Telling the truth will save the world

June 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm Leave a comment

Telling the truth will save the world

But not many people really

know what truth means

By RALPH DOBRIN
Author of “How to Avoid Armageddon”

To order the book click: www.amazon.com   type: how to avoid Armageddon

In just about any dispute or conflict, no matter how large or small, it is usually some form of falsehood or false perception, that got the confrontation started in the first place, and that keeps it simmering and erupting and prevents its resolution. Therefore it’s logical that in order to prevent or resolve disputes and conflicts, as well as most problems, honesty and truthfulness should be the guiding principle for all the parties concerned.

The trouble is that truthfulness, as simple as it might sound, is not really universally understood or practised. In fact, I’d venture to say that very few people anywhere adhere fully to the principles of truthfulness. Even normatively honest folks. And that includes the writer.

To put this in perspective, we should say that while most people are pretty honest most of the time, just about everyone exaggerates a little now and then. And while, under normal circumstances most people will seldom knowingly tell an outright lie, there are times when the large majority of ordinary folks do … twist the truth a little! For instance, as drivers, if we’re caught speeding or not heeding a stop sign, many of us will lie to the policeman, that we were traveling at far less than the speed limit, or that we did indeed stop at the stop sign. Or when criticized or scolded for something, we often lie about what we heard or didn’t hear or what we thought we understood.

How often have we given some kind of cockamamie excuse for coming late to an appointment or made some fake claim of not feeling well so as to explain why we didn’t keep some promise? And I bet there are dozens of other situations, which have prompted most us to fib or lie from time to time. I’m not talking about telling a white lie so as to spare the feelings of someone. No, I’m talking about not being truthful, in order to impress someone, or to get out of an embarrassing or costly situation – and not even realizing that we are being untruthful.

Truthfulness means a lot more than just telling the truth. It also means not expressing half-truths or indulging in selective omission. For instance, if I say that a man stuck a sharp knife into another man’s heart, this in itself might be the truth. But if I purposely omitted to mention that the man with the knife was a great surgeon saving another man’s life on an operating table, clearly I was expressing a half-truth; I was omitting certain vital information and making the scene seem like a murder instead of a life-saving act of mercy. Now, that’s a lie of immense proportions! And it’s the kind of lie that is so very frequently used by many salespeople, politicians and world leaders.

And apart from outright lies, half-truths and gross exaggeration, most of us follow certain tendencies that might lead to faulty or completely false impressions, such as wishful thinking – who doesn’t sometimes indulge in wishful thinking. Or stubbornly clinging to old concepts long after they have been proven to be invalid. And we should be aware how inclined we all are to self-deception and to lying to ourselves through wishful thinking or blinkered, narrow-minded stubbornness.

Among most of us, these tendencies are deeply intertwined with ideological and religious – or anti-religious – sentiments and political loyalties. Even the most level-headed, intelligent, knowledgeable and honest people often lose their ability to think objectively when considering issues that might have some connection with ideological or political belief. It is largely due to this flaw, that history is so rife with catastrophic decisions made by leaders and backed by the gullibility, indifference or fear of ordinary people – all of whom were unable to focus clearly on reality or tell right from wrong because of biased and narrow, one-sided perspectives. But in today’s precarious world humanity cannot afford the dubious liberty of blurred thinking – especially on the part of the leaders. And only a better understanding of the meaning of truthfulness and practicing it, will we be able solve serious existential challenges and end conflict.

We should realize that falsehood is not only a question of telling lies, half-truths or being devious. If I choose – for whatever reason – to ignore or downplay a negative phenomenon or danger, or when I allow a blatant untruth to go unchallenged, I am in fact subscribing to falsehood by knowingly allowing it to prevail. And conversely, if I ignore a well-founded warning or a plausible claim, I am also pandering to falsehood. For example, if I leave on the lights or the air-conditioner, in my home or office when I don’t need them, I am ignoring the warnings about pollution and the probability that global warming is largely our own doing. If I drive a high-powered gasoline-guzzling SUV when I could use some other practical way of getting around, I am needlessly making the world a more hazardous place, not only for myself, but for my children and grandchildren. On the other hand, by relating honestly to what seems probable, I can immediately begin to play my part in helping to redeem the planet.

Many folks allow themselves and their children to be duped by slick advertising showing fine-looking men, women and children, happily gulping down soft drinks infused with risky artificial flavoring or gorging on sugar-infused breakfast cereal, or savoring other salty, chemically corrupted concoctions posing as food, that are created with one purpose only – and that is to make a big profit, while the health of the customers is of little consequence. It’s all lawful as long as there’s some small print listing the ingredients. But by allowing ourselves to be taken in by crafty promotion campaigns by manufacturers and advertising agencies – and ignoring what has been common knowledge for over a generation about sensible nutrition and the dangers of factory-processed foodstuffs, we are ruining our health, sapping our energy and cutting short our lives. We are certainly not doing our children any favors. It’s a form of wishful thinking. By the way, on an individual basis, I bet that the large majority of people involved in all this guile, are actually pretty decent folks who would be mortified if they fully realized the harm they are promoting.

There are many other ways that we lie or allow ourselves to be deceived without realizing that falsehood is behind it all. Politics and ideology for example. Many people automatically … accept or reject ideas because they seem to relate to some ideological or political principle or party line, usually according to … either liberal, progressive Left-wing sentiments, or conversely, a conservative Right-wing stand. We mentioned this briefly in our last video. But as far as I can make out, there are usually many valid claims that are made by both sides. Equal rights, freedom of expression, social issues, protection of the environment, a determined stand to prevent warfare – these are all noble, worthy sentiments, whether they are usually predominantly Left-wing or left of center causes or not. And so is free enterprise, security of one’s country, curbing unlimited sexual licentiousness and maintaining a loyal, honorable national identity. Even if these causes are usually part of a Right wing platform. Surely what counts is whether the claims make sense or not. But unfortunately, a fairly common attitude is to accept or reject something mainly according to how it tallies or seems to tally, with an overall political platform or ideological system, or which politicians are supporting or rejecting the idea. And often, this tendency on our part, precludes considering each issue on its own merits.

But in today’s precarious world, we have to face facts – all facts and factors – as soberly and objectively as possible. In other words, personal honesty and truthfulness should always determine how we make our value judgments.

This is what we should consider when contemplating what to do on a personal basis regarding a healthy lifestyle for ourselves and our families, or pollution and climate change, or how we stand, how we really stand, with regard to the challenge of religious fundamentalism against freedom of expression, freedom of belief, and equal rights for all people, or what we really know about various political upheavals in various parts of the world including the Israel-Arab conflict, or any other vital issue for that matter.

Actually, it is the Israel-Arab conflict that so penetratingly shows how falsehood in its various forms, can play an enormous part in creating misery and calamity, generation after generation. This conflict, which has been going on for three or four generations now, is a very complex affair, and I venture to say that few people – no matter who they are – really know the background or understand the present situation. There are many people all over the western world who feel they must do something to bring peace to the Middle East. A few are quite conversant with all the issues and do a lot of good, occasionally managing to set the record straight for the misinformed. But too many who are misinformed or who have closed their minds to reality, keep meddling and stoking the tinders. Many who think they are helping the Arabs of Palestine are actually aggravating their plight.  

Read about all this in the book “How to avoid Armageddon”  click:  www.amazon.com   type: how to avoid Armageddon

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Blogroll, dangeous lies and halftruths, How to avoid Armageddon, Things not mentioned in the press. Tags: , , , , , , .

HOLZER BOOKS Wilders Warns America

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Categories


%d bloggers like this: