Feb 08, 2017 | By George Gantz
The Spiritual Correspondence of Fake News With Excrement #FakeNews #PopeFrancis #EmmanuelSwedenborg
In the continuing downward trend in the civility of discourse, we are confronted daily with accusations and counter accusations of fake news. Perhaps the truth will catch up eventually (see: The Challenge of the Post-Truth Era) and the media circus will deflate. In the meantime, it is useful to ask what the spiritual implications are of the ongoing fascination with and continued promulgation of fake news.
Emmanual Swedenborg (1788-1872) would characterize fake news as a form of adultery – taking something positive and useful and perverting or soiling it, much as adultery perverts and soils a marriage relationship with betrayal. He acknowledges that for some people, this is enjoyable, but rejoinds that “the thrill of hatred and adultery, viewed in itself, is no more than a delight in excrement; and this is what it turns into in the other life.” Secrets of Heaven (A.C.1096). In other words, the appeal of fake news corresponds spiritually to excrement and a fascination with excrement. As he reported from one of his spiritual experiences, “Sometimes there has also been the odour of excrement, and when I asked where this came from I was told that it did so from the hell where adulterers live.” (A.C.4631)
Pope Francis, in a December interview, admonished the media to be “very clear, very transparent,” noting that promulgating fake news is “probably the biggest damage a news organization can cause”. He similarly likened the fascination with negative stories that smear reputations or promote fake news to “the sickness of coprophilia”, e.g. the abnormal interest and pleasure in feces and defecation.
The admonishments of two spiritual leaders, one from the 18th century and one from the 21st century, are clear. We all need to be careful to avoid and to confront the contamination of fake news, lest our own thoughts become soiled. And, of course, wash your hands frequently!
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