Lies and fake news | Inquirer Opinion

Lies and fake news

02:39 AM October 26, 2018

It is an extraordinarily dangerous world today, the opposite polarity of the other world of blazing technology and material progress. No matter the speed, the quality of the content, the radicalism of form, certain life realities are in place. There are two of them which are directly related – duality and the law of polarity.

Duality is an instance of opposition or contrast between two concepts or two aspects of something, also known as dualism.


The law of polarity says everything is dual, that things appearing to be opposite are actually two inseparable parts of the same thing. Classic examples are hot and cold which are opposites, but you cannot have one without the potential for the other. The law of polarity can also be termed the law of the opposite potential.

Life unfolds and expresses itself with great fidelity to these firm realities. Some spiritual masters claim that there are pathways to transcend these life principles, but material reality will, in the meantime, have to contend which that which it cannot yet seem to escape on.


Let us now take some examples of our ordinary day-to-day living and realize that we exist within a sense of order. Order is established by laws of nature or by the collective consensus and acquiescence of man. We follow norms of living because laws that we ourselves establish demand it, or because laws of nature, like gravity, force us to do so. Without a minimum amount of order, chaos not only reigns but will ensure that we will self-destruct, first as communities, and possibly as mankind itself. In human history, it has been determined that whole societies have disappeared. Definitely, as they did so, their previous sense of order was irreparably damaged and destroyed.

The truth, or at least sets of facts, are necessary for order and communal living. We exist knowing that there are things we must do to survive, and then more intricate things we must do to develop and prosper. Therefore, we must know that when we lock the door, it stays locked. The claim of a door lock must be true or our very safety is compromised. When we drive and stop on a red light, others, too, must do the same or we will be smashing into each other. Red means stop and that must remain true. Just like Yes means yes or No means no. If this does not hold true, we will soon be killing one another.

That is why lying, or fake news, is so insidious and destructive. If we allow lies and fake news to proliferate in our daily lives, we will never know when and who to believe. Imagine the consequences of that, imagine agreeing to meet at a certain place and time and then it is not true. Imagine going to the MRT where it is supposed to bring you somewhere and it brings you somewhere else – or does not move at all.  Lies and fake news are not only against the truth or facts, but they also seek to destroy a societal sense of order. They seek chaos, and chaos leads to violence.

It would seem that the truth is even more fundamental than the Commandments. If the Commandments are not accepted as true, they are totally useless. Truth is like that – it is foundational. That is why the whole journey of man from primitiveness to modernity is akin to a journey of darkness towards light, from ignorance to knowledge. Lies and fake news serve to derail the progress of this journey and threaten to bring us back to darkness – and the violence it will spawn when man cannot distinguish anymore what is real or not.

But that is what we must live with today, not the lies and fake news, but their great possibility as the opposite of facts and truth. As more facts and truth are revealed by technological advances, so is the opposite potential of lies and fake news. It is only a matter of going against the original purpose and the same act can provoke an opposite effect. Nuclear power is used for energy, for medicine, for a host of other scientific endeavors; yet, a nuclear bomb can destroy man and property. That is what lies and fake news want to do – be a nuclear bomb instead of beneficial nuclear power.

It is not as though lying and fake news is a modern-day product. Time and again, I have referred to one of the original Ten Commandments, the one saying “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Lies and malicious gossip have been around for so long that the Ten Commandments had to address them, and human laws have libel and slander restrictions, among others. What makes today very different, however, is the advent of modern technology and social media, making it possible to express both the truth and the lies in the easiest of manner, to a much greater number of people. In fact, the volume is too much for the law to handle, lies and fake news too many to bring to court.

I am happy to note, though, that the human spirit must have a native affinity for truth, and that the human mind seeks facts, not lies, to advance knowledge. While there is a proliferation, even by bots or automated devices and software, of lies and fake news, there is also a pushback from society in general. I must presume that society understands how its most basic functions can be rudely and dangerously disrupted if lies and fake news take over the truth and facts. One can only imagine the chaos when the very basis of life and relationships, which is the truth and the facts, become unpredictable.

Elections are coming, and campaigning will happen even before the law will allow it. There will be a spike in the motivation and resources for lies and fake news. Forewarned is forearmed – maybe.

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