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Jacob Horner

Hello Dave,

One benefit of coming here is that you so often bring a smile to my face. Today you had me at paragraph four...important, that paragraph four. And it just got better from there.

I am all too often much like Billy Pigrim...thanks for helping to keep me grounded when needed.

Be Well


Thanks Dave, sincerely. Some of us know "taboos" and have to learn to assimilate them. "Truth", ok, and then what eccentric?


Nicely put.

The whole concept of "truth" is ill-defined and even worse, understood. Relative to our filters, decisions, desires, ambition, attitudes, etc. We're definitely NOT in post-truth, glad you caught that.


Dave, have you defined "politics" anywhere in your writing?


Mike Roberts

Another nice post, Dave. Nothing really to add, though, other than I now questions almost everything I see on the Net or the News, other than sports results. And even then, I sometimes wonder ...

Jacob Horner

Just noticed this and immediately thought of your post.

Elizabeth has a story to tell and something important is at stake...that's clear. I'm as close as I ever get to astonished by this.

"'Biggest invisible thing on earth?' – It's called Indonesia, and it's waking up"


Not one single reference to the deforestation...or to palm oil.

Invisible? Only to the blind.


jason kerr

Revenge of Derrida. The old coot ;)

Mike H

Dave, I concur with your observations re 'Truth'. In considering what is truth what has to put aside the views of philosophy and even psychology and ask by what means to we arrive at truth with respect to the behaviour and actions of human beings or can we? I guess it is the primary issue that has bedevilled the English legal system for centuries putting aside the philosophical or cultural view that the affairs of state are required to be fair (which is an issue of representation and the right to defence) against the state or a malcontent it is interesting that the legal system has come up with process which is very different to laws (an everchanging collection of shoulds and should not edicts). When the issue of human behaviour is considered the matter of truth has bedevilled the legal system for ever but the best they have come up with is to split the issues, so you have the act or event about which legal rules require the collection of evidence (physical and other peoples stories of the event or the physical evidence) and then the intent or psychological drivers. To prove a criminal act you had to prove both issues, act and intent but even that was problematic, so the best that we can could come up with was the test of beyond a reasonable doubt the catch however being a further test of the behaviour of the ordinary person and 12 good men or women true as a jury of peers to say yay or nay. Over time the process and it is just that a process has always struggled with issues or acts outside of the social norm and particularly with regards to intent, intent going a long way to prove culpability for the act. In essence the legal system collects a lot of stories (evidence) full of a lot bullshit (post hoc rationalisation) and to date to my mind it is the only human system that has reasonable prospects of delineating bullshit from reality and bullshit from facts. So it is a probability game but it is the one system that has attempted to deal with the issues of flatland thinking. Now there is a very large caveat to the above, flatland thinking of course will determine the very nature or definition of laws or behaviour that is subject to the test. It takes a hell of a lot of time and a hell of a lot of people to gather together the information required to put it to this 'legal' truth test and the same again to process it all (a trial). There are a lot of well defined points that go close to exposing flatland thinking and suggesting truth in human affairs but it is still like chasing smoke.

Mike Cooper

So fundamentally, what the medi are calling the 'post-truth era' is rally just the era of more bullshit, and more noticing of the bullshit. Sounds about right.

I'm intrigued as to WHY Humans became story-telling animals. It brings up an image of the 'cave men sitting around a fire in the dark telling stories of hunting and monsters and ghosts' etc. which probably says a lot about my psyche. I'm guessing that story telling is probably just a byproduct of language, and maybe it arose simply as a mechanism for letting the 'conscious' internal voice have a more active external role rather than just being an internal monologue.

Dave, are you still working of the 4th Flatland essay? Or has the current climate demotivated you to look at it (I wouldn't be surprised if it had)?


Well done Dave-- good to see everything recapped and brought together again in the present context. The whole fake news idea has been bugging the shit out of me this past week. I mean, really, just now people are throwing a fit about this?! Where has everybody been for the last few decades?

But you have it right-- there is no post truth era since there never was a truth era in the first place. All our wonderful communication technology just gives us more raw material from which to weave a web of bullshit and more means to disseminate it. And as we lurch deeper into civilisational crisis, there are more "important" issues at stake which require bullshit.

It's probably beyond the scope of this blog, but a historical look at other crisis periods would likely reveal a similar bullshit escalation pattern-- the World Wars, the Civil War, the French Revolution, the Roman Empire, the Chinese Dynatsies... and yes Mike Cooper, I'm sure the cavemen bullshat around the fire too! For all we know, birdsong is just a particularly melodic form of bullshit.

So yeah, nothing qualitatively new going on here-- but to paraphrase Stalin, quantity does have a quality all its own, and the ramp up in quantity is making it hard for me to sleep at night. Not because of the bullshit itself or because it diminishes my image of our species, but because the stresses underlying the increase are not going away and Are leading to nowhere good.

jay moses

remarkable editorial in the nyt yesterday, explicitly calling for censorship of "fake" news sites and feeds. no one at the times seems at all disturbed by how this might play out when applied to such gems as judith miller and the iraq wmd fraud. evidently, the definition of "fake" depends more on the status of the messenger than the truth or falsity of the message. to be expected i suppose.

Jacob Horner

A snippet from Deadwood...season 2, episode 2..
"Lies Agreed Upon"

Al: You want the decent truth, huh?

AW: I choose to believe that truth and decency need not be at odds.

Al: Oh, you’ll hear no argument from me. Let it help me accumulate capital or, at worst, not interfere...the story is true and decent.

AW: I would define as true and decent in such endeavor, the facts rendered fully within social standards and sensibilities without bias or abridgement.

Al: Why do I imagine a snake swallowing it’s tail, huh?

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