You can't handle the (post-truth)!

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Philemon

#1
The term "post-truth" has gotten some traction around here and I stumbled onto it again while reading an article over at my favorite green-friendly, socialist-oriented political site Counterpunch.org.

Here is a brief snippet of said article:
There is no such thing as a “post-truth world.” We live in the same world where humans have always lived, where the truth is hard and brutal and always wins in the end, which is why truthfulness has always been and always will be considered a moral virtue. It’s only academics and pseudo intellectuals who feel the need to constantly proclaim the dawning of a new post-something age because they need something to sell and novelty is an effective marketing strategy. The only thing new is that when a chunk of ice the size of Manhattan breaks away from Antarctica and Trump’s lies are considered more newsworthy, our inevitable collision with reality just became a lot closer.
According to Wikipedia:
Post-truth politics (also called post-factual politics) is a political culture in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored. Post-truth differs from traditional contesting and falsifying of truth by rendering it of "secondary" importance. While this has been described as a contemporary problem, there is a possibility that it has long been a part of political life, but was less notable before the advent of the Internet. In the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell cast a world in which the state is daily changing historic records to fit its propaganda goals of the day.

Political commentators have identified post-truth politics as ascendant in Russian, Chinese, American, Australian, British, Indian, Japanese and Turkish politics, as well as in other areas of debate, driven by a combination of the 24-hour news cycle, false balance in news reporting, and the increasing ubiquity of social media.[1][2][3][4][5][6] In 2016, "post-truth" was chosen as the Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year,[7] due to its prevalence in the context of that year's Brexit referendum and U.S. presidential election.[8][9]
As of late I have been balancing non-dualism, orthodox Vedanta, and the occasional Western occult excursion with smatterings of Pizzagate podcasts, conspiracy theories, and worrisome fringe articles about Fukushima and radioactive isotopes invading Europe. What is funny to me is the stark contrast of these two areas. In the one, conscious awareness is the Absolute. All things beside it are relative, fluctuating, ephemeral, and false (relatively, that is). When anything you become aware of is objectified and put asunder, recognized as not-Self (neti neti), truth becomes a living presence - the only unchanging, honest "thing" is no-thing at all! It is the awareness with which one experiences everything - from the evening news to a headache to full on Alzheimer's. There, behind the varying disguises that consciousness wears, is THE TRUTH.

Meanwhile, when identified again with the passing stuff of the world, I find myself pulled back into the "We've got to do something about this! We've got to clean up Fukushima! We've got to stop the nukes! We've got to expose these evil politicians! We've got to upend the corporatocracy! We've got to put the power back in the hands of the common people!"

Then I return to my limited sense of personhood and recall I am completely incapable of making the slightest dent on any of these terrifying realities. There is nothing new under the sun and the world/samsara/maya/God has gleefully held a mirror up to humankind and its hubris with the kind of shitstorms we appear on the cusp of experiencing before and now again (though these may prove to be super shitstorms rather than the normal, garden variety kinds.) Karma will yet produce its vegetables, and we will have to hold our noses and choke them down, like them or not.

And, then, I remember that who I really am is simple, ordinary, conscious awareness and not this little, powerless person. All the world is "fake news" and "alternative facts." The kingdom draws near! Knock and the door shall be open to you...
 
#2
I think "post-truth" is every bit as much a meaningless a pejorative as "fake news" or "conspiracy theorist" etc.. But hey if it is getting authoritarian liberals to read 1984 - even if they think Trump is Goldstein or Big Brother - that can't be a bad thing! :)
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#4
Wasn't Vedanta conceived during the time India was embracing a brutal caste system?

Not surprising the message you're getting from it is that you can't do anything to change the world - seems like people (often rich people) who mutter about God's Plan in the West have similar sentiments that encourage them to accomplish nothing to improve the reality around them.
 
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Philemon

#7
I think "post-truth" is every bit as much a meaningless a pejorative as "fake news" or "conspiracy theorist" etc.. But hey if it is getting authoritarian liberals to read 1984 - even if they think Trump is Goldstein or Big Brother - that can't be a bad thing! :)
Getting authoritarians of any persuasion to read 1984 can't be that bad a thing.
 
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Philemon

#9
Wasn't Vedanta conceived during the time India was embracing a brutal caste system?

Not surprising the message you're getting from it is that you can't do anything to change the world - seems like people (often rich people) who mutter about God's Plan in the West have similar sentiments that encourage them to accomplish nothing to improve the reality around them.
To be honest, I don't know what was happening in India at the time Vedanta was in the ascendant. I am not a rich person, however, (though this is relative, too - almost any American is rich compared to a large percentage of the world's population) and the teachings of Vedanta have helped me to make sense of the plight of being a finite, mortal being in a way that other worldviews have not. Capitalism, for instance, has proven to have encouraged is adherents to embrace a brutal caste system of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd world countries - the latter of which are stripped of resources and turned into the dumpsters of established capitalist societies. Poverty, famine, pollution, become the norm for those folks. Meanwhile, "exceptional" Americans, obese from fast food and gluttonous lifestyles, cart themselves around Walmart on motorized scooters on a regular basis, dutifully handing over their money or foodstamps for Monsanto's crop of the day.

