How to Survive the Uncertainty of the Post-Truth Era
Have you ever heard of quicksand? I have, but I have never personally experienced it although I have seen it used as a plot changer in lots of movies/TV shows, as well as in many books. Quicksand is a mire that a person gets stuck in and the more he tries to get out of it, the worse his situation gets. He must anchor to something outside the quicksand in order to pull himself free or all is lost as this muck slowly sucks him to his death even as he stays unmoving. This is the situation that our current world is in. And this is the mire that we must train to survive.
Imagine my surprise when a few months back on a Sunday morning at church, the pastor of a local church I attended stated that we were in a post-truth era… What in the world is that? I had never heard of such and frankly immediately rejected the very idea…. Wait, that is exactly what it is… immediate lack of trust for what we hear/see/experience from previously respected resources…. How did we get here in this quicksand, and how do we get ourselves out?
Post-truth was announced in 2016 as Oxford Dictionaries’ International Word of the Year “as it is the word more than any other that reflected this past year in language.” Post-truth is defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in sharing public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” The fancy word for all the study and research around this is Agnotology, or the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt. So, what has really happened, quicksand…
Post-truth is defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in sharing public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
When I grew up, the ground was very steady – truth or lie… now it is truth, lie or a fact that is not completely true but is considered too benign to be a lie. So, a liar is no longer called a liar but an “ethically challenged” person. A lot of this uncertainty is caused by the lovely Internet, Facebook, socio-politics, etc. Truth is not defined as a certain moral principle anymore but rather a fact I can choose to accept or decline. Sure, many blogs, magazines, newspaper articles blame the middle-class voters for this as they elected Trump and they declare him the epitome of this era; however, I don’t want to discuss politics but rather how this era is affecting our local businesses, our children’s future and our current relationships with others.
Consciousness is defined as pure awareness governed by truth. Jesus said, “I am The Truth, The Way, The Life.” The anchor that must be used to get us out of this quicksand of post-truth is just this…. Truth and yet so many are afraid to hear it as it does not agree with their agenda, wants, and beliefs that it is immediately rejected. How do you combat this to succeed? Constant steadiness of truth. Truth isn’t popular. I especially do not like it when it is against me personally… truth like “it is cancer” can be undeniable (although even that is debatable now), but how it is treated is no longer status quo or easily accepted. Doctors, teachers, business leaders and even pastors who were once respected as authorities in their fields are now questioned and second guessed and to tell the truth, this isn’t always a bad thing as it does require the brain to examine and think deeper. Challenging current mindsets of individuals, groups, business models and professionals isn’t always popular nor is it bad, but neither is sticking only your hand into quicksand…. It only becomes dangerous when you immerse yourself in it without looking where you are going. So, what determines the right/wrong amount of examining and questioning? Truth… the anchor… the thing that pulls you out because it is unsteady and unwavering… upbringing …. moral character… Biblical principles…. Never before have all of these things come so heavily under fire.
Navigating this post-truth era of quicksand is a challenge in all areas of life, but there are a few things anchored in truth that will hold steady whether in personal/professional relationships, business practices, or even online interactions. I love the poster using THINK as an acronym T-True? H-Helpful? I-Inspirational? N-Necessary, K-Kind… If these simple principles guided our relationships well in the past, can they not guide them well today? I like the words written thousands of years ago in Philippians 4:8 “Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, if there be any virtues or any praise, think on these things.” These are the anchors. The first in both of these is TRUTH. If the very foundation of who you are is being questioned, the truth of how you were raised, the truth of your beliefs, the truth of all that you know is shaken to the core, what do you hold to? I anchor in Jesus. Many even question who He is. But I know Him. And THAT is the key.
I love the poster using THINK as an acronym T-True? H-Helpful? I-Inspirational? N-Necessary, K-Kind… If these simple principles guided our relationships well in the past, can they not guide them well today?
Relationship. Here is the basic truth that will get you out of the quicksand of this life. Get to KNOW the people, businesses, persons you trust… Everyone makes mistakes and all of us dip toes, fingers, hands, arms, and sometimes even sit on the bank of the quicksand of life, but our anchors are the people and relationships around us. As a small business owner, I want my families who interact with us to KNOW me. Because in knowing me, they will trust my heart. They will know that I truly will do all in my power to help them. You see, even the man completely drowning head under in the quicksand can be rescued with a strong anchored relationship. I especially love the scene in “The Princess Bride” where Buttercup is swallowed whole by the lightning quicksand but her love, Wesley, grabs a thick vine anchored to a huge tree and jumps in after her headfirst and pulls himself and her to safety by trusting in the vine. This again goes to scripture where Jesus says, “I am the vine and you are the branches, he that believe in me shall have life and have it abundantly.”
Find your anchor. Hold on tight, especially if you decide to walk without looking where you are going. Establish close relationships around you so that when you misstep, those around you will grab hold of the vine and jump in to rescue you. Surviving the quicksand of this era is knowing the truth and not allowing yourself to be wavered. Here’s to you and your relationships built deep in trust.