Can We Handle the Truth? (and Another Smashwords Coupon)

Years ago I got to wondering: if I ever had to prove who I am, how would I do it?

To some of you it may seem ridiculous – the stuff of fiction (the idea has been used in lots of stories.) But imagine yourself in a foreign country without your passport and other documents. How do you prove to the authorities who you are?

We count on certain things to be stable – anchors we tie our rope to so we don’t get carried away as we wade into unknown, changing currents. Today we are in a world where we all seem to have our own data-sets – our own realities.

There are sci-fi stories about people living in virtual reality – unaware of what the real world around them looks like (no, The Matrix was not the only – or even first – one.) In some stories, people are imprisoned by means beyond their control. In others they choose to blind themselves to what’s really going on around them.

Some people look at the technology that we already have, or that’s in the near future, and believe that this sort of thing could happen soon.

I think it already has.

It’s not total immersion – not every pixel around you. Just basic information.

I remember reading George Orwell’s 1984 and thinking that of course, a government couldn’t control its people by rewriting all the history books – someone (large numbers of someones) would have to notice the changes being made and these people would have access to the previous versions of the truth to be able to keep track.

But now I see how easy it is. People want to be “comfortable” – they don’t want confrontation. Either they have to directly ensure that no one else is out there who thinks differently (jihadists, fascists, bullies seem to have this need), or they need to convince themselves that there aren’t people (who matter) out there with different thoughts (communities, forums, parties.)

How else can you have huge numbers of people who are still unaware that Ferguson’s “Hands up, don’t shoot” uproar was based on a lie? Or who think that Benghazi was about a video? Or who don’t realize that man-made global warming is an unproven, debunked theory based on falsified (or suppressed) data?

Yes, I know – there might be people reading this post and saying “Look to yourself, Bill – how can you allow yourself to be fooled into this kind of wrong-thinking?” I really do hope there are people like that reading this and, maybe after an initial knee-jerk denial, they allow themselves to look for facts outside what they’re being fed, and maybe try thinking differently from their own mob.

I am blessed to live in one of the freest countries to ever exist, in an age when there is more information available at each person’s fingertips than at any time in history. During the cold war with the Soviets, someone once told me that the way you knew that we were getting the truth in the U.S. was the sheer volume of national and international publications available to us. And there was true diversity – OF THOUGHT – so you knew it wasn’t all propaganda.

But it can take work to sift through all that information and weed out what doesn’t make sense and arrive at the truth. Mostly, it involves thinking for yourself, and holding those thoughts up to others and debating your differences with those others.

There are people throughout our world who want to shut down that debate, and that mindset has infected all parts of our lives, and has settled even in our universities. Political correctness is strangling THINKING and putting INDOCTRINATION in its place. Our media has chosen to be activist rather than facts-based, so that the NEWS gives way to the NARRATIVE.

Welcome to Pravda.

People want to belong, and we feel safest belonging to groups that think just like we do. And if we don’t think quite the same as the rest of our community, then we hide the points of disagreement so we can still belong. No one wants to be voted off the island.

But at the same time there are multiple islands (or at least two main ones) to choose from – if you really feel the need to conform. The fact is we are all connected as humans, John Donne, but each man CAN (and SHOULD be) his own island when it comes to thinking. We have not only the RIGHT to this, but the RESPONSIBILITY to exercise our minds instead of simply subscribing to someone else’s viewpoint.

Perception may very well be reality; don’t let others – especially THE MOB – create and limit yours. Think for yourself.

Just saying…


Next up for ePublications (on December 18th) is “Finding Sanctuary”:

After generations searching for a home, the colonists of The Promise think they’ve found a it. But is this seemingly perfect world where they’ll find Sanctuary? With a bit of sci-fi, a pinch of fantasy, a slice of horror; a good mix of what makes up speculative fiction. Add in alien spiders – how can you go wrong?


Time to resume our Smashwords coupon rotation. This week we’re featuring Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND (my fourth collection, containing “Bugging Out”, “The Unreliability of the Mature Mind”, “My Brother’s Keeper”, “The Black Spot”, “Flee Markets”, and “Canabis alienus ‘alien dope’”) – here’s the link:

Use coupon code AB26V to save 80% off the list price at check out on Smashwords (that’s right – all six stories for only $1.00!) The coupon is good through December 6th. Enjoy!


William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest ePub Cats of War I, can be found in many places, including:


His site on WordPress:

“William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:

His Goodreads author page:

Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri


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