Last night Jessica showed me an essay she wrote after reading DBC Pierre's Vernon God Little. In the opening paragraph she wrote:

DBC Pierre explores the effect of media on citizens, and the greater theme of truth, or rather lack of truth, in everyday life.

It was a proud moment for me, because if there is one thing I hope to pass onto my children, it's the notion that there is no singular truth.

I was at a dinner last week where much of the NYC digerati (young and old) were assembled in a lovely apartment on the upper east side. After dinner but before dessert, the hosts initiated a discussion of the obsession of the moment: whither media. At one point, the argument came out that we need journalism to surface the truth. At which point, I sort of lost my composure and argued loudly that there is no truth.

There used to be a mantra at the upper right of this blog. I can't remember what it said exactly, but the gist of it was that there is no absolute truth, just your truth and my truth. I post my truth here everyday and I hope you'll drop by and share your truth with me.

This is the promise of social media. It's revolutionary. When you give every citizen in the world a printing press, you ought to expect revolution. And it is upon us.

I loved this paragraph in NY Mag's piece on Twitter which is in the current issue:

Now think about that for a second. In the midst of chaos—a plane just
crashed right in front of him!—Krums’s first instinct was to take a
picture and load it to the web. There was nothing capitalistic or
altruistic about it. Something amazing happened, and without thinking,
he sent it out to the world. And let’s say he hadn’t. Let’s say he took
this incredible photo—a photo any journalist would send to the Pulitzer
board—and decided to sell it, said he was hanging onto it for the
highest bidder. He would have been vilified by bloggers and Twitterers
alike. His is a culture of sharing information. This is the culture
Twitter is counting on. Whatever your thoughts on its ability to exist
outside the collapsing economy or its inability (so far) to put a price
tag on its services, that’s a real thing. That’s the instinct Stone was
talking about. If the nation has tens of millions of people like Krums,
that’s a phenomenon. That’s what Twitter is waiting for.

"His is a culture of sharing information" No, that is not his culture. That is our culture. That's where we are because every single one of us has a printing press in our hands at all times. I do understand that not everyone on this planet has a cell phone with a camera and an internet connection, but you get my point.

We've moved past the time when big institutions controlled what we read, what we thought, and what we believed. And we are arriving at a new place where each and everyone of us will report on our world and share it with others. Sharing is the new truth.

Sunday night the Grammys told us that Robert Plant and Allison Krauss made the record of the year. That's fine. That's their opinion. Mine is different. I believe that Okkervil River made the record of the year last year. But you know that because I published that opinion on this very blog in December of last year. Compare the Grammys to the Hype Machine's Music Zeitgest and you'll see what the old world looks like and what the new world looks like.

If you want to hear some good new music, it's hard to find it on radio. I just went to KRock's website and looked at the most recent songs they played. There's not one new song (that came out in the past year) in the most recent ten songs. It's all stuff that was popular years ago. Compare that to On my radio station, we play new music. In fact, the music is so new on that I should be getting take down notices because half of the most recent ten songs have not even been released yet. And of the other half of the most recent ten, only one song is old and one more is a live cover.

How does get programmed? Sharing, of course. Each day I share one mp3 on my tumblog. just pulls all those posts together and plays them in a stream in reverse chronological order. Today, I'm sharing a track from a new band of teenagers from NYC called Care Bears On Fire. This brings me to my next point. I've got a vested interest in Care Bears' success (which I disclose in that post I linked to).

We all have vested interests and social media allows us to promote them to each other. That vested interest could be economic (like my interest in Care Bears) or it could be political (like my posts in support of Obama last fall) or it could be familial (like my reblogs of Gotham Gal's recipes or Jessica's photography).

My partner Brad once asked his nephew why he preferred sports blogs to the sports sections in the newspaper. His nephew said "everyone has a point of view but with blogs, they are upfront about it". Indeed. I'm a Jets, Mets, and Knicks fan. That's the lens through which I view the sports world, sadly.

This culture of sharing is not limited to the written word. Log into Boxee and you'll see a screen that looks like this.


The very first thing you see when you log into Boxee are the recommendations from your friends on Boxee. Facebook's user interface is coming to your TV sometime soon. It's not going to be about what NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, or anyone else wants you to watch. It's going to be about what your friends are watching. It always has been about that but we just haven't had the TV interfaces that recognize that.

There I go again, talking about my vested interests (our firm has an investment in Boxee). That's my truth.

I've got to end this post because I need to turn it into a presentation I can deliver at SocComm in about three hours. So I'll end this post by linking out to a couple of other truths out there on the issues I've covered here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
#My Music#Politics#VC & Technology#Weblogs

Comments (Archived):

  1. David Noël

    Fred – great post, really great.(there’s a typo in ‘Zeitgeist’)

    1. fredwilson

      Damn. I’m not near a computer for hours. I need a peer produced copy editing solution. Thanks for letting me know

  2. Andrew Badr

    Bad examples. When people talk about journalists uncovering the truth, they aren’t thinking of favorite bands, shows, or sports teams. Those, like the Grammys, are clearly subjective.

    1. thewalrus

      I think the point is that EVERYTHING is subjective, including journalistic “truths”…..WMD in Iraq is just one example. The fundamental subjectivity of journalistic truth is what editors decide worthy of publishing, or not publishing, in the first place. I hope the ‘decentralized printing presses’ vision continues to evolve……without old media oligarchies just being replaced by new media oligarchies. Not having to hear about stuff like Joe the Plumber for months on end would make me happy.My opinion is that these not bad examples, but that is just my “truth”, I guess 🙂

      1. fredwilson

        Now were getting somewhere

    2. Dan Ostermayer

      Truth in media terms is really about uncovering “What happened”. I’m not sure that anyone believes that best or worst artists constitute truth. Truth appears relative because we have a relative position in the universe. Truth is made by each of us because we each only see a specific perspective. That is not to say that absolute truth does or does not exist but it is to say that we can only know it relative to us. I tried to clarify a little http://lightlycaffeinated.c

      1. fredwilson

        I love the lightly caffeinated brand. Awesome

    3. fredwilson

      Then bring some good ones. This is a discussion

      1. Andrew Badr

        Critique is part of discussion. My comment was a way of asking you to bring some different examples, in the hopes that I could better understand your claim. So please don’t take it as a personal attack — to the contrary, I wouldn’t have posted if I wasn’t curious about what you had to say.

        1. fredwilson

          i was being flip. sorry about that. probably not appropriate for a serious about WMD in Iraq or even whether 9/11 was an inside job?on the WMD issue, the truth as uncovered by the journalists was wrongand on 9/11, there is a small minority (i’m not one of them) who think 9/11 was an inside job. could it have been? yes. was it? who knows.

          1. Ed

            “and on 9/11, there is a small minority (i’m not one of them) who think 9/11 was an inside job. could it have been? yes. was it? who knows.”I am erasing the “…was it? who knows.” from my memory. You did not say that.

          2. Noah David Simon

            Chomsky admitted there were WMDs in Iraq. case closed when they found some Uranium south of Baghdad.

