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Are we living in a post truth era?


My musings on the appended article:
It is a beautifully argued article by Yuval Noah Harari, but it must be remembered that the opposite view can be expressed by someone with as much force. There is nothing like a priori opinion or objective opinion. Opinion by nature is subjective. The fact that it appeals to a large number of people does not validate it – precisely the point made in the article - can be applied to his opinion also.
Religion is an opinion (मतं). Atheism is another opinion. What is true?
It can be easily seen that the idea of revelation, incarnation and scripture has proceeded from human mind with a human perspective. What is however not easily seen is that every other branch of knowledge or description of experience has the same bias. We are capable of nothing better.
Religion has laboured with the idea that human beings have a special place in the universe and are assured of a permanence. The modern view of science tends pretty much to the same predilection. We think that human beings can overtake the cosmic design (accidental or engineered) and ensure a permanent place for human beings, that mortality can be a thing of the past (some pleonasm is inevitable). (cf. Physics of the Future By Dr. Michio Kaku).
Religion can be attacked better at its starting point rather than at the fanciful conclusions it has reached.
Religion has gone wrong in two ways in my thinking. The starting point of religion is that life is a burden and we have to go through it quickly and aim at another in the benevolent and munificent presence of god which will be eternal, or that we should aim at enlightenment and detachment from the worldly life as a means to deliverance from it. Given the starting point, the conclusions may be justified, but the opening assumption is quite wrong. It is hardly our experience that life is repulsive. In fact, our experience and expectation is that it is enticing, engaging and fulfilling. We are so enamoured that we want to live on and on.
Imagine a game we play and want to wait for another game than playing the current one or leaving a difficult ball and waiting for an easy one to play. Religion has by indoctrination on credulous minds inculcated this psyche. If we start believing that we have a life which is neither easy nor difficult, neither predictable nor unpredictable, neither fair nor unfair and that it is by doing and relearning and doing that it fulfils itself, we do not need unverifiable and extravagant promises. It may not happen because we do not even want to accept that religion has an untenable basis as it is. This has nothing to do with a god if there be one. It can be shown that the concepts of god we have are products of human mind with fertile imagination.
The second problem with religion is that in its idealistic quest it went after truth unadulterated by human desire and not objectified, but felt the abstract difficult to peddle across to common minds and created symbols and rituals to universalize the abstract. But, human mind is more apt to deal with the gross leaving aside the subtle. When I listen to an interesting talk interspersed with humour to lubricate the mind, I enjoy the humour and skip the theme. Much in the same manner, symbols and rituals have overtaken truth and we have the mummy stuffed with lifeless things though life proper has long left.
There is no hope that soon we will reorient ourselves. The symbols and the mindset of another life of ease and enjoyment have obtained a long lease and the court of life is typically Indian, and it is impossible to make the lessee vacate.
We all have our unique experiences that may not be relatable. I read in a science book that there is no way of knowing whether two people feel the same taste of one and the same thing. I cannot question another’s experience. Religious experience can be a valid experience. If a T has authentic experience of visiting shrines, we cannot sit in judgment on it. We can say with absolute legitimacy if T wants us to live that experience, ‘No, thank you.’ We must cede his right to have that experience without any opinion on it. All our experience is of the same kind. There is nothing like rationalistic experience.
The only sacred thing is life and our small place in it. We will be closer to the truth if we tune ourselves to non-verbal experience without the need to analyse, reason and rationalise.
https://ideas.ted.com/are-we-living-in-a-post-truth-era-yes-but-thats-because-were-a-post-truth-species/

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