It seems ‘truth’ has become a returning rallying point of this blog.
A couple things about truth are good to discuss.
First. Truth exists outside human experience.
Humans are not built for truth. Humans are instead build for survival; we interpret truth, reality, as demanded for our survival, but our interpretation falls short of the real thing, for reality is only a means to our top priority: gene replication. We pride ourselves with approximation of reality, but only because it aids us with survival.
For example. To build a house a contractor does not need to know that wood is made up of 50% carbon, 42% oxygen, 6% hydrogen, 1% nitrogen, and 1% other elements. He merely need to know how to build four walls and a roof that does not collapse on you. But, to a chemist publishing articles on the make-up of wood, the above knowledge suddenly becomes very relevant, while the knowledge on how to build a house is irrelevant. Same pieces of woods, different purposes, different truth models. We learn only what we need to learn, both by necessity and by natural limitation. Practical truth thus only presents itself to humans in the form of feedback loops: trial and error.
Second. Truth for the sake of truth is like shouting against a storm.
Our inability to reach ABSOLUTE TRUTH does not negate the power of our ability to approach truth, despite the relativistic nonsense leftists love to throw around: because we can’t know everything, we know nothing. Bullshit! As follows from the first point: we don’t need to know everything, we just need to know enough. And we know enough about plenty of stuff. The world is chock-full of truth, and men all around the world observe it daily.
But we have no interest in truth for the sake of truth. No one is interested in hearing random truths unless they stand to benefit from it. My wooden cupboard has a scratch on it. I ate some bacon. I’m slightly tired. All of this is true, but all of it is useless information to you, the reader.
Another problem is that men often benefit more from lies than from truth. Truth is often dangerous. Lies are comforting, binding, empowering — the right lies bring status, and status goes much further in gene replication than truth. Truth however is cold and uncaring. Men, having to perform like the dancing monkeys they are, haven’t much patience for harsh truth (it goes unsaid that women have no grasp of truth whatsoever. For women truth differs from moment to moment).
Of course truth is beneficial on a long enough timescale, but who has time for that? Some low time preference high IQ neoreactionaries perhaps. But generally people figure they only live about 80 years before they’re dead, add another 40 years if you care about your kids, which is still nothing in the grand scheme of things, so why bother?
The exception is of course when a man lives a lie so flagrant it is unsustainable. But a man can cope with quite a few flagrant lies before life becomes unsustainable.
So, most people are not interested. Speaking truth for the sake of speaking truth is like shouting in a storm, meaning people raise their shoulders and say: ‘eh, whatever.’ If it is not like that, something else is going on.
If people like listening to your truth, it in some way benefits them.
If people dislike listening to your truth, it in some way hurts them.
Take Socrates. Socrates had young admirers who enjoyed an eloquent man speaking truth to power. Conversely Socrates was hated among those in power who disliked being ridiculed for their point deer make horse lies. The only logical conclusion was that Socrates had to drink from a poisoned cup for speaking the truth and thereby he became the archetypal prophet of all truth-speakers. Truth-speakers often can’t help being an insufferable bunch.
Third. What remains is using truth as a holy weapon.
So we’ve established that nobody cares about the concept of truth, much like how no one cares about freedom of speech. We don’t care if this world is a simulation, if this is the Matrix, if I’m actually talking to you in your dream. We work with the information we get, that is all. All else is tribal marking, religious warfare. What is true? What I say is true, what my enemies say is false.
It is an interesting human trait that both my enemies and I find it very important to say we value truth, while experience shows we don’t care so much about truth. In communication, the word truth is a synonym for cooperation. The act of being beneficially truthful means you can trust me, means that what I say is useful information. I lie to my enemies, but to you, my friend, I speak the truth.
This is why shouting that you care about truth is a prerequisite to gain other people’s trust, which is why so many liars tell you how much they care about truth.
So there really is no escape from weaponizing truth.
*suddenly, a tiny devil appears out of thin air*
– ‘cool story Alf I’mma let you finish but here’s my 2000 word response on what truth means…’
‘Yeah that’s great but my version is better. That’s what weaponizing truth means.’
– ‘but Alf if your version of truth is to simply scold everyone who disagrees with you then you’re no better than a leftist!’
‘Well, there is another, simpler way to look at things, a very concise summary of all discussed above.’
– ‘what could that be!’
‘Don’t virtue signal. Don’t be a hypocrite. That is all.’
The tiny demon disappears with a loud pop, knowing it has been defeated… For today.