    4. Dan Ostermayer

      A good example of trying to universalize truth occurs when a media source such as CNN, FOX News, NYTimes etc. controls both the medium and the content which has the effect of pushing out the alternative “opinions” and creates the appearance of one truth. The beauty of new media is that the company (twitter, digg, hypem) only controls the medium and the users control the content. This allows for true discussion and diversity. In a sense, new media is just a bunch of fancy aggregaters and filters built ontop of independent printing presses where old media is a house with a serious of carefully monitored printing presses.

      1. fredwilson

        Well said

  3. tmarman

    I attended an intimate presentation by Dave Thomas (of Pragmatic Programmers fame) awhile back called “Herding Racehorses, Racing Sheep”. It was a high-level talk on software development, psychology, expertise and generally how to move (yourself and/or others) along the expertise curve.I’ve personally never been a big fan of rules and best practices and I thought his discussion really captured why. As I wrote then (”Dave asserts that expertise cannot be boiled down to rules because we lose the original context for the rule in the process. This is one of the biggest challenge in artificial intelligence, of course, and a similar problem with best practices. Truth, he says, is contextual – and it’s often very difficult to capture the context in these situations. Rather, there are two dials – rules and intuition. As we move along the five stages, we increasingly rely less on rules and more on intuition. The expert rarely uses a recipe.It should come as no surprise, having attended a liberal arts college, that I agree with and have been preaching most of the points that Dave raised. The whole point of a liberal arts education is learning how to learn and trying to understand something in the greater context.”Like you, I am a firm believer that there is no singular truth. I believe there are absolutely shades of truth, and the only way I can arrive at a conclusion I am happy with is to read as many sides of the story I can and apply my general intuition. I think this applies in both “objective” contexts like a news story and clearly “subjective truths” like best movie, best phone, etc.I think this is why Boxee, Facebook, blogging and other “social” tools are so interesting – because it’s a democratization of opinion. Instead of, as you said, points of authority expressing these opinions, it is everyone. With more opinions out there (whether it’s music, points of view on a story, etc), it’s easier to build your own view of that subjective truth appropriate for you.This is also the cornerstone of what started us building Notches ( Blogging may have been the printing press in the context allowing those without technical knowledge to write if so inclined, but there’s still a barrier to entry in having, say, my mother write reviews. We want to let a thousand interfaces bloom (including things like voice) to further democratize these opinions. Ultimately, this is the best way to get to a “subjective truth”, and make recommendations based on your personal values and beliefs. The question isn’t what’s “best”, but “best for me”.

    1. fredwilson

      Great comment tim

  4. aweissman

    I was at that dinner, I would say your argued “forcefully” – not simply loudly.I’ve always wanted you to write more about your investments. I dont care about biases, I know what they are, I want your POV, and others as well.

    1. fredwilson

      Ok loudly and forcefully. I was worked up

    2. markslater

      i agree – i sometimes hate the apologist approach for talking about investments – WTF is he supposed to do – clearly fred is investing against a hypotheses he believes strongly in – anyone on here who gets worked up because he chooses to validate that hypotheses by talking about it should frankly not bother reading.i love this post and the comments.

      1. fredwilson

        Thanks guys. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing

    3. michaelgalpert

      i agree with Andy “dont care about biases, I know what they are, I want your POV, and others as well”i’ve noticed people getting upset with your posts b/c they seem skewed. They quickly forget that this is your blog that they are reading and you can write whatever the hell you want.i especially loved your rant on radio stations and if you dont already, you must purchase this t-shirt

      1. fredwilson

        Will do. Thanks

  5. kidmercury

    there are some truths that are subjective (who is the best band, what the word “fair” means in any given circumstance, whether i am feeling happy or sad, whether or not certain behavior is immoral or moral, etc). then there are other truths that are objective, i.e. my screen name is Kid Mercury and the URL of this blog is objective truths, aka facts, are true regardless of whether or not anyone wants to believe them.mainstream media, and most people in general, ignore lots of facts because they don’t want to think about bad news. too bad for them that while ignorance is bliss, it is so only in the short-term, as eventually the facts do end up mattering. this is particularly relevant now as the biggest problem in the world is that people are basing their decisions off a false data set — and thus things that are rather obvious and foreseeable when you have a real data set are completely unforeseeable if you have a false data set (as is the case with the economic meltdown) .finding your objective and subjective truths sets you free. the web is here to help everyone find their subjective and objective truths, doubly so as open systems move everything towards personalization. but ultimately people have to choose their truth. right now most folks are still choosing what they know deep down are lies — the false and misleading data set the mainstream media puts out. folks are making the wrong choice, but that error will become more apparent in time.

    1. fredwilson

      Kid – I don’t yet subscribe to your 9/11 truth but I mentioned it last week when I got worked up about jounalistic truth and its also in my soccomm deck which I posted to slideshare and tweeted this morningIts your truth and you are entitled to evangelize it

      1. kidmercury

        you mentioned it for real?!?!?! i bet some folks were all crying and whining and calling you a kook and stuff like that. whenever i get all worked up in political conversations i always drop 9/11 and then it goes supernova from there. lol.that’s fantastic that you mentioned it though, honestly the best news i heard in a while. definitely a reason to be optimistic. once people have the full data set we can get capitalism back and that will be great.9/11 is important because we have to agree on the facts to have a conversation. like it would be impossible for two people to do a business deal if they could not agree on what was the sum of five and seven. once the people understand 9/11 truth, they will be able to unite and create real change from the bottom up, as they will understand that reformation of government is the primary cost for everyone and that this cost is only growing and thus must be dealt with if society is to begin growing its wealth again.the spirit of the 9/11 truth movement stems from non-controversial facts. we are always happy to have a discussion on the facts of 9/11 if there is disagreement or concern over error. contrary to popular belief, it is the guy in a cave hypothesis that is the conspiracy theory, our view is based on facts, research, eyewitness testimony, etc. we have sought the facts and this is where the facts have taken us.the bad news is that the truth hurts, the good news is that it sets you free. from a cost-benefit perspective, though, it’s definitely a good investment. without the facts we’re blind.

      2. Noah David Simon

        it is ok to mention 911Truth. people are no longer shocked by it. it is a meme that is past it’s influence. 911Truth is the joke of history. I wouldn’t dialog with it though. It has no place even in a temporary equivalency.

      3. Noah David Simon

        if steel doesn’t melt then why fire proof it? what is the Truth Fred?

  6. Chris Frost

    Fred, i think truth is your PERCEPTION of what you hear and not what you hear.

  7. scandelmo

    Great post Fred. Instead of sharing of truth, I always characterized it as the democratization of thought. Sharing our observations about ourselves and the world that surround us is a basic human instinct. The need to share these “stories” is timeless. The outcome of these collective stories becomes a reflection of ourselves, what we view as important, what we love, what we hate, what we covet, what we lament or celebrate. In essence it is who “we” are at the given moment. This essence is our truth and how we mine that truth is when the web becomes a source of meaning and utility and ultimately value.Good luck with your presentation. I wish I was there to see it.

