Bird Droppings April 22, 2023
Can we find Truth in an untruthful world?
For the third or fourth time, I reread a book titled; Every Day is a good day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women by the late Wilma Mankiller. Mankiller was the past Chief of The Cherokee Nation and a Native American Activist, author, lecturer, and several-time cancer survivor. I borrowed my status for today on Facebook from her writings. I planned to write this morning about a book this morning, but after a severe back muscle spasm last night, it took a bit longer to get started today. I am working on several writing and photo projects, and my back sidetracked me trying to get anything done today. I might need to finish my crackers and get rolling. I feel better than I felt this morning. Today I will address an issue at the foundation of why so many issues exist today. The situation is their Truth or a lack thereof in our society today.
“I don’t think anybody anywhere can talk about the future of their people or an organization without talking about education. Whoever controls the education of our children controls our future. “In Iroquois society, leaders are encouraged to remember seven generations in the past and consider seven generations in the future when making decisions that affect the people. “Wilma Mankiller
After pondering and reading more of Wilma Mankiller’s book, I find new pieces that seem to mean more today than in the previous reading. One of these aspects is Truth. When elected Chief many years back, Wilma was the first woman to be elected head of any prominent tribe, and she based her life and philosophy on Truth. So perhaps it is appropriate today that I will address an issue at the foundation of why so many issues of the day even exist, the Truth or the lack thereof.
“A king asked a sage to explain the Truth. In response, the sage asked the king how he would convey the taste of a mango to someone who had never eaten anything sweet. No matter how hard the king tried, he could not adequately describe the flavor of the fruit, and, in frustration, he demanded of the sage, ‘Tell me then, how would you describe it?’ The sage picked up a mango and handed it to the king, saying, ‘This is very sweet. Try eating it!’” Hindu Teaching Story
Sometimes, we can get the point across simply by telling the Truth. Nothing can describe more adequately than Truth. I have written about Truth numerous times and talked with teachers and educational experts about that subject. It is tough to always be truthful in our society today. We can often question; what Truth is, much as did the great old philosophers. As I read the Hindu parable above, it hit me. Maybe Truth is within the experience; borrowing from the great educator and philosopher John Dewey, Truth is within the experience. It is being able to find it through a life event. For a few months, in terms of history, I have been saying that it is nonfiction at the point of occurrence, but as soon as someone tells the story, it becomes fiction. I may need to watch Tom Hank’s movie of him as a traveling newsman.
“It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tossed upon the sea: a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle and the adventures thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable to standing upon the vantage ground of truth… and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below.” Sir Francis Bacon
“It is unfortunate, considering that enthusiasm moves the world, that so few enthusiasts can be trusted to speak the truth.” Arthur James Balfour
As I read what these great thinkers say about Truth, it is sad that they see Truth as an uncommon commodity, which is few and far between. We watch the news, read papers daily, and choose to believe or not believe what we see. Batboy is having plastic surgery to look normal was the title of a grocery store tabloid many months back. One of my favorites was when Bill Clinton was in office, and he was having sex with an alien. Most of us see these doctored photos and total fabrications and pass them off, but some people take them to heart. Many believe the Apollo missions were total fabrication because, for example, the Van Allen Belts and numerous other historical events were also fabricated. Conspiracy theories abound about daily happenings, leading to this or that conclusion. Many have been scientifically debunked, including Nine-Eleven’s attack, yet they persist. While teaching genetics, a local science professor comments in class that the Apollo mission is a hoax. How can one thing he never saw be bogus and teach something he never saw again?
“Between truth and searching for it, I choose the second.” Bernard Berenson
“When you want to fool the world, tell the truth.” Otto Von Bismarck
Why is it that Truth is so elusive? I find it hard to understand that we go through life intent on fabrication, deceit, and deception. Although nearly a hundred years old, Bismarck’s comment is still very true.
“Truth can never be told to be understood and not be believed.” William Blake
“Truth lies within ourselves: it takes no rise from outward things, whatever you may believe. There is an inmost center in us all, where Truth abides in fullness and to Know rather consists in opening out a way whence the imprisoned splendor may escape than in effecting entry for light supposed to be without.” Robert Browning
“A few observations and much reasoning lead to error; many observations and a little reasoning to truth.” Alexis Carrel
I look back and see how so many times in avoiding Truth, the tales grew with each moment, and soon a story takes the place of a simple event. Soon a novel unravels, and the line between fiction and nonfiction becomes a canyon literally.
“The pursuit of truth will set you free, even if you never catch up with it.” Clarence Darrow
“Time is precious, but truth is more precious than time.” Benjamin Disraeli
“Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.” Meister Eckhart
Isn’t it sad that Truth is so complicated and yet so easy? Telling the Truth eliminates numerous additional words and time that could be spent perhaps going in the right direction rather than pursuing issues that may not exist. It is so simple and yet so elusive to so many.
“The greater the truth, the greater the libel.” Lord Ellenborough
“Truth is beautiful, without doubt, but so are lies.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
We easily get caught up in deceit because this is what we want to hear. Watching the news of our past president unfolds and spun by each side, two seemingly different stories almost opposite in content yet the same event. The Truth may be painful or challenging, so the fabrication becomes a reality. A movie out a few years back portrays the world of a person with schizophrenia “A Beautiful Mind.” Dr. John Nash is played by Russell Crowe very convincingly. Dr. Nash eventually realizes the duplicity of his reality and learns to deal with it. Many of us never accept the unreal we create daily as we fabricate and manipulate that around us.
We are brought up accepting untruths; professionals and politicians work at telling half-truths and fabricating them to do their jobs as they run the country.
Wouldn’t it be exciting if politicians could take a few drops of medicine and become truthful? We wouldn’t have a use for politicians, and anyone could run for office. Would it not be great if we could believe those who run the country for us, elected by us, and not rely on shock jock radio and TV personalities who build their listening audience on deceit. What if the president was telling the Truth and the commentators who were angling for listeners were lying? As I look at this concept, it is sad that we have such a short attention span. We listen to the loudest and most exciting version even when we watch an event unfold and know what is real. I wonder how many people believed the photo of Bill Clinton and the Alien back in the day. Recently a movie, The Campaign, essentially a comedy, jokingly made its way back and forth until just before the end, the fellow down in the poles began telling the Truth and changed the election.
“Respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality.” Frank Herbert
“Peace if possible, but truth at any rate.” Martin Luther
“You’ll never get mixed up if you tell the Truth. Then you don’t have to remember what you have said, and you never forget what you have said.” Sam Rayburn
We live in a society where morality is bantered about as a catchword. We live in a world where peace is often elusive because Truth is nowhere to be found. We live in a world where politicians count how often the other side has changed their minds or rhetoric on issues. We live in a world where many are in harm’s way. Many of these instances are due to untruths, which we justify by buying into additional untruthful information and rationales. Do we even remember the what and the why of the actual event? So as I sit reading and writing this morning, please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and your hearts and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)