Posted BY: Joseph Gish

Has our society transitioned to a period of “post-truth”? And, if so, what does it mean, where is it taking us, is it permanent, and can we fight it?

The online Cambridge dictionary defines “post-truth” to mean “relating to a situation in which people are more likely to accept an argument based on their emotions and beliefs, rather than one based on facts.” Given this definition, I personally believe much of the United States has transitioned to a “post-truth” society, and many of us will become casualties of this new paradigm before harsh reality steers our nation back to an “objective truth”-based decision-making.

How many times have you heard someone use the phrase “my truth is…”? This phrase is at the core of a “post-truth” society as it replaces a singular “objective truth” with many truths based on individual emotions. The danger from this type of thinking can be illustrated by imagining yourself wrongly accused of murder, and finding yourself tried by a jury filled with people who believe in “my truth” instead of “objective truth.” In this world, the prosecutor needs to make jurors feel as if they are bad people as opposed to being forced to introduce evidence that will persuade a rational jury that you’re guilty.

We are our emotions so, if they do not inform us of the truth, what use are they? I believe our emotions, when informed by objective truth, are an “early warning system” for avoiding future trauma. This early warning system is what we call intuition or gut feeling.

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