Truth

A Short Treatise

© 2022 P. Arthur Stuart
pastuart@pastuart.com
Updated -- May 31, 2022


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Like with Stupidity,
I think the “Truth” is a standalone topic.?


What is "True"?


One person's truth is another's lie!


Common Ground

I'm going to use this section to define what I mean when I speak on the subject of this text. I'm doing this because a friend told me the first thing you need to do in making a point is to insure the other person is looking at the topic from the same viewpoint—not to be confused with point of view. A simple example is two people are standing in front of a door. One says the door swings to the right, the other says it swings to the left. Both are right, it just depends on which side of the door your standing on. So, this section is to hopefully put you on the same side of the door that I'm on.
Before I move on, let me clear the air. Have I lied? Unfortunately, I have to confess, “Yes.” Will I lie in the future? I hope not. By lie, I mean saying something I know not to be true, as I understand the truth. Will I say something that isn't accurate or true that I believe is correct, probably but if I learn later I was wrong, I will own it and if necessary apologize. Unlike many people I know, should someone offers contradictory information; I will check it out.
Throughout my writings, I've stated, “I want to know what is correct and not who’s correct.” However, where my life is in danger and the issue is an “It Just Doesn't Matter,” I will avoid the truth. Let me explain, if a woman, for example, asks me if her butt looks big in her new pants or dress, I'd likely say something to the effect, “Your ass looks great.” Only an insane man would say yes. For what it’s worth, I want to be a truthful man in all respects. And in a lot of conversations where I know someone is spouting bullshit, I just don't say anything. I've found it’s not worth it and nearly everyone I've met has no desire to know the truth. So far, no one has ever came back to me and said they were wrong. Oh, incidentally, when I find out another person is correct, I will go back and apologize. If I'm right, it ends with me.

For the sake of this discussion, I like to establish a common understanding of what the word "Truth" means: The following are definitions found in several dictionaries:

Lie—something that is known not to be true.
There is no simple answer to knowing what is true.
Liar—someone who tells a lie and knows it’s not true.


What is the Truth?

How does one know what’s true. I wish I could answer that; unfortunately, sometimes, perhaps, all the time, it is a matter of one’s perception, likely based on what they already believe is true. I'm having a great deal of trouble attempting to find a strong foundation for defining what is true. When people refuse to believe science, or rather scientists, you can't even prove physical things. Most people believe the Earth is spherical, yet there are many that still believe the Earth is flat. Okay, I guess all I can conclude is that truth depends on the person. So, if you're going to have a conversation, all parties need to agree to a common truth, which is nearly impossible when it comes to religion, politics, and life in general, unless you're both rooted in the same beliefs. I guess I'm saying once, one or more persons, has a different belief, a sensible conversation is not achievable. The one possible exception is if at least one, of the participants, is willing to challenge their own beliefs.
Okay what is the truth? In order for people to reach some sort of agreement they must have a common starting point. In the physical world everything that can be described by mathematics is possible if a person accepts the basic axioms of mathematics, that is, equals to (added, subtracted, multiplied, divided, exponential, etcetera) equals will yield equal results. Of all the science, mathematics is considered the purest. Arithmetic, Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus, Geometry, and the rest are all based and proven using the equals to equals axioms. If a person is unwilling to accept mathematics, based on the axioms, their truth may not align with anyone or anything. The reality is that they live in their own world.
I'm not aware of any axioms that we can use to define what is true, other than the mathematics' axioms. Scientific laws and theories that are used to define things like physics, chemistry, engineering, biology, etcetera, are based on extensive research and experimentation; research and experiments that have been duplicated numerous times by many scientists, some of which have tried to disprove it.
Per “Your Dictionary:” Scientific laws are formed through repeated observations or experiments. They begin with a scientific hypothesis and are developed via scientific study that provides empirical information and data analysis. Scientific theories are formed via the scientific method. As with laws, every theory begins with a scientific hypothesis, which must be carefully researched. If there is sufficient evidence to support that the hypothesis provides a valid explanation for a phenomenon, the hypothesis can become a theory.
If an individual cannot accept the scientific laws and theories, theories and laws that have been tested, have thus far proven true, accepted, and taught, you cannot establish a common truth of the physical world.


A little "Food for Thought"

As you read through this, please keep the following in mind:

One of the good things I've learned was, when trying to determine if something is true, first try to disprove it, rather than trying to prove it. Over many years I've been trying to solve how to divide an angle into three equal parts with just a straight-edge and a compass; currently I believe there is no known solution. At times, I thought I had solved it, I had reasoned that I did, then I set out to disprove it, and I did. My original reasoning was floored. I've discovered from this that it is easy to deceive ourselves.

