Truth Decay – Defined and Explained

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Truth is defined as “a fact or belief that is accepted as true; in accordance with fact or reality”. Decay is defined as “rot or decompose through the action of bacteria and fungi”.

Mixing these two; to form TRUTH DECAY; simply points to the state where that which was thought to be true, whatever it is, is now thought to have been ‘contaminated and laced with bacteria and fungi’; thereby decomposing to produce a stink! Truth decay is a very dangerous state of affairs; and if not managed promptly it can cause serious damage and losses; both human and material. Decisions will be made on the pretext of wrong information, to the detriment of mankind.   

Truth Decay – Defined and Explained

There are four related trends that point out to truth decay:

1. Increasing disagreement about facts and analytical interpretations of facts and data:
People will always argue over anything; but when the levels of disagreements continue to widen up, that’s a serious breeding ground for truth decay. There will be a lot of spin-doctoring of information in order for one party to gain mileage over the other.

2. A blurring of the line between opinion and fact:
During disagreements, it is very important to distinguish between a fact and an opinion. While opinions are valid and should be respected, but they must not be mistaken for a statement of fact. It normally happens when one person is dominating discussions. His or her opinions are normally showed through the rest of the people and adopted as statements of fact. Let’s be aware of that, lest we may make critical decisions based on people’s opinions not facts.

3. The increasing relative volume, and resulting influence, of opinion and personal experience over fact:
This is one very common danger associated with truth decay. People who have experience usually discard laid down procedures and begin to use their experience to solve certain problems. For instance, I grew up knowing that when one person is having a terrible headache, fever and body sweating, chances were high that person would be suffering from malaria. But that is not a fact; because headaches, fever and body-sweating are also associated with stomach infections and vomiting, sugar diabetes and flue. There is always a danger of truth decay when personal opinion and experience overshadow statements of fact.

Truth Decay – Defined and Explained

4. Declining trust in formerly respected sources of factual information:
A number of information sources usually start well in their launching careers. The problem starts when they begin to take sides; be it political, tribal or social. Once a certain section of the society loses truth; it becomes extremely difficult to regain people’s truth. And usually now, in order to regain the lost market confidence, there is a lot of spin-doctoring that will be involved to try and win back the masses. Such a scenario is a serious breeding ground for truth decay.

Whatever the case, truth decay will always be part of humanity. It just needs all of us to be responsible and careful enough in order to manage it. Let us all be analytical, basing more on statements of facts rather than people’s opinion. Learn not to be bullied into submission for things that you don’t subscribe to.

Tapiwa Zuze

Truth Decay – Defined and Explained
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