Is There Really “No Such Thing, Unfortunately, as Facts Anymore”? – The Quintessential Leader Perspective

Posted: December 11, 2016 in Quintessential Leader Insights
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"1984" - George OrwellIf you haven’t read 1984 by George Orwell in a while, or if you’ve never read it at all, I strongly urge you to read it now.

Written almost 70 years ago, there is no novel – except perhaps Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel, Brave New World (which describes a completely different component of the world we live in today: illiterate, superficial, pursuing immediate gratification and a life devote to pleasure-seeking, eschewing knowledge, education, and thinking as dull and boring and unnecessary), which I see as a companion novel to 1984, even though they were written 17 years apart – that describes the world you and I now inhabit.

Although the upcoming presidency of Donald Trump and his cronies throws this reality in our faces daily, our path to the society and world that 1984 details has been well under way for quite some time in every facet of life: business, education, religion, politics, social life, and family life.

The truth has become a dead relic in these institutions, even the ones claiming to have the truth and speak the truth. What has replaced the truth is a spun, angled, mangled mess that has a few grains of truth scattered here and there surrounded by a greater whole that seeks control and power through indoctrination, fear, intimidation, and outright lies.

For the minority of us who have taken up the mantel of becoming quintessential leaders, it is a dismaying place we find ourselves in as pilgrims and sojourners.

We wonder at our fellow human beings who don’t seem to even realize or understand how far into error and lies they’ve, in many cases, willingly and purposefully, walked and, perhaps, even run.

We are appalled at the ignorance – and the unfathomable accompanying pride about the ignorance – and abysmal lack of education and knowledge (reading, research, proving, disproving, discerning, and then application) that is all around us.

We are disheartened by the foolishness and the lack of wisdom that has taken root in every facet of life and which is praised as virtue instead of vice.

And, as quintessential leaders who are pursuing building trust and being trustworthy, which begins with integrity, we are always on guard, knowing that there is nothing – and, quite frankly, no one – in the world and society we live in that we can inherently trust. 

Instead, we listen with wary ears and read with questioning eyes and observe with a heightened awareness that deception in some form or another is the norm and our job is to find the truth, know the truth, hold on to the truth, and live the truth

In short, we question everything that crosses our lives in whatever form it takes.

We process those things by thinking critically about them. We investigate them thoroughly.

We take the time to find out whether they are truth (facts) or lies (and these lies take a lot of forms, and because they play on emotions and cognitive biases we may not even be aware of, many of them are so subtle that if we do not expend the energy and the diligence to prove or disprove them, we’ll be thoroughly deceived).

It takes a lot of work and effort to do this. But for quintessential leaders, this is not an optional part of life. It is who we are, what we are, and who and what we are striving to become as we continue in the path of quintessential leadership.

For most people, though, it seems that this has become an optional part of life, and even within that majority, it has disappeared completely from their lives.

A case in point is a recent statement (November 30, 2016) by one of president-elect Donald Trump’s surrogates and a paid commentator on CNN. 

On what I am presuming is a talk radio (I can’t even abide this format, so while I’ve heard enough excerpts to know it’s just chronic diarrhea of the mouth, I have never listened to it and never will) show, “The Diane Rhem Show,” Scottie Nell Hughes denied that knowable reality exists when she blithely stated: “There’s no such thing, unfortunately, as facts anymore.

I know that Hughes’ statement is an outright lie.

But I also know that her viewpoint, which extends to and has been amply demonstrated by president-elect Donald Trump, is the viewpoint of much of the society and world around us, so, in effect, we see in her and in the president-elect a reflection of our own majority belief that there is no such thing as facts – and, by extension – truth anymore.

When there are no facts left, then there is no history, no knowledge, and no understanding. Whatever we want to say or do becomes okay. There is no longer any context nor constraints within which the human race must live and operate. There, ultimately, is no right or wrong.

When we deny the existence of facts (and truth) – no matter how unpleasant they may be to face and consider – we throw growth and change away, along with critical thinking, reason, logic, analysis, testing, conscience, and memory.

We devalue and surrender the greatest gift that we have as humans, and we become slaves to every whim and notion that blows in the wind as it appeals to our emotions and the baseness of our human nature.

Although Hughes’ statement that facts don’t exist anymore mirrors the belief of much of the society and world we live in, in the end, she is demonstrating her own ignorance and deception through this lie she’s telling.

Facts exist. They always have and they always will. The truth exists. It always has and it always will.

Denying that they exist doesn’t change that they exist.

As quintessential leaders, we must always value, seek, hold onto, live by, and uphold, no matter what else we do (because this is our character and it’s all we take with us, in the end, out of this dancing on the earth for a short while) facts and the truth.

How are we doing?

 

 

 

 

Comments
  1. […] Among the many legacies the past 20 or so years have left us as a society with, one of the most tragic, from a quintessential leadership perspective, is the widely-accepted and heartily-embraced death of the truth. […]

  2. […] its place is deception and dishonesty. Facts don’t matter, nor do they even have to exist. Facts can be completely ignored, or they can be twisted and spun to fit into individual and […]

  3. […] why fake news and alternative facts are not only the norm, but completely acceptable to most people, and why so many people believe […]

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