Post Truth Quotes

Quotes tagged as "post-truth" Showing 1-23 of 23
Hannah Arendt
“Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it.”
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Svetlana Alexievich
“Pretty soon, I'll be decomposing into phosphorous, calcium, and so on. Who else will you find to tell you the truth? All that's left are the archives. Pieces of paper. And the truth is... I worked at an archive myself, I can tell you first hand: paper lies even more than people do.”
Svetlana Alexievich, Czasy secondhand. Koniec czerwonego człowieka

Hannah Arendt
“Totalitarian politics—far from being simply antisemitic or racist or imperialist or communist—use and abuse their own ideological and political elements until the basis of factual reality, from which the ideologies originally derived their strength and their propaganda value—the reality of class struggle, for instance, or the interest conflicts between Jews and their neighbors—have all but disappeared.”
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“All history is one continuous pestilence. There is no truth and there is no illusion. There is nowhere to appeal and nowhere to go.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle

Hannah Arendt
“The most striking difference between the ancient and modern sophists is that the ancients were satisfied with a passing victory of the argument at the expense of truth, whereas the moderns want a more lasting victory at the expense of reality. In other words, one destroyed the dignity of human thought whereas the others destroy the dignity of human action. The old manipulators of logic were the concern of the philosopher, whereas the modern manipulators of facts stand in the way of the historian. For history itself is destroyed, and its comprehensibility—based upon the fact that it is enacted by men and therefore can be understood by men—is in danger, whenever facts are no longer held to be part and parcel of the past and present world, and are misused to prove this or that opinion.”
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Jürgen Habermas
“A 'post-truth democracy' [...] would no longer be a democracy.”
Jürgen Habermas, Between Naturalism and Religion: Philosophical Essays

Hannah Arendt
“In other words, if a patent forgery like the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is believed by so many people that it can become the text of a whole political movement, the task of the historian is no longer to discover a forgery. Certainly it is not to invent explanations which dismiss the chief political and historical facts of the matter: that the forgery is being believed. This fact is more important than the (historically speaking, secondary) circumstance that it is a forgery.”
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

“When words lose their meaning and their capacity to bind those who use them, neither democracy nor the rule of law can long survive.”
Austin Sarat

Yuval Noah Harari
“When a thousand people believe some made-up story for a month - that's fake news. When a billion people believe it for a thousand years - that's religion, and we are admonished to call it fake news in oder not to for the feelings of the faithful.”
Yuval Noah Harari, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“Let us, thusly, embrace the assumption that to each advocate of a respective paradigm within his respective bubble, the phenomenological gaps between himself and those in neighboring bubbles are insurmountable. The resident of a given bubble has become so inured to the echoes of his own ‘truth’ as to abandon all terms of commonality with the ‘truths’ of others outside his bubble. The internal terms, concepts, definitions and assumptions underlying each paradigm are different and incommensurate with those of their external counterparts. And so, to debate them would be tantamount to speaking through one another without much mutual understanding. In their communities, they speak different words, abide by different sets of logic, axioms and propositions from those of other communities; they, thusly, do not understand the terminology upholding other paradigms beside their own, and many attempts at translation have become lost in circular discourse for there exists no equivalency of terms. Thus, any gaps between bubbles of paradigm are beyond traversal; all arguments between them remain perplexing and irreconcilable. There, then, evolves, among them, a strong tendency to seek out information that only serves to confirm their own biases, and, in the process, to otherize any alien paradigms as hotbeds of disinformation.”
Ashim Shanker

George Orwell
“Anything could be true. The so-called laws of Nature were nonsense. The law of gravity was nonsense. 'If I wished,' O'Brien had said, 'I could float off this floor like a soap bubble.' Winston worked it out. 'If he thinks he floats off the floor, and if I simultaneously think I see him do it, then the thing happens.' Suddenly, like a lump of submerged wreckage breaking the surface of water, the thought burst into his mind: 'It doesn't really happen. We imagine it. It is hallucination.' He pushed the thought under instantly. The fallacy was obvious. It presupposed that somewhere or other, outside oneself, there was a 'real' world where 'real' things happened. But how could there be such a world? What knowledge have we of anything, save through our own minds? All happenings are in the mind. Whatever happens in all minds, truly happens.

He had no difficulty in disposing of the fallacy, and he was in no danger of succumbing to it. He realized, nevertheless, that it ought never to have occurred to him. The mind should develop a blind spot whenever a dangerous thought presented itself. The process should be automatic, instinctive. Crimestop, they called it in Newspeak.

