Reflection: "Facts" and "Truth" Are Such Interesting Concepts!

"I'm telling the truth!"

Remember those words, from being a kid... and facing a parent who seemed certain that you were somehow fibbing about something?

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It seemed to strange and frustrating that the adult just couldn't seem to grasp that what we were saying had actually happened.

Of course, now we're all grown up — well most of us are — but it seems like the whole issue of facts and truth is no less confounding and baffling now, than it was 50 years ago.

Lots and lots of people insist that "they have the facts" and they "know what the truth is," and yet these terms seem to so often be used to characterize highly subjective situations like determining who is "right" and who is "wrong." Or — worse still — what is right or wrong for a larger collection of people, all of whom have vastly differing opinions.

Of course, this is probably no great revelation to anyone.

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In this day and age, we seem to have some new "characters" on the scene... those who get labeled as "fact deniers." Or maybe it's "truth deniers," I'm not entirely sure.

I have long struggled to even get the terminology to make sense, because a little digging below the surface tends to uncover only opinions, rather than actual facts.

Which feels a lot like those childhood years where parents insisted we were not telling the truth because... well, because it didn't suit their reality if what we were saying was really factual information.

For example "But Johnny is allowed to say out till TEN, mom!" was dismissed as "nonsense" because it didn't suit my mom's sense of reality and propriety that a child of 10 didn't have to be locked up in the house by 8:00. But Johnny really was allowed to stay out till ten...

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In our grown-up world people still run variations of this sort of thing... and maybe that's what constitutes "truth denying."

I run into it in practice, and and find myself thinking "Just because you don't WANT the facts to actually BE the facts... doesn't mean those facts miraculously stop being facts..."

Seems like such claims and paradigms are particularly often the domain of those involved in any form of politics or other organization where "being RIGHT" (on an individual level) is far more important than whether or not there is a "RIGHT ourcome."

And so often — it seems — "being right" becomes dependent on being able to bend and dismiss actual facts and substituting in personal opinion, only labeled as "the truth."

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As I have alluded to in the past, I've often referred to French novelist Gustave Flaubert's timeless quote when I face the swirling cloud of contradictory "facts:"

There is no truth. There is only perception.

It's pretty descriptive and on track to characterize the weird "logic" many people use to navigate the/their world.

But it's still all just as confusing as when I was ten!

Thanks for reading, and have a great remainder of your day!

How about YOU? Do you find ideas like "truth" and "facts" confusing? Does it seem like people just use those words to disguise their OPINION? Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment — share your experiences — be part of the conversation!

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Created at 20220428 15:30 PDT

0565/1811



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The intelligentsia pulled the study of logic from the curriculum over a century ago. Logic is the study of the structure of ideas.

Since people are no longer exposed to logic, terms like "facts" and "truth" no longer have any meaning.

John Dewey (1859 - 1952) was enthralled with the Hegelian and Marxian approach to logic. He advocated a system of experimental logic.

In experimental logic people simply make up their own logical rules.

People who create experimental logics end up doing whatever is most expedient. People trained in this new think simply use words for effect. They will use the word "truth" when they want such and such effect and then use the term "fact" when they want another effect.

There is no desire to understand the classical meanings of the terms.

!pizza

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There are opinions, data points, and interpretation of that data, all treated as "fact" in some circles. If you disagree with someone's interpretation of sound data, you can still be accused of being a "science denier," for example. It's a crazy world, and now we're seeing some people lose their minds because Musk might not censor wrongthink on Twitter.

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