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SIGNS OF THE TIME
Truth

"Mine? Or Yours?" Tumbleweed

Nobody lies. We can know that truth for sure. And if we are ever in doubt of this truth, all we have to do is ask someone if they lie, and we can be quite certain that they will tell us they are always truthful. This is especially true if we were to ask a used car salesman or a politician.

Of course you know I am being facetious. We all lie to one degree or another. The question we should ask, especially of ourself, is how much we lie, and if we try to keep our lie-ability count as low as possible.


I think most of us try to be as honest as possible. We like to think that when we do lie, it is for a good cause, that is, for someone else's benefit. However, if you are like me, the person who ultimately benefits most from my lie is the one telling it, which, of course, is me.


Another problem we run into when we consider lies, in ourselves or others, is just what is a lie? Is a "White lie" a lie? And, if not, just what constitutes a white lie?

The first lie ever recorded in the history books, that is the Bible, is the one told to Eve in the garden of Eden. The lie the serpent told was only a partial lie. He (or it, however you read the Bible) said that the apple would make Eve wise, knowing good and evil. This, as we discover, was not a lie. Eating the fruit did indeed make her wise in this area. Of course she had to play the fool to acquire this wisdom, something we all continue to do day-by-day. Just watch the TV programs if you are in doubt of this statement.

When the serpent said Eve would not surely die, he was lying through his teeth (or fangs, whichever the case may be).

Since the serpent's lie was only partial, albeit disastrous, I wonder where it would fit on a scale of one to a hundred: one being a white lie, and one hundred being black as brimstone.


We lie. But our intentional lies are not the subject of this study. One reason blatant lies are not a consideration here is that if we were to solve the issue of what constitutes a lie, it would do little to sway us from lying, since lying is such an integral part of our nature.


To begin this study, I asked the question: "Your lie, or mine?" Many of the lies we tell are so obvious that even we know we are lying. We hope others can't tell it's a lie, but we know they do, unless they are terribly stupid or gullible. But there are lies we do not know they are lies. We tell untruths many times a day, and are totally unaware that we are doing so. Is an untruth, told in faith, a lie? That is another subject not to be considered here. What is to be considered is if we are willing to cease from telling these lies if we discover them to be so; and if we are willing to look beyond our comfort zone to learn if what we relate to others as truth, is in fact not a lie, or at least not an obvious misconception.


From the time we took our first breath we have had people telling us what is so, and what is not so. Of course our parents were the first of these instructors. Later in our early life we encountered a stream of teachers and sandbox experts who were ready and willing to lead us in their direction. On top of these, and forever present in our lives, we have the media, the advertisers, and the politicians telling us right from wrong. Add to this that for most of us, somewhere in our life, we have had some church, or at least some organization, telling us what is the right road to take for happiness, health, and certainly wealth and popularity.

If you have been in tune at all to what is being touted as "truth," you have discovered that almost everyone sees truth as something other than what everyone else sees as truth. If I accept one truth over another, and relate this truth to others, I have then claimed this truth as my own.

But is this "truth" my own? Is it something I am just relaying to others without giving it any thought, consideration or investigation? If I later discover that what I have been claiming as truth, is in fact a lie, or at least false, do I continue relating it as truth?

In other words, is your "truth" truly your own truth? Or is the truth you hold merely something told to you by another who either has something to gain from you believing as they do, or something they do not regard one way or another?


Bottom line: it would seem to me that there are only two ways to be certain at all that everything we say is the truth, or at least a well-considered untruth. The first of these methods is to studiously evaluate every single thing you hold as true. If this method is utilized, than you had better prepare for a very long, boring life.

The second way to be sure you always tell the truth is by far the most efficient, but highly unlikely to be practiced. This is certainly true of me, since there is hardly a single topic I do not hold a strong opinion on, and am ever ready and willing to expound on what I know nothing about. The efficient method I am referring to is to remain silent at all times.


Ps. You might well ask why I have this subject under the heading: Signs of the Times since lying is certainly not a modern invention. And that is true: but never in history has lying been so prevalent, so accepted, or so easy what with all the electronic devices we have available to spread our lies. One such medium is the written word. And since so much has been said by the experts on truth, I have provided a few comments for your perusal.

