We see a lot of propaganda on social media. From rightist, leftist, centrist, moderates, conservatives, liberals and illiberals. Was discussing with one of them and he said that everyone has their own taste about which truth to accept. These few lines are my ramblings in response.
Actually truth is never a question of taste. Truth shouldn’t be a question of taste but then unfortunately it has become that nowadays. One thing is sure there is no absolute truth. But there are different versions of truth. And all these different versions of truth may contain 1% to 60/70% of truth. But never the complete truth. Because, though there is no absolute truth, there can be more or less a complete truth, which takes into account as many references, contexts and perspectives around that truth.
What I have realised in my small experience is that, howsoever I may think that I know everything about an issue, the fact still remains that I may be knowing less than 10% of it. So that’s why I have stopped being judgmental and passing judgement on issues since a long time. Especially those issues which I cannot help in solving, directly or indirectly. There are people handling it and I am ok with their handling of it. Why add more of my inadequate and inconsequential streams of opinion to it.
About truth an example, especially those who have worked in rigid hierarchical organisations and any organisation for that matter, may understand : Think of any important task allotted to you by your Boss. You may think you know almost everything about it. But in reality the boss knows more about it. He knows the actual purpose of it which you may not be privy to. Going still above the officer above your boss may be knowing more about the genuine purpose, because he knows about a lot more allotted tasks like this and their collective purpose. Going still above, the regional head (or departmental head) may be knowing more about its implications. And finally those sitting in the head quarters must be knowing more about the purpose, effectivity, implications and the collateral damage. And they may even be ready with a plan B or plan C if this plan fails. Similarly the people below you in ranking whom you enroll to complete the task, may be knowing less about its purpose.
Now think of the other aspect of the task. The details of the task. In this case on the contrary, the people below you may be knowing more on, how to go about the tasks in minute details. Your boss may be knowing much less minute detail of the tasks than you and so on and so forth.
So truth is like that. Everyone knows it but just the portion, he or she is supposed to know. At any given moment no one in the chain of command knows everything completely.
Likewise it is same in the society. Truth is bandied about in tiny bits and pieces as long it serves the purpose of the higher powers. We see through our small windows (of limited understanding, beliefs and past experiences) and see something and take it as the absolute truth. Also most of the times the complete picture is never placed in front of everyone. Because it can be unpleasant, won’t align with the objectives, may cause damage if placed completely or the people may not be smart enough to grasp it in totality. This is also applies to all truths. Historical truths, present truths and projected future truths.
One more mention as we are on it, is about the advent of social media. It has made it easy to propagate radical, fanatical and narrow visions and ideas effectively and widely. Talking about effectively we have to understand that people have become dependent on social media especially videos our pictures/memes as their source of information. What these social media videos do, is to present only one side in a very strong manner. Half truths and falsehoods are combined to create a potent mix that can appeal to the viewer. Added to that are the music, sound effects , snazzy graphics, voice modulation in the manner of a Commander of army exhorting their soldiers. The final products is then edited by experts of audio visual media, in such a way that it tends to stimulate the baser instincts in an extremely effective way. This leads to narrow views getting propagated strongly. One more thing we need to understand is that, the social media algorithms will show you more of what you like to see or watch. They will keep on bombarding you with suggestions, taking into account what you had browsed earlier. Taking you slowly and surely down the rabbit hole, blocking all other ideas, views and opinions. The result is there for all of us to see. What was on the fringes few decades back is now becoming mainstream. Men’s room chatter is being heard with awe in the hallowed halls of the society. And in the process causing extreme strife and divisions in the society. We should not forget that these divisions, though they may help the higher powers transiently, they can cause untold harm to the society in the long run. The suspicions and doubts created in the minds of people can lead to decreased or difficult interactions among various components of society. Leading to decreased productivity of the society as a whole, further leading to decreased economic activity. The fruits of which, our children will have to bear in the form of less security, less employability and overall less opportunity.
Lastly if we think of our lives we have led our lives among different kinds of people belonging to different sections of society. And we never faced any difficulty. There may been one or more instances here and there but it has been overall a peaceful and satisfactory life. But yet we try to collate unpleasant experience of others to make our point. In the process hardening our views and becoming more of a rigid person.
Every section of society has their black sheep. But we cannot label that section based on the deeds of those black sheep.
Ultimately we have to find more similarities and enhance them, while at the same time try to minimise the differences so that they become irrelevant. This will help in cementing the feeling of unity amongst the different sections of society. And will make them stand as one.
Divisions don’t help anybody. Neither in the family, neither in the neighbourhood, neither in the society and absolutely not in any nation which is great or aspires to become great.