La Vérité – The Truth Above All Else

After examining the ways of the Persians, Herodotus had this to say about them: “Persians educate their boys to ride well, shoot straight, and speak the truth.” I wholeheartedly agree.

On cherche la vérité au delà de l’immédiat! We Must Look for Truth Beyond What is Apparent!

If only it was this easy!

That is my credo. To not leave a stone undisturbed until I get to the bottom of things. Easier said than done. Also, once done, very hard to take your words back. Because, make no mistake, once you go for the truth, you will step on the ‘bodies’ of your colleagues, friends, and family. Searching for truth is noble. But also very costly. In any case, most of us do not dare advance too much on the road towards finding Truth.

I would wager that most of us who are crazy enough to look for it, curb their enthusiasm once their buddies start ‘dropping’. I mean nobody, and I mean nobody, wants to find the truth at the cost of their lives. They might make bold claims, but once they sacrifice someone dear on their ‘path to discovery’, they give up.

La Bocca della Verita – The Mouth of Truth – cca. 1st century AD – Rome, Italy.
The yawning maw of this Roman visage is said to bite off the hands of liars. If only it was true!

Still, some of us are crazy like that and boldly go where nobody has gone before. I am lucky. I am very lucky to have a forbearing wife and daughter and friends, who put up with the animal inside me. Otherwise, I could not have had it both ways: look for truth while having a loyal and loving family and friends. But still, I managed to make my life difficult, lost potential friends, alienated some very good ones, and created lots and lots of enemies during the ‘discovery process’.

But if you ask me if I’d do it all again, I would say “Yeah. For sure. I’d do it again if I had to.”

And if you must know why, well that requires a more in-depth explanation of the whole scheme of things.

You see, I am complicated man.

Yeah, exactly like him: Dorian Grey grade.

Case in point.

About a year ago, I realized that Facebook and social media in general, were headed in a wrong direction and had purposely been from the start. I was of course late to recognize this. And by 2019, most intelligent people were already out of the social media gimmick, which means I was a very late bloomer in this respect. No matter. As a rule, I play catch-up and once I get the point, I usually make it my life’s mission to be quicker next time.

You see back in October 2019, when I exited FB stage left, I was coming to understand the full perversion of the social media propaganda and its social control architecture. For some years now, I had connected the dots between the 1990s MIRC chat-room software technology and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the other devices of virtual enslavement of humanity.

mIRC – Internet Relay Chat or where teenagers used to hang out in the late 90s.

I firmly believe that MIRC, which was supposed to bring people together, but instead made them rely on a virtual device that displaced the basic human touch, was the epitome of human disconnect. So instead of bringing people together, MIRC was pushing them away from one another.

Nowadays, FB, Twitter, Instagram claim that humans are more in-tune with one another then they ever were throughout history. A bold claim, you might say. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. If we were to measure the parameters of human interaction in terms of meaningful positive relations, we would find out that social media does nothing to make us love, understand, like, engage, debate one another.

The Human Touch. This is how people connect. This is how we communicate.
We really need to be kinder towards one another.

To the contrary. What it does instead is pit brother against sister, mother against father, man against woman, left against right, until the world consumes itself in a war of victimless words. And this is the best case scenario. Because sometimes these casualty free arguments and debates will spill over into the realm of reality, leading to very concrete conflicts, both interpersonal as well as between state actors.

Why is that, we may wonder? I think it’s all psychological. The quasi-anonymity of social media and of the Internet in general ensure that we humans disregard some of the oldest defense mechanisms built-in into our psyches. Because of the physical gulf of separation, the online firewall between us and our virtual peers, we tend to overdo things because there are no immediate consequences to our actions.

So instead of for instance, stopping to think of the psychological and psychosomatic repercussions of our words in a real face to face conversation, we go further. We want to have the last word. We attack our erstwhile conversation partner. We maul them. We belittle them. We enjoy making them suffer via abominable ad hominem arguments, which do nothing to advance the conversation.

Two people on FB arguing some nonsensical stuff. That and sometimes, my wife and I, having a theological debate. I am kidding, of course. Although this Covid-19 lockdown is getting on both our nerves.

Would we really be as vitriolic and outright mean to another person if we were sitting across the room? Would we get down in the mud with such reckless abandon, if we had to live with the consequences of our actions? I know we wouldn’t.

Once I realized all of that, that’s when I decided to take a leave of absence from this foolish stage of human folly we call Facebook.

