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Where Can We Find “Truth”

I believe, one of the biggest challenges we have right now is the answer to the question:

“Where can I find the truth?”

or even the question could be

“What does truth even mean now?”

With trust being at an all-time low towards all kinds of institutions (based on a lot of research like Edelman’s) and people having the need for “control”, there are more conspiracy theories than ever. On top of that, those theories spread with the speed of light thanks to #socialmedia and its algorithms that bring you even more of the same, once you show interest in a certain view.

This puts us in different rabbit holes that are not even visible to us. Hence there are “alternative facts”, different truths for different people, and a lot of polarization.

We are seeing the implications of this all around us from how we react to Covid19, to vaccinations, to what happened at our Capitol on Jan 6th, and a lot more that may not even make the news.

Being the naïve person I used to be, I thought the majority of people believed in science and there are facts that are backed with evidence which we can all accept. At least among the educated ones. Now I notice people around me or on TV or on social media, those who I believe to be more educated than others sharing theories and made up stories that have no evidence to back them up. I find myself puzzled having no idea how to react. Even worse, I see some coming up with even more conspiracy theories in real-time as we are discussing the consequences of these untruthful beliefs.

We have to resolve this for the betterment of our humanity, for unity, for understanding each other. But how?

One major decision we can all make is to take the responsibility to do fact-check, research the source of what we read or watch before we share with others. That can help us at least not become part of the problem. I know this is only the tip of the iceberg though. What else can we do to understand the motives and psychology behind the believers of made-up stories or conspiracy theories so that we can make a change?

I personally started reading a lot about this. I am so curious. I want to understand, not blame or shame. I read through some very scientific papers a friend of mine sent that tells me, for some, it is coming from a need to control in a world where everything looks crazy.

This article tells condemning these people makes things even worse, so that is not the solution either.

Here is even one explanation from a mathematician.

Are you thinking about this challenge as well? What do you think? I feel like people with different expertise need to look at this from all angles to help us all out. If we do not address this, it looks like it can cause a lot more harm to humanity.

Where can we find the truth? Is there only one truth? What is constitutes a fact?

Questions lingering in my mind especially in the last year.

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Brooke O. Erol
Brooke O. Erolhttps://www.purposeful.business/
Brooke O. Erol started her career at IBM following the traditional path she was given to be "successful". She quit her "great job" on paper after 11 years, feeling she is not aligned with it. She started her journey to find her purpose in life. She started her first business in 2003; Your Best Life to help professionals who don’t like their jobs and want to find more meaning at work. After being around so many unhappy people at work as her clients, she decided to help the organizations and leaders who employed them. She started her second business; Purposeful Business to help leaders catch up with our times and grow their businesses without sacrificing the well-being of their people; where profit becomes a by-product rather than the main goal. She believes life is too precious to live only for weekends and retirement. She is the author of Create a Life You Love. She is also the co-author of "From Hierarchy to High Performance: Unleashing the Hidden Superpowers of Ordinary People to Realize Extraordinary Results" that became an International Best Seller in 2018. She speaks and writes about Leadership, Purpose-Driven Life and Organizations, Future of Work in the US, and abroad.

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5 CONVERSATIONS

  1. An existential topic if ever there where one, much has already been said about it. A corner stone (one of the corner’s of the Greek square: The Good, The Just, The True and The Beautiful with phonesis and freedom in the center) in human existence and a daily normative challenge our entire life. It’s a key concept in upbringing, interaction and relationships … So, a great topic – where does all this untruth come from, why are we seeing these increasing symptoms (fake news, conspiracies …), I call them symptoms as they must (I hope) be expressions of misguided normativity in humans on which the light from The Good and The Just has been turned off and have lost trust (perhaps even faith in Humanitas and Communitas). Why is that, how can we change that and what can we do about as you Brooke raise in this piece are extremely valid – a piece of our human foundation is being shaken, that we must take seriously. I leave you with a quote from a favourite Danish philosopher in leadership and organisational philosophy, Ole Fogh Kirkeby (The virtue of Leadership, p.40):
    “The importance of the story as a means of conveying the truth about the organization illustrates precisely how inseparable the true is from the normative, from the good and from a perspective that summarizes events through a historicity that derives its impact from the auspices of justice”.
    Hence, it is most feasible, that if you are excluded from a “communitas” and its truth, you will form your own truth and potentially your own communitas, or enter one, that includes you and “your” truth.
    Looking forward to following YOU on this important topic – thanks a lot for your thoughts.

  2. Blessings Brook,
    In reading your article, it struck a cord in many different areas of my thoughts, and the one that kept coming to mind is in John 18:38 Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” Even back then a question was left to ponder, “What is truth?” Not just in the question asked of Jesus, but what especially what you ask in your article.

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