This being the Sabbath and all I thought it a good time to consider the idea of truth and what it means to us, to me and to you.
As far as I can tell there are two main types of truth, one that is becoming vastly more popular than the other. There is truth founded on belief. That's the sort of truth you'll find preached in pews wherever Christians gather today. It's a lot like the truth our Jewish brethren exchanged yesterday and the children of Islam delved into on Friday. When it is embellished with religious overtones we call it "faith."
'Truth' founded on belief is a lot more prevalent than you might imagine. It has a vast secular dimension. As John Ralston Saul observes in his book on globalism, all ideologies, economic or political, are belief-based. He devotes several pages documenting how economic models, at least historically, have lasted on average about 30 years before they're replaced by the next great thing which we believe to be more sound or convenient, a correction to our former flawed notions. Political ideology is likewise a belief-based construct. Communism, socialism, social democracy, capitalist democracy, oligarchy, plutocracy - they're belief based and, perhaps with a bit of occasional blood-letting here and there, interchangeable.
The other side, fact-based truth, that's in trouble. It impedes things like unfettered commerce. Ask Monsanto or Exxon. The last thing they want to do is confront facts, particularly scientific fact. Not for nothing do they attack science as a modern "religion." It may not cut much ice with the scientific community or those who prefer fact-based truth but that doesn't matter. It works just fine with their target audience - those who need to believe and will reject what Al Gore called the "inconvenient (fact-based) truth."
This leads to the now predictable faith-based response to fact-based truth, usually in the form of attacks on Gore for the size of his house, Suzuki for the number of his children or scientists generally for their massive (five figure) salaries. It becomes like a mantra, more compelling with each additional chanter. It's a bit like a quasi-hypnotic reaction, a mass psychosis.
Our political leadership has become disturbingly belief-based. Our current prime minister solemnly pledged that his government would follow the science. He left out the part about 'how far' because the honest answer would be 'not very.' His mandate letters to his ministers made each and every one a vassal to the nation's economy and his neoliberal vision of what that should be.
Mr. Trudeau is a disciple to the cult of perpetual exponential growth. It's entirely belief-based given the premise that our economy can continue to grow, steadily ever faster, endlessly on a planet that is decidedly finite, not growing, not a bit. If anything, our rapidly metastasizing human civilization is shrinking, as in degrading, the planet's ecosystem. Earth's carrying capacity is no longer what it historically was. Doesn't sound like someone is 'following the science.'
Like all cults, neoliberalism's quest for perpetual exponential growth is entirely belief-based and, like all belief-based truth of its dimension, it won't end well. It may end abruptly but it won't end well.
Like all cults, the neoliberal order and its High Priests ignore whatever doesn't suit their belief-construct. They still chase a toxic growth paradigm even though the Earth's envrionment, its biosphere is already reeling.
Neoliberalism's cult needs a collaborator to spread the news. Enter the mainstream media. This bit posted to Facebook gives you the idea:
Like it or not, we're at a moment when we need a lot more fact-based truth and not so much faith-based 'truth' whether that's religious, political or economic belief. One and only one of them leads us to a future. The other only leads us to Armageddon, extinction.
We're coming to a point where we need solid, fact-based leadership. We're in a jam. It's man-made. A lot of this mess traces straight back into belief-based thinking, really messed up ideas that flew in the face of knowledge, fact and truth. It worked, or so it seemed, for a few decades but it's not working any more. The economic model we continue to cling to has outlived its utility. It's not working for us any longer. It's working against us, driving critical resource exhaustion, climate change and the looming collapse of biodiversity. Now, more than ever, we need leaders clear-headed enough to try to steer us in another direction.
On Friday, Luis Alfonso de Alba, the top UN envoy entrusted with preparing September's [climate change] summit, called for a "drastic" rethink of the global economic model.
Required was a "transformation of the way we consume, the way we produce," de Alba said. "This is not a process in which we can aim at a gradual increase of ambitions."