Hi Pakistan! I’m back!
Nice to see you!
It’s that time of year again…World Water Day! YAY!
This year, let me just share this. It’s an oldie, but goodie, for sure.
Title: New World Water
Artist: Mos Def
Album: Black on Both Sides
First, there was truth.
But before that, there was ignorance.
We just didn’t know…and there’s nothing wrong with that. There are lots we still don’t know.
For example, we just didn’t know that mass production of livestock and meat heavily processed with industrial chemicals was not the best way to make healthy food. All we knew was that Krusty Burger was delicious! And, oh so convenient.
Then people started dying. We investigated and, it turns out, raising a generation of kids on a biological-industrial assembly line wasn’t too smart. There are now many truths we know about diet, nutrition, obesity, exercise etc, not to mention the environment impacts of how we eat and the poisons we use to grow our food.
This was followed by the “Late-Truth” era.
Simply put, just BS. In our fastfood example, it would be like saying “Well, the Krusty Triple Deluxe with cheese has (wilted) lettuce, (rotting) tomatoes, (stinking) onions, and sesame seeds on the bun. That’s FOUR vegetables. Plus CHEESE. THAT’S DAIRY!! OF COURSE it’s good for you! And for your kids!” Like a sleazy car salesman, it’s not completely untrue, until they’d tag on something like, “It’s extra work to do all this (for you!), but we do it because we care.” The aroma of BS is strong in this one! (Or maybe it’s the onions). People like Ted Cruz and Steve King were masters among masters.
But all this BSing gets tiresome. It’s a lot of work. The “Late-Truth” era soon gave way to “post-truth” which before we knew it, was replaced by “Alternative Truth.”
Cut out the middleman. No more hard work of bending the facts, or finessing the wording, or subtly reinterpreting the meaning. The bottom line, people just want to pig out. They like Krusty Burger and they don’t care what anyone says anymore. And who can blame them. They’re tired of being called fat just because they don’t run masturbatory charity marathons every month. They’re tired of being looked down upon for not using mirin & tamari in their homemade, organic mac and cheese (locally produced open-range goat cheese, of course). They’re tired of being called irresponsible and unfit parents for buying their kid a happy meal.
They want a Doctor Nick to come and tell them, “You aren’t a bad person. Krusty Burger cures cancer. In fact, the greatest chefs in the world (and I know all of them, trust me) prefer Krusty Burger over any five-star restaurant, and make you sexy and rich.”
They wanted someone, anyone, on their side.
It’s not about “truth” anymore. This is one huge mistake liberals are making. Insisting on truth. That is so 1980s. You can show the photo of the National Mall a bajillion times. DJT supporters just don’t care. There were lots of supporters. They support him because he’s a “no BS, straight shooting kinda guy!”
“But he’s not. There’s ample evidence of his con-jobs and sleaziness and overall duchebaggery!!!” you say?
There you go, insisting on truth again.
DJT is a blank canvas anyone can paint with their own biases and prejudices. Both sides do it.
Liberals are taking truth to an ideology fight.
We are guaranteed to lose…every…single…time.
In light of the current US political environment, I’m motivated to write about the difference between “truth” and, well… “truth.”
My goal is not to talk about the results of the election itself. I’m talking about the conversations we have, and how we have them. How that shapes our worlds…and sometimes, governments. So let’s try to divorce ourselves from any political affiliations, and try to take an objective look at the different ways in which process information into our different representations of reality. (This is impossible of course, because my perception of the objectivity of the discussion is subjective…but let’s give it a whirl anyway!)
The topic I would like to use to explore “truth” is Antarctic Sea Ice. The reasons I think this is a good topic are, Climate Change is hotly debated, polar icecaps come up often in conversation, much is known, much is also unknown, and many people have come to many different conclusions. It’s perfect for exploring the different ways in which different “truths” rise out of a single topic.
Antarctic sea ice has increased. This is a fact. As in, this has definitely been observed. It’s not a matter of believing it, or accepting it, or any other decision for you to make on the subject. You can see it. It is a “fact.” It is “true.” But to avoid confusing the terms, let’s say it has been “observed.”
So, Antarctic sea ice has increased. This has been observed. What conclusions can be reached from this observation?
Person A might conclude: Antarctic sea ice is increasing. Ice forms when it’s cold. The Earth must be cooling (and take that a step further and you get, “Climate Change is a HOAX!” But that’s getting political).
Person B: Antarctic sea ice is increasing. But Arctic sea ice is decreasing. The climate is changing.
Person C: Antarctic sea ice is increasing. Magnetic orientation affects formation of crystals, such as ice. Venus and Jupiter must be in alignment, bombarding Earth with crystal forming magnetic energy.
Now, I am only assuming this is how people reach conclusions, using some version of “logic”, where they relate the current observation to other past observations in drawing their conclusions. (It is possible not everybody does this). How do we critique them? Can we ever say any of them is right or wrong? Maybe, maybe not. But that’s our task here today. We can talk about the “soundness” of their arguments. How well they’ve managed to use things they know or have experienced to describe the topic at hand. How likely it is that this current attempt describes the ACTUAL reality of the world.” This is the only question worth asking.
(I’m making another assumption here. One that says when we attempt to describe the reality, we value accuracy. That is, given a description that is likely to closely represent reality, and one that is obvious fantasy, we will have more use for the representative one.)
So, what do you think? Which of the three conclusions is most sound? Least sound?
What conclusion(s) have you reached? And how?
Maybe I’ll leave it at that for now.
There are other topics that could have been explored. Trickle-down economics. Bathroom bills. Vegetarianism. BCS ranking system. Coke vs Pepsi.
Take Gun Control, for example. After a similar “objective” analysis of the available data, many of you that know me might be surprised by the conclusions I’ve reached. Well, some of you that know only my political views might be surprised. Others that know my cold, mechanical insistence to logic might not be so. And that’s another thing I’d like to explore. Identity Politics and how destructively illogical and outrageously senseless like it is.
So, I’ll make this “Truth vs. Truth, Part 1.”
What should we discuss in Part 2?
Let me know in the comments!
The other day, a Pakistani colleague invited us to traditional Sajji. What is sajji? It’s basically a chicken barbecue menagerie. From the Balochistan region of Pakistan. I’ve been fortunate that, through work and other methods, I’ve had many opportunities to experience not just food, but cultures and friendships from around the world. How grateful I feel to the people that have shared these things with me, and how I look forward returning the kindness.
Just as I thought these thoughts, the food arrived and I realized it was Thanksgiving.
So, Happy (accidental) Thanksgiving, everyone.
Wow, so it’s been two months since I’ve posted something significant. Ever since I moved to Tokyo, I’ve not been able to blog as much. There are many reasons, but the main reason is…I don’t have internet at home. It’s expensive and I’m not around, so I’ve been debating whether to invest. And won’t you know, it’s already been two months. The irony is, like most hotels around the world, my hotel in Faisalabad, Pakistan (where I’ve been staying for the last few weeks) has internet Unlimited chromecast binging in any corner of the world, except my own house. Such is my life…
In the meantime, enjoy some pictures from Pakistan: