“I am a man who knows nothing, guesses sometimes, finds frequently and who’s always amazed.”
Villiers de L’Isle-Adam
“To those searching for truth — not the truth of dogma and darkness but the truth brought by reason, search, examination, and inquiry, discipline is required. For faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction — faith in fiction is a damnable false hope.”
Thomas A. Edison
I picked up Alvin Toffler’s “The Third Wave” today and reread his chapter “The Mental Maelstrom” in which he highlights “wholism versus halfism.” To me it tweaked my overall disdain lurking in my head with regard to fortune cookie wisdom. To me it reminded me fortune cookie wisdom is a virus attacking society, business and thinking in general.
It reminded me of how not being satisfied with a soundbite memory, or fortune cookie wisdom, is important.
It reminded me the full story does matter.
It reminded me stories most typically have beginnings and endings and to ignore one for the other risks losing something important – truth & knowledge.
Let me explain.
Most of us remember Neil Armstrong’s first words on landing on the moon as the first man to walk on the moon: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon in 1972, said this: “We leave as we came and, god willing, as we shall return, with peace, and hope for all mankind.”
I imagine my point today is that in today’s world I worry a little bit that it seems like we not only want to rush through doing shit, trying to get as much done as possible as quickly as possible, but also rush through thinking and getting the whole story. And while my example I used may not be the best example of this, it is an example that there was more to find if we went beyond “one giant leap for mankind.”
I will state, bad opening example or not, we are far too often guilty of taking a headline thought, or a thought out of context, and reapplying it to some specific detailed conclusions.
In other words. We take a generalization and apply to some specific thought, attitude, opinion and even a behavior.
That is … well … fucking nuts.
Now. I admit.
I am guilty, on occasion, of using quotes & thoughts beyond what the words were initially intended for. However. I fully take responsibility for doing so <usually noting it immediately as “I recognize that the author of these words most likely didn’t intend them to be used this way.” In addition I typically use the words & thoughts to apply them to another life or business situation.
<I say that to protect my happy ass from someone pointing out that I also ignore the full story>
Yeah. I am sure I am guilty of ignoring the full story on occasion.
Yeah. I believe everyone is guilty of ignoring the full story on occasion.
Yeah. I believe our guiltiness doesn’t make it right or any better.
Truth, more often than not, resides in the full story.
Facts, more often than not, resides in the full story.
That is why the full story matters. With only half the story, or maybe just the headline of a story, we miss out on half the story to maybe even 90% of the story to maybe even the entire point of the story. What I do know is that fortune cookie wisdom thrives on half stories.
Don’t believe me? Think about these half stories.
Half the story suggests that curiosity is dangerous & the full story suggests pursuing curiosity can achieve satisfaction.
The phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none” is actually not the full story it actually is “Jack of all trades, master of none, but better than a master of one.”
Half the story would suggest … well … focus & expertise & specializing is the path to success … the full story suggests being equally good/average at everything is much better than being perfect at one thing and sucking at everything else.
Uhm. Maybe the message should be “being okay is … well … okay.”
The phrase “great minds think alike” is actually not the full story, it actually is “great minds think alike but fools rarely differ.”
Half the story suggests that if ‘great minds’ agree it has to be a good idea … the full story suggests that great minds seeking to not be fools or foolish should debate & disagree. The full story suggests that conformity isn’t always a good thing. The full story suggests that just because more than one person has the same idea it doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good idea. The full story suggests, in my words, enlightened conflict is good.
The phrase “birds of a feather flock together” is actually not the full story, it actually is “birds of a feather flock together until the cat comes.”
Half the story suggests the power of similar thinking and similar thinking people … the full story suggests … uhm … well … it is actually a warning. It is a warning against complacency of false security. It is a warning against cocooning attitudes or maybe even the weaknesses of cliques. It is a warning that one can endanger the many. And, maybe, it is a warning that anything less than a full story is dangerous.
The phrase ‘blood is thicker than water’ isn’t even half the story, it is a made up headline for a story that really matters. The real story? “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.”
So using just the false headline suggests family is all that matters … uhm … when it really means that relationships of choice are stronger than relationships simply borne of birth.
And, of course, there is the most typically shared half story of Pandora’s Box.
The story which suggests curiosity and/or ignoring what you are told is evil <it release evil into the world> … and, yet, the full story finds one last thing in the bottom of the box — “hope.”
Yeah. I know. Half stories are easier. Takes less work, less thinking and is certainly less complex.
Regardless. Here is what I know about why the full story matters.
The search for truth lies somewhere within the full story. If we do not embark on the search and end up settling for half the story we then end up with something less – in Toffler’s words we end up with a “halfism”.
Less than the full story.
Less than the full truth.
Less than the full conclusion.
Less than the full facts.
Suffice it to say it is something “less than.” It is ‘halfism.’ Worse? Its dangerous. Fortune cookie wisdom is not wisdom, it is halfism and we need ‘wholism’ in a complex world.
Business demands more than soundbites and fortune cookie wisdom.
Life demands more than soundbites and fortune cookie wisdom.
Humans, and humanity, demands more than soundbites and fortune cookie wisdom.
Yeah. The full story matters.