Friday, July 24, 2009

More Relativity in Reality

Picked off a newspaper column, a reference to the work of Charles P. Pierce, and his Three Great Premises. This is taken from his book Idiot America, which appears more political than topical. His first two big ideas aren't very impressive. First is a poor-man's True Enough take that if an idea "sells" it becomes valid in the TV culture. The second is just a restate of the Hitler-like if you tell a big lie and say it loud and proud it gets by.

It is the third point that I find far more interesting and dangerous: A fact is that which enough people believe. The truth is measured by how fervently they believe it.

Majority of people become convinced that their version of an event was how it happened, it becomes a fact. Others will see their point of view and create their fact. Ah yes, the Manjoo universe of competing realities. Facts gain truth, in Pierce's estimation, by how hard they are promoted, backed and spread -- the fever of the fact believers.

Try that one out the next time you come across some controversy. You might get some interesting second thoughts.

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