What about Truth? Trust?
©SGHolland May 2021
There are so many definitions, aren’t there? (← see link)
Just asking here about trust as it pertains to “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” This is the top item on Merriam-Webster’s list.
Sometimes…actually most of the time (unless you are a pathological liar ) , if you try it, it is easy to tell the truth.
“Did you get the mail when you were out?” “Ummm, actually, no.”
Even if the other person sighs heavily, both of you know that it is not a catastrophe. The mail will be there whenever someone goes for it.
“Did you two make out in the car?” Hmmm. Domestic violence has been initiated by the “wrong” answer to that kind of question. Either answer has its perils: “yes” or “no?”
“Is there really a Santa Claus?” Now that is a tricky one. Every parent should have an answer that every adult in the household has agreed on before the question is asked. And the whole family has to agree to either lie, or to tell the child the truth and be ready to comfort the disillusioned small person. My father told me about the Spirit of Christmas, and not to spoil things for my little brother.
He didn’t lie. My little brother didn’t ask. We let him believe a lie for a little while.
Then there is the matter of “bending the truth.”
People who do this thing about telling the truth “sorta” is so common, we sorta expect it. The commodity world of business has taught us not to expect Truth — but to kinda believe some of what is advertised, prescribed, cooked-up. We know that preservatives have very likely been added to this delicious carrot cake, or that this super-duper cure-all for wrinkles is a scam.
in Advertising, Politics, Pep Rallies, and Stories told by people who are trying to rally or sell a product to the general public or frighten them it’s part of the game to tell half-truths. There’s bound to be the slight exaggeration of good points, and skipped-over bad points. Listen to the car salesmen, or someone who has discovered a cure for ageing!
Weeding out each sentence of an ordinary day — weeding out the half-truths — requires us to “filter” what we hear and plan to say. In fact, to be perfectly honest, we would have to validate every thing we said with Evidence and Proof.
To demonstrate that our statements are true facts, we would have to put them into the Observable, Demonstrable, and Verifiable test.
Proof, in other words.[footnote 1. ]
Our sentences would have to be very long and filled with notations citing sources and we would not really enjoy each others’ company, surely. Listeners would rather “give the benefit of the doubt” to someone’s declarative statement and just accept it rather than make them prove it with math, or chemistry, or tomes of the great thinkers and inventors who have delved into whether something is really the truth. Like explaining to a child who asks “Why is the sky blue?”
Think how ashamed those old mapmakers must have been when the truth came out about the world not being flat! What a slap in the face!
When persuasive folks begin imagining and making up things and declaring them to be true is when one begins to smell a rat, so to speak. Like Richie’s Tar Bubbles. (see link.) Or Grandma’s Lye Soap. (try link for song.)
Mixing Truth with Illusions of Truth is what Sinclair Lewis’ Elmer Gantry is all about. Remember him? Remind you of any current phenomenon? This is where Truth becomes deadly.
“You are the most beautiful woman in the world.” Truth or fiction? “All in the eye of the beholder.” Is it?
Lies can make a person famous. Truth can end a person up in jail, or save him or her from jail.
But lies do imprison one.
and telling the truth sets one free.
One would hope that lots of folks come out of jail mercifully free of burdens, because they have paid their dues, and told the truth.
There’s something deep and sensitive inside humans. It’s called a “conscience” that simply cannot be fooled. Becoming deaf to conscience harms a person. It burns tirelessly and keeps one awake. A “seared conscience” is a pretty dangerous thing to have.
Biblically a “seared conscience” has been seared with a hot iron.” [Footnote 2.]
My take on all this is that we hang somewhere in the middle of this mystery.
And the older a child gets the more he shrinks away from owning up. There is a punishment for lying and no child likes a punishment.
Until a person decides to own up. Ferreting out all those blots on our conscience takes a lot of courage. My father wept when I (an adult) decided to own up to some childhood lies that caused him and my mother worry and pain. Funny, isn’t it? He knew how hard it is for a person to own up — from his own experience, no doubt. That he wept was retroactive pain for me.
But it’s the best inner, private lift in the world to just tell the Truth, even if you have to own up to the lies you have hidden. Once those lies are outed, there may to be other deeply hidden lies that come to mind. Then, if you allow it, more truth comes out of your mouth and the more you feel freed of a burden.
No, I am not all goody-goody and neat and clean and tidy in the conscience department. As I said above, there are more little secret lies that keep occurring to you that you hope to clear up. (If the ones you lied to are still alive.)
Even more shattering is trying “fess up” to oneself! We lie to ourselves and “owning up” to oneself is excruciating.
Trust is what is in the balances here. So tricky.
So what about Trust? Where does Truth meet Trust?
Practicing truth must be a key to a person becoming trustworthy. Yes?
1. Proofs have two features that do not exist in science: They are final, and they are binary. Once a theorem is proven, it will forever be true and there will be nothing in the future that will threaten its status as a proven theorem (unless a flaw is discovered in the proof). Apart from the discovery of an error, a proven theorem will forever and always be a proven theorem.
2. Amplified Bible
…”[misled] by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared as with a branding iron [leaving them incapable of ethical functioning],…]