I was talking to a friend today about politics and philosophy. She is taking a course called deception (or, that’s what she calls it) and she has to write an essay on whether or when it is necessary or beneficial to deceive (in politics). Why do politicians deceive? What would happen if the truth was known by all the people?
It was really interesting. Can people really handle the whole truth of what is happening? Do people want to know, or do they all show disinterest in politics (and how their lives are being run by the government) because subconsciously they realise they do not want know what is really happening? Is society based on a “noble lie“, and if it is, what is the noble lie? Must politicians deceive the “mob” or masses because they will cause anarchy if they knew the truth? Why can’t the masses be told the truth? And by “masses” think, uneducated working types who scream YOLO! or work in order to spend, those who don’t try to gain new knowledge, have long term goals, or want to know what is really happening around the world, or those who think they know what’s happening and will not accept anything else, because ultimately they do not want their comfortable view of reality to be shattered. What is the truth? Why would we feel uncomfortable knowing it?
In psychology we learn that our senses are always deceiving us. We have a distorted sense of reality, because it’s all from just our perspective. Adaptation causes us to block out sensory stimuli; we can focus on some things and ignore other things. All of what we do is shaped by memory, and past events. We are shaped by the environment we were brought up in. Even the languages we speak shape the way we think, the way we see. Our senses are this way so that we can function properly in a world of constant stimuli – so we don’t have to process everything at once. And this is good. But we don’t have the full picture of reality at any point in time. We simply have our own view, at that time, based on our past and what we are focusing on now. I guess, back in philosophical terms, this relates to Descartes’ Evil Demon.
We did not come to any solid conclusion, and was soon distracted by other topics. I hope she does well on her assignment!