when truth is not the truth

Rodrigo, an enlightened reader, inspired this one.

I have “seek truth” in my office.

I believe in speaking the truth.

I believe the truth is the only path to a clear conscience.

I believe truth has consequences … just as non-truth can have consequences.

And then a reader on enlightened conflict reminded me that even the truth can be twisted.

Rodrigo commented the following on my site:

While reading this part: “And to some extent he is saying all the correct things. But he is not correct.” I remembered one of the best ads I have ever seen.

It is from a major brazillian news paper (Folha de São Paulo). I found one with english subtitles… it gives me goosebumps everytime I see. I am sure you will like it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDqA6HcxgcY

First.

It is a fabulous ad. But maybe more important is the lesson that lies within.

He is saying all the correct things …. But he is not correct.

Second.

Truth is sometimes not the whole truth.

Context and perspective is needed to share “real & absolute truth.”

Truth is the sum of accurate information … not just some of the accurate information:

“I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world.” ~ Margaret Mead

It is a tricky world we live in.

And Rodrigo’s ad reminds us it has ALWAYS been a tricky world.

Discerning the real truth among the seeming truth takes work.

A lot of work.

And I sometimes believe we people are lazy when it comes to truth.

Because we are just too lazy to attach facts to the soundbite truth we latch on to.

And, once again, I do not believe it is simply a present issue (albeit that is the one we should be most concerned with) it is a lifelong human issue.

Truth and facts.

The national argument right now is, one, who’s got the truth and, two, who’s got the facts… Until we can manage to get the two of them back together again, we’re not going to make much progress.”

–          Michael Adams, lexicology professor at North Carolina State University, discussing the neologism “truthiness”, defined as “the quality of stating concepts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than the facts” in “Linguists Vote ‘Truthiness’ Word of 2005”, AP via Yahoo! News, (6 January 2006)]

Here is a fact. A truth I may add.

We all need truth goggles.

Because we all want to hear what we all want to hear.

And it is easy to take the ‘easy truth.’

But truth takes a discerning ear.

And it takes some work … by using a filter.

From Buffy the Vampire Slayer (who thought I would ever use a quote from there, huh?)

What do you want me to say?

Buffy: Lie to me.

The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.

Buffy: Liar.

Simplistic but a good lesson for all of us.

The good guys are difficult to discern from the bad guys.

Therefore truth is difficult to discern.

And if we cannot discern the difference between the good guys truth and the bad guys truth how the hell can we discern the difference between 2 good guys truth.

What do I mean?

Well.  Think about the current American politics. Shit. Or Brazilian politics.  Or European politics.

Are these “bad guys”? Certainly not. They mean well. They want good things (mostly). So how the hell do we discern the truth as they give us soundbite after soundbite.

There is even a website called politifacts.com which is all about “sorting out the truth.”

Ok.

In some warped way this bothers me. We need someone to “sort out the truth” for us?  Is it supposed to be this complicated? Isn’t ‘truth’ supposed to be simple?

Sorry Bruce, but it isn’t.

And maybe that just bothered me … but here is what scares me.

The majority doesn’t care to learn the real truth.

I just heard this today … 47% of US population could not name a Republican candidate.

If we don’t care, if we are this apathetic … how the hell can we ever discern the truth?

So … let me tell you what scares me the most when I think about this factoid (among others).

Rodrigo’s ad.

And where truth and ignorance collide.

If we cannot discern good guys from bad guys.

If we don’t even put the effort forth to learn who the good guys are from the bad guys.

If we cannot discern real truth.

If we don’t even put forth the effort to discern the real truth.

If we allow ignorance to overcome truth.

And if we allow someone who says all the correct things but is not correct to become a leader?

Well. Shame on us. All of us. We have permitted ignorance & indolence to win over truth.

I say all this because truth is important.

Not just in terms of self.  But in terms of the world all of our ‘selves’ reside in. it impacts how we live and where we live and what kind of world we live in.

Take the time to attach real facts to spoken ‘truth.’

Become invested in truth.

For ‘not being invested in truth’ has consequences.

Yeah.

I will say it again.

Truth takes work … but seek truth … it leads to goodness & better things.

Truth. As Taoism will remind you … you have a choice. Which will you choose?

” … choosing to be one who just wants to live to be old or instead being true.” – Lao Tze


Written by Bruce