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An Inconvenient Truth about any Inconvenient Truth

Commentary on the patterns of thinking that inhibit effective response to any inconvenient truth.

An Inconvenient Truth
Action responses in conformity with the above pattern
Technological illustrations of the inconvenience of any inconvenient truth relating to global governance

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Produced on the occasion of the world response to global climate change, global financial crisis, global food crisis, global energy crisis, global water crisis, and continuing cycles of violence

An inconvenient truth is always framed so as to:

  • imply the minimum need for change in the thinking and behaviour of those who choose to recognize it

  • maximize the worthiness of those recognizing that truth by stigmatizing those who fail to accept it -- or any implied need for action

  • ensure that there can be no valid doubt as to its veracity -- thus inhibiting any meaningful dialogue with those believing otherwise

  • maximize the need for the skills of those framing and recognizing the truth

  • imply a form of possession of it by its proponents -- thereby, as a form of intellectual property, creating a challenging dynamic with those who have not acquired rights to use of that property

  • effectively constitute the formulating principle of what amounts to a conceptually gated community -- ensuring a form of closure against other possibilities

  • necessarily to belie truths otherwise held to be more convenient -- thereby undermining any individual or collective patterns of behaviour or identity that may be associated with them

  • maximize the investment required of those who are likely to be most inconvenienced by the truth

  • effectively postpone immediate action by focusing on the call for such immediate action -- and on the preparatory steps necessary to any such action

  • avoid reference to the continuing action of primary causative processes, effectively too inconvenient to be appropriately considered, by focusing intensively and urgently on the only too evident symptomatic secondary phenomena and on their disastrous, tragic nature

  • avoid the challenge of configuring any disparate range of associated insights that together would constitute a critical mass able to engender appropriate responses of deeper significance

  • avoid recognition of past formulations of such inconvenient truths, of the pattern of responses to them, and of the failures to learn from them -- so that history may gracefully repeat itself

  • maximize the visibility of whatever is actually undertaken, especially including calls for such action, in order to obscure the inadequacy in responding to the regenerative capacity of the challenge

  • focus resources on narrow ("soluble") technical forms of intervention, the more complex and costly the better -- and whatever their degree of success -- such as to avoid addressing more complex psycho-social patterns engendering the challenge

  • avoid any consideration of the problems for the future arising from the implementation of narrow technical solutions -- that the future may recognize as ill-considered

  • ensure the possibility of acclaiming the achievement of any remedial technological success, however narrow or problematic, as an exemplification of human genius, and the capacity to sustain business as usual in the face of any challenge -- and irrespective of any failure to address underlying issues

  • postpone to the extent possible any need to evaluate the success of the initiative and any implication that any inadequacy (as with those of the past) might be a source of fruitful learning

  • marginalize systematically those who question any of the above patterns -- as being necessarily part of perpetuating the problem rather than being part of the solution so creatively and enthusiastically proposed

  • honour, to the extent possible, those who have acted in this way, or subscribed to such action -- as a means of obscuring any flaws in such behaviour that are likely to perpetuate and exacerbate the challenge in the future

As an "inconvenient truth" in its own right the above formulation should necessarily:

  • conform to the pattern it describes
  • fail to evoke the expected response from others, for whom it is purportedly intended

The degree of convenience of a truth is typically a function of the brevity of its formulation, the ease with which it can be articulated, communicated and comprehended, and the degree to which this enables any more inconvenient truth to be obscured.


Prime candidate for a truth that is too inconvenient for consideration -- at the source of the crises named above, : overpopulation

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