Monday, February 19, 2018
You Don't Want to Know the Truth!
Everyone publically worships the truth.
Everyone references "The Truth" as the final word in support of their argument.
Everyone fights and fusses in a search for the truth of the matter.
Tell me the truth, they demand at the top of their lungs.
We are all condemned for not telling the truth, altering the truth.
In reality, in private... absolutely no one wants the truth.
Again, what people say and what they do are two different things - usually the opposite.
The truth is terrible and terrifying.
The truth is painful.
The truth should be run from, should be covered in a blanket, buried, avoided, ignored, left alone.
The last thing we all want is to hear the truth from someone else. That's even worse than telling the truth to ourselves.
When someone else says it, it carries more weight; it's even more real and more terrifying, excruciating.
Everyone says they want the truth, but when they hear it, they want it to go away and never come back.
We need to distinguish a few different uses of the term here.
There is the truth in the sense of a statement representing reality, a fact.
Example: the statement, Donald Trump was elected President of the US, is true.
The statement is true, it reflects an empirically verifable reality.
Then there's the truth in the sense of the thing itself, without needing a subject: The Truth.
A statement is true or false. A thing itself cannot be true or false.
A statement about a thing can be true, but not the thing.
The statement God is true could be false, but it is not a statement; it is meaningless.
The statement purports a quality to a thing that cannot have that quality, unless God is a statement.
Not all sentences are statements. The sentence, The King of France is bald, is not a statement and so is neither true nor false; it is a meaningless sentence.
The ancient Greek philosophers thought of truth as an unveiling of reality, a revelation.
Today, reality can be ugly and contrary to the world we wish existed, and which the truth reveals for us it does not.
So, today, reality lies mostly hidden; behind political correctness, obscured by policy-speak and euphemism.
So, some cry out for an unveiling. But they soon regret their demand, when the truth turns out to be hurtful, harmful, against their morality or their pride.
The cry for truth looks and feels heroic to many.
How do I look, says a woman; tell me the truth. She doesn't want to hear the truth.
We all go to great lengths to protect ourselves and others from the truth.
And so we should; the truth is awful.
We cover our bodies in clothes that hide our ugliness.
We respond with bright cliches when asked how we are doing.
We keep personal secrets for fear of embarrasment, prejudice, judgment, incrimination or retribution.
We lie about our age, our competence, our finances.
We exaggerate. We set people up, manipulating our questions and statements to produce a secret effect and extract a desired response from someone.
People who claim proudly that they say things as they are, are tactless bogans insensitive to the situation, ignorant of the nuances of social interaction, devoid of sophisticated conversation.
Will they tell their boss they're a stupid wanker? Will they tell their loved one how ugly they look or that their breath stinks? No they won't.
So let's stop pretending we want the truth and accept the fact that some things should stay veiled, hidden.
Let's stop lying about the truth.