Comedian Stephen Colbert coined the word “truthiness” a dozen or so years ago. Truthiness, Colbert explains, is the quality of seeming to be true based upon one’s intuition, opinion, or perception without regard to logic or factual evidence. It’s similar to when Comedian Bill Maher says, “I don’t know it for a fact; I just know it’s true.” These describe a situation when someone feels, believes, or wishes that something is true even when it is not supported by the facts.
American novelist William Faulkner said, “Facts and truth really don’t have much to do with each other.”
So, to today’s question:
Searching for truth is not identical to searching for facts. Facts are information while Truth is more about “meaning.” Sometimes they are the same and sometimes, they are a bit different. It depends on what you are seeking. But facts are certainly a component of Truth.
I had a brief conversation with a woman with whom I was once friends and she told me that everyone in the media lies. I pointed out that in all my years of living with Garry, never had he leaped out of bed in the middle of the night to stand up in front of a camera and lie to the people.
It doesn’t mean that reporters don’t sometimes get it wrong. They are human. Shit happens. But they make (discounting Fox and friends) their best efforts to get it right and apologize and make corrections when they are wrong. People in media TODAY still get fired for lying. Apparently, lying is okay if you are the president, but not if you’re a reporter.
After I said my piece, she paused a while and then she said: “Does it matter?”
If honesty, facts, and truth don’t matter, then what exactly
Above and beyond survival, without truth, facts, evidence, and science, then our last few thousands of years of human development are meaningless.
What you want to be true, what you “feel” is true can have great emotional impact to you, personally, but if you don’t vaccinate your kids and think smallpox was a myth, it matters. When thousands of kids get sick because you and others decided what you erroneously believed was more important than the health of the elderly, the “too young to be vaccinated,” and the immunity-compromised, it matters. Especially to those who die by your choice.
I think everyone is obligated to look for facts, evidence, and the truth of things. Finally, I think one’s intentions to be honest matter even though intentions can go awry.
When William Faulkner said, “Facts and truth really don’t have much to do with each other,” I’m pretty sure he was being ironic.