true 1. in accordance with fact or reality. 2. genuine; not spurious or counterfeit. – Oxford English Dictionary

Offline or online, the world is a wide web of truths. It’s a shopping mall. A huge marketplace of all kinds of truths. Little truths. Big truths. There are many, many truths. Billions of them. These truths live in brains and are, literally, hopping about virally from brain to brain via smartphones all day long, 24/7. Yes, 365.

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There are all kinds of truths that want to live in your brain. Some are true and some are untrue. There are acquired truths. There are real truths. There are new truths and old truths. Unscientific and scientific. Low-probability and high-probability. Dormant and dominant. Lazy and busy. Simple truths. Complex. Vicious and virtuous truths. Dumb. Clever. Logical and lateral. Popular truths and secret ones. Fast truths and slow truths. There are convenient truths and inconvenient truths. etc. etc.

Using the OED definition of true at the head of this article we can divide all these truths into two general categories: fake and real.

To paraphrase the OED, fake truths are spurious and counterfeit. Real truths accord with fact and reality.

There are hives of truths, megahives, There are places that host replicating truths. For example Facebook and Google and Weibo. It is claimed, during the recent US election that 45% of voters got their political ‘news’ from Facebook. Much of it was fake.

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Here there are millions of truths buzzing about from brain to brain on second-by-second transactions at the speed of light across the wired world. Some truths are better at replicating than others. Some win. Some lose.

Remember, truths always need homes to live in and these homes are human brains. The most successful truths are the ones that are good at acquiring brains. Sometimes called memes, these truths spread, virally, from brain to brain across the web.

Other truths are less successful and some may not even survive. This is the darwinian fate of truths. Replicate or die!

Now. This is the thing. Get ready for may what come as a big shock. Because the cognitive consequences of this next insight are huuuuuuuge!

The most successful truths are not always the real truths!

Fake truths often spread faster than real truths. Counterfeit memes are often more popular than facts. Convenient truths may acquire many more brains than inconvenient truths.

So, we can divide all the truths in the world into two categories: fake and real.

Real truths are those truths that are supported by facts and most accord with reality. They have the balance of evidence on their side.

Fake truths are those that are simply good at getting replicated into your brain but are not real truths at all.

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Particulary vulnerable are the brains of young humans.

The young human brain which is exposed, for hours and hours every day, to the bare, intimate and unchaperoned screen of a personal smartphone. Other current gadgets, too, like laptops and gametops and the accelerating and careening future into … OMG … the internet of things!

Frightened of stranger danger at the end of their street youngsters are lovingly driven to school in the morning and picked up in the afternoon. Yet, these young brains, naked and unprotected with their latest smartphone never far from their grasp, are then set free to blindly venture forth into a world of hackers and trolls, tricksters and cybercriminals, and bullies and the bogeyman!

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Some people say they are concerned about possible radioactivity emitted by smartphones. This fear is nothing at all compared to the existential viral dangers children are exposed to on a daily basis.

Children are absurdly inexperienced, insecure and ill-equipped in their approach to the crackling chaos of the internet–the 24/7/365 whirling, howling, cacophonous wilderness of the greedy grasping global marketplace with its siren songs, ferocious fads, toxic wastes and vicious moods, its callous explosions, its viral plagues and epidemics and cruel and sudden extinctions.

These hidden minefields of traps and predators are putting capricious end to the promising future, safe conduct and healthy development of their most precious possession. Their brain.

While kids probably already have good anti-viral protection for their laptops and smartphones my concern here is that they also should have equal protection for their greatest gadget of all. Their own personal necktop computer. Their brain.

Not just for your gadgets but you also need personal protection against viral meme infection from malware in your necktop computer. Develop the protective habit of asking (and getting a good answer to) the question: IS IT TRUE?

It’s like a condom for your brain. Just ask: Is it true!

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5 thoughts on “Two Kinds of Truths: Fake Truths and Real Truths

  1. Whatever way we look at the situation, these issues are extremely worrying.
    Understanding the situation is essential in order to know how things should be treated .
    And to get the situation to where it should be means to have people who can think in different ways…then they can reach the truth.

  2. not only are we vulnerable we are also lazy ….system 1 thinking kicks in and we are too slow to engage the system2 thinking to question to understand our biasis , distinguish between real and fake truths.
    important to learn to understand our thinking even more.

  3. Your photo of zombies attached to their i phones is very symbolic.And actually frightening. In the developed world and increasingly in third world countries, we are bombarded by millions of pieces of information.Some of it is true and some of it is not true.Where is this going to lead?Already there is widespread indoctrination of young Muslims by ISIS, leading to horrific acts of terrorism.Governments,especially dictatorial systems, have always tried to control information, either by censorship,control of the media, papers, radio and television.
    Even so-called democratic governments like to control the information that its citizens can access.
    Even universities, that pride themselves on developing creative thinking in its students have to play ball with government bodies in their competition for funding.

  4. My grandfather’s sage advice: Believe nothing of what you hear or read and only half of what you see!

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