Verisimilitude, generally defined, is “appearing to be true or real”, per Oxford Dictionaries. One English Lit professor explained it to me as “the act of being truth-like”. It does not mean truth, but rather the act of wanting to appear like truth. This has become a popular tool used by oppressive groups, individuals, and movements.
Rather than deal in truth, these actors produce words, actions, and propaganda that resembles truth that, when deconstructed, often falls apart quickly. The trouble is, only those who take the time to deconstruct, will find the flaws. Those who digest the works of an oppressor, do not take the time to deconstruct. They assimilate it as fact, and most often fail to challenge its validity. Such is the case with followers of most movements, such as cults, from my perspective. Followers are expected to simply accept what is provided as truth, and face punishment, or fear of being shunned, for not adhering.
Oppressors frequently rely on a single source for all “truth”, such as scripture, policy, or jazzy propaganda pieces. If one would peel back the veneer of such things, you would easily note a lack of independently verifiable information or peer reviewed confirmation/validation. In fact, blind faith is a cornerstone of oppressive behavior. The leaders demand strict adherence through elaborate, documented means of punishment for those who do not acquiesce or follow without question. Simply, believe all I say/do, or face the consequences.
Beyond ideas of shunning, disconnection, being declared an apostate, or worse, it also provides guidelines on how to “handle” non-followers or critics in cookie-cutter fashion. As many others can attest to, the methods employed to silence critics is vast, but very predictable. Ranging from circular online “arguments” focusing on how followers are the only ones who are “truthful” (Honest PR hat), to Black PR (smear), or fair gaming, to extremes of gas lighting, legal/career threats, and surveillance or doxing. The goal is to either frustrate, enrage, or force disengagement. Bonus points if they can cause discord among groups of non-followers.
So, when faced with oppressors, their followers or apologists, how do you confront this idea of verisimilitude? My suggestion is to rely on provable, documented facts where available. It is far easier to argue from a position of truth with verifiable information, than attempting to appear truthful. Yes, on occasion you may be wrong – happened to me yesterday. But, rather than attempt to talk around the error, simply admit you were wrong, correct, and refocus on provable facts. In most cases, those who deal in verisimilitude will refuse to allow any in depth inquiry. They will quickly fall back to circular arguments, meaningless personal attacks, or similar means to deflect. It is their literal Achilles’ heel. When pushed to provide verifiable, validated proof, they cannot. It is very easy to identify the differences between appearing truthful, and being truthful. For me, I will continue to stand with those who are willing to look beyond the surface and dig for the truth.
Stand Up, Speak Out, and Be Heard!