Volume 10, 2018
Barton Buechner, Sergej van Middendorp, Rik Spann
Moral Injury on the Front Lines of Truth
Encounters with Liminal Experience and the Transformation of Meaning
Today’s fast-moving, (new) media lifeworld embodies many of the metaphors of its analog predecessors – including those of warfare and conflict. The metaphor of warfare is used to describe everything from corporate marketing strategies to political campaigns, often with harmful consequences. In one way of exploring the front lines of the resulting war on truth, we describe some lessons learned from the experience of military veterans who have actually endured the liminality of combat, and who emerge with what is increasingly termed moral injuries. We use their experience as an analogy for competing (ante)narratives in cyberspace, where objective standards of truth and facticity are apparent casualties, and where fake news is emerging as victorious. We then apply models of social construction, specifically the practical theory of the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM), and the metaphor of jazz improvisation in the context of Schutz’s lifeworld phenomenology as possibly useful, helpful, and hopeful ways of acting into the complexity of truth together.