Nov 17: International Truth Day

"The terrible thing about the quest for truth is that you find it."   -- Remy De Gourmont (1858-1915) French Symbolist poet, novelist, and influential critic

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“Is God Dead?” was a 1966 Time magazine’s cover story.  Fifty years later, two months after Trump’s election, their cover story “Is Truth Dead” appeared.    Truth will never die, but we will if continue to ignore it.   The more we know about and understand the “self-evident” “Truths” expressed in our Declaration of Independence, the more freedom and security we and our children will inherit.    

In high school history we may have learned about the founders political trade-off made, counting black slaves as only 3/5ths of a human in exchange for a federated United States.  They sacrificed reason for “a more perfect union” over a confederation of states that had existed in increasing chaos for over 100 years.  It was a good idea at the time. But that conscious rejection of the profound self-evident truth forthcoming from the “laws of Nature and Nature’s God” didn’t end well.  In fact, it hasn’t ended at all.  It sparked a civil war that initially cost more American lives than all the wars our nation has fought in since then, combined.  

Their creation of a third set of laws within the U.S. Constitution continues to this day to avoid the other two law sets (nature and nature’s God).  Our Constitution’s persistent application of ‘untruths’ such as treating the lives of non US citizens as less valuable, will not end well.   Our laws continue to condone a perpetual global war against a tactic (terrorism) that can never be defeated. 

Given our increasing dependence on so many things in so many ways and the growing global access by damn near anyone, to unprecedented killing capacity, our war against terrorism is a war that we can only lose. 

Ignoring fundamental truths not only threaten our security.  It is killing our freedoms.  This seeming unsolvable dilemma only exists because of a profound untruth we believe in without question.  The untruth of ‘independence’.  Our nation was founded on this mental construct that exists nowhere in the known universe.  It is implanted in our minds and imprinted in our culture as a principle.  But it is a inherently flawed principle.  

It is an illusion recognized by both ancient spiritual prophets and modern scientific giants. 

Leonardo de Vinci once said “Realize how to see.  Understand that everything connects with everything else.”  

Albert Einstein observed that   “A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.”


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Without acknowledging and acting on the fundamental principle that we are all interdependent, our flawed concept of independence prohibits us from resolving the freedom/security dilemma.  The answer is quite simple but enormously difficult.    Sustainably maximizing our freedoms and security requires us to be responsible with our freedom.  Maintaining a mental concept and our government can do what it pleases around the world without consequences is a dangerous delusion in a world of unprecedented capacity for WMD.  No walls or military power in the world can stop a biological or cyber attack by a committed adversary. 

Risking blasphemy, we should modify the biblical passage, ‘the truth will set us free – and keep us safe, if we are responsible with our God given freedom.’  God bless America?   Why?  Do we deserve it because of who we are, or what we have done? 

I don’t believe it is a coincidence that the foundational commitment of every major religion is the golden rule of ‘do unto others…”.   Do Americans really believe that others in the world can use drones to murder us without a fair trial?  We do it to them.

As the Cold War heated up U. S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson said “The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.”  

Can we assert that ‘wisdom’ in our Constitution might look like the self-evident truths found in our Declaration of Independence?

Why is it so difficult grasping the profound value of these self-evident Truths?   Could it be that our innate selfish pleasure-seeking desires overwhelm our innate biological capacity for reason and expectoration of justice? 

Americans believe that the purpose of government is to protect the fundamental rights of ‘we the people’.  Patriotism and nationalism (what Einstein called the “measles of humanity”) has us unconsciously turn this fundamental human right of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” into only an American right.  What consequences should we expect from such foolishness? 

If we are serious about maximizing both our freedom and our security we must recognized the value of one simple word.   Justice.   In three words “justice for all”.    And given that God gave us freedom, the freedom to choose good or bad, it makes sense that we should all pledge those five profound words before our nation’s symbolic flag, every time we stand before it.  “Liberty and justice for all”.  Profound!

Only a delusional, ignorant, arrogant, or forgetful soul would believe that some people are undeserving of inalienable rights.  TRUTH: Governments do not give us rights.   That they are a gift of nature and nature’s God. 

Truth Day is not official. But it should be.  And it should be every day.  Yet we now have a President close the nuclear launch codes who averages nearly 10 untruths per day.  And before the midterm elections he was calling the other party a threat to our nation.

His followers of patriots, nationalists and white supremacist believe they are special.  Technically they’re special ed.   At best, arguing with nature and nature’s God only makes them sound crazy.   At worse, the outcome is suicidal.  Nature and God are rarely forgiving.  You can only defy gravity or justice temporarily. 

