Post-truth, Oxford dictionary:
“Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief:
‘in this era of post-truth politics, it’s easy to cherry-pick data and come to whatever conclusion you desire’
‘some commentators have observed that we are living in a post-truth age’”
People like Trump play with what they consider as weakness in other people: emotions. They are like the wolves that don’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep. Being sensitive, being sensitive to other people, being emotional, is often times considered as a weakness by people who believe that they can do just because they can. Nevermind the smaller ones, who, in their eyes, are too weak to fight. Like the sheep. Those people tell the sensitive person that they are disgusted by their butt-hurt over something. They believe their standard of cold and bold is the standard by which everyone should be judged.
Being sensitive is ok. Being hurt is fine. Reacting to hurtful things is ok too. It’s the bully who is weak. So weak that they cannot take it that someone is different than they are. So weak that they have to put others down in order to make themselves (appear) big. So weak that they cannot afford to consider other people’s emotions in fear of losing themselves and what fragile ego they have. Kindness is not a weakness, it’s a virtue and only the truly strong ones possess it. Strength lies in the ability to be there for other people (too), not just for yourself. True strength is when you are hurt, but you still go on and not only go on for yourself but for others as well.
So, people are easily manipulated because of their ability to feel and because their actions can be affected by affecting the emotions. Just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s right. So, many people are like sheep or cows, following the herd mindlessly or half-mindedly, especially if there is the promise of a reward that will make them feel good. Be it a free bucket or discount on pizza or a president who supposedly will make your life great again.
The gullibility of people does not mean that they should be taken advantage of. On the contrary, it calls for a responsible leader who will take care of the people in a responsible way, guiding them to truth and goodness instead of selfishness and feel-good lies. Utopia, I know. Unfortunately those who want power, don’t usually really regard truth very highly. Unfortunately those who have it in them to make it to the top of the political game, are those wolves, those bullies without virtue. For those who would make the best and most righteous leaders, fall off early even when trying. Weak, they are dubbed, too kind and nice. When did that become a flaw?
Why do we look up to the crude and ruthless for guidance? Why not to the Mother Theresas of this world? Why do we look up to the selfish to care for us instead of looking up to the ones who actually care about others? Why do we call emotions and sensitivity a weakness? Why is a Shrek-y kind of abrasiviness called strength?
There’s a lot of talk about harrassment in schools, bullying and how to stop it. It won’t. Not in a society as ours in this western world where the adult world around the kids constantly shows the example that the bullies will rule the world. That the sensitive and kind are weak and that it’s ok to put them down, just because you can. As for those bullied around, adults tell them to grow a thicker skin. Sure, it’s good to be able to protect yourself from the bullies of the world, but I would still rather see a world where bullying is frowned upon, not hailed.
Up until the social media took over the internet within the past ten years, people didn’t have the forums to affect others in such vast and global ways. We relied on newspapers for the truth and mostly they delivered the truth. With social media enabling anyone anywhere to post articles that look like truths, the full-blown manipulation of crowds has become way too easy. Anything that can be used, can be misused. The world is ruled by the unethical people willing to lie for their cause. A cause that requires lies is not a good cause to begin with.
You ask me, we don’t live in a post-truth world only, we live in a post-ethical world. A world where ethical is an ancient word with a faded meaning. A world where it seems more important to hold on to your own beliefs than to see the person next to you. “So, when was the world ever ethical?” you ask. A very good question. Perhaps it never was. Perhaps the philosophical era of ancient Greece was closest to it, closest to a utopian world of acceptance of difference, of true discussion between different beliefs.
My rebuke goes to both parties. The conservatives and the neoliberals, liberals, the supposedly permissive people. Both parties believe in their own cause and refuse to engage in a real discussion with the other party. The liberals who preach tolerance, but are more intolerant than any when it comes to people who have a different opinion and belief. There’s good and valuable on both sides and everywhere in between where most of us fall.
If only people could lose a little bit of sleep over the others’ opinions, in the way of allowing them to mold their understanding of the world. If only people would understand that their truth is not the absolute truth. If only peopl understood that in human life, human world, there often times is no absolute truth. There are as many sides to each story, as there are people involved in it.
It is only human to forget this, of course, and many times actually the most empathetic people are the most easily swayed by one side of the story only. I get reprimanded by my husband quite many times for this exact “sin”. That is exactly what makes people so easy to be manipulated. That is exactly the reason empathetic and sensitive people are considered as weak. Because the “strong” and ruthless can so easily take advantage of them.
I believe, however, that the real strength is in the sensitive and gullible people because they continue to go on and believe in people even after getting hurt so many times before. Take that, you abrasive beings who need to shield yourself from feeling in fear of breaking.