Who Controls the Truth?

Who Controls the Truth?
Who Controls the Truth?

I think there are two kinds of truth, little “t” truth and Big “T” Truth.  If anyone walks up to you wagging their finger and says,

“You want the truth…I’ll tell you the truth!” …

…they are about to share their opinion with you.  Big T Truths are timeless and transcend the small snapshots of little t truths we call facts.  Big T Truths were true before you and I were born, and they will be true long after we are gone. Little t truths are context dependent.  The difference is embedded in the old saying, “Do you want to be right (little truth), or do you want to be kind?” (Big Truth: we need to be both.)

Long before The Story Factor, I wrote Territorial Games – about people gaming the truth – and A Safe Place for Dangerous Truths – how to get a group to tell themselves the truth. So, it’s always been about truth for me.  That is why I got interested in storytelling.  I found a Big T truth in the story that naked Truth was turned away until Parable dressed her in story so people invited her to sit at their table.

My hope is to journal “out loud” and find people (like you?) who are interested in having a dialogue about the idea of Big T Truths and the norms that keep our eyes and hearts wide open to supposedly dangerous truths that if ignored, will threaten our collective survival. In fact, it seems that some our algorithms now gamify truth in ways that lead to infighting, withholding information, and excluding certain narratives.

Big T Truths embrace the paradoxes we cannot avoid if we want to live a meaningful life by balancing both love and power.  Honestly I think some of the recent efforts to “science the shit” out of storytelling lead to smaller either/or truths and skip the “art part” necessary to retain paradoxical Big T Truths.

As a kid, I learned certain kinds of truth telling were dangerous to my survival. These experiences spring-coiled me to jump out of my skin when it feels like it is happening again.

It’s happening again.

Trauma made me hyper vigilant specifically for abuses of power and hypocrisy. I’ve learned to lighten up, but it’s still there. And I think it makes me useful.

If enough people are interested, I’ll post about the games I see people playing with truth. Please leave a comment if this sounds interesting to you.


25 thoughts on “Who Controls the Truth?”

    1. The interesting part for me right now is that the ten territorial games from my 1997 book – seem to be the same games that are currently being played to “control” perceptions of truth. And many of them have been embedded in system architecture and algorithms.

  1. A little encouragement from downunder where pending elections are creating a battle for control on perceptions of truth.

  2. Please bring out the TRUTH. So often I hear folks willing to ignore facts in favor of pure illusion. When pressed they happily acknowledge paying no attention to “those sources .“

  3. Yes! Please lead this discussion on truth! Both the little t truth and the big T truth! in a world filled with “fake news” and propaganda disguised as advertising we need to do all we can to know understand and live from the Truth.

  4. This is a difficult task, but I am in for the effort.

    My one comment is that the premise is lacking.

    I agree that Big T Truth is, has, and always will be there. If Big T Truth was here before us and will be here after we are gone, then WHO is irrelevant.

    The question then becomes subjective wrt to how we use it to influence others. So, maybe the question is how do we see and use Big T Truth and little t truth to influence people? How do we tell which is being used and to what end?

    I love your insight regarding how story telling can influence others to rethink their “truth”. A little self-reflection often goes a long way.

    1. Yeah…I’m only signing up to dialogue with people who are interested in reading my “journaling” out loud about this twenty year old research I conducted on widening the perspectives of infighters: those people who through a great lack of self awareness think of the world as a battle between winners and losers. These “territorial” people sacrifice seeing the bigger picture because they want to be right, and they play games like strategic non-compliance, posturing, occupying, sabotage, discrediting, intimidation to escape facing hard truths. They’d rather let the clock run out than lose. I will start with the “occupation game” Also, I dont think I need a premise to journal.

      1. Doggone it. Now I have to read another book just to get the context right!

        And you certainly need no premise to journal.

        Looking forward to what I can learn. And happy to be among he chosen few.

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