Post-truth: an adjective relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping opinion than emotional appeals.
It’s a word that is associated with politics, but I find the idea so encompasses the landscape of life insurance sales. Consider these quotes: “culture in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored”; “a situation in which feelings trump facts”; Stephen Colbert, talked about “truthiness”: ideas which “feel right” or “should be true” rather than the accuracy.
Author Ralph Keyes writes “Post-truthfulness exists in an ethical twilight zone,” he explains. “It allows us to dissemble without considering ourselves dishonest. When our behavior conflicts with our values, what we’re most likely to do is reconceive our values.” Since we do not want to think of ourselves as unethical, we simply “devise alternative approaches to morality.” Keyes goes on to say “ Asking what constitutes truth is an appropriate topic for intellectual inquiry”
So why is this post-truth a thang? Big decisions are hard; facts and evidence are disruptive too. They don’t always fit easily with the narrative or the details supporting a sales proposal. Sometimes the facts are just hard work to explain. People respond to slogans and emotion and that supports a sales environment. More fluff, less stuff.
Evidence matters. People want to make the best choices and they want to believe the authority in front of them represents the answers. They expect to draw on and count on that expertise. All too often it’s simply easier (in a very complicated area) to believe, to trust. But if the post-truthfulness environment exists, then people will have to step outside of the comfort zone…effectively and aggressively seek the truth.
And in the world of insurance, that truth is in the contract and in the math…not opinion.