If I listened long enough to you
I’d find a way to believe that it’s all true
Knowing that you lied straight-faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe
Reason to Believe, Lyrics by Tim Hardin, 1965
‘Everyone has their own reality,’ she asserts with a flutter of the wrist. She is a thoughtful enough person, travels in academic circles, but, I suppose, parrots the American university self-evident truth, which is that there is no objective truth, truth being “what you feel.”
I point out that her truth is incoherent. Hint: ‘You state to be true that nothing is true.’ Her head tilts. ‘Get it,’ I ask? ‘No?’ Sheesh.
This undertaking starts from the position that there is an objective and meaningful distinction between what it true and what is false. There are facts, which are, in fact, true and upon these facts, we come to truth-filled conclusions, which are usable, beneficial to our well-being and our very survival.
God knows digging out the truth is neither certain nor easy; however, to know truths is at a minimum useful. We are at an advantage if we can discern them.
We desire that the engineer who constructs the bridge we cross knows the steel tensile strength and concrete resistance to salt corrosion facts so that it doesn’t collapse unexpectedly. Our lives depend on it.
My friend, whatever her Sorbonne espresso klatsch may conclude, wants her physician to know as true that the lump in her breast is benign. Her life depends on it.
The Army intelligence officer seeks the enemy division order of battle, tactics, objectives, and deployment. His/her life depends on it.
The deceiver––a corrupt construction contractor, an addicted lab technician, the counter-intelligence operative–gains an advantage when s/he hides or obfuscates the truth.
My purpose over these months is to examine those people and strategies which fuzz the distinction between what is true and what is false, i.e., the liar and deception specialist.
I bring to the table a high school (circa 1965) understanding of the scientific method, its disadvantages (best articulated in Robert Persig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), and its dire necessity as articulated in Harry Frankfurt’s On Truth and On Bullshit.
God knows it’s not easy; the day isn’t long enough. We must pick and choose our quests for the truth. If Facebook does nothing else, it provides the liar and bullshit artist an easy forum to disseminate his ‘wisdom’.