Many years ago I had a neighbor that I was good friends with. She had children who were my children’s ages and they played together a lot. She and I would visit and talk about the hot topics of the day. One day I realized that she didn’t know about truth vs. error- truth vs. falsehood – truth vs. lies, etc. She was basing her opinions on what was popular, in the newspapers and on the news.
It is still one of the topics I think a lot about. I have noticed that many people want to believe something so that it fits with their choices and philosophies in life, or justifies their lifestyle monetarily, or any of a bunch of believed lies. That is a formula for mental illness. TRUTH EXISTS – and it is completely independent of who believes it or who doesn’t believe it.
I like to think of the LAW of gravity. There are some (maybe many) who don’t believe in gravity, at first, and only once, so they think they can defy it. The consequences of not recognizing truth are immediate, usually painful, and many times fatal. There are laws of physics which are true no matter whether people even know about them. There are laws of right and wrong, which many choose to ignore, and as with gravity, the consequences can be immediate, painful and many times fatal. These consequences may take longer than defying gravity, but they are guaranteed to be there. As Robert Louis Stevenson said “Sooner or later, we will all sit down at a banquet of consequences.”
The craving and need for truth is why many love the scriptures and religion. They know that God cannot and will not lie and it is like having a greatly needed compass to navigate this difficult life.
Oh Say, What is Truth?
“Oh say, what is truth? ‘Tis the fairest gem That the riches of worlds can produce, And priceless the value of truth will be when The proud monarch’s costliest diadem, Is counted but dross and refuse.
Yes, say, what is truth? ‘Tis the brightest prize To which mortals or Gods can aspire. Go search in the depths, Where it glittering lies, Or ascend in pursuit to the loftiest skies. ‘Tis an aim for the noblest desire.
The scepter may fall from the despot’s grasp When with winds of stern justice he copes. But the pillar of truth will endure to the last, And its firm-rooted bulwarks outstand the rude blast And the wreck of the fell tyrant’s hopes.
Then say, what is truth? ‘Tis the last and the first, For the limits of time it steps o’er. Tho the heavens depart and the earth’s fountains burst, Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst, Eternal, unchanged, evermore.
John Jacques (1827-1900)