I'm watching Chernobyl. In episode 1

What else is left but to abandon even the hope of truth and content ourselves instead with stories?

I can't understand this sentence. I just think nothing is left but only to abandon is left. But I can't understand what he is talking about.

  • Nothing is left but to abandon truth, and content ourselves with stories. – Michael Harvey Mar 1 '20 at 15:35
  • There was so much secrecy and disinformation about what exactly was happening that they'd given up even hoping to discover the truth. All they could do was "believe" in in "stories" that might seem comforting, but which they knew were probably just fiction. – FumbleFingers Mar 1 '20 at 15:47

But = except.

What is left but to abandon ....?

is a rhetorical question. The meaning is

There is nothing left (for us to do) except to abandon ...

Edit: Abandon even the hope of truth and content ourselves with stories is a rather poetic way of saying "give up any hope that we might be able to find the truth, and instead be satisfied with telling or hearing stories".

  • What ourselves means? It means they abandon by themselves? – Ting Choe Mar 1 '20 at 22:57
  • I have edited my answer to explain further, @TingChoe – Colin Fine Mar 2 '20 at 0:22

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