“Now, what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts; nothing else will ever be of any service to them.”
- Thomas Gradgrind in Hard Times, by Charles Dickens.
It is all very well to insist upon facts – but whose ? The election of Donald Trump has thrust the topic of ‘fake news’ into the spotlight, as if there were some legitimate and objective alternative. But everything is narrative as seen through human eyes, as the author Yuval Noah Harari points out in his outstanding book Sapiens. The late Hans Rosling, physician and statistician, once told a Danish TV journalist:
“You can’t trust the news outlets if you want to understand the world. The facts are not up for discussion – I am right and you are wrong.”
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