The Postmodern War on Truth: 1992

Michael Crichton warned us…

Last night I selected Michael Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead to read in bed, and I stumbled over this passage in Crichton’s”Factual Note” in the back of the book. Please bear in mind that this was written in 1992, twenty-four years ago.

“… [T]he tendency to blur the boundaries of fact and fiction has become widespread in modern society. Fiction is now seamlessly inserted in everything from scholarly histories to television news. Of course, television is understood to be venal, its transgressions shrugged off by most of us. But the attitude of ‘post-modern’ scholars represents a more fundamental challenge. Some in academic life now argue seriously there is no difference between fact and fiction, that all ways of reading text are arbitrary and personal, and that therefore pure invention is as valid as hard research. At best, this attitude evades traditional scholarly discipline; at worst, it is nasty and dangerous. But such academic views were not prevalent twenty years ago, when I sat down to write this novel…”

In 1972 interllecturals still admitted there was such thing as truth. By 1992, they’d changed their tune. And here, in 2016, they never tell the truth if they can help it.

Saying that there’s no such thing as truth, no such thing as an objective fact–well, I guess they think it makes them sound smart.

But there are an awful lot of stupid smart people on the loose today.

12 comments on “The Postmodern War on Truth: 1992

  1. Truth – an elusive concept – can be found in The Holy Bible, which is what we, as Christians go to and rely on. The world (in darkness) doesn’t recognize the truth because there is no light in it.

  2. This is nothing new. It is not for nothing that the devil is called “the father of lies” and that Christ identifies Himself as “Truth.” A lot of folks believe that this is “modern” ~ it’s not. It’s as old as human history. Man has a wonderful way of determining what he WANTS to believe and moving heaven and earth to make what is not into what is so. Alas, however, sooner or later he runs into something that cannot be “persuaded” to be what is desired rather than what is. If one gets on a plane determined that it’s going to Florida, but the plane is going to Chicago, ONE WILL LAND IN CHICAGO no matter WHAT one WANTS to believe. Sadly, our Millennials and GenXers have yet to accept that FACT.

    1. And whose fault is that? I know it’s been “gradual,” but parents have killed themselves to get their kids into a situation that is both expensive and poisonous — and it still continues. You’d think SOMEBODY would have noticed what’s going on, but apparently, nobody did.

    2. I was in college from 1967-1971, and detected only the weakest glimmers of anti-truth and radical subjectivity. It’s true that Socrates had a few knuckleheads pitching it at him, and Pontius Pilate seemed to have some doubts as to whether anything was truly true.

      But our breakthrough was to institutionalize this.

  3. How times have changed; “In 1972 interllecturals still admitted there was such thing as truth. By 1992, they’d changed their tune. And here, in 2016, they never tell the truth if they can help it.”

    1. True; but what an age to be a witness against the grain; still what you said is true; I feel even more so as an older Millennial

  4. This reminds me of Aldous Huxley after “Brave New World” was published in the early 1930’s and he said he thought what he wrote about was a couple of centuries in the future. Then in the late 1950’s he said what he had written was already coming upon us.

    1. It is even more disturbing to know that the “rewriting” of history in newspapers and erasing people from photographs and film, a thing of fiction in Orwell’s day is now quite possible and is, in fact, done all the time.

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