Saturday, May 29, 2010

Facts to What Truth?

Comments concerning my post From Facts to Truth, both public and private, suggest that there's some anxiety out there concerning the starting point and the destination in the heading of my original essay.

Some people seem to feel I have become an idolater of facts, when in reality I merely see facts as useful in discussions in which meaning hinges on them.

Others feel that I already abandoned truth by when I allegedly threw "Him" out, Christological insinuation heard. The capital-T truth that was prevalent in Western societies (America and Europe) hinged on a "Him" tossed out centuries ago by Christians themselves. Not me.

Finally, a third current of comment proposes a more intriguing question: to what truth is the Zeitgeist shifting all our facts and factoids?

Short answer: I have no idea.

Actually, I have a pretty good idea that it's not to a restoration of past theologies nor to capital-T truth. We've done that, been there and can still smell the charred human remains.

Instead, I'd suggest that once facts undergo sufficient criticism, we'll drift to some version of what used to be called "common sense," when Western commonality was white, male-dominated and Christian. Only that commonality is not coming back, thank the Echo.

I'd look for a future in which we take on the larger goals and ends: an active mind, rather than computation of two-digit whole numbers by the second quarter of fifth grade; shared prosperity, rather than a minimum $10 an hour wage.

Nothing wrong with granulated, fine-tuned goals, per se. Yet, can we deal with a whole society of 300 million diverse individuals through cookie-cutter "fact-based" solutions?

Or can we perhaps leave the details to the people who actually have to strive for the goals, relying on their uncommon sense, their gut feel for what works, their home truths?

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