Friday, January 30, 2009

You Can't Judge the Truth by its Cover

The truth is like a great book with a bad cover. It is easy to see, but not easy to understand.

It’s like a great leader who is a bad communicator.

It’s like a great product with bad marketing.

It’s like a great weatherman with bad hair, a great movie with bad actors, a great joke heard out of context, gold in a pig’s snout, a Stradivarius in the hands of a novice, a treasured vase in the hands of a toddler, profound prose in the ears of kindergarteners…

Sorry, but I was on a roll.

I’m always telling my readers to ask “what” until you get to “why” and to ask “why” until you get to “who”. The problem with truth is it is so easily misunderstood because so many people have this proclivity to not dig deep enough for it.
This is especially problematic living in a media culture that thrives on the three-second sound bite.

If you reads my recent posting entitled, “Partisan Convergence and Just War Theory”, you have been exposed to a position that justifies war which can be easily misunderstood on the surface, to be one that is advocated by war-mongers. After all, such a lie fits in the sound bite. Look how long of a posting it took me to explain the position at a deeper level. And notice that at a deeper level, the position’s motivations are 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

So what is to be done? Isn’t the best method of persuasion to be found in the form of a question? Which makes us think more, spoon-fed answers or questions?

Although it is tempting to help a bird hatchling out of its egg, doing so ensures its death. It actually builds the critical strength needed to survive through the struggle. I guess truth looks like a baby bird neglector as well.


MessengerBoy said...

I'm not sure I understand what you are trying to say about Truth. Are you making to too difficult? Personally, I think we worry too much about what is the Truth. Some people are paralyzed and can't act unless they *know* they are acting on Truth. I say, that's a red herring. Most of the time we have to act on Trust and know that He'll take care of the Truth. (Just a thought.)

Greg Jones said...

I'm saying that truth is too big to fit into the 5 second soundbite. It is too complicated for a simplistic approach. It is too deep for a shallow approach. In fact, a shallow approach will mislead. To the one who only looks only at the outside, a surgeon looks like a mutilator, an army looks like hate mongers, an exerciser appears to be a narcissist, a student appears to be a killjoy, a policeman rushing to the scene of a crime with gun drawed, like a criminal. Truth is never as it appears on its cover.

Greg Jones said...

Regarding the degree to which we should even worry about truth... I agree there is a "paralysis of analysis" where people can over-analyze life, but I think there is a greater threat, especially in our culture, of going to the other extreme. Truth has a high prerequisite that can be summed up with "Check your motives." We can't know the truth unless we have conformed our own lives to its set of prerequisites. I am convinced that these prerequisites are summed up in an attitude that says, "I will believe in the truth no matter what, even if it threatens my security, comfort, is inconvenient, challenges me to have to change my life, or even have to die to something that I love." Because this is so high of a bar, I believe many in our culture instead say, "Truth isn't so important." Isn't this an easier way out? Besides, just try mitigating the important of truth regarding traffic laws, or in your profession... Why would truths about the deeper questions of life follow different rules?