There is an exquisite irony in the fad of reality shows since they truly represent anything but reality! They have led us in all innocence to the post-truth world we seem to inhabit.They have prepared the translucent curtain through which we see our virtual world with its warp of rationality and its woof of sensation so transparent that we cannot perceive its presence. Appearance of objects beyond the curtain appear real yet would invite reinspection if the curtain were lifted. They have encouraged us to accept “alternative facts” as a new version of reality. With the blinding rate of advances in technology, the mania always for the new, new thing invites the total disregard of mental discipline or a sense of history. It is still true that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

One wonders whether as a culture we can accept our human limitations at a biological level. We are animals after all. The ancient Greeks understood the concept of hubris — that if one raises his head too high the gods may take offense and strike one’s head with lightening bolts. A youth culture is apt to believe that we have overcome the mistakes of the past, that they no longer apply.

All through the ’90s we were assured by such sages as Allen Greenspan that economic mistakes of the past have been overcome by later wisdom. We know how that turned out with Greenspan apologizing for misreading the tea leaves! It was obvious to rational observers. Banks were lending money to people who obviously could not repay it and the banks not caring as long as they could sell the loans and so bail out! The ability of people to believe in magic is limitless, as is their ability to lie to themselves.

Ray Janes, Rockport