And White supremacist are particularly ignorant.   A fundamental principle (self-evident Truth) of biology is evolution’s survival of the fittest.   They seem to believe a monoculture of whites is superior to a wide diversity of humans.  Talk about suicidal. 

Things change, but not fundamental principles.   Real staying power and fitness is in genetic diversity, not genetic purity (see biological consequences of inbreeding vs hybrids).   

If our nation is about freedom, which our elected officials remind us of frequently, then telling the truth is essential to maintaining it.   Maintaining a government based on the flawed concept of independence?  That’s simply nuts.

If we attempt to redefine the word ‘truth’ to mean anything we personally believe, and allow others to believe differently, don’t expect things to work.   How is our government working now?  The consensus of most US national security experts puts our own nation’s dysfunctional government as the second greatest threat to our security.   

 Personal relationships, legal contracts, and each level of our government depends on trust.  Trust is the glue that holds our society, economy, government and environment together.  And trust is a function of truth.

How many people trust our so-called ‘justice system’?  Can we trust it to be just?  Inscribed above the entrance to the US Dept. of Justice, Washington DC you will find “Justice is the great interest of man on earth.   Wherever her temple stands, there is a foundation for social security, general happiness and the improvement and progress of our race.  (can we assume it meant human race?)  

But, complain to any lawyer that you expected justice in your verdict and if they can refrain from laughing, they will inform you of that “we have a legal system.  Not a justice system”. 

A nearly self-evident truth that if you go to trial in the US you are better off being rich and guilty than innocent and poor.  Paradoxically, before anyone testifies in court they must first agree to “tell the Truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help [you] God?”   The tragic truth is they will indeed need God’s help once they are within our ‘justice system’.

It’s long been known that war is the enemy of truth.  Lies and deception may win wars, but it will never end war itself.   Then we continue to ignore the fact that lies and deception are often precursors to war.   When self-evident truths like ‘justice for all’ is ignored, wars become inevitable.   At least one Founding Father understood this.  Thomas Jefferson wasn’t smiling when he said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”  

It’s not the Russians, Chinese, Iran or N. Korea that we have to worry about.  Our greatest threat is our persistent choice to ignore fundamental truths.   Fake news, conspiracy theory, and popular ideas that sound good, dominate our social media and personal dialogue.  Human creativity in ideas and objects can be profitable, but do they really serve our unity as a people.  Our capacity and inclination to believe ANYTHING that validates our existing thoughts and beliefs, no matter how untrue they are, can be lethal.

Using our creative inventiveness, we have built systems and structures that are incompatible with the health of nature’s systems and God’s structures (us).   Violations of the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God are punishable by disability, disease, and even death.   Humans have reached a point in our evolution where our own systems (AI) and structures (dual-use technologies) may do us in before nature’s verdict. 

Fundamentally, humankind needs a new operating system.  One based on fundamental truths that all recognize as obvious for our survival.  We will not make it if a majority or even a minority is continually operating from, ignorance, indifference, lies, or conspiracy theory.

Find whatever non-violent means are possible to wake people and your policy makers up to our need for systemic change.   Truthfully, they must already know that tweaking our existing system can’t work.  Why else would they support a President so unlike any other ever elected. 

The global application of truth would be humanity fulfilling the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.  We can pay to achieve them  now, or we will likely pay an incomprehensible price later if we wait.

IF it is to be it is up to we.  A movement of movements has the capacity to create the political will to fund the SDGs using the $32 trillion locked in offshore accounts by kleptocrats, crime cartels, and wealthy capitalists avoiding taxes. 

“Be aware of this truth that the people on this earth could be joyous, if only they would live rationally and if they would contribute mutually to each others’ welfare.”    Kurt Vonnegut

“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” – Malcolm X

“Truth is not determined by majority vote”: Doug Gwyn

“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it”  Mohandas Gandhi

“Truth has to be repeated constantly, because Error also is being preached all the time, and not just by a few, but by the multitude.  In the Press and Encyclopaedias, in Schools and Universities, everywhere Error holds sway, feeling happy and comfortable in the knowledge of having Majority on its side.”   Goethe 

“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself”: Thomas Jefferson

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” – Ron Paul

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”  Buddha

“the truth will set you free” Jesus Christ.

Can we best gauge a “Truth” by its ability to ensure the survival of our species?  Unfortunately, it appears we allow our feelings to determine our truth without really examining the facts.


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