ARGs and the Post-Truth Era

In the documentary and readings for the fifth week, we learned about the meaning of a Post-truth society and the ways in which this was brought about. McIntyre states that the post-truth era is one where ” feelings sometimes matter more than facts.” (McIntyre, 13.) While this is a terrifying thing to comprehend in the face of modern politics it leaves many wondering about what could be done to stop this trend. It is my belief that this is where arts and the humanities must take on a greater role in creating stories that address this issue in ways that we can’t do only with hard scientific facts. Humans are accustomed to telling stories and playing games as has been demonstrated in class multiple times. Stories in general always come with some further message to them, whether it be some moral to follow or belief about the nature of the world, all stories are in some way political. This is where ARGs come in as they play with the boundary of emotion and fact in a less risky manner than political elections. ARGs are fundamentally based on the lingering question of “what is truth?”

Is truth simply stating that which is and not that which is not as Socrates first stated, or is it something more akin to a shared experience across populations? Of course, no one can truly answer this question, it’s been the subject of debate for ages, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think about this issue. ARGs are a perfect way to make people think critically about what the truth is around them. The second the rabbit hole states, “This is not a game,” the player is put into a position where they must critically evaluate the world around them. This critical thinking will most likely figure out that any ARG is probably a game, but there will always be some part to them questioning the nature of reality in the game. Here is where we can begin to push back against post-truth thinking, or at the very least confront the cause of it. I say this because stories tackle emotions, and when people place more emphasis on emotion than fact then a good game will involve people reevaluating their emotions in order to play the game.

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