Denialism: what drives people to reject the truth?

 

 

Hi there,

I hope you are all well and happy and that life smiles at you;-)

I just read this amazing article and wanted to share it with you, yes all of you;-) It is a pretty serious article from a new book coming out in September. I think you’ll find it enlightening in many ways – how to actually make some sense of what is going on in the world at present.

Read the whole article when you have some time at thegardian.com :

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/aug/03/denialism-what-drives-people-to-reject-the-truth

I copied a short extract below for a fast-read (less than 500 words);-)

Jerominus

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Denialism: what drives people to reject the truth?

From vaccines to climate change to genocide, a new age of denialism is upon us. Why have we failed to understand it? By Keith Kahn-Harris

How do we respond to people who have radically different desires and morals from our own? How do we respond to people who delight in or are indifferent to genocide, to the suffering of millions, to venality and greed?

Denialism, and the multitude of other ways that modern humans have obfuscated their desires, prevent a true reckoning with the unsettling fact that some of us might desire things that most of us regard as morally reprehensible. I say “might” because while denialism is an attempt to covertly legitimise an unspeakable desire, the nature of the denialist’s understanding of the consequences of enacting that desire is usually unknowable.

It is hard to tell whether global warming denialists are secretly longing for the chaos and pain that global warming will bring, are simply indifferent to it, or would desperately like it not to be the case but are overwhelmed with the desire to keep things as they are. It is hard to tell whether Holocaust deniers are preparing the ground for another genocide, or want to keep a pristine image of the goodness of the Nazis and the evil of the Jews. It is hard to tell whether an Aids denialist who works to prevent Africans from having access to anti-retrovirals is getting a kick out of their power over life and death, or is on a mission to save them from the evils of the west.

If the new realm of unrestrained online discourse, and the example set by Trump, tempts more and more denialists to transition towards post-denialism and beyond, we will finally know where we stand. Instead of chasing shadows, we will be able to contemplate the stark moral choices we humans face.

Maybe we have been putting this test off for too long. The liberation of desire we are beginning to witness is forcing us all to confront some very difficult questions: who are we as a species? Do we all (the odd sociopath aside) share a common moral foundation? How do we relate to people whose desires are starkly different from our own?

Perhaps, if we can face up to the challenge presented by these new revelations, it might pave the way for a politics shorn of illusion and moral masquerade, where different visions of what it is to be human can openly contend. This might be a firmer foundation on which to rekindle some hope for human progress – based not on illusions of what we would like to be, but on an accounting of what we are.

Adapted from Denial: The Unspeakable Truth by Keith Kahn-Harris, which will be published by Notting Hill Editions on 13 September, and is available to pre-order at guardianbookshop.com

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