Thus, Russia and the West are very much mired in corruption and conflict until the end of time. From the Medieval Age, to the “Religious Wars” of the 17th century, to the Napoleonic Wars, then World War I, World War II, the Cold War, American global hegemony, and now Russia and Ukraine, history demonstrates the fact that the West – along with Russia – are very much mired in corruption and conflict until the end of time. In turn, there is not just the corruption and conflict between Russia and the West. There is also the corruption and conflict from within the West that has been evident and palpable over the course of decades, if not centuries.
But what is most distressing is that these facts, realities, and truths are then met with aversion by certain elements, groups, and individuals in the Western world. As noted by many thinkers and writers over the course of the last few years, we are living in what is known as a postmodern or “post-truth” epoch. Thus, bullshit and moral relativism define the discourse that is demonstrated in the public sphere and on a global scale.
One of the early lessons I had in life about denial and moral relativism in the West was during a shuttle ride from the main campus at American University to my apartment complex in Northwest Washington about eight years ago during the winter of 2014. On that shuttle ride, I came across a professor named Scott Parker, who is an American Jew. He was sitting right beside me during the shuttle ride, and we both turned to say hello to one another. Parker was very friendly and polite. He introduced himself and told me he was a psychology professor, but that he was on sabbatical. He then jumped into sharing his life story. He said that when he was growing up, he had an acumen for mathematics, and he started off as a math major in college. But while in college, he said that he acquired a deep interest and passion for psychology. We then got off the shuttle, and he gave me his card. He said that he was heading to ‘Whole Foods’ for dinner, and that he was very much interested in continuing the conversation. He asked me to reach out to him in the near future so that we could get together over coffee or tea one day on campus. We then parted ways, but we did in fact stay in touch.
We then arranged to meet on campus for coffee one afternoon in the Spring of 2015. He asked what I had been up to since the time we met on the shuttle. I told him that I was actually planning on taking some summer classes at Johns Hopkins SAIS. He was happy to hear that. During the conversation on campus, one thing led to another, until the conversation got deeply philosophical. I then asked him: “But would you agree that there is some sort of truth in the world?” He then jumped out of his seat, turned red, and his eyes nearly rolled to the back of his head. He then yelled out: “No! There is no such thing as the truth.” He then kindly excused himself, wished me luck on my classes at Johns Hopkins, and I never heard from him again.
In essence, the “post-truth” epoch coincides with a desire and need for truth. One can also argue that a “post-truth” environment is unsustainable in the long run. But however much there is aversion to truth on a societal scale, the truth is out there like a rope for truth seekers to grab onto in order to avert cognitive dissonance.