What we talk about when we talk about post-truth

The issue is one of trust, not verification.

This Aeon article by Diana Popescu discusses the role of facts in today’s world. Her argument focuses on the political effects of this “fake news” phenomenon; people are less likely to act according to facts, instead relying on their willingness to agree with the facts. Among 45’s supporters and other such far-right ilk, the denial of climate change and the denial of Trump’s psychopathic behavior illustrates the danger of this mode of being. However, belief in personal ideals over reality (which is directly related to reliance on self experience at the cost of the facts) can also lean left. For example: every communist despot ever.

Conspiracy theories have made their way into the spotlight through TV, books, and social media in the past 20 years, and Popescu’s article makes a good point: trust is the main issue–not the facts themselves. In an age where information (and “information”) is readily available online, nobody knows you’re a dog.

Our beliefs face the tribunal of experience not one by one, with each matched to facts that directly confirm or disprove it, but as a layered body or web that interacts with observable facts only at its margins.

I consider myself an archetype astrologer (in contrast to a predictive-type), and a related, more secular, archetype platform exists in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I prefer astrology because it allows for more dynamic interpretation, recognizing the many facets, roles, and phases of human personality. Eg: the planet Mercury as representative of communication skills, Venus’ role in Western-style romanticism, sun sign as “I/Ego,” and moon as emotional core, vs. ISTJ: you’re essentially a robot.

No person is one personality all the time. Jung’s personality aspects (he popularized the terms extravert and introvert) informed Myers and Briggs while they developed their test, and his types further recognize distinct personality roles within each person: the Ego, extraverted Persona, inner mother and father, inner child, and so on. I love to categorize and organize, and so much of my time working in astrology and Jungian psychology is taken up with creating maps of corresponding titles, matching up symbols, and establishing synonyms between the two schools. See, I already did it above: sun sign as “I/Ego.” Further, I believe that ascendant signs correspond to Jung’s Persona, and moon signs to a person’s Unconscious.

Anyway, the point of all this is to say that the Myers-Briggs index and an easily accessible off-brand version of it here, recognize a spectrum of “Information” personality characteristics directly related to Popescu’s article on beliefs.

Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).

If your Sensing aspect is stronger, you may write off conspiracy theories as ridiculous, relying on observable facts proven by someone else to form your own belief. A person with a dominating Intuition faculty would be less likely to trust the establishment, relying on their inner experience over the words of others.

Exhibit A: Are you a Mulder or a Scully?

Diplomats and Analysts (70%, 71%, 27% and 56%, 71%, 22% agreeing on telepathy, undetected life-forms, and magic/spells, respectively)

“Highly unlikely, but not outside the realm of extreme possibility?” – Fox Mulder

Unsurprisingly, Diplomats and Analysts were the most likely Roles to agree with our three metaphysical questions. The Intuitive trait – the only one shared by all Diplomat and Analyst personality types – played the most significant role in responses for each question. Intuitive types were 18% more likely than Observant types to believe that people can communicate telepathically under certain circumstances, 21% more likely to believe that there are life-forms on Earth that evade detection, and 13% more likely to believe that some people can change the course of events through magic or spells.

My own personality results are conclusive: INFP-A.
That’s right, I’m a Mulder. B-)

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