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks. I posted the deck to slideshare and tweeted the url this morning

  8. andyswan

    I love the way you present the concept of relative truth as if IT was an absolute truth.

    1. fredwilson

      You are on to me andy. That’s not good

    2. Seth

      Comment of the year candidate.

      1. fredwilson

        Yeah, but it’s only february. He can do even better. You don’t want Andycoasting

    3. Noah David Simon

      guys like Karl Popper thought they were slick because they put everything in relative form. truth is not an equation. you can’t sample and compare out of context and convince me.

  9. Gotham Gal

    What’s the old saying. There are 3 sides to every story…your side, my side and what really happened. What really happened is not tangible because what happened is your own personal truth.

    1. Pete

      It sounds like that saying argues in favor of absolute truth. My view is that “what really happened” = the truth. Truth doesn’t need to be known or understood by individuals. If it is snowing outside, but I haven’t looked out the window to see it, isn’t it snowing regardless? If I firmly believe it is not snowing outside, based on my perspective of having not looked out the window, then I am wrong, even if there is no one there to argue with me. I can call it my personal truth, and I can believe it 100%, but it is absolutely wrong.I wonder if this is a debate in disguise about the existence of God. I’m not looking to go there in Fred’s blog, but I enjoy the conversation!

      1. fredwilson

        Feel free to take this discussion anywhere you want. as long as people are respectful and nice, its ok with me

    2. D. C. Toedt

      ‘Your truth’ and ‘my truth’ are just labels. Reality is componentized. Our respective mental ‘lenses’ (or filters, if you will) allow each of us to ‘get’ only certain components. Each of us integrates the particular mix of components we perceive into ‘truth.’ Critical realism entails keeping this limitation in mind in making decisions.

      1. Pete

        The question is: is there a single correct way to assemble the components, or are there infinite equally correct ways?I believe there is a single, correct way. Absolute truth exists. And I agree that your human ‘mental lenses’ act as limiters. In many cases, no single individual knows or understands the truth. When someone acts on a belief that they possess the absolute truth, there is potential for greatness. The VC industry relies on these actions. There is also potential for disaster–hatred, wars, killing…

        1. D. C. Toedt

          I tend to agree — provisionally — that there is an absolute truth, and that it can be dangerous to mistake ‘individual truth’ for it. Another term for that is ‘wishful thinking.’As it happens, on that subject ‘my truth’ is influenced by my having paid back my ROTC college scholarship as a Navy nuclear engineering officer. The sea doesn’t care about ‘your truth’ or ‘my truth’; it’s pretty unforgiving of wishful thinking.

  10. Neil Roseman

    Interesting post, Fred. Seems like most of what you are talking about, and you say yourself, is “opinion” and not “truth”. While you and the Grammy voters don’t share the same opinion, I am guessing you do think it is true that, “Robert Plant and Allison Krauss won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.” You just don’t agree with their opinion. (I don’t either, though I would go with “Midnight Organ Fight” over “The Stand-Ins” much as I loved the latter.)So, I read you as saying that sharing frees us from treating received opinion as “truth” — that I definitely am with you on. I agree that when everyone has a voice you get a revolution — just not one where all truth is relative, though opinions may be. And, I love that you use your (enlightened) self-interest to form the opinions that you share.But, I can’t accept (for example) that “Creation Science” is speaking the truth when they state their factually incorrect opinions — even though I applaud their ability to hold and share such opinions.

    1. fredwilson

      But its their truth. That’s pretty strong stuff

      1. Noah David Simon

        In an economy where everything is credit and fraud… I find it uncanny that those who voted to borrow more would be against truth. NYTimes says perception on the economy has improved. Time for Truth Fred. the Marta Aggregate failed it’s relativity test. Stop printing more money! Stop borrowing from China! Tie the Dollar to Petroleum and shut Nancy Pelosi up. We fail because we pretend energy isn’t our unit… BUT IT IS! Not GOLD. VOLTAGE! Time for Truth

  11. Pierre Little

    You actually believe this garbage?Where is the means to earn a living? The internet revolution of “free” content is a bubble. The correction is coming.There is no incentives, other than advertising subsidies, that provide a living. Actually you are little bombastic and quite hypocritical to preach an anti capatalist model when in fact you are espousing an advertising based model.What total nonsense.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s your truth and thanks for sharing it with us

  12. steveplace

    There is no absolute truth, except for this statement.Also, I don’t think Music Blog Zeitgest would post a video of a very-pregnant-rapping-ladybug.

    1. fredwilson

      That was a pretty great moment

  13. leigh

    I suggest that anyone that believes the decline of mass media will hamper “the truth” might want to go out and rent Manufacturing Consent and learn a little bit about that particular truth.

    1. leigh

      and ps. I used ‘twitthat’ to link to your post – and on my powertwitter version is says: “link to truth” NIce.

      1. scott crawford

        Yeah, but that’s your link, not my link. 🙂

  14. Tom Hughes

    I’m not sure I am entirely prepared to give up on the hope for truth and the search for facts. Maybe, though, as the personal printing press swells into the mainstream, that will actually increase our appetite for facts and for institutions that we can count on to report them. Journalism in the last forty years (say, since the rise of the New Journalism and of TV reporting) has gotten more personal, more opinionated, more personality-driven. Does anyone really care about Katie Couric is wearing? Might I rather just read a Twitter feed, one that blends genuine celebrities (I follow Stephen Fry, for instance) with my friends’ updates? Maybe this whole cycle will be seen as an aberration, now being corrected, where professional journalism starts to distance itself from celebrity.John McPhee has a wonderful piece in this week’s New Yorker magazine about fact-checkers (abstract here:… , full article not freely available). The New Yorker is a wonderful blend of humor, opinion (reviews, profiles, Talk of the Town, casuals) and journalism of the highest order (Seymour Hersh, Lawrence Wright, the list goes on and on). But the barriers to entry will be highest in the fact-checking game. I can be entertained by The New Yorker, by Youtube, by the Grammies, by my kids — a long list that is continually evolving; but I can only be usefully informed by a few institutions that I trust: that list is a lot shorter, and — interestingly — changes slowly, if at all.

  15. Kenosha_Kid

    A pretty big subject, huh? Some have spent a lifetime thinking this through, and written volumes upon volumes, and the jury is still out. Suggested reading: St. Augustine, Spinoza, Berkeley, Hume, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, the post-war existentialists, Foucault… The thing about blogs and social media, there is just too much… too much… And at the same time, too little.

    1. fredwilson

      I’m not trying to compete with those people by the way. I’m just blogging

      1. Kenosha_Kid

        Sorry, Fred, I didn’t mean that at all. I always enjoy your blogs.

        1. fredwilson

          I know you didn’t mean it that way. But I thought I ought to clarify forthose who read the comments literally

  16. robchogo

    This post made me think about the Blind Men and the Elephant parable:…I think it’s a good message for tolerance and humility. To know that your own point of view (or your “truth”) can justifiably be different than someone else.But, I don’t think there is always no singular truth. In the parable, the truth is that the elephant is a large mammal with all the different qualities that the blind men experienced. That is the truth. What the blind men experienced was true to them, but was incomplete.I think sharing and openness are all great things. But I think it’s dangerous to go all the way to say that truth is completely relative. In a lot of cases, there is a truth – a factual one that takes into account all the motivations of the different people involved. It may be true that no observer has a claim on the whole truth, but the truth does exist.