I got out of FB. I stopped going on Twitter. And for the first three months, it was painful. I was in virtual withdrawal. Having been a junkie for the cheap simulacra of friendships that FB provided so fast, so good, and so much, I was clearly undergoing the stages of withdrawal. I was tempted at every step to go back to FB to check on my friends and frenemies. I wanted to write my stupid little rants that helped nobody, only adding to the general mayhem and utter confusion FB is.

In short, I was a bit lost. Fortunately, I came to a few conclusions in the process.

First, I only had a few real friends on FB. The people you call friends on FB, are not your friends. You visit your friends. You talk to them. You open up to them. You touch them with your words and your hands. You hug them and yes, sometimes you fight with them. And bottom line, you give your friends a kidney if they ever needed one. FB is not a real space. It is virtual. And while you may find a true friend, or even your life’s love there, you need to get out of it and explore that friendship or love outside in the real world. Validation happens on the ground not in an online cloud.

Second, those petty little rants that make you feel so good when you post them on FB. Yeah, those ones. Well, they are all BS. Not only they’re not helpful to others. They are also quite detrimental to your social standing, your own self-worth, and finally they serve to deter your true, smarter friends from ever trusting you with any of their secrets. Nothing personal, since you did not betray their confidence (so far), but they can’t take any chances that you might. You see, FB is a two-edged sword. And it’s one thing “to wash your undies” in full view of a few neighbours or friends, and quite another to do it in front of 1,000 strangers masquerading as your “friends”. Nobody, I mean nobody, wants that kind of aggravation.

Third, even if your posts are not rants, you will ultimately discover how your audience doesn’t care about intellectual stuff. They don’t give a damn about the scientific method. They couldn’t care less if your rationalization was logical or even had a point. You see, and this is a general rule with lots and lots of exceptions, I wager that the smart, I mean the truly intelligent people, checked FB when it first came out, realized it was a sham, and got out. So, now you are left preaching to a choir who you imagine they get you. But here you might be wrong. And the worst thing is that most of them actually don’t.

People generally use FB as a quick fix, so that they may get a little bit of news, a little bit of gossip, and then some are in for the schadenfreude, and before you know it, they don’t care about long winded explanations of the moral failure of 21st century society. However, and this is important to know and never lose sight of, most people care about the latest fad, who engaged in sexual congress with who(m), and who bought what, cats and dogs videos, and making sure they stay on the ‘right’ side of the trending topic. People are very careful to stay with the herd. So, if that means bashing Trump (for example) is in order, so be it. Doesn’t matter what they really think about one issue or another.

All that matters is that they don’t lose face with their so-called friends. Truth is neither here nor there for them. But I guess that is ok, since truth is something that eludes perhaps the best of us, in spite of our best intentions to grasp it.

Ask any shrink worth their salt, and they will confirm that among the various needs human beings crave for, the need for validation is chief among them. I am a human being, hence I require constant validation. That is why I mistakenly looked for it on FB for almost a decade. And that is why I realized that posting on FB, while providing a short-term fix for an information-junkie like myself, would not bring me satisfaction, would not salve my restless mind, and would not validate my self-worth.

I like to write. I like to express myself. And above all, I like to think. To reflect about what went through the minds of kings, philosophers, scientists, hoi polloi, warriors, and priests who have lived before us, that is my daily bread. When I allow the Muse to visit me, I take her hand and we wander together in far away lands, where imagination meets research, and where will and memory alone govern the outcome.

Facebook is about posturing and Truth cannot be reached at while one is pretending to be someone else for the benefit of others.

So, in the last year, I have done my best to write on this blog about the various affairs that came to my attention. Be that politics, the state of the economy, the Great Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020, or just about my own self, I attempted to deepen my understanding of the world, our common microcosmos here on Earth, and I hope I am on the right path. Sometimes we have to take a hard look at our burden and make a decision to unburden ourselves of the extra baggage, which only makes the journey more difficult. And then we have to live with this choice. One thing is sure though.

We must constantly adapt even though we may resent the constant change that comes with it. The alternative is to stop moving and enjoy the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind who knows nothing, wants nothing, and is nothing. Change is the Future. The Past and its Mistakes are Fixed. Constant motion is our friend and only hope for a better Outcome.

The great Carl Sagan, perhaps one of humanity’s most illustrious ambassadors, had this to say about our innate collective delusion of grandeur, which permeated most if not all of our Past.

— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994
That’s us, folks. That’s all there is. So yeah all our internecine fights, our trials and tribulations have occurred on that pale blue dot. Knowledge is humbling. I miss Sagan, I truly do.

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