They say, “truth is elusive”, but how can that be? Truth is just that, truth. On the show Dragnet (does anyone remember that show?!), Detective Sergeant Joe Friday was famous for saying “just the facts, ma’am”. What he really means is, “just tell me what happened and leave out your opinions and conjecture”. In A Few Good Men, Colonel Nathan R. Jessup exclaimed, “you can’t handle the truth!”. It was a powerful moment, and one of the reasons A Few Good Men is one of the best movies ever made. I say that confidently, so much so that it sounds like it must be a fact doesn’t it?
The fact is that A Few Good Men was nominated for many awards and it won a few of them but not many (not any of the big ones). Those are the facts, so is it really one the best movies ever made? In my truth it is, and that’s a perfect example as to why truth is elusive.
One might argue that truth and fact are the same thing, and for the most part they are. Yet, facts can’t be refuted, despite our best efforts ?. Facts are based on research; they are quantifiable pieces of data and cannot be false. On the other hand, truth is a multi-dimensional product of our personal beliefs, perspectives and experience. To form our personal truth, we may (or may not- no judgement!) start with facts and view them through our own perceptions. In doing so, we often find a truth that may be different than another person who is working with the same fact.
As I mentioned, try as we might, we can’t change facts. Truths however can be argued depending on what you choose to believe, and it may result in changing someone else’s truth. Take boxing for instance: if I were to ask you who is the greatest heavy weight boxer of all time, my guess is most would say Muhammed Ali. I would agree with these folks, as his record was an astonishing 56 wins and 5 losses. Mike Tyson’s record on the other hand was 50 wins, 6 losses and 2 contests.
These two boxer’s records are the facts, but who is better depends on your truth. If you are a finesse fighter you may say Ali is the best, yet if you are a hard hitter, Tyson might be top for you. Before you get ready to debate me on a Friday morning, relax; both would be right.
We all have our truths and lately, it seems that the only truth that matters is our own. I know that’s a strong statement, but I find we tend to defend our truth no matter what. And that’s great! It shows you are passionate for what you believe in. But what if we opened our minds and hearts and took a minute to listen and understand another’s truth? My bet is we would be that much closer to a common understanding and might even learn something new.
Maybe, just maybe, there is room for a second truth. Or at the very least, the possibility for it.
“This is the look of the truth, layered and elusive.”– Anne Carson
Have a great weekend,