The Not So Simple Truth.

Last week I wrote a piece called The Art of the Lie. About how some people are really good at it and others not so much. So, this week I decided to write about the opposite, the truth. We desperately want to believe that the truth is simple, yes or no, one or zero but it is not. The truth is as malleable as wax on a hot sidewalk. Ask any police officer with three witnesses to a traffic accident, and you will find the truth of which I speak.  There will be three absolute, honest truths about what happened. They all saw the exact same thing but from different perspectives. And our perspectives are coloured by our history, our experiences and our beliefs.

Using the traffic accident as an example. A car careens into a pole. Sounds simple enough. One person sees a drunk careening across the road into a pole. A friend was killed by a drunk driver many years earlier. Another sees a person asleep at the wheel when the car plows into the pole. He had a friend who fell asleep on the way home from work. The third sees someone trying to commit suicide. A memory from his past.

As a species we are storytellers. Some go so far as to make a career out of it but each one of us tends to editorialize or to embellish what we see. We are not automatons; we use words to paint pictures. But what was it that our witnesses did not see? They could not imagine that the individual behind the wheel of the car had a medical emergency. A blood clot broke loose and travelled to his brain causing a stroke. His body reacted to the stroke by going into a full spasm forcing his foot down on the accelerator, leading to the accident. We can’t know what lies behind the truth. We either accept it at face value or investigate to learn the real truth, the whole truth. But most of us don’t do that. Most of us fill in the blanks with what we have experienced in our past. But what does that do to the truth?

The colour is yellow. Or is it Lemon? Gold? Canary?  We see the same colour but we interpret it differently. It is amazing to me that we can communicate at all. For the most part others understand what we mean when we use our words and yet some of our greatest humour comes from our misinterpretations. And also, some of our greatest tragedies. We don’t always understand each other’s truths. And it is open to interpretation.

30 thoughts on “The Not So Simple Truth.

  1. barbtaub

    I had a friend who lost her sight. She said one of the hardest things was having to depend on others to describe colors, and not be able to tell what those colors would have looked like for her. Of course, they were all telling their truths, but she was pretty sure she would have seen those colors differently.

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  2. Murphy's Law

    I wonder if we can get to the actual truth about anything. Truth and fact are one and the same. Or are they? The instant we put our interpretation on a fact, it is no longer the truth. Perhaps mostly the truth, but not completely.

    This is a wonderful post Pam. You’ve given us so much to think about, and that’s the truth! Honest!!
    Ginger

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  3. joylennick

    Ah, the truth and nothing but…A great post, Pam. I shall ‘pinch it’ for one of my newspaper articles.I have a relative who always embellishes everything and adds noughts to prices and numbers… .

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  4. Mark Lanesbury

    We had a news special tonight called ‘The Phenomenon’ on the UFO’s report coming out in America soon…I wonder where was/is/will be the truth from that…probably a balloon in the glow from an electrical storm and we were all affected by the positrons in the atmosphere that made us hallucinate 😂 🤣

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  5. Sorryless

    This is an exceptional piece, Pam. Because it speaks to who we are and how we really aren’t as screwed as we might imagine, if only we are able to stop and think about it. Differences in our truths, yes. And then times it by eight billion.

    When you put it that way? Things could be much worse.

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  6. Rivers Renewed

    Excellent post Pam. There are Scriptural truths of course but usually people twist those around and make them mean something that was never intended. By the way the color is……canary. Absolutely canary…….I think.

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  7. Dale

    Oh my, this is perfection, Pam. So very true, too. Our truths are coloured by our life experiences.
    I just talk with my sisters about certain childhood memories and boy are they different!

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