Of late, we are hearing an abundance of discussion regarding the subject of truth. I recall my youth, more and more…it seems, where my teachers slowly and systematically taught me about truth. I learned that 2+2=4. Later came the multiplication tables and learning cursive, yes I am old, and my first forays into history.
‘Plymouth Rock is the traditional site of disembarkation of William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims who founded Plymouth Colony in December 1620.’ Wikipedia
We were taught about our Presidents, from our first, George Washington, to the president in office when I began school, John F. Kennedy. I remember hearing, on numerous occasions, that anyone could be elected President of the United States. I wondered how this could be possible.
As I grew and matured I could not help but notice that many of my elders expounded what they assured me was truth…when in reality it is was only their opinion.
When I became a christian, 51 years ago, and as time progressed, I discovered that there were people who cherry picked scriptures to support their faith opinion. When we say that a modern leader is in the mold of King David of the Old Testament…we are foisting our opinion on others. When we attest that a christian is meant to be rich in this worlds goods…it strains credulity to find this assertion in the life of Christ and his ministry to the poor and infirm.
I discovered, in school, that my word was my bond. It was not acceptable to change what I had said or to lie. I noticed that the loudest voice seemed to be heard. Someone who acted or played the part of a person in authority…quickly garnered followers.
Truth is not what someone tells you to accept. ‘Truth – that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.’ Dictionary
‘A fact is a thing that is known to be consistent with objective reality and can be proven to be true with evidence. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability – that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to experience.’ Dictionary
We all have opinions and personal ideas and many of us enjoy conspiracy theories. As long as they do not adversely affect others…no harm is done. However, when we contract out or privatize the hard work of examining and researching of hypothesis that are presented to us as truth…we abdicate our humanity.
Once I had a supervisor who instructed me to inform my staff of a specific rationale for a decision that he had made. The next day…he told me a completely different story and said for me to correct what I had to told the staff the day before. Then, on the third day he had a new rendition that he expected me to carry forward as truth. I told him that I would say no more to the staff until he settled on which lie that he wanted to promulgate as truth.
There is not a more debilitating feeling than to have a friend or a supervisor tell you a lie and expect you to not have the intelligence to understand the ruse.
Truth is a powerful tool. Southern Illinois University Chancellor, Sam Goldman, said of me, that he had never met anyone like me who would speak truth to power. I am certain that I was unworthy of such a commendation…but I know that what he said of me…I endeavored to do.
When our leaders are more afraid of loosing their position than protecting those who they are responsible for…we are lost.
I am a retired from Southern Illinois University after thirty two years of service. I enjoy traveling and writing and I have been able to do more of both over the past two years.
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