Anyway, the Japanese can't even make robots that can withstand the radiation of Fukushima beyond 2 hours. The thing is pumping out isotopes into the Pacific that surely have made their way into people's mouths via the fish and plant life. One moderate earthquake in Japan and it's game over.

So, I can either identify with myself as this limited body and personality of mine, and potentially watch it succumb to some massive event beyond my ability to influence, or I can take a stand as awareness and know who I am: consciousness itself.
 
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Philemon

#10
Ok, perhaps I could make an exceptionally nominal dent as this person (jiva) that I am. There, admittedly, have been a few notable souls on this planet who have made some headway in making social change. Nonetheless, what fundamental effect can a person have? I cannot convince the world to stop living in an unsustainable way that ensures our doom. Can you? Can any of us magically undo the massive population explosion that has taken place in the last two centuries, creating what is essentially a cancerous tumor devouring the host of mother earth - ensuring her and our death? Even as I attempt to articulate myself here, I recognize that I can scarcely conceal my emotion or worldview - and I know that it will antagonize others simply because that is the nature of being a jiva. Everyone and everything - on this level of reality - gets canceled out. For every neo-nazi there is a committed communist. For every democrat a republican. Etc. This is the futility of focusing on the world and attempting to change it. It is the meaning (as far as I can tell) of Christ's parable of the man who built his house on sand. The world is always in flux, always changing, awash in the sands of time. But the Self, consciousness, Christ - that is the unchanging rock. The world is the "wide and easy road that leads to destruction."
 
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Philemon

#12
Wasn't Vedanta conceived during the time India was embracing a brutal caste system?

Not surprising the message you're getting from it is that you can't do anything to change the world - seems like people (often rich people) who mutter about God's Plan in the West have similar sentiments that encourage them to accomplish nothing to improve the reality around them.
Sciborg... just out of total curiosity, do you happen to be of Indian heritage? I notice the name Patel in your handle, that's why I ask. I would find it ironic if you might be a disaffected Indian and I am a disaffected Westerner and here we are arguing for one another's native worldviews. Like I said, just curious.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#13
Sciborg... just out of total curiosity, do you happen to be of Indian heritage? I notice the name Patel in your handle, that's why I ask. I would find it ironic if you might be a disaffected Indian and I am a disaffected Westerner and here we are arguing for one another's native worldviews. Like I said, just curious.
Yup, Indian. :)

I don't think of myself as disaffected though, at least not completely? I think there's value in the Manichean-esque aspects of Hinduism, at least as far as the Good - the Dharma - points toward objective morality.

(Truth is I am a skeptic, just a skeptic who was honest enough to turn that lens toward materialism and see the fanaticism-driven lie in that paradigm.)
 
#16
Wasn't Vedanta conceived during the time India was embracing a brutal caste system?
Evidence please? I think you have made similar statements a number of times. I compare this to a claim (not made by you) that Christianity is anti-Semitic. One can find some excellent examples, but if one goes to the source scripture, the claim does not makes sense (Jesus was a Jew who claimed he was there to fulfill Jewish law).

The first problem is when was Vedanta conceived? The second is when was the brutal caste system formed. Who formed it? On what basis was it implemented?

Is the Varnas from the vedas the same as the "brutal caste system"?

To my knowledge Gandhi was informed by Vedanta and opposed the caste system. I believe there are many examples of Indian spiritual leaders informed by Vedanta who did not support the caste system.

There can be a tendency to blame societal evils on religious systems based on the activities of certain individuals who proclaim they are followers of the religion while they in fact fail to live in accordance with the fundamental ideals of the religious system.
 
#17
Wasn't Vedanta conceived during the time India was embracing a brutal caste system?

Not surprising the message you're getting from it is that you can't do anything to change the world - seems like people (often rich people) who mutter about God's Plan in the West have similar sentiments that encourage them to accomplish nothing to improve the reality around them.
That's why I like the story of Krishna and Arjuna so much.
 
#18
what fundamental effect can a person have?
You can grow a garden and give wholesome food to your neighbors in need.

You can protect and grow the children you know.

You can lobby your elected representatives for policies that favor humanity and the earth and work to vote out the bad ones.

You can be kind to animals.

You can defend weak people against the predators in your community.

You can advocate peace and morality to everyone you know, and teach them by living as an example.

Or, you can sit on a pillow in a dark room gazing at the wall as you contemplate the unfairness of the the World until you die from old age.
 
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