the mercer weave

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Truth and Consequence

I’ve become a little obsessed lately with the whole concept of ‘truth.’ In part, it is because I am constantly surprised at what some people define as ‘truthful’ speech. Not right speech, although truth should certainly be a part of that, but speech that is genuinely truthful. I’ve noticed it mostly around politics and politicians. In this age of 24-hour media, there is no paucity of video and audio evidence of practically everything said or done in the presence of a camera. And yet, faced with that evidence many people will shrug and smile, knowing that someone, somewhere will still believe the lie. There doesn’t even seem to be any shame about the fact that the veracity of any claim can easily be tested. I mean, even my dogs seem to show at least a modicum of shame when I come home and they’ve ‘accidently’ eaten all of the cat food or pooped by the door.

I’m not speaking about shame in the negative context that so many of us have learned from society. In my opinion, that’s not shame as much as it is non-conformity to some bizarre and unrealistic standard. I’m talking about standing in front of a microphone and making statements that are just completely untrue even despite evidence to the contrary.

There was an article recently in the New York Times about whether or not reporters have an ethical obligation to not only report what is said, but to fact check that statement and correct it. Oftentimes, papers run a side bar as a fact checking function. I just wish those who handle talking points for politicians would stop trying to shade the truth and just give their bosses the truth. And if the truth hurts your candidate, talk about something that doesn’t.

Being truthful about everything and practicing right speech is harder than you think. Is it always advisable to tell your best friend that her pants make her butt look big?  Everytime?  Some of the time? When is it ok to skirt around the truth? Can we possibly know the infinite number of reverberations that extend from telling a lie?

I always come back to my dogs. They are incapable of lying. Of course, they are incapable of talking, too.  But when I look into their eyes, I see only innocence, presence and the truth.

On this day, I strive to be truthful to myself first and foremost.  A true self can never be fact checked.


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4 thoughts on “Truth and Consequence

  1. This made me think of a line I once read somewhere “Whose truth, which truth”.

    The second paragraph of our nations “Decleration of Independence” starts with the words: “We hold these truths to be self evident…” and yet there are probably as many interpretations of these truths as there are people.

    Sadly, neither truth, nor our world are so simle as black and white. More a million shades of grey. All the factors that led up to the “truth”, each and every one with a myriad of nuances.

    I do not believe there is such a thing as truth per se. There is nothing but a moment frozen in time, with all that has led up to it, and interpreted, differntly, by all that observed some portion of the process.

  2. Anonymous on said:

    This last post reminds me of something one of my teachers said once about
    disipline in speaking…

    Is what you are about to say kind?
    Is it true?
    Is it necessary?
    Is it the right time?

    As I go along I’m finding out having an opinion or judgement about
    anything is a waste of energy and time. Of course I get caught up
    in world events and have opinions….ongoing engagement of
    getting free.

  3. Great thoughts on the subject especially as to whether or not something you are about to say is kind.

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