“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
― Adolf Hitler
A rephrasing of the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s (opposite) observation about the truth: “A lie passes through three stages. First, it is rejected. Second, it is considered. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” If he read Schopenhauer (as he may well have), this may well have been the basis of Hitler’s quote above seventy years after Schopenhauer’s death.
It is truly amazing what some people believe, especially due to what is being called the “Info Wars”, about everything today – it’s difficult (at best) to discern what is fact from fiction, what is truth or lie.
One could blame unscrupulous trolls or manipulative “foreign agents” on the Internet or on Social Media, or statements by self-aggrandizing politicians or preachers, or family/tribal lore. One could blame some people for merely being trusting but gullible fools, or the educated who simply lack the time or means to do the required diligent research on their own to find what is true or lie.
And one would be right. All that is to a lesser or greater share for the reason why so many people just don’t know what’s true anymore. Especially when it comes to politics.
An interesting study and experiment was done at Yale, to see if conservatives could be turned into liberals. Apparently, they can be. The results say a lot about our political divisions (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2017/11/22/at-yale-we-conducted-an-experiment-to-turn-conservatives-into-liberals-the-results-say-a-lot-about-our-political-divisions/?utm_term=.1f8af09c0744).
My citing this study is not meant to pick on conservatives (I’m sure that a study and experiment to see if liberals could be turned into conservatives would yield similar results) any more than it’s my intent in citing another piece that helps explain why conservatives react to certain “hot button” issues, like immigration (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/14/identity-politics-right-left-trump-racism?) Of course, again, the opposite findings would be equally apparent if applied to a study of liberals – there surely are some things that are their “hot buttons” that are equally misguided.
The point I’m attempting to make is that the truth is subjective – we believe what we want to believe – especially when our belief is reinforced by others who tell us we’re right to believe it.
The bottom line here – my message today – is, don’t believe and accept as factual and true whatever you see or hear, and to always challenge – with an open mind, putting aside any preconceived biases you may have picked up or been indoctrinated in – what the truth really is. Because what you think is the truth might just be a lie.
I’m just sorry I can’t offer an easy fool-proof way that could prove it.
But that doesn’t mean we individually and collectively should ever give up trying, and just accept what we are told, regardless of the source.