“If a man shall begin in certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.”
“I don’t rule out anything.”
Yikes is all I can say when thinking about the gap between when an event happens … and the inevitable truth comes out.
In fact … I would suggest that in between is simply the ‘big squeeze’ where you & I <and, unfortunately, truth gets squeezed>.
In today’s news and social technology … world events, facts, speculation and truth become so blurred it is not only difficult to know what is going on … it is difficult to know what did go on.
The trouble is that facts get dribbled out like scarce drops of water and each get analyzed as if they were each an ocean of facts <when it is one drop of information and a gazillion drops of speculation>.
A story unfolds slowly … never fast enough for anyone … and if you don’t pay attention ‘your’ story may be three or four editions behind <yet … that is what you believe>.
On a side note … unfortunately this also seem to happen far too often in the business world.
So … what can we believe?
What is “true” or “valid” or “reliable” information?
These words are all slightly different. And, unfortunately, those differences create entirely different worlds of meaning.
In fact … those words inevitably intrude nevetween the event and truth. They intrude between reality and perceptions and, ultimately, understanding.
All the while the confusion upsets the majority.
“There is much contradictory news, I really don’t know what to believe.”
Excessive alarm, fueled by misleading news reports, leads to knee-jerk responses that are not necessarily for the best.
It is another fact that theories grow without facts.
And then scraps of information beget even more theories.
And initial theories are revised with new information.
And in the end theories are actually created by selective use of some scraps of information.
The main ingredient for rumor generation and transmission is uncertainty.
It is within the lack f full information … some of which is called a ‘mystery’ or ‘crisis’ which permits everyone to play detective and theorist for a day.
So much uncertainty also creates opportunities for people with existing agendas to dwell on their favorite themes <take a moment and think about this in business … that ambitious fool in the cubicle across the floor seeking an opportunity to move ahead in the wretched in between of the event and final truth … sigh>.
“…. truth enters into the world for Badiou not as a state but as a process, or more specifically as four processes: love, politics, art and science.
He claims that truth itself is almost impossible to recognise as truth, but it can become briefly discernable for a passing moment in what he calls an event.
The event is a rupture in the current circumstances caused by an awareness of what is missing from those circumstances. The event is a glimpse of the void inherent to any given state.
Having experienced such an event, a subject is created who has a chance to affect the world by remaining faithful to the event of truth they have encountered.
It is maddening … but he is correct.
An event is being defined by love <people who are hurt or benefit from>, politics <those with an agenda>, art <I will loosely use this as journalism … but in today’s social world … let’s call it ambient journalism or amateur storytelling> and science <the endless array of experts who cite research and science>.
We are barraged from all sides by these four things.
I will call this the big squeeze.
We get squeezed as truth is validated by the traditional aspects in which truth is arrived at:
- Statistics: Could that observation of a phenomenon be in error? Statistics reveals patterns and tests validity of generalizations –For example, if a finding was made by chance.
- Explanatory power: Utility of an idea in helping integrate a larger array of ideas in a coherent way.
Those three things imply ‘time.’
As in a reasonable amount of time to have these things unfold.
Its trouble because while media endlessly states with sincerity … “of course it is premature to draw conclusions” they immediately veer into theory, hypothesis and speculation.
Second guessing decisions and actions as well as guessing <or speculating> on conclusions all the while establishing the outer limits of what is only frustrated guesswork but is truly the outer limits of the boundaries squeezing us.
“In this age of instant reporting and tweets and blogs, there’s a temptation to latch on to any bit of information, sometimes to jump to conclusions.
But when a tragedy like this happens, with public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it’s important that we do this right.
That’s why we have investigations.
That’s why we relentlessly gather the facts.
That’s why we have courts.
And that’s why we take care not to rush to judgment — not about the motivations of these individuals; certainly not about entire groups of people.”
President Barak Obama
Most of us want to know when there is an event … but we want to know truth.
And, yet, the world around us is squeezing us on all 4 sides with images and words.
The ‘gap’ between the event and truth actually becomes the crisis … not the event itself <and if any word is being overused these days it is certainly ‘crisis’>.
Truth is never <or let’s say … very very rarely> a static state.
If it were than an event would have a predetermined truth.
Badiou sees knowledge as ultimately fragile and subject to change.
As an event occurs truth is created.
Which means we should look to science as to how we should assess information in the gap … as we are getting squeezed:
- VALIDITY of data refers to its accuracy and specificity, as well as its applicability to the question being asked.
- RELIABILITY refers to data’s precision, consistency, and appropriate resolution
As we transfer information we learn about an event into our pea-like brains and start thinking about it … we are right to question and test our perceptions — to establish the validity and reliability of our experiences and the beliefs they engender.
We are all concerned about what is true and what is not — with what is real.
Memory and imagination are strong sources of imagery.
But our struggle is to discern our internal instincts <thoughts we naturally gravitate to> from the external opinions mixed with true knowledge or we are hopelessly confused.
Scientists are awesome at actually discerning.
As they explore the boundaries of what is ‘known’ they are especially wary.
They are often confronted with information for which there is little or no precedent to guide their judgment about the meaning of their data.
Politicians and journalists suck at this.
Politicians and journalists have a common interest in crises. When there’s a crisis, people buy newspapers and turn on the news to learn how politicians and leaders will fix the crisis.
In addition … crises give politicians <and people with some agenda … in general> more power.
And maybe that is where the big squeeze, the gap between the event and the truth, really gets us.
We seem to be a society fond of creating a sense of crisis all the time … and only some of the time, now and then, the truth comes out.
Many philosophers have expounded on the difference between knowledge and truth but not many have invested a lot of energy <and thinking> of how a sense of crisis affects how we absorb knowledge and arrive at truth.
Not everything is a crisis.
It can be a tragic event … it could be a tragedy of errors … it could simply be an unfortunate confluence of unintended consequences … but most events are not crises.
This is true in every day Life as well as in business.
But regardless of an events ‘label’ I can almost guarantee we will be squeezed by a combination of what I stated earlier … Badiou suggests Truth is not a state but a process, or more specifically as four processes: love, politics, art and science.
When an event happens we will be squeezed in the gap between the event and truth by the 4 things I listed above.
How much you care.
How much society cares <politics>.
How much art cares <because they create the imagery>.
How much science cares <because they create the facts>.
We just need to try and not be suffocated by all that caring until the truth is aired.