Saturday, April 01, 2006

Curious about Truth - How Do We Find, Handle and Accept It?

Today in the e-zine, Early to Rise (ETR), Robert Ringer wrote, “A good definition of inference is ‘the act of deriving conclusions from premises known or assumed to be true.’ There is, of course, a big difference between knowing something to be true and assuming it to be true... The serious seeker of truth always looks to his own experience first, to reason (inference) second, and to authoritative sources third. Though experience is clearly the most reliable method of verifying facts, life is filled with illusions. Which means that even our firsthand experiences can be deceiving.”

Because I found his discussion so fascinating, I first thought I would write about “inference.” Then I chose “assumption” only to find that I had already written a blog about it. Why not tackle the most important of the words and the concept - truth?

When I looked up “truth” quotations I found more than three or four times as many as other word quotations. It was tough going to pick the few I will include in this article. But, before we get to the quotes, let’s look at truth.

If you ask most people and even ourselves for top values, the word “honesty” and “telling the truth” would be mentioned often. In a taped teleseminar to which I listened recently and surprisingly enough featured Robert Ringer, the subject of “truth” was discussed. Ringer made the statement (I am paraphrasing) that even though we all feel that we are honest, each of us lies every single day. Think about it. We tell what we call “white lies” to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, to cover up a small and unimportant deed, or to make an excuse for an unfulfilled promise.

We are late for a meeting or appointment, are surprised by the obvious amount of weight gained by a friend since we saw him last, or don’t want to attend some company networking event.

Quotations that fit right in here with the above include:
  • As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand.” - Josh Billings
  • An unexciting truth may be eclipsed by a thrilling lie.” - Aldous Huxley
  • There are new words now that excuse everybody. Give me the good old days of heroes and villains, the people you can bravo or hiss. There was a truth to them that all the slick credulity of today cannot touch.” - Bette Davis
  • The public will believe anything, so long as it is not founded on truth.” - Edith Sitwell
  • Truth is so rare that it is delightful to tell it." - Emily Dickinson
  • A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” - Winston Churchill

Are the above quotations true?

Let’s examine the positive side of the “truth”

  • Stand upright, speak thy thoughts, declare the truth thou hast, that all may share; Be bold, proclaim it everywhere: They only live who dare.” - Voltaire
  • You never find yourself until you face the truth.” - Pearl Bailey
  • The object of the superior man is truth.” - Confucius
  • If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.” - Virginia Woolf
  • Wisdom is found only in truth.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • I believe in the fundamental truth of all great religions of the world.” - Mohandas Gandhi
  • Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now - always.” - Albert Schweitzer

So, how do you feel about truth and the truth?

I will leave you with four more quotations to consider this coming week:

  • Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • I want a language that speaks the truth.” - Studs Terkel
  • Exaggeration is truth that has lost its temper.” - Kahlil Gibran
  • Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” - Buddha

I would love to hear your feelings and use of the truth in your life!