When you think back on your life, it’s usually a rugged trail backwards through time, but think again. Modern memory science has shown that fictionalised retellings of the events of our lives constitute a significant chunk of memory. We do this possibly as a way to preserve some dignity when in the mirror we have to stare at the face of our own casual evil. Those who survived the long march of evolution were those who cast themselves in the roles of mythical super selves. This is why during a televised congressional debate, it is inevitable that each member from either side will get up to establish their self importance, while casting herself or himself in the role of a hero while those on the other side are always villains.
So much of what we see today appears strange to the universal eye of the generalist beholder. We cannot for the life of us fathom why a lot of lay folk do not want to believe in expert prognostication, choosing instead to rely on their own strong beliefs, which belie all evidence.
Scientists and journalists have lost their cachet to the amateur online peddler of all matters requiring detailed attention. The more we insist on the evidence-based truthfulness of a concept, the more the lay side resorts to Colbert’s ‘truthiness’. At this point in these kinds of arguments after we have hit a wall, all communication ceases.
A fleeting look crossed Hillary Clinton’s face. A sagging of expression when she stepped out of her car in off-white into the damp of the Trump inaugural. Then she braced as always for the questions that would come flying. A second before the figurative veil fell there it was, a weary pain damped down quickly in the face of the public. She is not the easiest person to like, a nerd and a woman in a world where butch populism has devoured ethics, family values and democracy.