Questing for the truth wins you no friends

I think I hit upon what among the better of you would regard as a truism: Making finding the truth (or truthfulness as a trait) your moral imperative wins you no friends, possibly even alienating them.

As a certain Brett Stevens would say, social reality appears to trump actual reality. Quite simply, people hate the truth because the truth is nasty. It is not conducive to nice ideals we have in our heads – often quite the contrary, some arguing that truth is not a good weapon to have in your argument because it may be conducive to a moral wrong (slippery slope logic). We are deathly afraid that the truth exposed in full indicates a reality that is inhumanly indifferent to our emotional and social sensibilities. But I want to think about things more on the social side of things.

On a very primitive level, the average socially-involved, well-adjusted Joe or Joan wants to feel good about themselves. They want lots of friends and to win lots of people over. They want to frame things as positively as possible and flatter the right people in the right ways, and scoff at all the wrong people in the right ways. All in all, having the right social graces with the goal of being associated with the right people. In a situation where social graces are paramount (among socio-sexually competitive people and all the ramifications that go with it), utterances beyond graceful, snappy soundbites are a faux-pas. The truth can’t be condensed into such small spaces. If someone makes a glib remark in regards to a touchy subject, such as race, it is considered exceptionally awkward and abrasive to go, “well actually, that’s wrong, because…” cue a long screed of raw facts. It is not just the political incorrectness or inconvenience of the views but the gauche disregard of unwritten etiquette, leading oneself to ridicule if not ostracism. Only the borderline autistic and plain moronic are unaware of the aforementioned status-seeking tendency of humans (those who, like it or not, count) and so will blurt out inconvenient ideas without an iota of regard for presentation. This is how fringe movements (on the un-PC side of things) have such low-status – they become associated not only with the moronic louts but also the socially oblivious. It is these sorts of people who, out of a lack of humility to acknowledge the status-seeking nature of normal people, seek to create bizarre narratives about conspiracies and what have you – confabulations that make them feel good about themselves, albeit using different methods of rationalisation (note that I am not intending to fully discredit all conspiracy theories here – that’s for another post).

Perhaps there is something inherently autistic or ‘autistic spectrum’ about having such a thirst for the truth? It involves the same disengagement from ‘social reality’ to see things how they really are – to cast away that fear of “what would so and so think of me if they knew I thought such unpopular things?”. Nobody likes consorting with people with because they’re real party poopers. It’s as if people subconsciously associate the real truth with the wrong sort of people. Or should I say, they base the validity of a particular truth on the views that is conducive to, and whether that view makes themselves feel better and can be associated with the right kind of people. That’s the yardstick against which things are measured. They are hard-wired this way.

For this reason, sophistry will almost always trump rationality. It is a lonely world for the realist.

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~ by CallistoRising on June 8, 2011.

One Response to “Questing for the truth wins you no friends”

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