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We no longer know or cannot distinguish the true from the false

I remember reading some time ago the story about Dolly Parton entering one day a Dolly Parton look-alike contest. She lost. In fact, they told her that she didn't imitate Dolly Parton well enough and gave the award to a man dressed like her. That story illustrates a key element of our times: we prefer imitation to the original.

This topic is obviously not new. It could be said that it is as old as our civilization and as humanity itself. Human beings, it seems, have always had the desire to separate reality from illusion, the real from the imaginary, knowledge from opinion, and the actual from the fictional. But rarely have we been successful.

Repeating and paraphrasing an ancient teaching that already appears in the Talmud, the French novelist Annais Nin expressed the last century that "We do not see things as they are, but as we are." Or, if you prefer, as Ramón de Campoamor said, “Everything depends on the color of the glass you are looking through”.

It could be said, following Campoamor, that this disappearance of the line between reality and illusion is only possible "in this treacherous world", that is, in a world in which "nothing is true or false", thus anticipating in the 19th century the post-truth era of the 21st century.

In this context, one cannot fail to mention the tango Cambalache (Secondhand Store), written by Enrique Santos Discépolo in 1934, where he correctly affirms that we live in the era when "Everything is the same, nothing is better / The same an ignoramus as a great teacher."

In other words, we live in a time when it is not the case that the truth has disappeared, but that the truth (and, therefore, the lie, because they go together) has become irrelevant.

So, not only do we see things as we are, we not only accept that nothing is true or false, and we not only believe that everything is the same and nothing is better, but we are not interested in how things truly are. We have become arrogantly ignorant, that is, we know we are ignorant, but we don't care. In fact, we believe we have the right to be.

In this situation, the appearance, the shadow, the illusion, presented uninterruptedly before our eyes on any screen to which we have access and repeated ad nauseam in each post and message on social networks, becomes our reality, because, as Carl said Jung, reality is that from which we cannot be separated.

Even more, Jung maintained that we cannot heal what we cannot separate from, thus inviting us to distance ourselves from what happens to us and our response, reviving a teaching already taught by the Stoics: our “humanity” resides between our reactions and our responses.

Two millennia ago, some rabbis claimed that the only difference between heaven and hell is our own attitude. Perhaps, then, our mind and heart have become so ossified that that is why we live in hell.

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