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  • Writer's pictureFloyd Thompkins

Truth Still Matters


 The truth will set you free! Truth is the bedrock of business and relationships. These two statements and others of the same ilk have been universally accepted as true. Lies or lying has generally been regarded as a bad thing. Or at least a thing to be avoided. However, of late, these statements have been challenged, and in some cases rebuked. Truth and lies and their relative importance to leadership and relationships are in many of our conversation. I would argue that truth still matters and lies continue to be a bad thing.

 

To be clear, a lie is not a simple disagreement of the facts, or a belief based on ignorance. A lie is a willful misrepresentation of that which is known to be fact in order to distort the truth. Therefore, lies and lying separate and sever our ties with one another.

 

This then is why, with every scientific discovery, we are struck with the interdependence of life. The environment, biology and human emotions are intertwined in astonishing ways. Denying science and promoting destructive narratives of racism, sexism, homophobia and classism is to deny the work and witness of the Spirit at work in the universe.

 

The purveyors of lies often use two methods. The first is to say that truth is relative. That is to say that it is not based on any objective facts; rather truth is a malleable narrative that is bent in conformity to the needs of human power and greed. For instance, Colonialism and nationalism both embrace ignorance and promulgate truth created in their image, regardless of its natural and discoverable insights about who we are, how we act and what threatens our existence. Spirituality therefore is reduced to just another political or social ideology. Therefore, lies and lying separate and sever our ties with one another.

 

The other popular method of subverting truth is to define it narrowly by kind and tribe.  Then truth bears the weight of prejudice and pride of the hubris of religion and ideology. In such instances the narrative of religion is supposed to supersed our physical or intellectual insights. Spirituality is therefore a replacement for truth. What we see and observe will be interpreted only in the light of a theology that has replaced arts, sciences and humanities.

 

Finally, lies also lead to self-deception because, in order to be effective, a lie must be delivered with unwavering passion. That passion often obscures any objectivity and creates a false arrogance and smugness. It is a reality devoid of any connection with the most basic understanding of integrity, ethics or morality. Without the gravity of truth and fact it is easy to justify the most destructive and dangerous actions. Lies compromise our ability to trust one another and replaces hope with cynicism.

 

Cynicism is fatally detrimental to all relationships. Hope and trust are the foundations upon which we build our lives. We assume that people are telling us the truth. Or, they are at least sincerely trying to tell us the truth. Truth is a fulcrum of passion and a multiplier of determination. This is the essence of a spiritual connection. It is trust.  One of the thought leaders of the Applied Wisdom Institute ( the former place I worked) has gone so far as to assert that “Trust is Faith.”

 

This essential aspect of trust and hope are what we mean by spirituality. It is an ineffable yet tangible feeling of movement between and among us to marshal our collective energies to change the world. When trust is not present people become protective, secretive and suspicious. We retreat to our silos of comfort and trustworthy communities and people. Instead of reaching out to others we become fearful. Coalition, cooperation and compromise are not possible. The lofty aspirations of the human spirit to do good, take risk or  forgive historical and contemporary harms are not possible.

 

So, the truth really does matter. Lies really are detrimental. We human beings need one another. We need to know that we value each other enough to try and extend to one another the dignity not being manipulated or dismissed.

 

If we human beings want to solve the problems of our day, create new communities of cooperation , and forge a better future for us all - truth matters!

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