries on how to ascertain not only truth but also wisdom, for it’s one thing to know what truth is and another to know how to act wisely on it.