Last week, I had an interesting debate on Facebook about truth, transparency and to some extent, how it affects our society.
My initial post asked a simple question: Is it better to live a life of blissful ignorance or to know the cold hard truth?
From an early age, we are told that “ignorance is bliss”. If raised Christian, or even in other cultures, we are also told “the truth will set you free”. Then which is it?
Big discussions have been flowing around political tables about transparency and integrity. But are there some times where things should be hidden? Is transparency always the best policy or is there a time when things should be kept from the public for their own good? Do we really need to know everyting?
Things get even more complex when you factor in the fact that each human being lives situations differently, being influenced by their own set of experiences. Yes, indeed, we all live things differently, which would implicate that the truth is malleable to some extent, but rationalizing it that way becomes extremely risky. If you allow for interpretation, you allow for manipulation. Next thing you know, people (like O.J. Simpson?) get away with murder…
Absolute truths are so much easier to work with, for example, “A triangle has three sides”, it is absolute, can’t be experienced any other way, there isn’t room for interpretation. Black is black, white is white. There is no gray area…
Except there is!
As a society, we have a responsibility to bring out the truth, especially when lies are being used to hurt others. Bringing the truth to light is not always easy. It oftentimes takes courage and the willingness to put put your own integrity on the line–not everyone wants to believe the truth.
I read somehwere, someone stating that “You can’t mediate the truth”, Can’t you? I seem to know people who are masters at it.
When one uses semantics to villainize outstanding members of the community, to get people fired, to tarnish reputations, to further advance their own agendas, is it still the truth or is the truth being fabricated for sensationalism? Is the media responsible, to some extent, for propagating mistruths? Can sociopaths be delusional to the point that they truly firmly believe their actions are doing a service to the world when in fact, they are doing a disservice? and if the truth can’t be trusted, where do you go?
The truth is, there is simply no such thing as an absolute truth. “Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true. – Swami Vivekananda