Once more into Week Out, now on its back side, and Day Seven. And somewhat a special Day Seven in the realm of Social Reality because of the religionist adoration of a zombie Jewish boy. At least that’s the contemporary terminology which I use because I’m really going to natter about social reality.
The idea for the natter grew out of a cartoon [Link] from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
That scientists would be concerned is itself a bit of social reality and reinforces that we humans are embedded in a society – however much many of us would like not to be!
But what bashed away at my neurons was the context of the cartoon: the fiction – called alternative facts – so often espoused, invented even, by politicians. This led immediately to the source of the contention – journalists – who are themselves the originators of similar fictions in the social reality delusion of fair debate and discussion. Which led to wondering what the attraction of these alternative facts are?
My initial concern was that I had scant understanding of either politician or journalist (I did date a journalism major briefly in undergraduate school and I have been interviewed many times.) But I do have some knowledge of managers and so I can take the relationship of manager to scientist and extrapolate a bit – with acknowledged uncertainties – to politician and journalist.
This may seem a bit whacked but from experience I know that managers, at least of nerds, have to balance social and physical reality, the latter being much simpler than the former. Simply put, there are times when social reality demands something unobtainable in physical reality and some balancing is necessary lest one kill off one’s work force.
Not that there are ever any members of that work force that such an event would not be beneficial in some manner.
As a matter of courtesy to those who are not scientists, a fact is something that is confirmed by experiment or observation by agreement of several trained and trustworthy observers. That’s pretty close to Boyle’s usage, which he developed to dispute Hobbes who I suspect Boyle would have liked to place in his air pump and subject to its partial vacuum.
(I am not going to discuss vacuum here now. Maybe later.)
With that at rest, we can proceed to the matter at hand. Since managers have to balance the demands of social reality with the actuality of physical reality, we may extrapolate their actions to those of politicians and journalists. In doing so, we see immediately that Alternative Facts, when paired with (Actual) Facts, form pairs and hence alternatives.
This is implicit in journalism with its celebration of the delusion that all situations are open to “fair discussion”. Clearly discussion is quite different between social and physical reality. In the latter discussion is limited to the experimental or observational data.
But this also reveals something about politicians and why they “invent” these alternate facts. It clearly gives them some means of balancing within social reality, perhaps even while not killing constituents with physical reality that cannot be suspended.
Having thus addressed the “how” of the matter, we can turn to the “why” of the matter. This seems simple, if cynical. The politician has schemed and cheated his/her way into high office to exercise power and if they do not have room for their own choices then they have no power.
Hence, as we have argued previously, we may explain this behavior by insecurity.
The question quite remains as to whether government without these alternative facts is possible?