the BLOG of the BOOK DOULA
I’ve been grappling with why, exactly, the frenzy around “post-truth” and fake news feels like the wrong analysis, or emphasis, to me. Obviously, for starters, the news has always been a creative endeavor that has become ever more a tool of corporate interests to wag the dog. Did this just now get much worse, are the algorithms of Facebook and Co aggravating it? I can’t bring myself to care much.
I do care about truth. When folks say “post-truth,” though, what they seem to mean is post-facts: for the winner of the recent US election cares much less about factual correctness than most people who have thrown their hat into that ring.
But facts can’t be conflated with truth. I don’t care so much about facts myself. Nor, it’s been proven time and time again, do most people, when they’re considering anything meaningful in their lives.
I feel truth in my body. Seasons are true. Cycles are true. Hunger and desire are true. We will never be post-truth on these truths.
Because I suspect someone might jump on me and accuse me of defining truth in a not dissimilar way to Trumpkin, something akin to instinct and faith, I wander around the internet looking at definitions of truth. Folks cite Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Whitehead, Popper, Tarski, the Hindu and Buddhist scriptures, blah blah blah, and I feel that wave of fatigue I feel these days when all the voices talking are male voices, like there’s no more oxygen.
So I try to find women who have written about Truth, because I have this sense that someone like Clarissa Pinkola Estes or Starhawk or Alexandra Schwarz-Schilling will have written something that resonates with this feeling in my belly that there is an earthy, bodily way to talk about truth that has eluded these men. I have not yet found quite what I hunger for but I found this, thanks to the wonderful Maria Popova over at Brainpickings, from Adrienne Rich:
Women have been driven mad, gaslighted, for centuries by the refutation of our experience and our instincts in a culture which validates only male experience. The truth of our bodies and our minds has been mystified to us. We therefore have a primary obligation to each other: not to undermine each other’s sense of reality for the sake of expediency; not to gaslight each other.
Women have often felt insane when cleaving to the truth of our experience. Our future depends on the sanity of each of us, and we have a profound stake, beyond the personal, in the project of describing our reality as candidly and fully as we can to each other.
That “the truth of our bodies and our minds has been mystified to us” implies that it exists, I note. But the grappling goes on, and your contributions of female perspectives on truth are most welcome.