Truth

TRUTH: A TRAP FOR FOOLS?

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” Albert Einstein

∞∞∞

from 1985, Tears for Fears with SHOUT

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TRUTH: A TRAP FOR FOOLS?

written & edited by
Kendall F. Person

 

Truth is a very complex word.

By definition the word appears elementary, but consort your most trusted dictionary and note the openings for deceit. I tend to shy away from presenting definitions, preferring my word usage to define itself. But an exception in this case is needed, so that on the issue of truth, our varied, polarized, condemning and similar ideologies, understandings, opinions and beliefs can be viewed through the same lense – if only for a moment, before returning to the safety of our comfort (true or alt be dammed).

Be us Trumpist or Resisters, scientists or theorists, students or lemmings, let us read the definition with clarity, open minds and hearts in an attempt to gain full awareness of the meaning of truth, and the complexity it assures, even when there is the best intent.

from dictionary.com – truth

  1. the true or actual state of a matter: 
  2. conformity with fact or reality
  3. a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like:
    mathematical truth
  4. the state or character of being true.
  5. actuality or actual existence.

TruthJudgment of Truth

One of the core beliefs and most used statements by non-accepting heterosexuals is that being gay is a choice. And even though I can state with almost near certainty, that while one may come to accept, embrace and become proud of the person they are, few if any will declare, “If there had been a choice from the beginning, I would have chosen to be gay”. But whether it is arrogance or simply choosing to protect our trusted beliefs, there is a mindset in some of us, that ignores the truth coming directly out of the individual who is not only living it, but has absolutely no reason to lie, since for many, being gay has been the source of hardship, self-hate, abuse and like in present day Uganda, humiliation and death. Yet we ignore all of this, and still hold on to our truths, telling our brothers and sisters that, “The choice was yours to make”.

“If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken, twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools…” – If by Rudyard Kipling

Propaganda as Truth

But what if truth is neither subjective or dependant upon a historical perspective? What if truth stands before us and we can see the glory, but we are told that are lying eyes have betrayed us and accept as truth, that piss is rain? And what then, when we take that truth and deliver it to the masses until it becomes law of the land and the truth becomes the lie. Will it mean that the propagator is now God?

 

question mark

Yours or Mine

Truth is complex. With few absolute exceptions, mathematics being one and that the sky is blue, the other, what is truth to me may not be truth to you, but both maintain validity if our truths are based on beliefs. During our formative years, our ideas, dreams and beliefs change often. But at some point in each of our lives, we are accepting and comfortable and perhaps rigid, or set in our ways. And no amount of scientific data will conform a devout parishioner, nor will a single verse from the Holy Bible, convert an evolutionist into a Catholic.

So do we escape to our imagined glass castles, built high upon  a pedestal, and shout down to the masses, “You are all wrong, because only I know the truth!” Or do we revisit the definition, and search for goodness and kindness in each other – reaching out for commonality – or do we allow our differences in philosophies to give us permission, to judge your truth as lies. And when we have seen the truth, do we allow ourselves to become fools, falling into a trap that we saw them build?

Ultimately, it is not truth that is complex, but the acceptance of what we determine as truth.


 

Above the Clouds/UNHINGED… same message, different delivery. coming March 2017

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “TRUTH: A TRAP FOR FOOLS?

  1. Kendall, again you spoke well.
    It is so true that our truth stems from belief but I do believe that it is also a product of conditioning. You allude to that under “propaganda as truth” and when you state “During our formative years, our ideas, dreams and beliefs change often.” I thought of myself.
    Yes, they do change often both by experience and peer influence that comes from intellectuals and dominant personalities.
    I speak of myself. As a child having been abused in various manners, I was not allowed to have a thought of my own and I was fearful of anyone or everyone with a stronger voice than my own. I so hungered for acceptance by someone, anyone, that I followed the crowd and their truth became mine. And so the cycle gains strength and the weaker ones are subdued. Before long the lines of ‘truth’ become blurred and a new truth emerges. Does it make it true? My guess is not and yet it may because really, our own weakness diminishes truth as it once was to a new “evolved” state.

  2. Kendall,
    I think, in your second line you mean to say consult, though consort is an interesting slip. It brought to my mind the idea of truth as consort, friend, and lover. This idea of truth, and of wisdom, is known to the philosophical tradition and the student of the biblical wisdom literature alike. Indeed it is known to the wisdom traditions of many peoples, and to all the friends and lovers of truth, for whom the twisting of truth is not harmless error but deep betrayal and butchery.

    Mathematics is an interesting retreat for a an absolute definition of truth to take; one suspects that the writer of the dictionary entry had not wrestled deeply with Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem. All logical systems must have something outside the system. This doesn’t mean that mathematics is false, of course, but it does mean that it can’t be appealed to as a unified field that explains everything. It also opens up space for a more interesting dialogue between faith and reason than the one which sets them up as a binary opposition. Just in passing Catholic teaching does not necessarily contradict the doctrine of evolution, and the essay “Nothing In Biology Makes Sense Except in Light of Evolution” was penned by a man from the Eastern Orthodox Tradition who also happened to be an evolutionary biologist. I took your point though, to be that a scientist (particularly if they are also an atheist) is not likely to be swayed by an argument from Holy Writ since it is not accepted as an authoritative voice. Truth be told the precise nature of scriptural authority is controversial within the Christian community. Other faith traditions have their own struggles with interpreting their sacred books, and I am less familiar with those. Within a Christian understanding, though, the highest form of truth is not contained within the pages of a book – not even the Bible – but rather embodied in a person. “The Word became flesh…” (John 1:14)

    You present an aspect of this, the bodily living out of truth, in your portrayal of the men and women of Uganda. Truth is also in the bodies of the refugees being pulled up by the hand of a Greek coast guard of the island of Lesbos, or slipping out of those same hands. Truth in their desperation, in his anguish. Truth flooding the heart with the mighty relief of salvation. Ultimately it is not your truth and my truth, but you and I – for truth, if it be true, takes hold of us in the entirety of our lives as we live them before each other and before God. What we know of truth, we know as we live and as we die. One might even say that I know nothing of the truth at all, except to born and to die, because that is all that is given to me with any degree of certainty. Yet these very things are beyond my knowing, beyond what I can speak of. I cannot interrogate my birth, cannot remember it at all. I take it on faith that I was born, and in this faith enter into an ever-expanding community of others. I become a burden, and it is thrust back upon me to be responsible for my self and for others, because the self is incurably social – embedded within an unimaginably complex network of relationships. But out of all this web there is still something, a weight that I must singularly bear and that comes to a point in death. My truth, then, is not simply death but the entirety of the life I have lived, what I have thought, and said, and done.

    The meaning of judgement is bearing the entire weight of a life, the fullness of its meaning. Not something to be undertaken lightly, but also, in another way, unavoidable. The messy entanglement of life is such that the weight of my burden and of your life are entwined and it is possible that I may become confused and try to take a burden I cannot carry, or cast one that is mine on to another.

    But now I have written an essay, when I began with the intention of a short comment. So, I’ll sign off now.

    Peace

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