The Truth about Truth (Third Amend)

Please note that this content has been subsumed into the originating article: The Truth about Truth.

THIRDRhetoric is a primary driver to fashion our sense of how close or distant we are from reality. Rhetoric shapes and focuses the frame.

War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, and Ignorance Is Strength

1984, George Orwell

I’ve already commented at length about the primacy of rhetoric. To recap for the purpose of this disquisition, the only meaningful arbiter of truth is rhetoric—the ability to persuade the larger populace to accept something as true.

Here, I’d expect someone to counter with, ‘Just because people are convinced that something is true doesn’t make it so’, and they’d be right. However, as we cannot access the underlying reality accept through our admittedly fallible senses, who’s to argue?

Moreover—going off on a tangent—, we know that other lifeforms—let’s stick with the animal kingdom—have different senses than humans, and some humans perceive things differently to the normie (if I may adopt a spectrum term) .

Sharks have electroreception (re: The Ampullae of Lorenzini), which allows them to perceive small changes in electrical fields as well as what’s termed a lateral line ( mechanoreceptor function), which allows them to recognise changes in environmental pressure. Other known sensory adaptations are echolocation in bats and dolphins and chemoreceptors (notably in insects and snails).

We are probably also aware that different animals have differing degrees of sense acuity compared to humans. Dogs hear frequencies above the human threshold and have better olfactory discrimination. Birds of prey have superior vision. Women typically have a broader colour vocabulary.

Bees see in ultraviolet; snakes can ‘see’ in infrared; owls have night-vision.

And then there’s synesthesia, a condition in which one sense is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more additional senses. A person with synesthesia may perceive sound as colour (chromesthesia) or perhaps taste.

Given concepts of normality, we presume we are synesthesia are normal and these other people are somehow not, but for all we know, we normies are evolutionary dead ends, soon to be displaced by synesthesiacs. (Is that even a word? It is now.)

But I digress.

Perception is reality. If one can convince you of something, e.g. Donald Trump is a good president, then it’s ostensibly true to you. If one can convince an entire population that something is true, e.g. the plot of Orwell’s 1984, or The Matrix, then who’s to say otherwise.

15 thoughts on “The Truth about Truth (Third Amend)

  1. Similarly, every human being senses or makes sense of the world differently. Less subjectivity than, what we could call objectivity – like apples and hubcaps – Lyotard in particular discuses s how the term itself never is justified in communication unless we allow the recipient their own manner of justification and do not demand an identical correspondence. At best, every communication is a compromise around what the actual term is supposed to mean. Hence, we either “have faith” that the other person understands, or we just allow the other person to not really understand us for what we mean, to thus allow them thier subjectivity (in the proper sense of the word) for what we said To them and ultimately For them, excluding the truth I intended. This is what Badiou shows us about how the event allows for reality. The issue, as I said, then becomes how we deal with the disconnect: ignore it and see our own project everywhere as the center of the world, or allow for the other, thus to become the Being centered in the world.

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    1. Interesting concept of ‘intended truth’. I’m going to illustrate a problem with that in another post. I can make my point clearer in a full post instead of a reply.

      Thanks in advance for the idea.

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      1. A segue into psychotherapy: It is intentionality that defines subjectivity. But, as we find, ones intension is not sufficient to establish justice. Ones intensional truth is not sufficient for communication.

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      2. I don’t understand the concept that ‘intentionality defines subjectivity’.

        Intention and motivation are two weasel word concepts. In film, we can direct motivation, but in ‘real’ life, we cannot know intention or motivation. As you know, both of these concepts are key to a Western criminal justice system, but only because no one is forced to justify the claim to intentionality.

        Aside from situations of error, we may hear a claim that X intended to harm Y or some such. As X, I might even tell you that my intent was to harm Y. But, as you know, a mitigating circumstance might be that my intent was not to harm Y; rather it was some unconscious intent to harm my mother—doubling down on a Freudian angle, but not too seriously.

