Many animals, including humans, engage in elaborate forms
of deception, self-deception, mimicry, and camouflage,
within a social context of various partnerships and allegiances.
These strategies have evolved ‘in service of deceit.’*
Though useful weapons in the battle for survival,
they create a ‘bias of information flow,’
and complicate the negotiation of truth.
Historically, iron rule, public consensus, organized religion, and courts of law
have been arbiters of truth within society.
Today, we verify truth through consensus, by internal feedback mechanisms,
evidence checking, persistent information gathering, and analysis.
The scientific method, first employed by Galileo in the 16th century,
functions as the primary verifier of truth in today’s culture.
The process of generating scientific evidence and theory,
which persists in all branches of science,
is accountable through peer review and repeatable experiment.
This internal feedback system may limit certain brands of creativity,
but insures a rigorous standard of preserving the integrity of
The analog of truth, in art, is value.
The value of art, as currency, is priced by art moguls
according to fluctuations in the art market,
and by various forces in contemporary culture.
The cultural value of an artwork depends on current trends,
and on elements of salesmanship,
deception, and camouflage, based on what are largely subjective criteria.
This serves as a reliable strategy for acquiring short-term cultural gains.
Limited supply and high demand determine its overall value.
Whereas the intrinsic value of art is determined by consensus,
by the most number of people over the longest period of time
agreeing to its general value.
Over an extended period of time,
public consensus acts as a form of authentication of an artwork,
restricting immediate returns in favor of long-term fidelity.
* Robert Trivers, Natural Selection and Social Theory