Did you ever come across some information that you didn’t really want to know?
Did you ever wish so badly that something were true, that you actually believed that it was? When someone challenged you on its validity, did you ever say that THEY were lying to you?
Charles Simic, in an article titled “The Age of Ignorance,” in The New York Review, posted online March 20, 2014, said the political polarization in the United States has caused some parties to profess untruths as truths, to try to create an ignorant electorate.
Author Andy Andrews, in his book “How to Kill 11 Million People,” tells how Adolf Hitler killed that many Jews simply by lying to them.
It’s not uncommon for politicians, regardless of party or ideology, to lie. When the politicians start campaigning, one is hard pressed to know whether what they are saying is true. We are left to figure out the truth on our own.
We, as ordinary people, tell lies occasionally to suit our circumstances. When a lady asks you whether she looks fat in a particular dress, truth is not really what she is looking for. If you dare tell it, you do so at your peril.
No one would condemn you for “lying” in that circumstance. Other circumstances cry only for the truth. If you are selling something — and we all sell something at some time in our lives — we must tell the truth. Those who do not eventually get burned.
The saying goes that the truth will set you free. Why don’t many people in power believe that? Perhaps they don’t want people to be “free.” They perhaps want them held in the bondage of ignorance, as Simic asserts.
People of different faiths believe the “truth” of their faith. Yet, faith is defined as believing something is true, even if it is not proved. Science is defined as suspecting something to be true, then seeking to prove whether your hypothesis is correct.
So what should we, who seek the truth, do? Let’s get a few things set first.
Faith is good. We all need faith in something or someone. Our faith can often lead us to truth, even when we are not looking for it.
Science and education is good. Some of what we learn may contradict something our faith told us was true. Yet we as intelligent human beings can reconcile any differences. We can have strong faith AND still learn new things. Mostly, our faith should tell us to believe as we wish, and still interact with those who may not share our beliefs.
In short, we should always want to eeek and tell the truth. We should engage with others who seek and tell the truth. In some cases, we should humor those who kindly don’t seek the truth, and look with great skepticism on those who attempt to “create” truth from wishful thinking.
Power is not necessarily truth. We should seek truth over power, not power over truth. Facts may not lie, but if you try to make facts debatable, you may lack a solid conscience.
Simic and Andrews illustrate how lying can really hurt a society or a group of people. We as individuals must always know the truth. We must mix our core beliefs with that truth, and use that mixture to help others, and make ourselves the best people we can be. We will always encounter untruths. But we must always be strong enough to know what we know, and learn what we don’t know. That’s how good people are created and maintained.
P.S. For a dose of truth that may set you free, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau