Numbers > Number 15 > Rigor and sensitivity in the post-truth era
Introduction
ISSN: 1885-365X

Rigor and sensitivity in the post-truth era

When we started editing the new issue of the journal, we intended to ascertain how rigour and sensitivity are used in communication with regards to different disciplines. We wanted to see where the frontier between profession, discipline and humanity, or vision and gaze lied. We approached the study of the exercise of rigour and sensitivity in the field of Communication with the backdrop of the so-called post-truth era.

We were interested in analysing the application of rigour and sensitivity in professions that must or should communicate by standing in someone else’s shoes and the disciplines that should use rigour, a product of reason and sensitivity, in their studies and knowledge of reality, to meet the truth.

We made an appeal to collect articles that address these topics in Journalism, Advertising, Business Communication, MKT, Pedagogy, Psychology, Philology, Philosophy and Theology.

Aware that we live in a world full of images, information and communication, we know the sensory and thought anaesthesia that invades contemporary existence and makes it possible to look carefree at a fashion parade through the streets of Havana, while Cuba hides its poverty in exchange for a plate of rice. We know that we can mourn the story of Nadia, without asking if it is true, without corroborating anything, seduced merely by the number of eyes on the television share.

We heard the horror of a lauded “I was there” of the special envoys or the “I heard the shot, I dodged the bomb”… of the war correspondents, human survivors of an inhuman defeat and we continue to live our lives without flinching.

We receive the images and sounds of places that always seem so very far away; reporters send them to us, they bring them to us and then, back home, as hunters with their triumphs, they hang their photographs and chronicles, on the web, on a blog or on the walls of comfortable lounges.

We know that there are thousands of hungry and dead out there, thousands who never got to take a plane to tell their story, thousands who did not buy a round-trip ticket, whether first-class or tourist class, train or subway, to survive, thousands who never got the opportunity to explain how they thought or how they would have wanted their future to be.

They are the bodies shot down on the hard asphalt, killed without an apology by the terrorists, forever silenced, in the stillness; they are the same asphalts over which forgiven men now, full of life, walk again; men who pass in front of the cameras and almost imperceptibly glance towards us elusively, seeking answers to our unasked questions.

The image of the beach of Bodrum in Turkey –and not the forgotten Syrian child–, was it real? The brief chill of a scandal that silences thousands of other children, abandoned on consciences so numbed by a sensitivity that only responds to remote control, severed as men by a lack of necessary rigour that drags us beyond the sea horizon.

Despite the merit and the value (for many lose their lives in the endeavour) of those who tell and convey the pain, we emphasise the enormous gap that divides the two worlds: those who work, communicate, sell, buy, broadcast and retweet the miseries of this land and those who indeed suffer them first-hand. How do we exercise our professions? With what rigour and sensitivity? Should we return to the path of education of rigour and sensitivity?

The doubt about what moves our current communicative environment springs to mind: is what we teach true or is it a construction made expressly to gain more audience, likes or clicks?

As if dragged in a constant flow of communication, fake news appears as false trunks, mirages of information, which precipitate inexorably into the profound emptiness of this flood that drowns us in the so-called era of post-truth. It distances us from implication, from the will to discover the truth, to really know with rigour, to feel; it blinds us and stuns us and feeds us alienated visions in return.

We have addressed the issue of Rigour and Sensibility in this new issue of Communication and Man to try to gain further insight into the driving force behind these indifferent looks. We have prompted a dialogue between Communication and various disciplines to find common ground in pursuit of such rigour and sensitivity.

The first field of exploration we address in issue 15 is Oral Communication concerning translation and the search in Etymology or Philology of the delicate nuances capable of adequately and rigorously communicating.

As explained by Dr María Mercedes Eurrutia Cavero, from the University of Alicante in her text “Literatura y traducción: problemas que plantea y situación actual” [“Literature and translation: problems and current situation”]:

“The translator must possess a special sensitivity that allows him to perceive even the lowest pulsations of rhythm, that secret cadence that reveals the internal spirit of the work and at the same time, perform a detailed analysis to capture the relationship between the subtlest ideas” (1996).

