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Friday, 20 April, 2018
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Truth Hurts

Date: 15 May, 2017

By: Chief

Imageuch. By God that hurt. Indeed it does my friends. Indeed it does.

I don't know about you but to me there maybe no such thing as a painless truth. It just seems as though every time I turn around 'truth' seems too be there attempting to bite a rather large chunk out of my ... never mind.

Right now, however, truth itself seems to be taking some rather painful chops to the chin. And if We the People are not careful, we shall end up taking it as well — with non-skid. That will hurt.

The truth, the whole truth and nuttin' but the truth

Great. Now just exactly what is truth? That question, my friends, is far, far easier to ask than to answer. The Free Dictionary defines truth as:

"Conformity to fact or actuality [reality]."

Wonderful. The only not-so-minor detail is — it ain't necessarily so.

A perfect example of this is eyewitness identification. A lot of innocent people have been imprisoned or executed based on eyewitness identification and subsequent testimony which turned out too be dead wrong (pun intended). Quoting Wikipedia:

"Although it has been observed, by the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., in his dissent to Watkins v. Sowders, that witness testimony is evidence that 'juries seem most receptive to, and not inclined to discredit'. Justice Brennan also observed that 'At least since United States v. Wade, 388 U.S. 218 (1967), the Court has recognized the inherently suspect qualities of eyewitness identification evidence, and described the evidence as 'notoriously unreliable' '. The Innocence Project, a non-profit organization which has worked on using DNA evidence in order to reopen criminal convictions that were made before DNA testing was available as a tool in criminal investigations, states that 'Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in more than 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing'."

When police officers interview five eyewitnesses to a daylight street crime and end up with six completely different versions of the same event there is a problem. This doesn't say much for eyewitness identification or testimony now does it? That is not a far flung stretch either.

But have no fear friends — it gets worse.

It is all about reality. You know, reality. What you observe everyday. Even better, what you go through everyday. Quoting Wikipedia:

"Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. Reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. A still broader definition includes that which has existed, exists, or will exist.

[. . .]

[ ] "Is often contrasted with what is imaginary, illusory, delusional, (only) in the mind, dreams, what is false, what is fictional, or what is abstract. At the same time, what is abstract plays a role both in everyday life and in academic research. For instance, causality, virtue, life, and distributive justice are abstract concepts that can be difficult to define, but they are only rarely equated with pure delusions. Both the existence and reality of abstractions are in dispute: one extreme position regards them as mere words; another position regards them as higher truths than less abstract concepts. This disagreement is the basis of the philosophical problem of universals.

"The truth refers to what is real, while falsity refers to what is not. Fictions are considered not real."

I hate to tell y'all, I really do, but unless you are deaf, dumb and blind as a bat reality does in fact change. I knew you wouldn't like that. Think about sunrise and sunset. Both are a daily reality. Yet both create change — daily. Okay, let's try another one; in a single 24 hour time frame you, yes you, have changed. You have gotten 24 hours older. Just do not tell your wife that nobody will see her gray hair unless she stands on her head (remember husbands die everyday).

Got one, a real barn burner for y'all. Schrödinger's cat! Hah! Ya just can't beat this one. I love this one. I truly do. Quoting (again) Wikipedia:

"The scenario presents a cat that may be simultaneously both alive and dead, a state known as a quantum superposition, as a result of being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur. The thought experiment is also often featured in theoretical discussions of the interpretations of quantum mechanics."

Alright here is the last one, a serious one at that (personally I much prefer Erwin Schrödinger and his beloved kitty) — look at two images of the New York City skyline. Pre 9/11 and post 9/11. There is a difference. 3,000 plus people worth of difference.

Hence, truth and reality can be and a great many times are — subjective.

Politics and truth

Now there is an oxymoron for you if there ever was one. Ever meet an honest politician? Neither have I.

Recently a pastor I know (and a damn good man who does not push his religion onto others) loaned me a promotional DVD titled "The Truth Project" and asked me to watch it and let him know what I thought of it. I told him fine but give me some time. Well I haven't watched it yet and I probably will not watch it. Though, believe me, I shall return the DVD to him.

The problem is this — anytime any organization places the word "truth" right smack dab in the middle of their title and continues to use "truth" throughout their dialog — that automatically becomes a huge red flag for me. Too me it implies the organization, from their own particular (or peculiar) point of view:

Well Hell's bells Leroy, they may know what is best for you but I am me and there are times when even I do not know what is best for me. Therefore, just how in Sam Thump could some group know what is best for me?

And that, friends and neighbors, is the part which chills me to the bone — they believe they know what is best for me because it is what is best — for them.

These groups, nay, zealots, will stop at nothing in order to get things changed. Changed in a way which they believe is for the best. Maybe it is and maybe it is not. I do not know. However, I do know this — anytime legislation is involved, and this is what zealots use PACs for, if said legislation passes, you and I and We the People lose. Period.

Epilogue

This has been just one small example of many. If you choose to do so, write or call to your congressional staffer and ask him or her just how many lobbyists per session hit up your congressman with vote requests and/or proposed legislation. It will be more than quite a few. In fact, it maybe a rather shockingly large number. This is especially true if your congressman is the chair of a large committee. You might even want to be sitting down ... in your chair.

The Truth Project has an faq page on their website. You may wish to check it out also.

Just be wary, for as we should know, when it comes to zealotry, radicals of any flavor, denomination or type — know no bounds.

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