Tumbleweed


Quotes


"God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please - you can never have both." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad." ~Aldous Huxley

"Truth, like milk, arrives in the dark But even so, wise dogs don't bark. Only mongrels make it hard For the milkman to come up the yard." ~Christopher Morley,

"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself."~Thomas Jefferson

"I never dreamed of being Shakespeare or Goethe, and I never expected to hold the great mirror of truth up before the world; I dreamed only of being a little pocket mirror, the sort that a woman can carry in her purse; one that reflects small blemishes, and some great beauties, when held close enough to the heart." ~Peter Altenberg

"The greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest of our truths." ~William James

"Men ardently pursue truth, assuming it will be angels' bread when found." ~W. MacNeile Dixon

"There is no god higher than truth." ~Mahatma Gandhi

"Truth has very few friends and those few are suicides." ~Antonio Porchia

"The trouble about man is twofold. He cannot learn truths which are too complicated; he forgets truths which are too simple." ~Rebecca West

"It will never be possible by pure reason to arrive at some absolute truth." ~Werner Heisenberg

"Truth is rarely writ in ink; it lives in nature." ~Martin H. Fischer

"When I tell any truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do." ~William Blake

"Truth only reveals itself when one gives up all preconceived ideas." ~Shoseki

"There is no Truth. There is only the truth within each moment." ~Ramana Maharshi

"Truth is after all a moving target Hairs to split, And pieces that don't fit How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is after all so poorly lit. ~Neil Peart

"Theories are private property, but truth is common stock." ~Charles Caleb Colton

"It is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth." ~Oscar Wilde

"My truths do not last long in me. Not as long as those that are not mine." ~Antonio Porchia

"Truth breeds hatred." ~Bias of Priene, Maxims

"People always think something's all true." ~J.D. Salinger

"Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch, nay, you may kick it all about all day like a football, and it will be round and full at evening." ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold." ~Leo Tolstoy

"Truth is the breath of life to human society. It is the food of the immortal spirit. Yet a single word of it may kill a man as suddenly as a drop of prussic acid." ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

"I am the fellow citizen of every being that thinks; my country is Truth." ~Alphonse de Lamartine

"Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth." ~Jean-Paul Sartre

"Truth is a great flirt." ~Franz Liszt

"I am of the Buddhists. The great Teacher comes periodically. He is followed by pupils who corrupt the texts and then a new Buddha must be born to reëëstablish the truth." ~Martin H. Fischer

"We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter." ~Denis Diderot

"All great truths begin as blasphemies." ~George Bernard Shaw

"...Science and mathematics Run parallel to reality, they symbolize it, they squint at it, They never touch it: consider what an explosion Would rock the bones of men into little white fragments and unsky the world If any mind for a moment touch truth." ~Robinson Jeffers

"The greatest truths are the simplest: so likewise are the greatest men." ~Augustus and Julius Hare

"I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth - and truth rewarded me." ~Simone de Beauvoir

"Man has always sacrificed truth to his vanity, comfort and advantage. He lives... by make-believe." ~W. Somerset Maugham

"When one has one's hand full of truth it is not always wise to open it." ~French Proverb

"Truth is no Doctoresse, she takes no degrees at Paris or Oxford... but oftentimes to such an one as myself, an Idiota or common person, no great things, melancholizing in woods where waters are, quiet places by rivers, fountains, whereas the silly man expecting no such matter, thinketh only how best to delectate and refresh his mynde continually with Natura her pleasaunt scenes, woods, water-falls, or Art her statelie gardens, parks, terraces, Belvideres, on a sudden the goddesse herself Truth has appeared, with a shyning lyghte, and a sparklyng countenance, so as yee may not be able lightly to resist her." ~Charles Lamb

"We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable." ~Alexander Solzhenitsyn

"The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable." ~Attributed to James A. Garfield

"Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first, it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self-evident." ~Arthur Schopenhauer

"There is no truth. There is only perception." ~Gustave Flaubert

"If a thousand old beliefs were ruined in our march to truth we must still march on." ~Stopford Brooke



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