    1. cyanbane

      The most awesome/ironic part of that wikipedia entry is that for that specific story (and the message it delivers) there are multiple versions for multiple religions. All of which have a different ‘blind man’ take on it.Its a great example of what the Gotham Gal stated above, the wikipedia entry attributes the story to India, I bet there are some in the below religions who would beg to differ on that truth.

      1. robchogo

        Ironic indeed!

  17. Call Me Ishmael

    Fred,You should let your daughter know that she made a very common spelling mistake in her essay. What she meant to write is: “DBC Pierre explores the effect of media” not the “affect of media”. The effect of media is that it affects our life. Don’t get me started on principle and principal.

    1. fredwilson

      I think that was my mistake in retyping it. She’s a better writer/speller than me. Again, I wish we has user gen copy editing

      1. D. C. Toedt

        As long as we’re in copy-editing mode: She’s a better writer/speller than I (not “than me”) .

        1. fredwilson

          That just proves my case!

    2. fredwilson

      I fixed it btwThanks!

  18. Sid W

    This post and the comments gave me an undergraduate philosophy flashback. Dammit. I thought I was done with Hegel and Kierkegaard.Look up the wikipedia entry on truth for a mindf**k.

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks. I think my mind is spinning now

  19. rh0dium

    Fred,Fantastic article. Coming from a different perspective I can’t help but associate the idea that there isn’t a singular truth to the famous Schrödinger’s cat letters from Einstein. Is the cat alive or dead – the answer as tmarman pointed out is more based on intuition and less on rules as we never really know. Great stuff you’ve definitely given me something to think about this morning.

  20. Steven Kane

    interesting!but I think you maybe are conflating “freedom of speech” with “truth is relative” with “science sometimes yields inarguable facts”Last one first.Science does often yield inarguable facts.Water does boil at 100 degrees celsius at sea level.But that’s often, *not* always.Eugenics was considered scientific fact… embraced by worldwide “scientific consensus” and many of the greatest thinkers of the early 20th century… until it was discarded as an ideology, and a literally evil one!But OK, the scientific method – repeatable experiments — does often yield natural facts.As for freedom of speech, well, I’d willingly die defending it. Makes me deeply emotionally intellectually and spiritually ill that so many human beings today don’t enjoy it. so blog and tweet and march up and down 42nd street all day — power to you all. and yes, fascists don’t have the right to kill but they do have the right to say their enemies should die.but what does that have to do with “truth”? speech is speech. not truth.more important, i worry about ideas like “everything and nothing is truth” (which i think is implied by your reasoning, fred.)OK, sure. everything and nothing is true. stipulated! But my thrill thinking about that is more a flashback to college dorm bull sessions than to living in the real world.For in the real world that leads to some truly awful situations.Consider.True or false?Killing is a sin.Just because John Wayne Gacy’s truth is different — killing isn’t a sin; its a form of therapy — doesn’t make it OK for him to kill.And just because even a 2nd rate debater can easily convince me that sometimes killing is not always a sin does make me open to legalizing murder.How about…My home belongs to me.Truth?I have all sorts of paperwork showing that I bought it. And no one is contesting my claim. But someone could. And I can’t say I’ve always owned it. Nor can I say that any being can really “own” any piece of the universe. In fact, I can reasonably deduce that roughly 500 years ago, some Native American tribe “owned” this property, or at least resided on it, and that the tribe was very likely forcibly removed or swindled.So is it “truth” that I own my house? Or is it social convention and law and precedent — a messy stew to be sure, but the best recipe we have for adjudicating conflict? And as members of a social compact — of a society, tribe, town or state or nation — don’t we all have to allow that even though such “truths” are imperfect, we have to collectively abide by them to avoid anarchy and violence?the bottom line IMHO is, just because truth is in the eye of the beholder does not mean we as a community or people or nation or family do not have a very real, absolute need to have social compacts, reasonable truths that we all agree to acknowledge to try live in something resembling harmony, or at least, as little conflict and harm as possible

    1. rh0dium

      Awesome!!This is so intellectually intense it makes my head hurt. I really think your bottom line is right on the mark. We do need social compacts (no matter how ridiculous they may seem over the course of time) – they are the guide for which we all can live.The problem is that defining a universal social compact is impossible – as a naive layman I believe we should be able to do that. However as 9/11 and countless other historic events have shown even the most basic universal truths cannot be universally held.I agree with you there is a big difference between freedom of speech and action. But I think the interpretation of both the speech and the action are left to the individual. How I interpret the actions or words of another is based on the sum of all actions and words which I have witnessed over time. I am (in the words of a great prof) the sum of all activities and experiences that I have encounted until now. Dynamic and forever changing.This is a great thread!!

    2. fredwilson

      Wow. Another meaty comment that deserves a meatly reply but I’ve spent the whole morning on this topic (blog post, powerpoint deck, giving my talk) and I just don’t have the time for itCan we get into this when we have dinner in nyc next week?Fred

      1. Steven Kane

        Only if we have time ­ there is so much philosophical musing to be done re:pickles

        1. fredwilson

          Here’s some absolute truth: rick is the best pickler I know!

    3. Paul

      I’m glad you spent the time to write this response, because I can be lazy and just say””Second that.”I’m very much in favor of freedom of speech, even for people with whom I disagree, and I believe I;m very open minded to very different opinions and philosophies. But Fred’s original blog got me very uncomfortable for the way it approaches complete relativity. If everything is true, then nothing is true. And I’m thinking hard about the best way to raise my kids, and I want them to have a strong moral sense while respecting a wide range of opinions.Steven – I think you nailed my point of concern – the social compact is what I keep coming back to in my life, and the way I want my children to live. Fred – I think we’re in the same spot, but Steven, I’m pretty sure I’m with you.

      1. fredwilson

        Steve keeps me honest!

  21. RacerRick

    This “sharing culture” is, in some ways, greedy.Janis Krums could have sold that photo of the US Airways plane. But he probably realize that he’d reach more people and become more famous if he put it on Twitter.

    1. fredwilson

      Fame or fortune?

  22. vrikhter

    There is no [or very little] black and white…its all gray!

  23. Ethan Bauley

    There’s an intersection around here with the world of art criticism, but I’m not sure where it is.Duke Ellington said, “there’s only two kinds of music: good and bad”. I tend to agree, and (circa 2/2009) I think what delineates good and bad is largely: “intent”.More generally, I think the word is “context”.I’m interested in the context engines that will emerge to help make sense of the Now Web (Borthwick) and integrate “true” [wink wink] social capital accounting.Thanks for an incredible piece!

