What is truth?
Those living in fear of being serenaded through the halls of justice by "truth czar" Nina Jankowicz can, at least temporarily, breathe a huge sigh of relief. The First Amendment still has some defenders left in Congress and, for the time being, they'll be no snappy disinformation ditties following you into your prison cell where you're doing time for lying to yourself. But don't get too comfortable, all you deplorables. Mary Poppins is lurking in the shadows. The door is still cracked open, and the Ministry of Truth knows you're thinking bad thoughts. Their truth will set you free.
After waiting several months, I was finally granted access to President Trump's new social media platform, Truth Social. Once you're in, it seems to work fairly well. The only problem is in the name. Something like "freedom social" or Elon Musk's suggestion of "Trumpet" would have been much better. "Truth" is a little too nebulous. What is truth?
The victors of wars write the histories. Does that make them true? Obviously not. Countries adopt written histories, but those histories change over time and vary by location. Different countries write completely different histories of the same event. Each version has significance to the nation or the author, but they are often used as a tool for propaganda, pride, and political maneuvering. We see that today, unfortunately, in our own ever-changing American history.
So how do we cut through all the noise to find out what the real truth is? The short answer is that we can't. All we can do is apply the social equivalent of quantum theory to the problem of truth. To try to glean from all sources of information that which is most consistent with the available evidence or most repetitive. The probability of truth.
Image via freepik.
The truth becomes murky as soon as it slides into the past. This is made clear in every courtroom throughout the land. Though many people would argue that the truth is what actually happened, to believe unequivocally in only one version of past events is to forsake our desire to learn the truth. It's more like taking sides.
That is what is so disturbing about this administration's attempt to codify the truth. Whose truth are they relying on? Who is setting the standard? Not only is it a clear violation of the First Amendment, but it also has no place in a free and open society.
Science seems to have cornered the market on the discovery of facts and the explanation of phenomena. The scientific method has greatly advanced human understanding of the universe and the world in which we live, but it could not be farther away from any underlying truth. By naming something and creating a formula to predict how it will behave, have you learned anything about what it is or why it is? Gravity is an attraction that objects exert on each other and that can be expressed with formulas. But what is gravity? Well, it's a force or a field. But what is the force? Well, it's gravity. Why does gravity exist? In the end, you always end up with "it just does." There's no deeper truth there.
So we look to God for truth, and perhaps God looks to us to express the truth as he has written it on our souls. While there is abundant good in manifesting God's truth in the world via morality, we are left once again to employ the gleaning process to catalog those truths.
We have all embarked on a personal journey of discovery and enlightenment as we pass through the forge of life. Individuals might struggle to unlock that which is inside themselves, and for that, we have constructed religions. They usually have, at their core, remarkably similar standards of conduct or morality. Still, it remains a personal journey, and religion can best be viewed as a tool for achieving individual enlightenment. Where they seem to go astray is in their capacity, like governments, to claim theirs is the only way. The only salvation. The only truth.
Religions are made up of individuals, and, as such, they are subject to the whims and failings of human nature. Often, like all sufficiently advanced bureaucracies, they become more interested in self-preservation, power, and control than in truth.
Nobody knows with certainty what truth is. Not history, science, religion, or the DHS. The best we can hope for is to be able to freely make our case without being censored or canceled by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Nina Jankowicz.