One of my early memories of thinking about thinking occurred in elementary school when we were taught about the distinction between fact and opinion. It was a lesson that burned itself into my mind. A fact is a solid construct that exists outside and independent of our minds. While a fact may be a product of the mind and body, like a desk that’s made with wood instead of plastic, once it’s produced, more than one person can look at the desk, touch it, inspect it, demolish and examine its components and understand and agree that yes, that desk is made of wood instead of plastic.
An opinion is the manifestation of an individual’s mind, an individual’s perspective, a butterfly floating within that space with wings composed of the world filtered through the sieve of that person’s every sense and thought. One person may have an opinion about the desk that contests the opinion of another.
BLOBBY says: That desk is ugly as pluck.
GORPO says: That desk has been sanded so finely. It is an object of beautiful utility. I want to sit down and write a story on the desk about how
BLOBBY is a festering moron.
BLOBBY says: GORPO has the aesthetic sensibilities of the Salty Slug Club.
But if either BLOBBY or GORPO try to contest that the desk is made of plastic instead of wood, such a statement is neither fact nor opinion.
Saying the desk is made of plastic instead of wood is FICTION.
One can say that it is his opinion that the desk is made of plastic, but every other person who has seen and touched it and recognizes it is made of wood is obligated by FACT to conclude that poor bastard is either LYING or CRAZY.
Alternate facts are FICTION or INSANITY.
Facts allow humans to live in a sane world in which we can communicate and agree upon a foundation that is beyond argument. Facts are the reality that prevent us from slipping into solipsistic MADNESS.