What is Truth?

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Sigh.  This should be easy, shouldn’t it?  The word has a definition.  An absolute one, as a matter of fact.  Dictionary.com states it is an actual state of matter; conformity with fact or reality;  a verified or indisputable fact.  We assume that to mean that when we or someone else speak the truth, there simply is no further explanation necessary.  It is the final answer.  But how often do we hear it?  How often do we say it?

In the Internet age that we are drowning in, the truth is a commodity.  The more information available to us, the more we cannot trust what is before our eyes.  Don’t think the irony is lost on us.  Many things written here will have dissenters simply because their truth doesn’t accept what they have read.  And therein lies the problem.  Perception.  Perception kills personal truth.  But it cannot change reality.  Reality is truth, as in what actually happened.  But when someone says that they are telling you the truth- and they truly believe that they are- then if what they are saying didn’t actually occur, they are not telling you the truth.  They are telling you their truth.  It’s a misuse of the word based on that person’s perception.  Are they lying?  Well, technically yes.  But only because their recounting of the issue at hand is inaccurate.  If they believe that it is accurate, though, then they only believe it to be the truth.  They cannot make it so.  So therefore their belief indicates that they aren’t lying to you at all.  They just simply don’t know the truth.  Ouch.

Why is this so important?  Because we are raised to believe things that we are told from birth as our parents and the people around us teach us the elements of life.  We legitimately think that everything we hear is true… pretty much until we find out that Santa, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny were all big fat lies.  Then our worlds come crumbling down.  Much like the film “The Invention of Lying,” once we are taught to fib (that it’s OK since Mom and Dad do it) suddenly that ball never stops rolling.  In fact, for some, it’s a snowball going downhill.  It just keeps expanding.  Too many times people say they are telling you the truth but know that they are not.  They find it easy to lie in this situation and so they do it with fervor.  And then, when you know that they are lying because you can see it on their faces, they actually have the nerve to get mad at your for not believing their lies.  Suddenly, the script is flipped and you are the bad guy- always a sign that Pinocchio’s nose is a growin.’ When someone is truly being honest, with you and themselves, then the truth should build proper confidence.  Sometimes, the person lies so hard and so deeply that they even begin to believe it themselves.  That’s when the fun really begins.

Despite this rampant lying we have all been immersed in, once the pain of the Guardians of the Galaxy hoax wears off, we go right on believing everything again.  If children are raised to believe certain things about religion, politics or prejudice then they cherish it as absolute and will argue it to the death.  Since our psyche and the mental maps for our future persona is fully formed by 10 years old, then that could be why it is so difficult to change someone’s mind the older they get.  Life experience, research (hopefully but not usually) and the opinions of others will definitely have an effect on our beliefs and may even change them.  But no matter how much we go back and forth on any ol’ issue, nothing can change the truth.  It is up to us to discover what that actually is.

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History is His Story

History

We hate to say it.  But that stuff you learned in school… you know, “history”…  turns out it’s not all as historical as one might imagine.  The problem with recounting something that we weren’t there to see and experience is that humans have an innate habit to put a spin on it to fit our needs.  Much like the game of telephone, details change the more ear canals it passes through and the more years that go by.  People need heroes, not truth- or so history writers would assume.

Paul Revere’s midnight ride was greatly distorted for a simple poem- and then became solid “fact” in history books throughout our nation.  Rosa Parks was not the first black woman to stand up for her rights and refuse to give up her 11th row seat (not front) to sit in the back of the bus.  Claudette Colvin was.  But because Claudette was 15 and pregnant out of wedlock, the NAACP thought she was a bad example.  They wanted someone more honorable- someone like their secretary- one Mrs. Rosa Parks.  Thanksgiving has been “recreated” in elementary schools for decades honoring the Pilgrims and their settlement in the New World.  But the horrific truth about that time in our history is so savage and devastating, that there truly is nothing to celebrate or feast over.  It is quite preferable that the holiday has become more about family, food, and fun than remembrance.  That goes for Christmas, too.  December 25 was never meant to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.  Unless Jesus is the only person to celebrate his birthday around the six month mark.  Jesus was born in the Summer.  December 25 was originally a Pagan holiday and the Catholics of the time just couldn’t allow it so they created a holiday on the same day so their religious agenda could supersede that of the Pagans.  It is also quite preferable that now Christmas marks a time to treasure your loved ones, gather with friends and family and celebrate life after a crazy year.

From how we got here to who is really responsible for most of the things we believe, man has been retooling the truth since pen could hit paper.  If you don’t believe it, try googling (or bing-ing) any subject you can think of.  If you can’t find opposing opinions on something you consider fact, then you aren’t looking very hard.  One glance at your Facebook page will illustrate how quickly someone’s panicked post of knowledge will be “snoped” (www.snopes.com) right out of the water.  The saying used to be “believe half of what you read and none of what you hear.”  We would say that that 50% is more like 12% now.  This list goes on and on.  Feel free to spend some time researching our past.  You might be shocked what you find.