Where is fact in relation to position?

by Captain Walker

Categories: Humanities, Psychology & Philosophy, Science & Medicine

Again this exploration is motivated by what I see on social media platforms. I often read or hear, “The fact is… (blah blah)..”. But what does that mean? What does fact mean? What do people mean when they refer to ‘fact‘?

Of course I’ve not been able to directly quiz those who assert their ‘facts‘. When I ask for ‘sources‘ of these facts, I invariable get opinion based on no foundation of reasoning or evidence.

Fact

That leads me to infer or deduce that by ‘fact‘ what most people on social media mean, is ‘my strong belief‘. But they don’t know and cannot explain how they came to their ‘fact‘ which is their belief/assertion.

In the infographic below I show how ‘facts in the mind’ emerge. To understand ‘where it is coming‘ from, study of the ‘The Dangers of Perception‘ is required. (This does not mean I’m bullying anyone to read the latter, just in case). Much has been written on ‘Attitudes‘ and ‘Beliefs‘.

Position

Position has been introduced – having studied many an Employment Tribunal judgement, which favoured some poor worker who has been a victim of some ridiculous injustice. When I read these judgements, I come away thinking, “What the hell – how could intelligent people behave like that?!

This needs some further exploration. Position is the stage before formation of a ‘belief’. It could come higher in the infographic if you wish. Having perceived and formed an attitude (which is not a firm conclusion), one then ‘positions’ one’s self among others with similar attitudes. Obviously, most people don’t like being among people who are of a different mindset.

This positioning makes it more probable that conscious or unconscious influences will come to bear on the individual.

If you have an attitude that ‘person X’ is a despicable narcissist (for example), you’d naturally hang out more often with those who express such sentiment. You may not be entirely convinced – though you have an attitude that ‘person X’ is not nice, but the bombardment of negative sentiment about ‘person X’ – a herd effect – shapes or firms up your negative attitude towards ‘person X’. Obviously, you’re unlikely to argue with the bunch that ‘person X’ is nice. Importantly ‘attitude’ is not ‘conviction’ or belief.

So – the next time ‘person X’ appears to rub you the wrong way – Bingo! – the perceptions and attitudes of the group confirms your original attitude. In this way, positioning firms up your attitude and makes it more likely that you will conclude that ‘person X’ is a despicable narcissist, as a fully conscious belief.

[For those who have not studied what I’ve written, I am aware that individuals may sometimes be consciously aware of their attitude. But of the most part, the unconscious aspect of attitude is more important.]

Reality

I have explored reality before several times. The ultimate reality exists outside of what our minds/brains conceptualise. The objects around us, have form, dimensions, colour, texture, make sounds, carry smell etc – only because our fives senses produced by our brains, creates them. Is that orange in the fruit basket ‘orange’. You see it as orange colour only because your eyes have been hardwired and limited to appreciating certain bandwidths of the full spectrum of light as we know it. We cannot (unaided) see the infra-red or ultra-violet ends of the spectrum.

People without thinking accept as real, what they hear, see, smell and touch. ‘As real’ are the important words. What they believe is real, is actually a creation of the brain. The truly real object outside their heads has none of those properties. How would a person who was born blind, deaf, and without a sense of smell conceptualise an orange? The universe does not contain the properties of objects that we hold as true in our minds. It is just a sea of radiation (light is the electromagnetic part of radiation of one type, flying around out there.) So – the senses create an object that we can appreciate in our minds.

But then ‘everybody’ who is not blind or colour-blind, agrees that ripe oranges are most likely to be orange. Some will argue – especially in courts – that the collective agreement makes it a fact that oranges are ‘orange’. That’s fine for ‘legal facts’ – which is a whole separate thesis. However, the fact of a consensus of agreement is just that. ‘Agreement’ then becomes a ‘fact in the mind’.

Agreement v Fact

In 300 B.C. Aristotle said that spiders had six legs and was classified as an insect. All the world believed him, until finally in the 1400s somebody actually counted and saw they had not six, but eight legs.” (from here) The agreement and belief took 1700 years to be changed among ‘everybody’. Obviously there would have been many who would have disagreed with Aristotle for hundreds of years, but they would have been pilloried. What this meant is that the fact of agreement in minds was more powerful than the force of reality.

If you think, ‘Well that was then and people weren’t very scientific!‘ – then you have reading to do! The Theranos debacle costed Billions in a world full of scientific thinking! Like how?? Start here and search on YouTube. Good documentary here – it may disappear. When one studies this fraud, it becomes easier to see the importance of ‘position’ and how consensus mattered more than reality.

Conclusions

  1. What’s in the mind and memory, is taken as fact – but it isn’t.
  2. The fact of agreement is not fact in itself.
  3. Reality – the true reality outside of heads – has a power to punish, those who stray too far from it.

The reading of posts on this blog is subject to the Terms & Conditions. Unpalatable truths and personal experiences may be told. Nothing posted on this blog is directed at any identified person. On occasions individuals are quoted anonymously. That does not mean that they have been identified to the world. Should any person or organisation reading this blog find something that makes them feel or know that they  are being referred to - any such perceived identification does not mean 'identified to the world'. ‘Stupid' is an impish figment of my imagination who occasionally is allowed to pop up – and does not represent any known individual or individuals. ‘Stupid'  carries the characteristics groups of people with 'social media mindsets'. The treatment of  'Stupid' is not representative of the way people are treated in real life. Adverse inferences made are dismissed in advance. 

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