In this respect, we have included an article in this issue from the University of Tehran by Dr Afsaneh Pourmazaheri and Dr Seyed Rouholla called “La autonimia como solución apelativa de la recopilación del referente exótico. El caso del encuentro de dos lenguas-culturas alejadas” [“Autonimia as an appellative solution for the compilation of the exotic referent. The case of the meeting of two distant languages-cultures”]. This article is about the old French travellers who travelled to Persia in the nineteenth century. The text explains the rigour and sensitivity they used to name and convey in their language all the things they saw but did not exist in their country of origin or language.

Within the contemporary search of rigour and sensitivity in Psychology, we find works like the article that we received from Dr Lavinia Barone from the University of Pisa: “Enseñar la disciplina sensible a los padres. Aprender participando” [“Teaching sensitive discipline to parents. Learn participating”] which illustrates how, from the theory of attachment, the child’s development depends to a large extent on the sensitivity with which daily communicative exchanges take place, without losing sight of discipline (“sensitive discipline”) that seeks to combine a sensitive attitude with respect and firmness of disciplinary rules. Following another researcher, Dr Francesca Lionetti, PhD in Psychology, also from the University of Pavia, currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Queen Mary University in London, the article by Dr Barone is a new contribution on the importance of sensible discipline:

“To demonstrate that even conventional every day and “simple” aspects, how to combine sensitivity and affection with discipline and rigour, can become refined and structured instruments of great assistance in the old but always challenging task of taking on a father’s role with attention and affection, but without renouncing his educational and disciplinary role”.

The echo of the development of sensitive intelligence and people of high sensitivity, PAS, an area of ​​scientific research that has driven a recent International Congress in Valencia can also be found in these research works. “I Congreso Internacional sobre Alta Sensibilidad” [1st International Congress on High Sensitivity] (May 2018).

The rigorous investigation of the idea of ​​sensitivity and intelligence are contributing new horizons in Pedagogy, Psychology and Neurology.

Hence, articles like that of Dr M José Gato Bermúdez from the San Pablo Ceu University, on Pedagogy, demand and sensitivity in education; or the article on the use of TED talks, which analyses this communicative instrument under the title “Del rigor a la retórica emocional” [“From rigor to emotional rhetoric”] by Dr Francisco López Cantos of the Jaume I University have been received with great interest.

Intelligence and sensitivity have also been studied in Philosophy and Theology. A recent example is the work of Dr Juan José García, from the University of Navarra, on “Inteligencia Sentiente” [“Sentient Intelligence”] (2006) following the Spanish philosopher and theologian, Dr Xavier Zubiri and his research on “Inteligencia Sentiente: Inteligencia y Razón” [“Sentient Intelligence: Intelligence and Reason”] (1983). From the field of theology and its communication through the mass media, we have the article by Dr Álvaro Mateos from the Pontifical University of Salamanca on “El papel de un teólogo en los medios: rigor y sensibilidad en Olegario González de Cardedal” [“The role of a theologian in the media: rigour and sensitivity in Olegario González de Cardedal”].

Rigour and sensitivity have, therefore, interested so many different disciplines such as Psychology, Theology, Philology and even Enginee.iIn Engineering,here for exa,mple we find the work of the Spanish engineer Dr Juan José Arenas de Pablo, from the University of Cantabria, who gave a lecture called “El rigor y la sensibilidad en la Ingeniería” [“The rigour and sensitivity in Engineering”] (2003) and later published an article entitled “Rigor y sensibilidad: trabajo de ingenieros” [“Rigour and sensitivity: the work of engineers”] (2004), depicting an aspect of Engineering that is often left out of the concept of the works themselves. This meticulous author of numerous works and a multitude of articles and writings until his death in 2017, addressed the issue of sensitivity uniting him to a human need in the rigorous construction of engineering works.

The field of medicine and communication to patients and relatives is an area of ​​research and work has been increasingly interested in rigour and sensitivity; as demonstrated by the holding of a congress organised by the Society of Medical Oncology called “Rigor, sensibilidad y respeto: claves para informar sobre el cáncer” [“Rigour, sensitivity and respect: keys to inform about cancer”] (2006).

Another example in this direction is the project carried out by the “Medical Humanities Programme” of the Francisco de Vitoria University, whose work, carried out for years, focuses on a global understanding of patients, taking care of learning through rigour and the use of sensitivity on issues such as communicating diseases through specific practices. The Simulated Patients Programme, which was born to respond to a teaching need, is a good example, as explained by its coordinator Dr Roger Ruiz Moral in his article entitled “Medicina de la UFV, pionera y centrada en la persona con el Programa Pacientes Simulados” [“UFV medicine, pioneer and centred in the person under the Simulated Patients Programme”]: “The programme emerged to work on communication skills between the doctor and the patient” (2014).

