The Truth

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“The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable” – James A. Garfield

Most people are not interested in the truth. They are more likely to accept some version of the truth that is convincing enough but does not hurt their feelings. To put it in another way, the acceptable truth has to make us happy or at least less unhappy. A huge part of our culture and language is dedicated to spinning the truth so it would be easier to swallow (hence the term “sugar-coated truth”). The white lies are the norm. People not mastered enough sugar-coating are geeks or socially awkward.

The only motivation for looking the real world in the eyes is our safety and well-being. In both cases, if an alternative is available (marriage as the most popular choice), the truth is ignored as much as possible. Our western society is tolerant to all kinds of delusions – religious, ideological, personal. That tradition is relatively new and allows people to be happier without hurting each other. Some religious and national delusions are promoted as part of pupils’ curriculum and widely accepted as a social norm. Is delusion part of our human nature? Are emotions a bag thing? They are certainly the only way we can be hurt (non-physically).

To the question “Do you believe in God?” the answer of Woody Allen was “I would love to, I know I would be much happier, but I can’t”. It’s our prerogative and obligation to our creative mind is to limit our delusions to a point where the truth is bearable because there is a bigger game in place: our curiosity and creativity as part of human evolution. It sounds bombastic and it should be probably sugar-coated, but hey… I’m a geek. One can argue that satisfying our drive to understand and create is an emotion too, so the issue is not about eliminating emotions. It’s about steering them in the right direction.

Reading the upper bunch of words again leaves me with the feeling that the things I’m explaining here are too self-evident. Should I trust my feeling?

Categories human condition, society


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