One of the useful lessons I learned from Professor Louis Cognet, the head of the spirituality department at the Institut Catholique de Paris when I was studying there from 1967-1970 was this:  “Sometimes it is best to go to the opposite of a spiritual concept first in order to get to the fuller meaning of that concept.”

The opposite of safety and healthcare for women is interference in women’s decisions about their own bodies. Photo by Don Barrett on Flickr.

Try this some time.  If you want to know what justice is, go to its opposite first: Injustice.  Listen to the stories of women in Texas today being denied health care who are in troubled pregnancies to learn what a blanket law dismantling abortion rights really means.  Go to the victims of wildfires and increased numbers and forces of hurricanes to know what eco-justice really means. 

And consider engines of lies and falsehoods to know what truth means.  Go to the opposite of truth first.

Most all of us saw the violent insurrection of January 6 in our living rooms on our television sets.  Now we have a big shot broadcaster making $35 million a year, with his hands on 45,000 hours of footage of the invasion of the capitol because of which five people lost their lives and hundreds of others were maimed in body and soul from the trauma of it all, telling us that things were just fine.  Sightseeing was going on and that is what counts. 

“Carlson’s con exposed: I ‘hate’ Trump and Fox News has been ‘pretending.'” MSNBC on YouTube

Notice how the power of ideology can trample truth.  And how ambition from the head of congress, who gave him exclusive right to that footage, can distort truth.  And kill truth.  And maim and murder truth. 

What are the repercussions of such actions? Can a society endure sans truth? What pressures are put on society when truth is lost or distorted beyond recognition? What about a corporation that makes fat bucks on broadcasting such lies? Does money-making get any dirtier than that? Is capitalism not beaming its deepest ugliness and shadow when it beams big lies to the general public? And its pooh-bahs admit in private emails behind the scenes that it knows it is selling lies?  Is this the path to killing democracy altogether?

“Ethics 101: The 5 Core Values of Journalism.” Ethical Journalism Network on YouTube

It is not an easy meditation to meditate on the opposite of truth (or good or beauty).  But it is a necessary one at times.  It can lead to a greater love and appreciation of truth perhaps.  And change how corporations and media work.  Perhaps.

Truth matters.

See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. 333-358.

To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: TELL THE TRUTH. This photo was taken during a protest against global warming, but it applies in all situations, and especially with regard to the media. Photo by Joël de Vriend on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

Do you believe a society or community can survive without a commitment to truth and truth-seeking?  What about the profession of journalism?

Recommended Reading

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

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10 thoughts on “On Faux News and the Opposite of Truth”

  1. Avatar

    Thank you, Matthew Fox. The list of the many ways your teachings have reached me is too long for this little blue square, but I hope that the depths of my gratitude gets across. And thanks to all who have supported Matt.

  2. Avatar

    Greetings! I love your thoughts on truth and going to its opposite, at times, to gain a deeper appreciation of truth. And, we should also remember that Truth exists, it endures, it survives, it goes on forever, it actually has an existence all its own, and it really does not have to be defensive to protect itself, nor offensive to advance itself. Truth just is and it will always be true, no matter what else may happen. It cannot really die, for it is! It is very much like I AM. In fact, it is I AM:). I AM the way, the truth, and the light. One candle dispels darkness.

  3. Avatar

    As Matthew channels the wisdom of the sages and ages he seems like Moses coming down from the mountain with tablets of communal law only outraged to see his brother Aaron honoring the people’s demand for a Golden Calf. Does this point to an underlying impulse to glorify unfettered capitalism? Moses offers the deeper truth about creating communal viability and prosperity and the Golden Calf represents the individual impulse to greed.

  4. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    The words within today’s query itself, offered an insight… that being, truth is relative to what you believe! Lies are often believed to be true. Why is this so? Why do we believe what we believe? Most of what we believe, has been told to us, by someone else. Often what one once believed in, one no longer does. How does one come to believe in anything, knowing with certainty that what one believes is true? Is truth itself static, certain and absolute, or is it an unfolding, evolving, emerging mystery which we diverge and converge with. Perhaps an important and neccessary aspect of seeking truth and being committed to this process, is really a matter of answering some of these questions.

