What do we call people who don’t deal with reality? Crazy! Insane! Mad! Because they are! Reality is there to keep us on the straight and narrow. The degree of detail of our perception of it is the minimum necessary to allow us to survive. For example, if we needed to perceive the ultraviolet wave lengths of the light spectrum to survive, like a bird does, then we would! We all know ultraviolet light waves are out there, but we don’t perceive them. We react strongly to sudden changes in our environment because to ignore them or dither over them took the ditherer’s genes out of the gene pool, i.e. they died! They equivocated when the cheetah was charging; everyone else ran just far enough; and the waffler got et with or without maple syrup.
Reality is out there. We don’t perceive all of it. And, those of us who choose to ignore it will eventually pay an awful price for it.
I love this bit from Stephen Colbert’s very first show way back in 2005 where he introduces his concept of truthiness.
“Now, I’m sure some of the ‘word police,’ the ‘wordinistas’ over at Webster’s, are gonna say, ‘Hey, that’s not a word!’ Well, anybody who knows me knows that I’m no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They’re elitist. Constantly telling us what is or isn’t true. Or what did or didn’t happen. Who’s Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was finished in 1914? If I wanna say it happened in 1941, that’s my right. I don’t trust books—they’re all fact, no heart … Face it, folks, we are a divided nation … divided between those who think with their head and those who know with their heart … Because that’s where the truth comes from, ladies and gentlemen—the gut.”
I love his explanation of truthiness because it has the veneer of truth needed for illusory explanation. It seems right. It hits all the right notes: trust your gut, gut instinct, follow your heart, do your dreams, and all the other new agey bullshit that we’ve let the hippie dippie sorts con us out of our money with. You who else did his dreams? Yeah, him. We need just a bit more than a dream to pursue if we’re going to avoid mass murder, serial sexual assault, or plunging the world into a megalomaniacal fascist war!
Are vaccine deniers any different than climate change deniers or creationists? No. They are all cut from the same cloth. Anywho, great article, y’all, even if it isn’t up to the snarky, sarcasticky, and profaney standards of one of my originals.
How America Lost Its Mind
The nation’s current post-truth moment is the ultimate expression of mind-sets that have made America exceptional throughout its history.
When did America become untethered from reality?
I first noticed our national lurch toward fantasy in 2004, after President George W. Bush’s political mastermind, Karl Rove, came up with the remarkable phrase reality-based community. People in “the reality-based community,” he told a reporter, “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality … That’s not the way the world really works anymore.”
Whoa, yes, I thought: exactly. America had changed since I was young, when truthiness and reality-based community wouldn’t have made any sense as jokes. For all the fun, and all the many salutary effects of the 1960s—the main decade of my childhood—I saw that those years had also been the big-bang moment for truthiness. And if the ’60s amounted to a national nervous breakdown, we are probably mistaken to consider ourselves over it.
Continue reading at The Atlantic: How the U.S. Lost Its Mind