  24. Steven Carpenter

    Great topic as well as a classic one. I don’t think anyone has brought this up yet, but the notion of the obfuscation of truth and perception was best captured in the 1950 Kurosowa film, Rashomon. It tells the brutal story of a violent crime from the perspectives of 4 different people. What seems like an obvious case, by the end leaves the viewer unable to decipher what really happened.It was such a powerful and vivid display of perception that the film spawned its own paradigm: “The Rashomon Effect.” Truth is all relative.

  25. Druce

    there are levels of truth / completeness although none is absolute and complete- The earth was created out of a meatball by the flying spaghetti monster (not falsifiable)- The earth is made of green cheese (falsifiable)- The earth is flat (useful simplification if you’re not going too far)- The earth is a sphere with a radius of 6,378 km (better simplification within some margin of error, but doesn’t account for Mount Everest)nonsense too comes in various levels … grammatical nonsense like Jabberwocky and unintelligible nonsense.truth is complex and not knowable, and changed by the act of observing it, and the same applies to statements about truth.

    1. rh0dium

      Your last line – hit the mark!!Truth is changed by the act of observing it. This implies that truth may change. As I said earlier you are the sum of all activities and experiences you have encountered up until the point of observing it. Observing it from different perspectives will change the truth. Think of a magic trick where you learn the trick..

    2. fredwilson

      That’s excellent druce

    3. Jefferson

      Objective truth is simple and unknowable. Complexity comes with our perception of that truth. And objective truth is not changed by observing it, as it is unchangeable; but only through observation can we perceive what we believe to be true.

  26. PKafka

    Fred, as many of your commenters have pointed out, when you talk about whether or not the Robert Plant album is better than the Okkervil album, then you’re absolutely right. There is no truth, everyone’s opinion is equal, and the Web’s ability to let all of us sound off is a great thing. And the creative destruction that comes along with it is great, too.When it comes to other questions… well, things get tricky then. Even at this date, it’s not entirely clear what happened in Iraq prior to the invasion, and it certainly isn’t clear what’s going on now. But that doesn’t mean it’s up for debate — just that the act of tracking down and contextualizing the relevant information is difficult stuff that most of us aren’t equipped to do. So all opinions here aren’t equal: Some people know what they’re talking about and some aren’t, and it’s important to make those distinctions.

    1. fredwilson

      Here’s one truth peter. Many of the people that comment here know a lot about what they are talking about than I do

      1. PKafka

        Absolutely, on some topics. And vice versa. So where does that leave us?

  27. Odette

    Well, all truth has to be relative (as long as it is based on perception). I.e., even a screen name is relative truth, because language is a reference to something else — in the case of the screen name, the name is language in reference to a “you,” & that “you” is also relative — What is “you?” What is “I?” There is no fact-based, objective definition for this. As for the screen name, all we can say is that perhaps all humans can point to it as something mutually agreed upon to exist, but that does not mean that it does, it means at the most that we all share that specific symbology as a relative referent. At the granular level, we are not more than energy nodes bundled & cross-perceived via space & what we call time. Identity, as truth, is fictive & to define anything as objective is still to provide it with an identity. We imagine truth to mean that which is, in any and all cases. But, does, to continue with the screen name example, and to build on it, a screen name or a war or a shout of laughter exist if we do not participate in it in some way, if we do not experience it as “real”? We simply cannot claim that it does. But we can claim that we perceive it to be & that it affects us. This may be “truth,” but it is not essential truth, where the action, event or condition exists determinately, in & of itself. Reality is a construct that we fabricate. (Is this the truth?) And so on, etc.

  28. Guest

    all these comments about truth vs. facts, etc remind me of something Ira Glass once said in the introduction to an episode of This American Life: “the facts don’t matter if we don’t agree on the issue.” I think that quote go far in explaining the limitations of, say, economic or political discourse.

    1. fredwilson

      I’m going to use that in one of our monday meetings!!

  29. patricia

    I think in order to comment about old and new media, truth, policies, etc. you would have to be firmly in both businesses. Not as a journalist or talking head, but as a business person. Old media had huge advertisers and things to protect, so the “truth” wasn’t always told. It’s particularly true now that media is such a competitive business. It’s a lot different for a blog that still nurses it’s revenue off an ad network, which is pretty much all of them – you can be a little more outspoken when somebody else isn’t handing over your paycheck. I don’t think either form is better or worse. We all know very well that tons of blogs promote their friends and interests, are incestous, etc. It’s spoken as “truth” and “transparency” but I wouldn’t necessarily say that makes it honest.

  30. kortina

    The timing of this post was quite coincidental for me because just yesterday I was watching a video blog by one of my friends on the same topic:… — He talks about the aphorism “a rolling stone gathers no moss” and how you could justify two interpretations that are completely opposite. It’s interesting to think that such basic and simple thoughts can be unpacked in so many different ways depending on context, the person interpreting, etc. Worth a watch if you’re looking for more diversion on this subject.Sometimes I’m amazed we can accomplish anything at all given the fundamental ambiguities of our language and diversity of opinion/interpretation in our society.

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks. Ill check it out

  31. Robert John Ed

    Fred if you say there is no truth, then why do you say it like you’re right?/Oberst quote

    1. fredwilson

      Because its my truth. That’s my point. What’s yours?

    2. fredwilson

      I don’t mean what’s your point. I get that. I mean what’s your truth? That’s what I am looking for

  32. jquaglia

    Such an epic post and discussion on so many levels. I have always found my own truth to be what is necessary for my own survival and progress. I wouldn’t eat if I didn’t believe that food would give me energy. I wouldn’t go to work if I didn’t believe that I would make money. And I wouldn’t vote for a political candidate if I didn’t believe he or she would improve the country. It’s no different for a religious person. A Muslim wouldn’t pray towards Mecca if it didn’t represent a relative truth to the believer–in this life or afterlife. And you wouldn’t make an investment in a new technology if you didn’t think it could change the world, make money, or meet some other objective you had in mind.These relative truths lead to progress. We are human beings, without omniscience, but we must each believe in something if we are to move forward.

    1. fredwilson


  33. Ethan Yarbrough

    Wonderfully thought-provoking, thank you. At the moment, I find myself equating the ideas of truth and relevance. For example, while I own and like the Krause/Plant collaboration, I feel the Radiohead album should have won the Grammy. To me the truth is that was the best album of the year — but only because it served an emotional need I had this year better than the Krause/Plant album did, or Cold Play’s or Lil Wayne’s for that matter. Radiohead was relevant to me, therefore the idea of their superiority stands as a truth to me. But if you felt no connection to Radiohead, then it’s less relevant to you and if it lacks relevance to you, then my saying it’s the best album of the year will ring as opinion but never as truth.

    1. fredwilson

      I thought radiohead was the best performance sun night. But MIA stole the show

  34. Nate Westheimer

    There’s something even more fundamental that the “you have truth and I have truth and therefore WE have truth” bit. In fact, we’ve started to use computing to figure out what that truth is.Example: Google + PageRank, 99.9% of the time (save the “Miserable Failure” events every so often) says “this article, in the #1 spot is our truth!”When you look at an investment and the entrepreneur says “this is the best tool in its class” you ask “how much traffic do you have? how much time on site? etc” because that’s actually a good indicator of how “true” his or her claim happens to be.To Andy’s point, “our truth” is never absolute — it’s still relative — but it’s relatively truthier, and that’s useful for all of us, when we live in a world where we’re actively and constantly making decisions based on what we think “the truth” may be.

  35. willwhutson

    i think for me the great thought in the lack of absolutism is the ability for things to be a-political.i dont subscribe to a orthodoxy in music, film, or food, why should i in politics or literature.the theory is that politics and literature and the media have a larger hierarchy and media complex that set the tone and topics for discussion, thereby censoring and commodifying opinions.i have a real and sincere hope for your investments, twitter, tumblr, disqus etc, to truly cut out the middleman and create worlds of unfettered information passed on by people who care more about being part of a conversation, than being part of a corporation.

    1. fredwilson

      I love your line about orthodoxyI am not a fan of it either

  36. FDL

    No objective reality, huh? Was the dinner in the AM or PM? Was the event location in the state of NY? Did the president attend? Would a guest who’s answers differ from yours be equally right?Somehow I think my center-right world view is in the minority in this community, but I really enjoy your blog (and the community) just the same.

    1. fredwilson

      Might be in the minority but then that only means you need to shout a littlelouder 🙂

  37. Diego Sana

    Nice write, what you’ve said is so true. Everyone`s truth though.

  38. hanslehmann

    I couldn’t agree more.This is a topic I have often discussed with my wife (even as early as last week) during the times when she vents frustration over not being able to understand the position, beliefs or actions of others. Each person is formed by their individual upbringing, environmental stimuli and personal experiences and as a result, there are as many perspectives in world as there are human beings. A million people could witness the same event and yet still experience a different “truth”; and that is if everyone were able to witness something first hand. Now add to that the complexity that many of our views come from second hand sources and one “truth” is even that much harder to achieve.The problem isn’t that there are multiple “truths” out there, the problem comes from the lack of respect for others to have a different belief. Far too often, the focus is on the differences that we have, rather than the similarities. We need to get to a point where everyone is willing to be open on hearing other views without feeling challenged or resentful. And I’m not just talking religon and politics, which are the things we think of in terms of differences in “truth”. Infinite “truths” exist on so many levels that each person has to undertake a truly relentless pursuit of accepting other views in their daily life. I can think of the 10,000 things that my wife and I still disagree on as an example. ;-)I also think that the initial stage of the technological advances that have enabled us connect to others (ie. twitter, tumblr, blogging, rss feeds) have had some negative impacts as people tend to seek out similar views to their own that only intensify their views or in many cases they will speak from behind an anonymous profile only to diatribe against those that don’t hold their views. However, I believe (or more precisely, hope) that the next stage of our use of these our technology advances, will further encourage a more open discussion and understanding of different perspectives.You mentioned someone at the party had said that journalism should surface the “truth”, which as we both believe and as I stated above, is something that is just not possible. I had an idea about 10 years ago that I thought would address this and would encourage these infinite “truths”. Keep in mind this was before the ireports, twitters and blogs we have today that sort of address the same idea of promoting differing views of a topic. The idea was to establish a newspaper (traditional or online) called “The Truth” that compiled stories from the general public. The publications would report both the same stories as mainstream media as well as other human interest pieces from the submissions of its users. It would be a publication without professional journalists and with a whole lot different perspectives as each story would require multiple submissions in order to be published. Notwithstanding the many difficulties of operating a content business where you don’t know where the content is going to come from, I’m sure “The Truth” would face massive scrutiny as to why it would be any less biased than traditional media because of the inevitability of having to select the submissions that made it to press and as well the bias of the advertising partners or ownership. However, you get the jist of how I feel about “truth”.I guess my point of the whole post is that achieving one “truth” is impossible but this is a good thing because although differences are challenging, they are also enriching since they allow us to learn and grow individually. What we should do to encourage different “truths” is to make sure to express our own views, respect other opinions and try to see things from a different perspective; including consciously venturing out from behind our own views and regular sources of information.

    1. fredwilson

      Well said. I agree with you on this

  39. Guest

    Fred,I had a recent discussion that went off into a similar direction… particularly after hearing Ann Moore’s (Time Inc CEO) take on the matter (… I do agree that for some things “professional” journalism is valuable but to be sure it is likely not a growing trend in that direction.On the other hand, when I took a look at Boxee and logged in for the first time I didn’t see any relevant recommendations. In fact, I found that bit of functionality the least impressive overall. Recommendations are only useful if they are immediately relevant and useful to me, in which case as a new Boxee user that was definitely not the case (screencast on this:…For applications like this I believe it must earn my trust to serve me recommendations, unsolicited recommendations are not always the way to go or even preferred. With that said, I do think cutting through the noise will be an important factor for the future of all social media in general.

  40. Mo Koyfman

    absolutely agree fred that there is no absolute truth. this is certainly the case as it relates to basic things that are fundamentally subjective — music, food, art, etc. and on a greater philosophical level, it is certainly true as well. we may think we’ve found truth in God, religion, whatever, but it’s simply our perspective. there may actually be a truth, but we’ll never tap into it with certainty on this earth. but one thing that definitely exists are facts. for instance (and not to “sterotypically” bring this up, but it’s been on my mind given what’s been going on over the past few weeks with a number of prominent clergymen), there can be no doubt that WWII occurred and ~60MM people died, including a holocaust that killed ~6MM Jews. now we can debate the circumstances, reasons and everything else about those events, but the fact remains that those events happened. there was a Boston tea party, Barack Obama was elected president this year and you write a blog called AVC. these things are factual, not subjective. but the passage of time complicates this reality. and down the road, folks will inevitably challenge these basic facts calling their existence into question and often successfully. but the facts remain. and i believe it is incumbent on historians and journalists of all kinds to build a body of evidence that points to these facts lest we forget they happened and fail to learn from them — the most important reason we have to remember.

    1. Guest

      Fred-I should have read the comments before ‘commenting’. Mokoyfman makes the point far more eloquently then I did.

    2. fredwilson

      The most common “truth” that has been mentioned to me in the past severaldays (by about a dozen people) is the holocaust. The holocaust deniers areclearly getting under people’s skin. But even that has some upside. Thereaction to the deniers is to curate museums, make movies, write books, andpermanently record the events so that they remain fact/truthfred

      1. Mo Koyfman

        And that, my friend, is the truth.

