On writing in a post-truth world

Some thoughts from those wiser than I:

“Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them. As the repository of something suprapersonal and objective, it enables people to deceive their conscience and conceal their true position and their inglorious modus vivendi, both from the world and from themselves. It is a very pragmatic but, at the same time, an apparently dignified way of legitimizing what is above, below, and on either side. It is directed toward people and toward God. It is a veil behind which human beings can hide their own fallen existence, their trivialization, and their adaptation to the status quo.”
– Vaclav Havel, “The Power of the Powerless”

“The result of a consistent and total substitution of lies for factual truth is not that the lie will now be accepted as truth, and truth be defamed as lie, but that the sense by which we take our bearings in the real world — and the category of truth versus falsehood is among the mental means to this end — is being destroyed.”
– Hannah Arendt, “Politics, Philosophy, and Society”

“All will be judged. Master of nuance and scruple,
Pray for me and for all writers living or dead;
Because there are many whose works
Are in better taste than their lives, because there is no end
To the vanity of our calling: make intercession
For the treason of all clerks.

Because the darkness is never so distant,
And there is never much time for the arrogant
Spirit to flutter its wings,
Or the broken bone to rejoice, or the cruel to cry,
For Him whose property is always to have mercy, the author
And giver of all good things.”
– WH Auden, “At the Grave of Henry James”

(Image Credit: Leoadec, via Wikimedia Commons, posted without alteration)