Finally, the field of Communication in Advertising, Film, Mkt or Journalism, in traditional media and social media, provides numerous works that combines this pursuit for rigour and sensitivity.

The recent advertising campaign for the brand Ruavieja, “Tenemos que vernos más” [“We have to see each other more”] (November 2018) by the Leo Burnett agency is a clear example of the advertising search for rigour and sensitivity. It attempts to join some calculations of math probabilities with the affective lives and emotional encounters of a group of people studied for the campaign. Another recent example in the field of Communication comes from cinema with contributions such as the film “Campeones” [“Champions”] (2018) in which the work tried to unite the rigour of the treatment of a topic such as inclusion and respect for the disabled with the sensitivity of the work done with real mentally handicapped people. Both examples were present in “III Jornada de Comunicación” [t3rd III Communication ]Day” at the Francisco de Vitoria University, organised by the journal itself, with the collaboration of the Communication Department, the UFV Communication Department, the Innovation Institute and the Santander Chair of Social Responsibility, under the title of “Rigor y Sensibilidad en la Comunicación” [“Rigour and Sensibility in Communication”] (December 2018) to publicise the content of this issue of the journal and to create a debate among different professionals in practice and build a theoretical dialogue with academic researchers and students. The presence of a panel on investigative journalism and its approach to the topic of rigour and sensitivity also provided anotcriticaltant approach to the topic proposed in this issue: the sensitive and rigorous view of reality by the press.

Rigour and sensitivity appear as an antidote to the proliferation of fake news, “a new phenomenon with centuries of history” as pointed out by the PhD in Information Sciences at the Complutense Universidad of Madrid, José Manuel Burgueño (2018). Fake news is referred to as a weapon of mass poisoning. According to the Spanish version of the Digital News Report 2018 of the Reuters Institute of the University of Oxford, Avelino Amoedo, Samuel Negredo and Alfonso Vara-Miguel, all PhD holders at the University of Navarra, said that 84% of the interviewees think that: “journalists and the media must combat the proliferation of fake news” (2018). Fake news is also the topic of the article of this edition of Communication and Man by Dr P Silverio Moreno of the UNED, entitled “El rigor informativo en la era de la posverdad: la amenaza de las fake news en las redes sociales” [“Informative rigour in the post-truth era: the threat of fake news on social media”].

This issue has not overlooked other very interesting research papers on topics such as video games and “Una aproximación ética al terror” [“An ethical approach to terror”] by Dr Ángel Agejas Esteban of the Francisco de Vitoria University or “The role of the producer in advertising agencies” of the PhD holders Jorge Clemente Mediavilla and Ana Visiers Elizaincín of the Complutense University of Madrid; in the field of advertising, Dr Esther Martinez Pastor of the Rey Juan Carlos University and Dr Miguel Ángel Nicolás Ojeda of the University of Murcia authored the article called “Panorámica de las reclamaciones en publicidad y menores en Autocontrol” [“Overview of advertising claims and minors in Self-control”], which presents a general overview of all claims collected in the last twenty years; the article “Bilbo Bolsón o de cómo un hobbit nos enseñó virtudes de la fe” [“Bilbo Baggins or how a hobbit taught us virtues of faith”] by Dr Rafael García Pavón from the University of Anáhuac México, which provides a reflection on Tolkien’s character and shows how vital choices can favour the appearance of truth; The search for an adequate communication framework to enable a dialogue between reason and faith has been the core of the article “¿Cómo pensar y hablar sobre Dios, hoy? Bases conceptuales para un diálogo renovado entre razón y fe” [“How to think and talk about God, today? Conceptual bases for a renewed dialogue between reason and faith”] by Dr Juan Jesús Álvarez Álvarez from the Francisco de Vitoria University.

Finally, we would like to highlight three reviews on three recently published books: Dra Carmen Fraguero’s review on “The only story” by Julian Patrick Barnes (2018); Dr Pablo Garrido’s review on “MMLB nosotros, los persuasores” [“MMLB us, the persuaders”] by Sergio Rodríguez (2018) and Martín Roca “Originalidad e identidad personal: claves antropológicas frente a la masificación” [“Originality and personal identity: anthropological keys to massification”] by Javier Barraca Mairal (2017).

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