"Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters." - Albert Einstein
"Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom." - Thomas Jefferson
What is important about the truth? Why does it even matter? What if you just threw truth out of the window? What would happen then?
I guess we will be seeing the result of that experiment on a grand scale.
At its core truth is the intersection between our human perception of the world and the reality of the world itself. In that light we can easily understand that there are many truths because we are involved in the equation. Yet on the other side is the universe we live in and it appears to be much less yielding. When our own perceptions deviate too far from the real world we start having all sorts of difficulties. Yet when we actively seek to understand the world around us both our experience of and ability to function in the world improve.
Yet people lie quite a bit in normal day-to-day conversation. If truth were so important to our survival wouldn’t we stick to it like glue? I suggest that yes, we do value the truth, but we have become adept at discerning that a truth exists even when it is obscured by some amount of non-truth. Just watch a young child trying to deal with adult sarcasm. There is a truth, but it is the opposite of what’s being stated verbally. So the child learns to be more sophisticated about looking for clues that something is not true and that perhaps another truth exists below the surface.
Since the advent of email, there has been an explosion of lies sent to unsuspecting folks without much of the context needed to make the call as to what, if any, of the communication is true. Perhaps this is the next step in our evolution in truth-seeking as a species. Constant, high-volume practice with detecting and verifying what is truth and what is not. Is Bill Gates going to send you a nickel for each email you forward to a friend? How would you know if that was true? You might believe the source, your grandma… but is that your grandma’s email address – grandma@ 19xt3fig7. corxxx. ru? Hmmm, I don’t think so.
There is always a truth (at least one). You may not get to see it fully unobscured or hear it without some accompanying noise, but it is there. Our job is to constantly look for it and improve our ability see through the noise, falsehoods, and confusion. It looks like we’re going to get a lot of practice!