1. A Confusion of Truths
For most of us, Scientific Method was mothers milk. What had begun with Newton and his contemporaries had come to imbue much of our national fabric until 'prove it' was standard issue across America's playgrounds. Or similarly, until many of us got treated to some version of my college philosophy professor, pallid with those black strands of hair across his forehead, standing in the pit of the amphitheater before the bored, the conscientious and a smattering of the ardent, insisting on the great benefit to mankind of well-reasoned hypotheses and their proof through demonstrable experimentation. 'Benefit' as illustrated by the witches’ plight in Salem or the Scopes trial in Tennessee.
But some of us in that room knew that truth was more slippery than that. Joseph Campbell had educated us on Myth as Truth and Carlos Castaneda had entranced a whole wing of the counterculture toward mystical and magical.
So, empirical truth, the bedrock for my professor was more bewildering for many of his students. His respect for natural law and the human ambition to decipher it was being buffeted by Huxley's Doors of Perception.
And then, as we hit the millennium, we got 'Virtuality’, the wizards of technology brought an alternative universe to the burgeoning community of Netizens.
2. Trump scales 'assault on Truth'
All of which brings me to my point. In my generation 'truth' as my professor knew it has always been manhandled (Gulf of Tonkin or WMD) and always assailed by other ambitions from Mescaline to High Tech. But, for the most part what Newton wrought has weathered those storms. Until, I am fearing, 'Now'.
When control of the planets most powerful nation can be ceded to a pretender who feels empowered to say absolutely anything he cares to, distribute it via regular info-storms and then have it recognized by millions around the world as factual, actionable, unverifiable data, well we have a new and historic sense of 'disruption'. Trump is in the process of ridiculing the enlightenment, seemingly immune to the charges of " prove it". He may be more of a 'change agent' than any of us imagined. 'Truth', now defined as one man in his Manhattan tower and his nightly emissions.