  41. Yule Heibel

    What about power? Apologies in advance if commenters already covered this – I find myself without the time to go through everyone’s responses carefully.Those who protest a dehumanizing status quo will say they’re speaking truth to power, right? In popular understanding, there’s a very strong intuition and recognition of the relationship between truth and power.Maybe it’s because a monopoly truth can be turned into a power tool. At the same time, individual truths may not be able to do enough to change power relationships, since the latter remain too strongly entrenched.It seems you need a whole group of people who share a truth (or several truths) before you or they can make changes in power structures. But then, don’t you start getting enmeshed in the tribal nature of “truth” again?Power has historically garbed itself in objectivity, right? And today objectivity is obviously suspect. No one in their right mind believes that power is – or that the powerful are – objective in some kind of god-given or “natural” way, or that power is exercised objectively. If you don’t have objectivity, you have relativity. Both lay claim to truth in some way, but it’s real different, isn’t it?I pick and choose the areas I’m willing to be relativistic about, and the ones where I stand firm and get all curmudgeonly and conservative and bull-headed with an insistence on objective truth. (“Torture is always wrong,” or “do onto others etc.” come to mind as non-negotiable.)It’s obvious, though, how that approach can work in a sort of aristocratic way where all the participants are (relatively, hah!) privileged, but that it breaks down as ineffective in more …um, exigent situations? Situations where power plays are key?So then you get back to the idea of tribes that share their truths, of people getting together based on what they believe to be the truth, so they can exert power.This reminds me of past histories, which didn’t always have great outcomes… We’ve co-opted tribes into marketing speak, but they’re not always that benign, are they?Sorry if I’m being overly obtuse/ abstract here. I’m afraid my comment doesn’t help much with figuring out whether we need institutions like “objective” (truthful, powerful) media concerns. But whether or not we’ll really function as liberal (free) individuals or get together as tribes again is an important topic. I’m on the side of free truth, relative and objective at turns – my truth(s), without joining a tribe. But power is always working to get its ducks in a row, you know… :-)PS: I can’t believe I put so many question marks into that comment. Shows how tired & brain-fried I am. True!

    1. fredwilson

      Torture is always wrong and do unto others are truth to you and me, but notto everyoneIt helps me to remember that when I am tempted to get all curmudgeonly aboutthose sorts of things

  42. ScottGermaise

    In the interests of truth… insofar as anyone in this particular thread really believes anything at all for sure….At #socomm you mentioned as an example how people though the world was flat until Galileo. This is yet another meme that persists that isn’t true. Here’s the most often true, but wholly unaccountable Wikipedia’s take on it:… To save you the Click ‘n Check effort; in short, the Greeks knew about this at least as early as 300 BC.Is this an important point on my part? Of course not. At least, not in nitpicking this little factoid. But the idea that really bad memes can continue to propagate in spite of having long since been shown to be false argues that the Wisdom of Crowds concept must be balanced with the “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.” Sophist arguments about subjective truth and whatnot are interesting thought experiments. And true enough, even reasonable people can of course disagree on things. But from a practical perspective, we can be sure enough about most things most of the time to get on with things.With regards to: “We’ve moved past the time when big institutions controlled what we read, what we thought, and what we believed.” I say, “Oh really?” Show me a blogger who’s all on their own built a particle accelerator or has done a large scale double-blind drug trial? Citizen journalism? I’m all for it. Citizen Blabalism? Not so much.Paraphrasing Sagan, he once said something to the effect that, “Keep an open mind, but that doesn’t mean just let any ole’ crap in.”And with my apologies for length of this Comment, I feel compelled to quote Sagan more fully…From “The Burden Of Skepticism” by Carl Sagan “It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas. Obviously those two modes of thought are in some tension. But if you are able to exercise only one of these modes, whichever one it is, you’re in deep trouble.If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You never learn anything new. You become a crotchety old person convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.) But every now and then, maybe once in a hundred cases, a new idea turns out to be on the mark, valid and wonderful. If you are too much in the habit of being skeptical about everything, you are going to miss or resent it, and either way you will be standing in the way of understanding and progress.On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful as from the worthless ones. If all ideas have equal validity then you are lost, because then, it seems to me, no ideas have any validity at all.Some ideas are better than others. The machinery for distinguishing them is an essential tool in dealing with the world and especially in dealing with the future. And it is precisely the mix of these two modes of thought that is central to the success of science. “

    1. fredwilson

      Great commentOn my talk, I was, as I am sure you suspected, purposely being controversialI particularly like this quote from your comment”It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between twoconflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that areserved up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas.Obviously those two modes of thought are in some tension. But if you areable to exercise only one of these modes, whichever one it is, you’re indeep trouble.

  43. phoneranger

    Indeed. I’m a Bengals, Braves and (Sacto) Kings fan. That’s the lens through which I view the sports world, even more sadly.

    1. fredwilson


  44. David Camp

    Fred,It’s true that there is no absolute truth, and that truth is relative to each individual who perceives the world around him/her. It is also true that with the rise of online content the quality and veracity of what we read on the web is in question, and that media of all sorts has a tremendous power to distort, mislead and misinform.However, it is “true” that with a smart combination of harnessed social media and technology that the aggregate wisdom of the crowd can determine, if not absolute truth, then a close approximation of it. Here’s my shameless plug: SpinSpotter is dedicated to enabling the crowd to bring truth and transparency to the web. When enough people gather around provocative issues on the web, and a trust engine evaluates the quality of a person’s comments, a level of believability and controversy can be measured.Don’t believe it? Please check it out at We believe that anytime someone surfs the web, is evaluating the veracity of what they read, they should be able to ask themselves (or the crowd around them) “is that true?” and get an answer that gives them confidence.

  45. preetam

    In Hindu religion, truth is also looked upon as relative…there are no absolutes, and I think Hinduism does a damn good job of discussing “Truth”…I’m barely scratching the surface here but:Lord Krishna/Vishnu are typically depicted as being blue in color, but the theory is that as you get closer to these deities, the blue color fades out and you’ll find them in natural complexion. Kinda like the ocean.

  46. ingilizce


  47. wopr

    This is huge. I’m having trouble wrapping my head around it. However, a few thoughts do come to mind.- “Truth” while it might exist, is irrelevant. I think we’ve proven “functional” in spite of not knowing it. Moreover, I’m not sure that we’re capable of recognizing it. The internet has only made that more difficult.- Most if not all of us are searching for some “truths”. That’s a practical problem we’re continually solving on the net.- Sometimes I feel that it’s more important and easier to avoid “Lies” than find the “Truth”- Thinking about how you want to teach your kids to tackle this does bring it home. I like “there’s no singular truth”… I’m leaning toward “Opinion is more important than the Truth”… maybe it’s the same thing.

