A Deep Dive Into America's Relationship with Truth
Summary | Nonfiction Research asked us to investigate America's relationship with truth. The goal was to get at real, genuine insightful information that will bring people to life in ways that most marketing research can’t. After interviews with a psychologist, a psychic, a QAnon supporter, an ex-Morman drag queen, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and more, we realized that the marketplace of ideas has been hacked. We set out to find out why and brought our research findings to life in the form of a zine. Flip through the 44-page zine below or keep scrolling for a summary.
What I did:
Pragmatism is the US's contribution to philosophy. It led to the marketplace of ideas.
A few decades after Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, pragmatism was born. And with it came a distinctly American set of beliefs about truth. The pragmatists believed that true ideas are those which help us adapt to our environment. Truth is what is useful—and just like our physical traits must evolve to suit reality, so must our beliefs. In this marketplace of ideas, the best idea wins.
Misinformation is rampant.
The spread of misinformation combined with human psychology has led to stark divisions in politics, vaccinations, race relations, and conspiracies, like QAnon and the COVID-19 hoax.
"I'm not a conspiracy theorist—I'm a truth seeker"
- Anonymous QAnon supporter
2+ months of research to determine how we got here and what we can do about it.
The marketplace of ideas has been hacked.
People are living in different realities. The best idea is no longer the best because people believe starkly different things. In fact, we conducted a survey that found that 35 million Americans have cut someone out of their life due to conflicting beliefs.
It's up to us to work back towards a healthy competition of beliefs.
There's no magic solution that will instantly bring unity. It's up each individual to unhack the marketplace of ideas. We recommend four topics to explore: