Now-a-days, truth has a new rival. It’s called “my truth.” Is that a problem? Well, what we once refer to as my point of view, my experience, my story or my take is now hollowed, elevated from the subjective to the absolute, from the personal to the sacred, such that mere countering “my truth” becomes a serious personal affront. It is bolted by another asinine myth called entitlement. It means rights without responsibility. Granted, one’s needs and perceived unjust treatments should be heard, but can one justly demand it be accepted at face value? Since when is one’s claim a proof in itself, and since when is any truth protected from scrutiny?
Am I the only one bothered by this? Isn’t it common knowledge that we are all susceptible to biases? It is common now-a-days to hear compassion used as the raison d’etre, where evidence and facts seem no longer to matter. Yet, reason and passion are often woven together by the personal convictions in one’s heart. That heart often err in the conviction it purports, the values it holds, the concerns it entertains and the authority it ascribes to. Simply put, we are prone to biases. Here are a few worth noting: confirmation bias, self-serving bias, culture bias, and in-grown bias.
How does a 21st century person end up biased? To find fulfillment and answer, don’t we tend to take the easy way out by changing reality to favor us, instead of confronting our problems and inadequacies with rigorous research and sound reasoning. Instead of due process, we use undue speed. Short cuts get much support even among the educated as never seen before. I am amazed at how people are willing to put comfort before conscience, degree before dignity, progress before principle, empathy before evidence, profit before people, votes before victims, compliance before science. In so doing, we end up confusing my truth with the truth, prevention with purging, fact with feeling, compassion with compromise, authenticity with mere sincerity, examination with experimentation, reality with ideology.
A society that denies objective truth finds itself standing on shifting ground. Often, the children suffer the most.
It is not true that truth is only for adults. Early in life I tried to find the truth of the matter since I didn’t like being fooled. Having clear rules helps. Meaning what you say to me is another. Later on, I learned that clarity, objectivity, rationality and consistency were characteristics of truth. These are things money can’t buy yet truth is essential to life. But there’s more.
Truth is universal, it does not change with time, person or place, like all of us are sinners and death is the last enemy to be eliminated. Truth is falsifiable (testable) for accuracy (validity), and consistency (reliability). Moreover, it is comprehensive. It has the full in view, weeding out partiality and omission. That means you get the head and tail, not just bits and pieces when you form your judgment. It is the only way to weed out biases, like the lion on the right.
One grave result of fudging with reality is we end up losing ourselves in “My Truth” Ever heard someone claimed I am confused, I do not even know who I am anymore? Take the example of a rose. May I call it red? A rose will still be a rose by any other name, because a rose is not a social nor personal construct, but a real object. If our ideas do not match with reality, isn’t that a definition of insanity? Indeed, some have become insane from being “educated” believing that re-framing changes reality for everybody.
We were not here before we were born. We won’t be here after we die. So how can we be the source of truth? So are we prepared to face this truth? Truth can shock us, but it will never dull us. It cuts through our pretension and delusion. Truth sharpens us. Isn’t that one good reason to seek the truth? Jesus said “I am the truth.”
And without truth-tellers, how can we hear the truth? You’ll notice that stellar people who make a difference are often the seekers and outlier. They are not afraid to shock, challenge, debate, and change when proven wrong. Truth is not a human nature, lying is. To be on truth’s side, you must hate lying to others and to yourself. Jesus was crucified because He spoke the truth. Living out the truth is not for the fainthearted.
Quick Check: Do you feel more confused the older you get? To sort things out, maybe start checking for baises.