What is the truth?
We have become so accustomed to friends, neighbors and politicians telling us what they think we want to hear, that it is ingrained in our society that almost everything we hear or read must be taken with a grain of salt. Is it any wonder that many now accept the two candidates for President without a second thought that they have a history of lies or that every day they are merely telling us what we want to hear?
No this is not a post about politics or the candidates but about one of the most basic of tenets of our life… the truth. In your busy day to day lives you are fed a wealth of information that you never question and accept as fact/truth, but who’s truth is it? We may read the nutritional information on the side of a can of vegetables and never question it, why? We may be told something that motivates us to go online and research it, but we never question the results of that search, why?
I remember back in high school our history teacher gave us a project for our term paper about the second world war. At that time there was no internet so it meant many trips to the library for books about the subject. As I culled through the books and used the information they contained for my paper I never once questioned the validity of the information contained in those books, because I never had a reason to question the veracity of the information.
Today I question everything I read and hear because the reality of the word truth is now dependent on who’s truth it is. For example two reporters are in Ferguson, Missouri when the city is awash in riots and violence, one reporter writes that the violence was caused by friends of the victim angered over the shooting but the other reporter states that when interviewed one of the rioters never hear of Michael Brown… which story is true and if both are true what enticed the second person to violence?
Recently when I was doing some research on Thomas Paine one of our nations founding fathers and I found conflicting views on his writings ‘common sense’, his pamphlet about Americas need for a revolution. When comparing the book ‘Glen Beck’s Common sense’ and an online information published by university history professors there were definitely different the views on the intent of what Mr Paine had written.
Why? I held his words in my hand and read them yet also had two different interpretations of those same words. Have we gone so far offtrack that words ‘literally’ have no meaning and are only there for someone else to interpret? To me when I write, and I believe Mr Paine also, I fully expect our words to be taken literally so why should we rely on other people to tell us what they mean. We should expect our friends, our nations leaders and the news media to just present facts and the truth and leave the opinion to each one of us.
In old newspaper jargon they used to say
it is black and white
referring to the facts about a story being true
practically everything we hear and read
by the person presenting those facts