        In these court cases, we hear a person declared guilty because ‘obviously’, s/he was motivated by, say, money and publicity to kill Colonel Mustard in the study with a lead pipe. However, this claimed motivation (or intent) cannot be known, not even by the actor. Nonetheless, the jurisprudence system declares these are knowable enough, close to approaching obvious, because their system would otherwise fall apart, so we fortify it with rhetoric (and indoctrination).

        As Upton Sinclair once noted, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” In this case, whole legal systems require this belief, so they declare them ‘good enough for the government’. This is the meta-narrative I continue to question.

        As with any truth, we are stuck on, perhaps, some asymptote, note knowing how far we are from the destination, yet declaring success at every opportunity.

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      3. It would be intresting for someone to develop a project that speaks to motivation. Like phenomenology does with intention.

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  2. I was referring to the justice that arises in a successful communication of truth: if the person understands what I’m intending and I understand that she understands what I meant. Justice in that sense. The issue here is not whether the person actually understands but whether is see or believe they understand. A different approach, in this case, would be to grant a persons attempt to understand as justified and allow for that as opposed to demanding they understand me in the sense that I intend. Rather, I allow them to understand in the manner they are able.

    Like the Cavanaugh hearings: we did not allow this second sense Because Cavanagh and people, in general, were unable to see the ideological intentional bias at work. Hence the truth is evident but not given justice due.

    we demanded that justice be established by intensional rules, which extended to ideology is called oppression: white men are always correct, and the rule we put down establishes justice. In the example of Cavenaigh, justice failed in a true sense, While is was upheld in a real, ideological sense. Real Faith as opposed to truth. I’d say.

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    1. I mean this in a dynamic sense, not a linear reductive sense; in the sense of what occurs, not in an equivocal sense that everyone is the same, like Cavenaghs intension. And Blakey Ford intention that gets tried for evidence. What is occurring is a power play of intentional force. Here Ford’s intention is negated from the beginning in a play where everyone knows the end. So it is not just to speak of Ford’s intention. Not allowing for Kavanaugh’s ability Because he is only able to view the world through his own intension, as in that domain we are each allowed and justified by manipulating discourse however we see fit. And this extended to institutional power, etc…

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      1. Foucault (and Schopenhauer and Nietzsche) would likely agree with you. Growing up, I heard this axiom repeatedly (which probably explains how I got this way—lol):

        There are 3 sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth.

        Introduce the legal (I daren’t use the euphemism, justice) system, and we might end up with something like this:

        1/ my perception of truth
        2/ your perception of truth
        3/ the ‘actual’ truth (unudulterated facts)
        4/ the prosecutor’s version of truth
        5/ the defender’s version of truth
        6/ the judge’s interpretation of truth

        If we add 12 jurors, we add more

        7-19/ interpretations of truth.

        Perhaps we have eyewitnesses, so we get their renditions, and any people observing from the peanut gallery form their own senses of truth.

        Judging by the number of people who have been unfairly convicted, we can see this has problems, but it is not one of calibration. On a tangent again, the legal system is not even designed to yield truth or justice. It is designed to be a repeatable process, a mechanistic function of inputs and outputs.

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    2. I see. In electronic communication, we have continual validation of receipt of content, though not necessarily of meaning (or intent).

      Say, I ask you to pick me up when I get out of work, say, at 7:00. The dialogue might go something like this:

      A: Can you take me home from work when I get out at 7 tomorrow?

      B: Yes. I’ll be there at 7.

      Here, we’ve got initial message, and a closed feedback loop. Our communication has been successful.

      Or has it? What if A assumed that B knew s/he worked a night shift and I meant 7am, but A was left waiting because B assumed an afternoon time.

      Of course, additional communication might have cleared up this simple example, but miscommunications of this sort happen frequently enough.

      In real life, I fly most weeks. I can’t count the number of times I’ve booked a flight departing on Monday at 7pm, when I needed to have booked 7am. (I usually discover this when I try to check in the day before and it’s too early.

      My point is that in both of these examples, the intent to communicate was present, unconscious or passive-aggressive undertones notwithstanding—joking—the communication still missed. A nuanced or emotionally charged situation would only be worse.

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