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Friday, March 15, 2019

Drifting Off the Earnest Habit of Truth

Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty; it stems rather from love and devotion toward men and toward objective things (Albert Einstein).


In several of my blogs I have insisted that our Senior Partner and Great Creator requires us to be earnest players.  There may be reasons on an elemental physical layer that make this a requirement—we just don’t know.  What we do have the capacity to do now is to map out behaviorally in layman’s terms why this could be true. 

Humility characterized effort leads us to truth and reinforces the habit of truth.  “The dog ate my homework.” In a thousand more sophisticated ways this excuse can poison the whole enterprise and research needed to fulfill the human obligation to discern facts.  Sometimes an official of a company can be asked to answer what his customer sees as a “simple question” but which the official knows would take a huge outlay of resources to answer with any measure of accuracy. He knows that many people equate” I don’t know” with downright incompetence.

A relative few questions regarding physics can take millions if not billions to answer:  The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator. It first started up on 10 September 2008, and remains the latest addition to CERN’s accelerator complex. The LHC consists of a 27-kilometre ring of superconducting magnets with a number of accelerating structures to boost the energy of the particles along the way.

In other words folks, the motivations to cut corners regarding truth can be considerable and can lead us to rationalize double-talk that entirely avoids us having to admit: “I just don’t know.”

I am persuaded that as much as we may detest the constant barrage of falsehoods coming from Donald Trump, many top executives know that one of the key qualifications for their career advancement was to demonstrate extensive competence in skilled diversion and plausible prevarication.  Sometimes on seeing a top executive before a congressional committee, one wonders if they have much ability to do anything else.

Marketing is often falsehood-based persuasion.  Like a young guy on his first date with a certain coveted girl, he can seek to capture her into his orbit by going to any lengths to impress her with a razor-thin suave coolness he knows full-well is anything but who he really is.

A word to some of my most conservative of evangelical friends: You insist that creation must align perfectly with Creationism.  I must caution you and the rest of our brothers and sisters that if mankind is fully willing to accept Creationism as the final word on the matter, then that will require no further iterations of human effort over generations using increasingly precise and effective research tools to discern patterns of life development.  Thus, Creationism could be the way of faith…or it could be a broad road leading to double-down fanaticism and ignorance finding itself most at home with *Pharisaical tyrants.  If you support Donald Trump, consider his strong double-down stances when compared to the arduous road of objective inquiry--highly structured and disciplined, humble, and subjected to collegial review.  [*Pharisaic: Strict in doctrine and ritual without the spirit of piety; laying great stress upon the external observances of religion and outward show of morality, and assuming superiority on that account; hypocritical; self-righteous. (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 2007)]

Finally, consider a conceivable conversation sometimes experienced with new acquaintances.  There was present in the room a palpable stiffness and guardedness in the conversation.  Then you said silently to yourself, “To hell with it”, and you shared a bone-head blunder you made during the week.  The atmosphere miraculously changed and in the flash-of-an-eye people became open with defenses down and began sharing blunders of their own.  “Chicken or Egg Question” Is sharing vulnerabilities the result of friendship or the path to it? 

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