Questioning the Answers in a Post-Truth Age

The power of belief.

From family gurus to Disney movies – they all talk about it. Belief can movie mountains, they say. Except it can’t. What it can move, however, is hearts and minds. And never has the power of belief been more dangerous.

The Oxford Dictionary word of the year is “post-truth”. Apparently, that’s the age we are living in. The post-truth age.

The young word (seriously, it’s barely of drinking age) is an adjective that defines something as ruled by emotion, and appeals to emotion, with no basis on objective truth. A right-brain utopia where subjectivity is king. Where truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction, and less believable.

It frustrates, and angers, and disheartens. In an era where more answers are available than ever, where knowledge is at our fingertips, the post-truth martyrs wage war on social media, and take pride in putting rhetoric over facts. Where new words and phrases are invented to mock and belittle the opposition, but never to really address their questions – indeed, there is always a calculated attempt to shift the spotlight away from questions.

In the post-truth era, answers are a-plenty. They are available in the form of forwarded Whatsapp jokes, of “hilarious” mutant words (presstitute, sickular), of counter-questions that hide behind history to avoid confronting the present. In the post-truth era, one liners are more important than informed opinions and chest-thumping is an acceptable substitute of thoughtful action. In the post-truth era, questions make people nervous.

Forget the power of belief. There’s too much of it anyway. Let’s focus on the power of questions. Let’s make some people squirm. Let’s make a few people uncomfortable.

Let’s question the answers.