Before we begin, here is something about the term “factfulness”:
“Factfulness” is not an English word per say, but it is a term coined by the late Swedish statistician and physician Hans Rosling. It refers to having only those opinions for which one has the support of clear, strong and irrefutable facts and/or logic.
We develop our world views over time, based on our learnings, experiences, and by listening to people that we love and respect.
These views often tend to strengthen in us as we get older. And after a certain age it feels as if they have become a part of our very being. These views, eventually start providing us with a sense of comfort.
These beliefs and views save us from an inherent void. A void which would have mentally destroyed us had these beliefs not been there with us, or so it may seem.
Often, on careful examination we find that our beliefs and views, be it religious, political, social, economic or cultural are supported not fully by facts and logic, but also partially by long held biases and prejudices.
This is the reason sometimes some people with extremely strong opinions experience a state of cognitive dissonance when faced with full proof logic and facts proving their opinions to be wrong.
We are a social animal with the ability to listen, comprehend and communicate.
Our greatest faculty which enables us to be materialistically superior to all other life forms on the planet, is our ability to enquire into the nature of things, hypothesise possible findings, and then through objective and rational methods rigorously falsify every hypothesis until only a bare objective truth remains. That truth we call a fact.
“Subjectivity leads to division; objectivity leads to unity”. What I mean by this is that opinions based on half bias, half facts give rise to exclusivity among humans because of the subjective nature of the opinions.
In such a set-up everyone vainly tries to explain his opinions to the other, giving rise to stress and friction in the society.
Whereas, opinions based on rationally and logically founded facts gives way to harmony in society because of the objective and universal nature of such opinions.
But most of us are too weak to exercise such a hard unbiased and objective way of living.
Most of us find solace in our opinions, emotionally charged views and egos, even if they give us stress and anxiety upon contention with facts.
To rise above emotions and the ego and live by facts and objectively set values take courage and tenacity.
My friend once asked me about factfulness once. I told him everything that I also wrote here in this article.
He got the point of it and asked me a question. The question was, “Does factfulness sometimes make you feel stupid?” And I replied, ” Even after knowing all of this and still not applying it my life, I do feel stupid.”