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.

P.S.

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.

Well, trust is kind of different, but indeed there is a perspective here about what you should care…

Well, trust is kind of different, but indeed there is a perspective here about what you should care for when things get serious.

The best point I made so far is in this article I have written here. But the article was more about the differentiation between short tern wins versus long term success, as when things do get mighty serious then we have no real choice, we all suddenly know what to do.

Yet in the meanwhile we all forget the crucial activity of cultivating wisdom.

FWIW, here is my take on trust:

A

What if you revert to caveman savage? What if we’ll get back to superstitious human sacrifice?

What if you revert to caveman savage? What if we’ll get back to superstitious human sacrifice?

Moses did an incredible feat and if you read carefully you’ll see most of what dooms the biblical texts are in fact ways to handle a hoard of starving humans.

All the civilising heroes of mankind has, first of all, before anything: identities and egos. It might be that this reverting will not be as romantic as we’d like, without the background story for our mind to weave sanity upon.

Capitalism versus humans

Here is a story:

A guy looked at my Corvette the other day and said:

“I wonder how many people could have been fed for the money that sports car cost.”

I replied:

“I am not sure, it fed a lot of families in Bowling Green, Kentucky who built it, it fed the people who make the tires, it fed the people who made the components that went into it, it fed the people in the copper mine who mined the copper for the wires, it fed people in Decatur IL. at Caterpillar who make the trucks that haul the copper ore. It fed the trucking people who hauled it from the plant to the dealer and fed the people working at the dealership and their families. BUT,… I have to admit, I guess I really don’t know how many people it fed.”

That is the difference between capitalism and welfare mentality. When you buy something, you put money in people’s pockets, and give them dignity for their skills.

When you give someone something for nothing, you rob them of their dignity and self worth.

Capitalism is freely giving your money in exchange for something of value.

Socialism is taking your money against your will and shoving something down your throat that you never asked for.

I’ve decided I can’t be politically correct anymore. (I never was, actually)

A story from Tom Nicholson on Facebook.

300k shares, 500k likes, 55k comments.

This story is a “nugget of wisdom” that has effectively hardened the same crappy, wrong, stupid convictions and weak, superficial ideas which are plaguing our collective politics for centuries.

The story is right but it’s not correct. It is right because, well, it is the old adage of teaching someone how to fish instead of giving them fish.

However, it is not correct because:

socialism doesn’t ask why do you spend your money the way you do

but rather

socialism asks what part of your money is 100% yours

People of the world, get this once and for all:

capitalism is an economic model, socialism is a political model, socialism is capitalist and capitalism works with socialism.

No one smart enough and leftist enough literally cares at all about your Corvette or your Jet or your four beach houses or your gold plated smart watches. They’re your well spent, hard earned cash, transformed into comfort.

Therefore the question is:

are you giving back?

And to that question there are two opposing answers: the antisocial answer and the social answer.

The antisocial answer (or sociopathic) is that everything is owned in its entirety. This answer justifies meticulous interpretation and cunning use of the law to give back as little as mathematically possible. Hide your money, the welfare queens are out to get them.

The social answer is that most of acquired wealth is owed to the society that its owner belongs to. The degree of debt varies from welfare states to social security states. This answer justifies flattening discrepancies between people by taxing success. No man is an island is the law and no one, independent of the person, is considered to be able to succeed on their own.

None of the answers are completely right nor completely correct. There are people who, given specific privilege and birth circumstances, make it on their own. No self made man ever makes it on their own. Only those born rich have this potential specifically because they pay their way. The poor who ascend socially have more debt to society than the born rich who stay rich. The born rich who become even richer are also more in debt to society than those rich people whose success simply keeps them in their bracket.

We must understand that capitalism is an economic model that favours capital owners over value producers, and socialism is a political model that favours the society over the individual. They are very compatible.

Capitalism does not discuss so much welfare and taxation. The azimuth of capitalism is to not have stale capital. And most of the neoliberal champions, who are the real opposition to socialism, use this argument of capitalism as being the true and tested force of progress, while denying the core of the capitalist model by hiding money in Panama and fencing wealth in all imaginable ways: hoarded wealth is stale capital. They don’t give back to society neither by consumption, nor by taxation.

Most hard core capitalists are risk adverse. They are also tax adverse. They also wand small government. These three factors combined are the death of human potential in societies.

Wealth gets hoarded and siloed. The silo begets inequality, Inequality requires power to be preserved. The hoarding begets scarcity. Scarcity becomes the means of preserving the power.

Dead easy.

Dead easy way to die as a civilisation.

The goal of every society should be the same as the larger goal of life itself: resilience. However, because of the desperation involved in hoarding and siloing, there is a specific set of propaganda items designed to discourage divergent opinion and action and which invented a haze of goals, the misdirection of humanity.

Free things are for the poor

Propaganda item number one, and basically the biggest enemy of the basic income movement, claims that only the really poor should be given free things. The main argument is that free things kill competition and business opportunity by dismantling markets.

Yet, the truth is free sustainable things should be the goal of any state for its people, because free things are giving humans back their time. With that new found time there is the greater chance, statistically speaking, to push human potential into action at a faster speed than the crawling drag of today.

Succumbing to work and chores, so that one can pay for the chance at existing, is a big factor holding us back as a species.

Welfare is for the lazy

Propaganda item number two is just evil. Basically the real goal of welfare is to allow humans to do what they do best: fail. Simply put, the rich have way more slack when they take on fail prone activities, while the poor mostly need to resume to safe scripts prescribed by the rich.

Welfare is a cushion to land on when you follow your dreams. Even if we had welfare queens, which we don’t, it doesn’t matter because most people do not settle with the bare minimum, otherwise there’d be no great migration to fill the Earth with our genome.

Sharing is for the weak

The deification of ownership and the glorifying of property are the two tricks played on the masses in the bloody transition from middle age political systems to modern age political institutions.

Property: a haze of security protecting the average human’s trinkets equally ferocious as the privileged’s fortunes.

There is a fake great equaliser at work here. For example, there are many who praised the markets shaped by technology as a bridge between wealth groups. For example both rich kids and average, middle class, kids have iPhones. But, alas, it’s a thought trap so easy to fall into. In class terms what matters is the personal value of the iPhone, not the mere possession of it.

The real difference in class is always in regard to common value, what is generally disposable and easy to obtain. The joy of richness is in the abundance of generally available items, much more than in the select luxury items. Luxury is not a member of class definition.

Luxury is an intra-class differentiator and hence there is luxury among the poor, just as it is luxury among the ultra rich.

Equality is a moniker for mediocrity

There can be only one. Corporate tigers, young wolves and alpha dogs are running this joint. Leadership this, leadership that. We started on this doubtful “everybody is born equal” idea, and have been half assed about it ever since. What hoarders care for is differentiation, and they are now selling this hard to everyone else as a way to justify their egotistic selves.

Equality is not a given, it is an ideal. Equality is not a right, it is a privilege. We need to fight to obtain equality and then fight to preserve it.

Great societies are built on top of the faulty human nature in order to bring it above itself.

Why so? Is a dog aware? How about a gold fish?

Awareness has to proceed intelligence, if there’s no awareness there’s no intelligence even if the awareness comes from the observer.

Why so? Is a dog aware? How about a gold fish?

Awareness, as I defined it, is the running “I don’t know”, that is the amount of uncertainty which accompanies the brain’s constant predictions. On the other hand, intelligence is directly proportional with the depth of our future’s horizon, how far into the future can we see?

I think a dog is aware, but less aware than a human. A gold fish is aware, but less aware than the dog. Their intelligence level allow for short term predictive guesswork and are highly dependent on learned behavior.

Take a pet for example. They wait on their owners to come home every single day. There is a level of awareness about what is going on that sometimes looks amazing: my dogs know weekends from weekdays, they anticipate when we’ll take them in a trip and so on. But none of my dogs will doubt the order that they’re in: this is how it is and they settle for it.

Awareness is connected to intelligence, but not preceeded by it. There can be intelligence without awareness, a child is the best example. A child is highly intelligent but because it has not learned enough about the extent of the environment their awareness levels are low: uncertainty is low, the schedule is the schedule, parents are parents, home is home and playground is playground. A child’d awareness rises in play when the game’s effect of imaginary world building increases the amount of uncertainty.

A

Reputation is not something to count on in the long run.

Reputation is not something to count on in the long run. I mean it helps in starting industries but once people become captive consumers, like we’re into Apple’s or Google’s ecosystem, reputation will start to become more and more cluttered amongst features and convenience.

Let’s not be fooled by our capacity as reasoning actors 🙂 We’ve proven wrong this idea a lot of times.