He set to work to exercise himself in crimestop. He presented himself with propositions -- 'the Party says the earth is flat', 'the party says that ice is heavier than water' -- and trained himself in not seeing or not understanding the arguments that contradicted them. It was not easy. It needed great powers of reasoning and improvisation. The arithmetical problems raised, for instance, by such a statement as 'two and two make five' were beyond his intellectual grasp. It needed also a sort of athleticism of mind, an ability at one moment to make the most delicate use of logic and at the next to be unconscious of the crudest logical errors. Stupidity was as necessary as intelligence, and as difficult to attain.”
George Orwell, 1984

Lee McIntyre
“Our inherent cognitive biases make us ripe for manipulation and exploitation by those who have an agenda to push, especially if they can discredit all other sources of information.”
Lee McIntyre, Post-Truth

George Orwell
“It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be REDUCED to twenty grammes a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it.”
George Orwell, 1984

Hannah Arendt
“Totalitarian propaganda perfects the techniques of mass propaganda, but it neither invents them nor originates their themes. These were prepared for them by fifty years of imperialism and disintegration of the nation-state, when the mob entered the scene of European politics. Like the earlier mob leaders, the spokesmen for totalitarian movements possessed an unerring instinct for anything that ordinary party propaganda or public opinion did not care or dare to touch. Everything hidden, everything passed over in silence, became of major significance, regardless of its own intrinsic importance. The mob really believed that truth was whatever respectable society had hypocritically passed over, or covered up with corruption.”
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Georg Simmel
“Primitive man, living in communities of restricted extent, providing for his needs by his own production or by direct co-operation, limiting his spiritual interests to personal experience or to simple tradition, surveys and controls the material of his existence more easily and completely than the man of higher culture. In the latter case life rests upon a thousand presuppositions which the individual can never trace back to their origins, and verify; but which he must accept upon faith and belief. In a much wider degree than people are accustomed to realize, modern civilized life—from the economic system which is constantly becoming more and more a credit-economy, to the pursuit of science, in which the majority of investigators must use countless results obtained by others, and not directly subject to verification—depends upon faith in the honor of others. We rest our most serious decisions upon a complicated system of conceptions, the majority of which presuppose confidence that we have not been deceived. Hence prevarication in modern circumstances becomes something much more devastating, something placing the foundations of life much more in jeopardy, than was earlier the case.”
Georg Simmel, The Sociology of Secrecy and of Secret Societies

Lee McIntyre
“When the mistakes fall disproportionately on one side, it is no respect for the notion of truth to pretend that everything is even.”
Lee McIntyre, Post-Truth

Alexandre Koyré
“The mob believes everything it is told, provided only that it be repeated over and over. Provided too that its passions, hatreds, fears are catered to. Nor need one try to stay within the limits of plausibility: on the contrary, the grosser, the bigger, the cruder the lie, the more readily is it believed and followed. Nor is there any need to avoid contradictions: the mob never notices; needless to pretend to correlate what is said to some with what is said to others: each person or group believes only what he is told, not what anyone else is told; needless to strive for coherence: the mob has no memory; needless to pretend to any truth: the mob is radically incapable of perceiving it: the mob can never comprehend that its own interests are what is at stake.”
Alexandre Koyré, Réflexions sur le mensonge

Wilhelm Reich
“It is true that those of us who have political experience could wrestle for power just as any other politician. But we have no time; we have more important things to do. And there is no doubt that the knowledge we hold to be sacred would be lost in the process. To acquire power, millions of people have to be fed illusions. This too is true: Lenin won over millions of Russian peasants, without whom the Russian Revolution would have been impossible, with a slogan which was at variance with the basic collective tendencies of the Russian party. The slogan was: "Take the land of the large land-owners. It is to be your individual property." And the peasants followed. They would not have offered their allegiance if they had been told in 1917 that this land would one day be collectivized. The truth of this is attested to by the bitter fight for the collectivization of Russian agriculture around 1930. In social life there are degrees of power and degrees of falsity. The more the masses of people adhere to truth, the less power-mongering there will be; the more imbued with irrational illusions the masses of people are, the more widespread and brutal individual power-mongering will be.”
Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism

“שוב השתהה והיסס, כמו שקל בדעתו איזו תשובה לתת. כאילו אין בעולם דבר כמו 'עובדות' או 'אמת', ויש כמה תשובות אפשריות לכל שאלה, וצריך לבדוק קודם איזו מהן תתאים ברגע הזה, ולשואל הזה.”
דויד גרוסמן, The Zigzag Kid

Ravi Zacharias
“The formal announcement of a new word (post truth) in 2016 has shown the Bible to be true, an incredible unintended consequence. The Scriptures tell us that professing ourselves to be wise we have actually become fools; that the lie by which we live, in turn, lands us in death.”
Ravi Zacharias

“Plugging words into a browser window isn't research: it's asking questions of programmable machines that themselves cannot actually understand human beings.”
Tom Nichols, The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters

“What are the units of ontology really that I should be a part of a whole, but not be, in all my awareness, chiefly the whole unto itself?”
Ashim Shanker

Paul Veyne
“Instead of speaking of beliefs, one must actually speak of truths, and that these truths were themselves products of the imagination. We are not creating a false idea of things. It is the truth of things that through the centuries has been so oddly constituted. Far from being the most simple realistic experience, truth is the most historical.

There was a time when poets and historians invented royal dynasties all of a piece, complete with the name of each potentate and his genealogy. They were not forgers, nor were they acting in bad faith. They were simply following what was, at the time, the normal way of arriving at the truth.

[...] I do not at all mean to say that the imagination will bring future truths to light and that it should reign; I mean, rather, that truths are already products of the imagination and that the imagination has always governed. It is imagination that rules, not reality, reason, or the ongoing work of the negative.”
Paul Veyne, Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths?