This past week I sat with a human resource staff member to discuss certain work situations that had arisen over the last few weeks. As is typical, the work situations involved a lot of she said, she said and so on. At one point in the conversation, I shrugged and I noted that there are times when there “is no truth“. We can investigate situations at work and come to realize there are many truths. The same happens nowadays in our everyday lives in the so-called real world that is not sop real anymore. It is as if we are truly living in the matrix with no blue pill option (or is it red?).
Yes, when I was a child everything was black or white. There was right and there was wrong. There was the truth and there was a lie. I could be given a time out in the corner for telling a lie. Now, perceptions have become truths. Now, the truth is whatever we claim it to be. And truths can just be ignored or cast aspersions upon. Truly. It is so codified in our laws and regulations, in particular in the workplace. Optics and perceptions have become everything. Truth stands in the corner like a prom wallflower. It is ignored in favor of flashier beings.
We have seen this play out on national and cable news day after day and second after second. There can be a video showing a situation and people will still dispute the video claiming that people see what they want to see. We can all see a man grabbing a woman’s arm and still dispute whether it happened. We start bringing in why and intentions. Those are all well and good when considering consequences but should those even come to play when considering whether the videotaped event occurred? Of course, as a social psychologist, I know very well that eye-witness testimony s not reliable. What we see is indeed colored by our past. Does that mean there are no more truths?
When we post photos onto Facebook, Flicker or Twitter they can be “filtered”. They are edited on the post to be made prettier or grittier. It use dot be that we needed black and white film to take black and white photos. Now we can take them without digital camera we have and then monochrome them. I can make a beautiful sunny day look dark and menacing with a tap.
At this point, your truths are not my truths and mine are not yours. Have we finally reached the post-modern world we have been reading about in the books and saw in old films?