In my life, as I’ve mentioned here before, I try to live as transparently as possible.  I also try to be honest at all times as best as I can.  This isn’t hard, in my view, because spinning a web of lies (and a lie always leads to more lies..) seems like a lot more work to me than just being blunt up front.  Perhaps this is just my inner German coming out.

Anyway… despite all of this, one thing has been clear to me for a while now and that is that Truth is a Weapon. What I mean by this is that telling someone the truth is not necessarily always going to be an easy thing and that, by its very nature (and perhaps more due to the inner nature of most humans), truth is something sharp and something that can often cause people pain.

Truth is not warm and fuzzy and soft. It pierces and cuts.

For these reasons, one should always be quite precise when using the truth with others.  It should be used as a scalpel and it should be used carefully.  Wielding it clumsily and swinging it about without thought is likely to cause significant carnage and much scarring in many instances.

Thus, while I always advocate that people be honest and transparent with each other to the best of their ability–be careful about making truth claims and using them to get your way unless you really know what you are doing, lest you find yourself causing havoc and damage where previously there was none…


About Prof. Woland

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4 Responses to Truth..

  1. As long as truth and honesty has sharp and distinct boundaries it is easy. (Maybe) Life would be so much clearer if that was the case. Some things are true yet opposite and for others the whole concept of true or being honest is irrelevant and not applicable.

    ps: Wait a minute right there… “honest and transparent”… are you convoluting “honesty” and “openness”? They are absolutely not the same thing. Interrelated but not the same.

    • tricstmr says:

      Honesty is absolutely not the same thing as transparency/openness. As I say above–I try to be as honest as possible AND I try to be as transparent as possible–but those are two separate but interrelated activities.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “some things are true and yet opposite”????

      Obviously there are truths (electro-magentic force) and there are truths (you–yes you fred–you are a selfish asshole for not paying your child support…) and there are different levels of evidence and importance and the like.. but I was thinking about how most people like to claim to want to hear the truth–but really–they don’t…

      • I should have said “true yet counterdictory”. Opinion, meaning, and non-zero sum truths are what I’m referring to as well as how “honest” and “true” aren’t applicable in whole sets of applications.

        Obviously there are truths (electro-magentic force)

        Are you using “truth” and “factual” interchangeably here?

      • tricstmr says:

        Counterdictory? Contradictory? So.. if I’m getting you–I think you are saying that there are some things–opinions, meaning, and non-zero sum truths–that are true but can also be be contradictory…

        I partially agree with you here–but let me try to explain/elaborate a bit more regarding your examples:
        a) Opinions–the “truth” quality of opinions should be separated into subjective and objective truth aspects. While it can be subjectively ture that you think chocolate ice cream is the best flavor in the universe–it is not necessarily objectively true that this is the case, or at least, you will probably get into arguments with others who have different opinions on the subject. Here, I think there are often lots of problems with people too easily assuming that their subjectively true opinions are actually objectively true for all.
        b) I consider Meaning to be mostly subjective(internal like in Jung and MBTI) phenomenon that can have certain objective(external…) inspirations and sources. Now.. there are elements of truth–in the form of validity tests–that relate to meaning. It is true==not false–that I like to cook and that I place great meaning in cooking food for those I love. It is true that it is a meaningful activity for me. However, I would also argue that the essential character of “meaning” to me has little to do with the truth values of it and that the relative meaning of an activity, thing, bit of knowledge is independent of any sort of truth (subjective or objective) quality of it.
        To go back to my example–it is true that I like to cook for my best half, but the joy and meaning that I get out of it isn’t because of any “truthiness” of anything involved–but rather because I place meaning and importance in expending work and effort in order to give her an easier life in some small way.

        Interestingly enough, I’ve often found that this view of mine about meaning does not conform at all to many others who actually think that there are certain, specific practices/activities/whatnot that intrinsically have meaning in some objectively truthful way. They seem to make a very strong connection between truth and meaning–and will make claims that “this particular thingamabob–let’s say a cross–is meaningful in and of itself!” or that some particular practice–like going to a high-school football game–is obviously meaningful to everyone. Now, interestingly enough, I’ve seen almost all of these opinions espoused by people with personality types (since I have made so many people go take MBTI tests for the hell of it! haha!) that have pretty strong Fe’s in them, which would tend to make sense. If your sense of values appears to be something that appears from an external/objective source, then the connection between meaning and objective truth would be pretty easy to make. As an INTJ with tertiary Fi–I don’t agree with such a connection, and furthermore, I have enough experience watching these people then “dump” particular externally imposed values and then picking other ones and claiming that they are now objectively true and meaningful to be of the opinion that meaning (& the subjective truth that may appear with it) are really internal, subjective decisions and that some people (those with Fi’s) are comfortable acknowledging that while others feel more comfortable and secure when they claim that there is an objective character to these things.

        C) I’m not sure what a non-zero sum truth is. It is true that there are some subjects where people can hold a variety of opinions/beliefs about them–all of which can have subjective truth content to them that may be contradictory. However, I don’t know of anything where people can hold contradictory objective-truth views on the same particular aspect and have them all add up rather than cancelling each other out. It is here that I can get into the issue of “truth” and “factual-ness.” I would argue that objective truth–as I’ve elaborated it above–is where true and factual are interchangeable. The sun is or isn’t a giant ball of hydrogen and helium gasses (and a few other things..). That is a fact. It is true.
        However, whether the absence of the sun makes you a sad or happy person–that is, for example, back in the realm of subjective truth, and as I’ve argued above–such things do not have any important “factual” content on objective==general and valid for all people==levels…

        I hope this makes it a bit more clear..

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