You’ve heard people say it. You may even have agreed with it.
“Speak your truth.” “I needed to speak my truth.”
It is time to confess: I’m getting so tired of “truth.” I want to but all these truth-speakers a dictionary so they can look up the word. “your truth” just doesn’t exist. Neither does “my truth.”
Whether something is true or not, is a matter of fact, not opinion. We don’t get to choose whether two plus two equals four. Nor is the fact the sun rises in the east open for an alternate truth. The world doesn’t work that way. No matter how much it offends your sense of “truth.”
Welcome to the real world.
Understanding and opinions are being disguised as truth, which is degrading to not only the English language but our society as a whole. And Canadians, being the polite people we are, don’t challenge people putting forth their opinion as “truth.” We don’t want to offend.
The decline of truth as perhaps been accelerated by former US President Donald Trump, who lives in his own world and has an altered sense of reality. Anything he doesn’t like he labels “fake news” – confident that his pronouncement, his “truth,” will be accepted as such, even if it contradicts reality.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.” – Lewis Carroll – Through The Looking Glass
We laughed when we read that as children. It doesn’t seem so funny to me anymore. It is a possibly dangerous concept when divorced from juvenile fiction.
Are there absolutes? Society tells us there aren’t, that there is your truth and my truth and they are equal. Unless, of course, you don’t like my truth, Then it becomes fake news at best, or perhaps hate speech.
Something acceptable to society need not be true. That is a good point to remember. Just because a politician or Hollywood star make a pronouncement doesn’t make mean it is a fact. It may not, on reflection, be true – but unless you ask questions you might not realize that.
As Pontius Pilate once asked “What is truth?” In an age with no absolutes, the debate continues.