  48. geo geller

    hmmm fred i was in the guy with the camera front row at socCOMM wearing the hat that said the TRUTH, no i mean PRESS… no yes.. what do i mean?… i once met a woman who told me she was a liar – was she lying or telling me the truth – and whose truth is the truth – and fyi the concept of facts came about in the first printing of the different versions of the bible the variations of the gutenberg bible and there were groups from different camps who were arguing about whose truth was indeed the facts and matters of fact – up until that time there was no concept of fact it was more on belief and feelings and actually if you want to do an exercise think about how more expansive the mind of pre-gutenberg might have been without the concept of facts to worship – then again we you-mans build monuments to our minds in the form of worships and warships – food for thought -but on another note what is the TRUTH and what is the role of the PRESS in rePRESSing the so called TRUTH and well actually my hat that i wore at socCOMM says rePRESSed the re and ed are invisible because the TRUTH and PRESS have been invisibly rePRESSed – why is that? one may ask – and i may venture to respond by saying that since before forever we have been in a revolving door of repeating the same mistakes the same wars the same violence the same fears and who gains but the top down management by fear and a society built on fear serves it masters (the top down managers) but maybe with the present melt down state of failure of trust and truth in the name of propaganda we have an opportunity with the present interest in social communication social media to build a social sculpture a society built on the wings of butterflies – built on trust which serves its people – but its up to we the people, you and me to flap our wings and like the butterfly flapping its wings can not only change the direction of a storm it can create a storm and change the course of history – the option is not an option – otherwise what will the people of the future say about us – food for thought – oh yes here is some quotes from Thomas Jefferson that i gathered – jefferson predicted where we are today – i mentioned i would send to you – http://emperorsnewclothespr…be wellgeo gellerthe art of living is makling your life an art

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks for the comment and the linkI’ll read it and let you know what I think

    2. Noah David Simon

      hey Geo… truth did not come with the first printed book, nor did it come with the second printed book. (which was pornography by the way) ….truth came when you could get a free bible in every hotel room and free porn on the internet. now there is some arbitrary truth I can get excited about. the problem with “Liberal” post modern thought is it is dependent on an orthodoxy of pure logic and science… which is the true bastardized satanic religion. It is only by getting away from logic, that you realize g-d. It is by assuming that your logic, aggregate or sample is g-d when it is in fact an idol, that so called truth fails. you don’t have to reject Judeo Christian thought and look elsewhere for some kind of text that claims multiple truths, when you realize that the truth is not a book, but is g-d. the very concept of hating idolatry was to protect monotheists from cold logic and materialism. the “Neo” liberals and “liberals have not let go of their materialism. History is truth… and it is not a science. The only science happens when one dude is holding a gun. People accept history based on intuition of living history. It is truth and it does not need to be objectified. If you take a sample of time and capture it. without allowing dialog.. that is a “real” act of violence. To reject the bible and find another thread where other people can’t comment… that is public relations.

  49. terra210

    I agree that truth is more of an aggregate; that no one person speaks the truth. I think the call for the truth would be better served, if we asked for less liars. Contrary to the idea of an absolute truth, the concept of liar is viable. Liars are those who intend to deceive. A lie, should not be associated with the concept of truth, because when it is, then the value of not lying, is hidden. Liars complicate the world, and make it ugly. They harm the innocent and the vulnerable, for their own gain. You can not do business with a liar. And trust is also a very important concept. But you also can not trust a liar, nor do business with someone who you can not trust. My 2 cents on the issue. I wrote about my thoughts on this earlier:

    1. fredwilson

      Nice take on thisI like it

      1. terra210

        Thanks Fred. But I think the word liar is too harsh, and I wish I could think of another that was more aligned with what I intended. I do think it is important to separate the idea of the truth from the actions of humans “we” observe or experience. And it is clear, the truth can only be assessed through history/ies.

      2. Noah David Simon… Prof Calls Cop on Student for Advocating Less Gun Controlfunny how the “truth” comes out

    2. Noah David Simon

      truth is not an aggregate Marta! the economy is not another algorithm for you to play with and manipulate. I just realized who you were & you scare me. I miss the Marta I knew in the flesh. Not the Borg Queen that you aspire to be today. I was your student, but can *you* interact without controls and blocking? you ask the government to be better then your own treatment of your students. cooperation is essential. for us and for all. even if you think we are liars, I ask how someone who has read a few books by George Bataille somehow was so naive as to believe that a pure transparency was a good value? “Things are not as they seem” is some wording I got from you from Umberto Ecco, and maybe this knowledge is not an art project. you are talking about people’s lives.

    3. Noah David Simon

      Marta you bring me into your issues with my school? I had nothing to do with you being fired. I was not in some kind of cabal against you. you were the person I spent the most time with. you were fired because your sense of reality is clearly lacking. you were a professor. I was a student… and yet somehow you think there is an arbitrary truth about the fact that you were the one with power. I wanted to know why you were commenting on friendfeed to me. I followed you here. I did not realize you had such an axe to grind. I would not of let my guard down if I had known you were on the hunt. you think information is only the truth in how you present it, but clearly you have no sense of reality.

    4. Noah David Simon

      for you the equation is only as good as it’s appeared transparency. People of this kind hide behind obvious flaws in the system… but the system is not transparent because there are some things that are better for the average Joe not to know. Would it be better if during the “Superbowl” it became apparent that we were heading for a nuclear Holocaust like what happened between Gaza and Israel this year? All it would of taken was one missile to Dimona. Would it be wise for a government to clarify this truth? Yes the Steelers won this year… thank g-d the biggest controversy was during the game, but the real winner was those that want to reframe the context of history. Taking a video off this thread like you did and using it out of context is more of the same. I will be watching you like a hawk now.

  50. Peter Fleckenstein

    There is A singular Truth:The Truth is that whose center is Everywhere and whose circumference is Nowhere.:-)

  51. mark glennon

    Did the Dow go up or down yesterday? There are no ascertainable truths that the media has to get right?

    1. Noah David Simon

      the economy is healthy Mark. there is only arbitrary truth when one dude wants another dudes gun.

    2. Noah David Simon

      NYTimes says optimism is up on the economy. so then why are we printing all the money and borrowing from China? ahem… what is the ‘Truth’ Fred?

  52. InhaleExhale

    Enjoyed your presentation a lot. Here is a link to visual notes I took of your talk.

    1. fredwilson

      I posted it to and tweeted to gary vee about hisThey are awesome!!!

  53. Noamsh

    Even though, I think we’d be going the whole way if we would proudly say that there IS one truth, and that it equally belongs to everyone. Having said this, we all have a responsibility towards our world and surroundings.(originally from Gandhi)

  54. everysandwich

    I’m with kidmercury. Journalism once aspired to fair and equal presentation of objective facts. In this election cycle, journalism utterly and spectacularly collapsed. Now all we have is “the world according to…” Great for a book or even a blog. Sucks for the Fourth Estate.

  55. Kimberly Saia

    “there is no absolute truth, just your truth and my truth.” hmm. Interesting. If your truth and my truth do not coincide and in fact, contradict one another, does that cancel actuality? Can you imagine all the criminals that would benefit from that defense? Oy.

    1. Noah David Simon

      yeah… but I’m holding the gun. 2nd Amendment baby!I’m the man unless someone sends a “No Contact” order to my door…. ahem

    2. Noah David Simon

      the truth hurts Nancy Pelosi’s feelings. Everything runs on petroleum. do you expect these people to admit that our civilization doesn’t run on education and health care? What a lark! STOP THE CHINESE LOANS! you can’t fix the virtual with the virtual. you can’t get out of debt with more debt! no more Band-Aids. Stop the lies of Ron Paul and Obama. GOLD is virtual too. END THE CNN/NYTimes/PBS energy company conspiracy. they want to sell petroleum to China! stop them now and end the public relations and diplomacy talk. of course they want there to be no truth. they think our economy runs on knowledge and education. It isn’t always about perception