Truth telling is a regular affair. If empathy is the engine, spoken truth is the grease of civilization. Most of the time, the benefit of the doubt is not only implicit, but entirely unvisited. Analysis of every statement, every gesture, every promise would undo civilization. Investment would be exhausting and a terrible trade.
When a flash of insight presents a doubt, the temptation is to ignore it. Civilization is a big machine, and the wise human knows the gears must turn to perpetuate the economy of scale. Down time for repairs will have a non linear cost, but the conscience is first and foremost is a risk engine. The dilemma is usually treated as such, ‘is your conscience groaning more loudly about the risk of a lie, or the risk of addressing it’. This can work but introduces a new risk, gaslighting.
Gaslighting seems silly at first but can be the flat edge to a long wedge. First the lies are subtle and inconsequential to the operation of your society, with one exception, you. You learn to NOT trust your gut and ignore insight.
If a high EQ empath is faced with a single dishonest threat, the dishonest actor eventually becomes silhouetted against their more honest context. Your risk engine retunes itself with it’s flow of higher quality data, and they stand out. The problem is addressed and civilization’s machine chugs on.
There is systemic risk, the risk the conscience is poor at managing a flurry of lies. The intelligent and psychopathic defector WILL notice this golden opportunity. Instead of identifying a narrow pattern of doubt, the conscience is too noisy to be useful. Doubt is aimed inward. ‘I must be the problem.’ Without warnings of risk the conscience becomes a liability.
If you are untrained in proposing and rationalizing conspiracies, you can be taught to throw away your conscience or even program it against your own interests. Not just you. Everyone. Flooding people with enough lies to disable their conscience requires a conspiracy. Those that discourage conspiracy theory are likely in the institutional gaslighting business, better known as propaganda.
Who benefits from the doubts? The institutions people are directly involved in. The hierarchies that are riskiest to fork or otherwise defect from. Today that is their governments, their schools, their employers. Those wise to history know finding a criminal conspiracy can be as simple as asking who benefits? Cui Bono.
Doubts are yours, and no good comes from throwing them away. Rationalize them. Not because the conscience is never wrong, but if you don’t use your risk manager, you lose it. Researching, fact checking, and setting traps for the unscrupulous benefits you. Detect reality. Accept no lies, not even the small ones. Painful honesty keeps your conscience active, well tuned, and in a position to defend the economies of scale that afford us the luxury of leisure, and it’s prosperous civilization.
Your empathy, and it’s outrage, IS the machine. The top priority must be keeping the context honest. Demand people with high EQs. Always observant, tough as nails, and a zest for learning. Test their empathy. Protect the machine with vigorous curation. Reject the benefit of the doubt. Doubt people. Doubt systems. Doubt away.