I am occasionally surprised when I encounter someone getting exercised about facts and their apparent demise. It seems faintly nostalgic, looking back to some fictitious time when the world was simpler and facts could be trusted.
It never existed. Even scientific facts are only currently useful working hypotheses (that’s the strength of the scientific method unlike religions who take their truths way too seriously).
We are making all of it up. Realising this makes it easier to relax about “the truth” and to stop beating each other up about our made up stories and our made up facts.
I was going to say that the only fact that I am ever sure of is that I exist but even that’s not true any more. Awareness is happening here but any persistent sense of self is just a series of recurring, fleeting thoughts like all the others, passing bubbles in a frothy stream. Pop!
4 thoughts on “Facts”
According to some, what made homo sapiens successful over other species* is our ability to share stories. It doesn’t seem to matter much if these stories are based on scientific observations or unreasonable beliefs, if we share stories we have some common ground and we can build trust on it.
What we might have been struggling with lately is finding these shared stories so that we can trust each other.
Imho, the story that these are all just stories in our mind is a great foundation to start rebuilding trust.
* this might not necessarily be a good thing, but we wouldn’t be here having a conversation if this wasn’t the case.
So true. However real, or unreal, our various worlds being able to share the meaning that we ascribe to them, and as you say build common themes and trust on the back of that, is so important. Especially if we don’t take it too seriously!
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When we share stories, are we actually marking a division between speaker and receiver? I suppose I’m thinking more about stories expressed in speech rather than in writing. Bergson thought that language and indeed consciousness itself serve to separate people from a truly collective consciousness or cosmic consciousness. We seem to be putting great weight on storytelling and you see it turning up all over the place as a potential solution to problems in the world. Perhaps we first need to think about language and how that shapes our relationships before embarking on the more complex matter of story? Not sure this makes any sense but I do believe we speak and write too much. So, I’d better stop!
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The “thingification” of story was a sad day.