Monday, June 06, 2005

The Reality Gap

I just spent the last three weeks in Europe, talking about “The Reality Gap” – the difference between what the government proclaims to be true, and what is true. My specific focus was the environmental issues in the wake of collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11, and the government’s deliberate misrepresentations as to the safety of the air and dust in New York’s financial district.

In the wake of the collapse of the Trade Center towers, many tons of hazardous materials filled the air. Lead from computers. Mercury from computers and florescent light bulbs. Fiberglass and the dust from 600,000 square feet of glass. Dioxins from the burning nylon carpets and insulation materials. PCBs and PAHs – polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, formed by the incomplete combustion of oil, gas, garbage, and other materials.

The EPA had collected data it either had not tested or did not test properly, but still wanted to issue a minor warning re the health of the rescue workers and office workers near ground zero, but the White House Council on Environmental Quality (an Orwellian name if I ever heard one) altered their statements, indicating it was safe for people to go back to work.

One astute observer at the London show asked afterwards, doesn’t the Reality Gap extend far beyond this issue? He said, what about science? What about other fields? I never got the chance to answer as a colleague jumped in with his own statement. But I wanted to answer, so much so that I’m still thinking about it a couple of days later.

Yes. The Reality Gap is everywhere now, not just in the representation of historical events. It’s hard for anyone to know what is true anymore. I was in a newsstand earlier today and the guy manning the cash register expressed his frustration at never knowing what to believe. One story said “x” caused cancer, and another story said “x” was good for you. The problem isn’t with us readers. The problem is that the truth is highly politicized. Consider the following items:

  • Al Gore has been trying to sound the alarm re the very real problem of global warming. Bush and team pretend global warming doesn’t exist.
  • Scientists continue to disagree over whether cold fusion exists. 15 years after the original experiment that drew such controversy, the science and results have improved, but some still claim it’s nothing. George Seldes once wrote that if you look for the social economic motive, you will not have to wait for history to tell you what was propaganda and what was truth. Anyone who understands the world’s power structure is centered around oil will quickly realize that no one will allow a technology like cold fusion to take root until all the profiteering that can be done off of oil is complete.
  • The government has spent literally millions of dollars disinforming on UFOs, so says someone close to that effort. This effort has also painted antigravity as a physical impossibility. But explain that to the scientists in England who have levitated wood, strawberries, and a frog!

    There’s a reason we don’t know the truth about many things. Always, it is because the answer benefits the “wrong” party – the one not in control, the one who could wrest control from the controllers if spoken.

I’ve heard it said that the truth is like water in a clay pot – it will always find a way to seep out. Let’s hope so. And let’s hope we have the ability to recognize it when it does. In a world of cowed journalists and dishonest media owners, it’s getting harder and harder.


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