Truth is the quality or state of being true. Wikipedia adds ‘of being in accord with fact or reality’.
What is especially unsettling is the suggestion that we now live in a post-truth society, where truth does not matter or matters less. Now, emotions and personal beliefs can trump what was previously considered to be either true or false. Post-truth views deliberately confuse opinions and facts. By cherry picking facts and statistics, fantasy becomes reality, and truth and respect optional. Worse, those that disagree with us become our opponents and we, the rightful victors of justice and whatever, are right and true. Somehow this does not sound like a situation with a happy or positive ending.
But what does this have to do with wellness? A lot!! The more the post-truth notion gains hold in society, the less tolerant, compassionate and inclusive we seem to have become. Identity politics has become more accepted. Identity politics considers it fair game to cast very negative views on another’s character just because they do not agree with our views or perspectives. Rather than being inclusive and tolerant of those that differ on matters of opinion, those that disagree are often described in unkind terms and held in distain.
Two central hallmarks of a liberal democracy are the encouragement of differing points of view, and the tolerance of these differences. By a process of debate, over time, society evolves and improves. But central to this evolution is respect for the truth and opportunities for society to learn and change. But that takes time and patience.
Perhaps it is Covid, politics, social (not physical) distancing or whatever, but I have noticed recently in the media and on the streets a reduction in civility and inclusiveness. Post-truth judgementalism seems to have undermined some of the kindness and compassion we feel for others; a slippery slope to go down.
I pray that in 2021 truth returns to take centre stage and with it brings respect and patience for those we disagree with. May opinions be accepted as opinions and not as facts. That is certainly one of my new year’s aspirations. I know this tolerance will significantly enhance my wellbeing and joy in 2021.
Reflection Source: www.Smalmercup.org
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Physically distance, never socially distance.