S2E1 03 December 2020

Shared Truth

In this virtuous mini-season we're exploring how we can grow together in an environment that drives us apart. This week: The virtue of shared truth.


Welcome back to a Quick Pause.

We've been on a break a little longer than I hoped, but if we learned anything this year, it's that plans change.

A Quick Pause is back for the advent season with four episodes, a mini season we'll call the Virtues of a Pandemic. A little reminder to embrace what makes us human and connect to each other.

Now, cue the show. Let's start by looking back.

2020 — A new decade. Unprecedented. Trying. Lots of plans in January. Rumors about a Chinese virus in Feb. We’ll hustle, this is our year. Face masks. Lockdowns. Loneliness. Underemployment. Clapping for our careers. I can’t breathe. I’m a racist. Still no work. Hours on my phone. Tiktok and Reels. Be your best self. Just do it! Anyone who would consider voting for trump is a bigot. But she says Trump understands her. Black trans lives matter. Summer with friends. I’m lonely. You’re killing people if you go out. We’re losing lives because we’re not in lockdown. 60 days until Brexit. Are you ready? Lockdown 2.0 We’re losing livelihoods because of lockdown. Christmas is coming.

Welcome to a quick pause. A moment of reflection, a chance to care for ourselves and to show up for each other.

Each week I'll offer you an inspiration and a practice to try.

We live in a post-truth world. Individualism is celebrated. Everyone’s entitled to and creates their own truth. Add fake news, targeted ads and greedy algorithms, wannabe dictators all over the world, and a global pandemic and you have a perfect storm.

Conflicting information is the new normal. An MIT study that looked at twelve years of twitter data and traced over 100K rumors found that on social media, fake news spreads 6x as fast as real news. Let that sink in for a moment. False information spreads faster and wider than real, verified information. And it's not just social media, our news outlets use similar technology to personalize the news you see, so you stay longer and they can sell more ads.

In a nutshell, the internet of today isn't a fluffy cloud of opportunity, but more like a bunch of criminal street gangs recruiting new members with elaborate lore and scare tactics.

(Learn more in-depth details by watching The Social Dilemma on Netflix and read up on their website)

The social isolation, the lack of face-to-face interactions we've endured this past year, makes it hard to sense-check the world we built in our heads. Instead we dig deeper, finding more "proof" for the ideas we believe in, and vilifying the people who believe in different truth.

Truth only works if it's a shared truth. If we agree on it with others.

Can we find a more local truth, one that's based on and serving the people we interact with daily? And can we find a more global truth? One that goes beyond our front yard, and is interested in the general wellbeing of all beings?

So this advent season's first ritual is to find a shared truth with someone you might sometimes disagree with. Find a value, a story, a hope... Find a shared truth.

Maybe that's a family member at the other end of the political spectrum, someone you've been following on social media, or your neighbour who refuses to wear a mask.

Have a conversation. Live is great, but written might work just as well, as you have more time to reflect.

If you're talking about a topic you disagree on, try and stick to a simple three steps like this:

  • I hear you say X.
  • That makes me feel Y.
  • I wish we could say Z instead.

If that's too explosive, find a topic you both like and have similar views on.

Either way, once you found a shared truth, celebrate it. You just bridged a gap, you made the world a little smaller again, a bit more human.

That's it. If you want to dive in deeper, take out your notebook and reflect on a topic makes you angry, anxious or sad. What are your beliefs that make you feel like this. Who shares that truth with you? And what other truths are out there, competing. No need to judge, just observe what you find.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me. Now, go on, find truths you can share, truths that are welcoming.

Today's episode was written and produced by me. With sound design by the incredible Laurent John.

Tune in next week when we explore the second virtue of a pandemic.

I'm Jonas Haefele and this was a Quick Pause.

Words and Concept by Jonas Haefele.

Sound Design by Laurent John

A Quick Pause is a production by slow.works

Additional music by enrique27naveda from Pixabay