Opposing opinions can coexist

‘Post-truth’ is a political term used to describe the public burial of “objective facts” by an avalanche of media “appeals to emotion and personal belief” But philosophically, “post-truth” is not simply the opposite of truth, it is concerned with how we regard the nature of truth, fact, consensus, influence, trust, evidence and reason in the increasingly noisy infosphere.

The problem with the search for truth is that, more often than not, it is used as a means to create ‘one’ truth. The truth denies multiple points of view in favour of what the majority agree. It isn’t truth we seek, it’s consensus. When enough people believe the same as we do, we feel belonging, emotional connectedness, safety within our group. When enough people agree to the same narratives we have culture and society. Noah Yuval Harari says that, in a sense, humans have always been post-truth because we’ve always favoured narrative over empirical facts. Post-truth in the political realm, skewed and amplified by social media, is an extension of a culture of story-telling. And like all good stories there are heroes and villains, twists and turns, but, hardly ever it seems, a happy ending.

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e like to push our opposing narratives. Insert whatever novel and contentious thing is the latest trend on Twitter and we’ll see opinion coalesce into group identities that attack alternative points of view. Even academics, who we might expect to be intellectually curious and rationally robust in how they approach things that are yet to reach the status of empirically verifiable facts, are still drawn into attacking alternative opinions in defense of their own.

Different ways of looking at something are a good thing. They help us question our thoughts and balance our opinions and reach a better understanding... if we let them.