When Is a Fact Not a Fact?

There are people who perceive facts and act accordingly and there are people who do not accept facts. Instead, they ignore facts and believe(?) that by repeating a falsehood over and over, it becomes real.

They do nothing material to change reality. They don’t invent, they don’t discover, they just pretend a blatant fallacy is factual.

Gravity is a fact. No matter how much I want to fly without mechanical assistance and no matter how many times I say “There is no gravity,” it does not change the effect of gravity by a single Planck–the smallest measurement of energy.

Society has learned how to orbit the earth, it has invented computers that can do millions of calculations per second AND fits in your pocket, and it has cured many formerly fatal diseases and injuries. All of these successes were built on facts.

Nevertheless, some people are happier with their preconceived notions, even when the facts are clear.

Good or Evil

I’ve heard philosophers and theologians, among others, debate whether humans are inherently good or evil. Some claim that we are inherently evil and it requires some outside influence, such as religion or cultural expectations, to do good. Others claim that within each of us, without external action, there is the desire to do good.

I think that the phrasing of the question is the problem. We should instead ask, “Are humans naturally self-centered or communal?” Do we value the good of others more than purely personal benefit?

I don’t believe that we’re born one way or the other, but the priority of self vs. others is learned. Some learn a sense of community from the community itself, whether that is family, a religious organization, or another inclusive group. The key is whether a person can see something as more important than him or herself.

One of the most highly trusted groups today is the US military. On one hand, this may seem surprising because the purpose of the military is to kill people and break things. On the other, the members of the military are willing to die for a purpose they perceive as greater than themselves. While each service member defines their own values, their service starts with an oath to the US Constitution.

On the other hand, there are people who view life in terms of “What’s in it for me?” They, too, learned this. Some learned from family, business, or others who valued self first. Others may have learned it from a society that rejected them and they feel no obligation to such a society.

What have you learned? What are you teaching others?

 

Pleased to Meet You

Good day, sir or madam. My name is Diogenes and I am so pleased to meet you.

Over a few millennia, things change and even I must adjust. In my experience, it is by acting outrageous that I attract attention to my philosophy. I lived in a sewer, for crying out loud, and carried a torch in the daylight to be noticed, but now, to be outrageous, one needs to be . . . . . .. .

Courteous!

Eargggh!

Polite!

Garrgh!

Okay, I get it. Please tell me what truly interests you. I promise to listen intently.

Hmmmmm. Interesting.

Now, admit it–don’t you feel like a rebel? A libertine? A threat to society? All by sharing a thought in a polite manner?

Weird, isn’t it?

 

How Much?

In the Blues Brothers, once they’re both out of jail, they attempt to Get The Band Back Together and they find one of their musicians who is a maître de at a restaurant. They set out to embarrass him until he rejoins the band.

At one point, John Belushi looks at the people at a nearby table and in a foreign accent says, “How much for the women? The girl? How much for the girl?”

The maître  de knows he’s trapped and agrees to rejoin the band; the Blues Brothers then leave the restaurant.

I have to admit that this scene flashed through my mind, recently, when your president asked, “How much for Greenland? The Island? How much for the island?”

I liked Belushi better.

 

 

Thirty-three days until the autumnal solstice when I either fish or cut bait, depending on how many reader.

 

Centuries upon Centuries

I’ve spoken. I’ve written. I’ve done what you would call “performance art.” All this has taken centuries.

Let me put that in perspective. Your father’s birth to your death might be around a century. Now multiply that by 20 or 30. Got it? Good.

I resorted to walking around in daylight carrying a lighted lamp claiming to be looking for an honest man. THAT is how desperate I was and am for exposing the truth. However, sooner or later, when one is not successful, it is wise to give up and seek another course.

I’ve been writing here (wherever here is) for over a year. Being dead, I do not have Twitter, Facebook, or whatever, nor do I want them. I have always fallen victim to the belief that people would seek the truth; if I were a video game, that might be true.

Bottom Line: If you want me to keep writing, do what you can to get others to follow this blog. If there aren’t sufficient people interested in what I have to say by the Autumn Equinox, I will cease writing and take my efforts elsewhere.

If few respond, then I must believe that people prefer the sensational and inconsequential to the truth.

The ball–as you say–is in your court. I’ll be napping in my sewer (look it up if you don’t believe me).

Scriptural Reflection

Sacred writings of the various religions around the world and throughout history provide guidance for living a good and fruitful life. Many of the different writings provide similar directives; in fact, some are not only in various scriptures, but also in the common parlance. An example is the Golden Rule:

Do to others as you would have them do to you.[1]

Unfortunately, scripture is often seen as a buffet from which “believers” can pick and choose which thoughts to ignore and which thought to accept. Some use their chosen quotation to justify decidedly unchristian behavior.

I have heard many self-proclaimed Christians who are vehemently opposed to immigration, even when it is the only hope for people who are in danger of their life.

They pontificate their justification. They endorse obvious falsehoods from their political leaders. They use both scripture and politics to justify their personal bias.

I was born—and died—long before Jesus was born, so I was not in a position to be a Christian. However, your Christ was a devout Jew and read the Tanakh, the Jewish scripture, which is nearly identical to the Christian Old Testament. The Tanakh includes the Torah, the five Books of Moses (including Exodus) and the Nevi’im.

Both Christian and Hebrew scripture contain this advice:

Exodus 22: 21 “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt. 22 “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.

[1] Luke 6: 31

Lies and Damned Lies

Hitler said that if you are going to tell a lie, tell one so huge that people will believe it has to be true, because no one would expect anyone to believe such a lie.

Today, people willingly accept falsehoods that are blatant, obvious, and able to be factually proven as false with little or no effort.

I am confused.

In past conflicts in which psychological warfare was brutally applied, one of the techniques was to coerce a victim to admit to an obvious falsehood. Physical discomfort or torture was often involved.

“How many fingers am I holding up,” the captor asks as he holds up two fingers.

“Two,” the victim replies.

“No, I’m holding up three,” the captor would say and continue to badger the victim until the victim would say that three fingers were held up. Sometimes it was done to halt the torture or discomfort; in other cases, after enough torment, the victim began to believe whatever the captor said. Reality was whatever the captor said it was.

I’m amazed as to how people willingly accept falsehoods today. There’s no discomfort, no torture. Nevertheless, people are willing to accept things that they could, if they wanted to, easily determine to be lies.

Hitler could learn a thing or two if he were alive today.