    1. Richard E Reich

      Jeanette, Today you ask a couple of questions. Your first is: “How does one come to believe in anything, knowing with certainty that what one believes is true?” It seems the only certainties we have are “matters of fact” such as 2 + 2 = 4 , “fire is hot” and the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. But I don’t think we can get certainties from beliefs–believing suggests a certain unavailability of facts, and thus our need to believe or have faith in. You then ask: “Is truth itself static, certain and absolute, or is it an unfolding, evolving, emerging mystery which we diverge and converge with.” The truth is always what it is, and yet it is also “an unfolding, evolving, emerging mystery,” because there is always more truth to be discovered.

  5. Avatar

    Matthew Fox,
    Thank you ? for all you do to educate, inform the public. I especially liked 5 values of journalism.
    I believe almost all network news ,show their bias in reporting important issues.

  6. Avatar

    No, Truth and Love are core and essential spiritual values in any healthy human society. Unfortunately, the history of humanity for the most part has consisted of toxic and unbalanced egocentricity and patriarchy that has led to the values of individuality, greed, power, control, materialism, lies… which continues to cause much human suffering, death, poverty, injustices, violence… up to our present day. Our human eternal souls are still evolving with the help of God’s Divine Spirit of Love(Healing/Compassion)~Light(Truth/Wisdom)~Life(Peace/Joy/Creativity)… in our inner and outer lives with one another, with beautiful sacred Mother Nature/Earth, and within our sacred multidimensional-multiverse Cosmos through God’s Loving Diverse Oneness….

  7. Avatar

    “Do you believe a society or community can survive without a commitment to truth and truth-seeking? What about the profession of journalism?”
    No. And No.
    We are watching in real time the fall of the US Empire which has failed because it devalued its population and exalted the opiate of consumerism wherein the only civic obligation is to work for inadequate wages and spend all of it making the rich richer.
    Journalism is not propagandism which is the thing we now have masquerading as journalism.
    So the profession of journalism is essentially already dead. There are a few actual journalists—but they’re in constant jeopardy because the public will not tolerate Truth and such journalists can hardly make a living.
    I embrace Truth and daily look for it, but it’s not easy to find and those of us devoted to it become a smaller and smaller tribe as time goes on.

  8. Avatar

    I don’t think we should be surprised at the lengths to which naked greed will go–economic cannibalism is the perfect term. And any criticism of it will be ruthlessly suppressed. Richard Rohr has said that the most hate mail he has received is when he criticizes it, even more than his stand on issues of gender/sexual equality.

    Real journalism is under great threat and may be on its way out. Investigative reporting is less and less valued, because people would rather accept a simple lie than a complex truth. I recommend Brian Mclaren’s free CAC podcasts on “Learning How to See”. Florida, where I reside (for my sins), is the capital of the Big Lie and has passed bills attacking the first amendment–a friend has written an expose of the governor’s stand on the environment but is afraid to get it published because of the bill that allows public figures to declare themselves private individuals and sue. Bloggers that mention the governor or his associates must register with the state.

    It is not surprising that democracy is on its way out when such a governor is re-elected by a huge majority and the ex-president still has a following. When he was elected, I hoped that it was an anomaly and that democracy would survive, but now I fear it is pretty much gone. I am willing to be surprised. Meanwhile, I am learning what it is like to live in an autocracy–even greater faith is needed.

  9. Avatar

    News, like everything else now, has been turned into a pre-processed, profit-generating commercial product. It’s carefully edited to fit the target market. It has also been weaponized as a profitable tribal symbol of group cohesion, feeding into a group-ego, which equates numbers of members and degree of power with degree of “truth” of their worldview. This is tribalism monetized. Humans have always sorted themselves into tribes of shared custom and religion, but when any one group has vast amounts of wealth and concentrated power, it can use that imbalance to grow and entrench its control. In our world of unprecedented concentration of wealth into a small pool of individuals and multi-national corporations, “truth” becomes whatever they need it to be.

    Ideally, people would do much more research, weigh the sources, and be open to shifting their position as more information becomes available rather than grasping onto one unchanging view as final and fixed. But in a world accustomed to fast, easy-to-digest answers and ego-boosting tidbits of group-think, it’s so much simpler to trust the (favorite) “news” sources rather than to look wider and deeper, see nuances, and maybe even change one’s views. Those who profit from selling their biased, predigested “truth-y” products certainly have no incentive to encourage anyone to do so.

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