Dealing with Conflict in a Post-Truth World

Photo by Sushil Nash on Unsplash

We now live in a post-truth world.

The proliferation of unsubstantiated claims on the internet has made claiming something akin to it being true, therefore delegitimising truth.

This is an exceptionally dangerous place for a society to be in, and I have no doubt that if left unchecked, it will lead to increasingly fucked up situations and a shitload of human suffering.

So, the key questions are: How did we get here, and what can we do about it?

How we got here: ignorance, laziness and privilege

The truth is rarely pink and fluffy. …

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

I often talk about beliefs as a map for the world, where we decide which direction to take on the map (read: life) based on the beliefs we’ve formed.

But this metaphor might not be the best way to look at it.

Maybe our beliefs are better thought of as compass, pointing due north, being pulled not by the magnetic field of the pole, but by our impending fate; forever pointing towards our future.

And when life throws us off course, like it inevitably will (see: 2020), we clamber to find our compass to show us the way back to…

Image by 272447 from Pixabay

Discontentment is a pandemic in its own right.

We alone are responsible for each element in our lives, but we’re often unhappy with the picture we paint for ourselves.

We drive forwards on a path we laid out and find when we get to the destination that we’re disappointed. There is a cliff between our expectations and our reality.

Why is this?

First we need to look at what impacts our decision making.

Why We Do Things

We do things for one of two reasons: because they feel good, or because we think they’re the right things to do.

While there is obviously overlap…

Image by Jim Semonik from Pixabay

One of the consequences of our busy age is this persistent belief that busy means productive.

This is why we have twenty hours of productivity masquerading as forty or even sixty hour work weeks.

It’s also why we rely on multiple task organisers talking to each other, why we have this obsession with to-do lists, and why we feel we should be on every social media platform around.

The best things we can focus our time on, however, are things that aren’t easily checked off a to-do list. …

Image by mohamed matar from Pixabay

If you ask a room full of people to raise their hand if they’re more self-aware than the average person, it’s likely the majority would raise their hand.

Why is this?

Well, there’s an inherent bias built into the system. And while I hate to answer a question with another question, consider the following:

If we aren’t self-aware, how would we really know?

If you’re now slightly uncomfortable, sitting thinking about your own life, actions and choices, then that’s great. That’s exactly where we begin: discomfort.

Perfection is a myth

You can’t teach a man (or woman) what they already know. As such, before…

Understanding beliefs as choices

No matter whether you’re born on the breadline or to a billionaire tycoon, your childhood is a time for hand-me-down beliefs.

This is where you observe the world and the people in it, and you try on a range of beliefs for size. You get a feel how comfortable they are, how they make you feel. And, in time, you shed some of these beliefs and replace them with others.

This process is easy as a kid. One week you’re acting like a cowboy, the next week you’re the Indian, with no grasp of the cultural…

Image by Jan Ontkoc from Pixabay

We don’t get to choose who we become.

Not at first anyway. At first, we get assigned some combination of traits, beliefs and habits based on a multitude of different inputs.

These inputs vary from human to human based on our own unique experiences, ultimately forming a large part of who we become.

Then, as adulthood approaches, this patchwork quilt of self is quickly domesticated and integrated into society, which is itself a system of beliefs that is forever morphing over time.

The ultimate outcome of which depends heavily on the subconscious conditioning, subsequent belief system and resulting habits that…

A visual representation of a virus strain set against a matrix-style background with columns of numbers, all in red hues.
A visual representation of a virus strain set against a matrix-style background with columns of numbers, all in red hues.
Image by Matryx on Pixabay

Right now, as I type this and surely as you read it, conspiracies spread through the digital world and infect the brains of otherwise rational human beings.

And since it takes each sensational story only seconds to share no matter the distance, the infection rate of conspiracy culture is beyond the scope of any virus we’ve ever seen.

COVID-19: One plot to rule them all

It’s May 12th, 2020, in what is now unofficially the year of the bat. Daily life involves arguing on social media over which malevolent organisation started the current pandemic, and for what reasons. A task that, lacking in credible evidence, has mutated…

A solitary three quarter moon on a pitch black background in black and white.
A solitary three quarter moon on a pitch black background in black and white.
Photo by Marcus Dall Col on Unsplash

The moon isn’t on lockdown,
It doesn’t need to isolate,
It’s not bothered about Boris’ speech
Being put back to half past eight.

The birds aren’t panic buying,
They couldn’t give a shit,
They’re all still flying close together
Coz they don’t care one little bit.

The trees won’t wash their branches,
Or start wearing leaf-shaped gloves,
And no matter how bad this shit gets
The sun will still shine up above.

The world, she’ll keep on spinning,
Dancing around her star,
And the rest of the planets don’t give a fuck
That they’ve shut your local bar.

Terry Downie

Master of hard truths. Exploring culture, mindset, tech and entrepreneurship. Forever taking global issues personally. Creator of

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