If it appears too good to be true, then it’s probably not true.

Leo Tolstoy said it best: I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious if it be such that as it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they had proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into their lives.


Some Background

As far back as I can remember, I realized that I frequently questioned things I believe, not only those that others have an issue with. I guess it started when I was in my teens, maybe even earlier, when most people, perhaps my parents as well, thought I was retarded or just plain stupid; I thought I was retarded and stupid; yes, I'm serious. I suspect some people still do think I'm retarded and stupid.
I was failing in school, my father had a heart attack, and I was scared I might not be able to survive on my own. So, when I was sixteen, I enlisted in the Navy and three days after I turned seventeen, I was on my way to boot camp. I'm sure my enlistment, which my parents approved, gave them some assurance that I would grow up and be taken care of. While in boot camp, I was assigned to be an Electrician’s Mate and would attend the rating’s “A” (basic) school. A few weeks into the training, my dad passed away; I was really on my own now. My mom barely had enough to live on. I was able to provide her with a dependent’s allotment; never gave it a second thought.
The first time I ever felt I wasn't as dumb as I believed was when I came in second in my class at Electrician’s school. The next time I got a boost was when the XO of the ship I was serving on told me I did extremely high on the Navy’s third class advancement exam. At the time I didn't question how he knew and I couldn't ever figure it out. For me it was a needed affirmation that I wasn't dumb or retarded.
During my first enlistment, I read a lot, took many correspondence courses, took advance placement exams and did well, and did well on advancement exam—first and second class. I made second class at nineteen, two years into my naval service and first class as I was discharged into the Naval Ready Reserve. All of these things began to build my confidence; however, I've always felt the need to know, what I know is correct—for me. I'm just telling you this so you'll understand where I'm coming from.
To begin, again, yes I've been stupid in many things. Foremost is failure to providing emotional support to my wife; support in the sense of letting her know I loved and cared. I learned too late but it was always there in front of me. Although it was always lurking in the background, I got started on my quest to understand “Stupidity,” when a few YouTube captions caught my eye; actually, I've always wonder but never did any real consideration to understanding the ubiquitous stupidity that abounds around us. This is in addition to my dealing with people that only believe what they want to believe. Much of what appears in this treatise, can be found on my webpage “Whenever ... Whatever … Wherever” . The YouTubes I watched on the subject are as follows:

The Dunning Kruger Effect

#04 The greatest problem of today's world: Dunning-Kruger effect

How do you know what's true? -- Sheila Marie Orfano (the Rashomon Effect)

What is RASHOMON EFFECT? What does RASHOMON EFFECT mean? RASHOMON EFFECT meaning

Cognitive Dissonance Theory: A Crash Course

Why It's So Hard to Admit You're Wrong | Cognitive Dissonance

There are plenty of other YouTubes and Bing Videos on the aforementioned subjects. Just search for Cognitive Dissonance, Dunning Kruger Effect, and What is truth philosophy .


True/Lie

Originally, I had Honest/Lie but I realized that honesty has several meanings. I know lots of people that would not steal, however, when it comes to telling the truth, I wouldn't trust them, as the saying goes, as far as I could throw them. In the clubs I go to, I have no problem leaving money on the bar, but many of those same people say things I discover later are not true, according to the research I do. I don't know if they genuinely believe it; I suppose they do. For me it's important to know what's true so I do examine many resources, both for and against, and reach a conclusion. For the record, I have found that in nearly all cases of physical data, such as gravity, all sources concur. And further, statistically data, particularly sports, is also agreed upon.

I could give you all sorts of examples and I do give a few on my website: pastuart.com

It’s important to me that I reiterate that people in general do not want to know when they're wrong. I'm not speaking of opinions; I'm speaking of reasonable facts; by facts I mean facts are things that are well documented and are a matter of record, and in general considered by the vast majority to be true. I think that the biggest difference between me and others, is I seek out the correct answer, not who’s right. I found the nearly all people, my subjective observation of the people, I've dealt with, just didn't care if they might be wrong, or what might be true.
From all the conversations I have had, and some in which I was a listening participant, not to be confused with eavesdropping, I believe that the big difference between me and others, is not our position or political stance, but rather our willingness to seek the truth. To face the possibility that what we believe is incorrect. When I'm faced with information that I don't know if it is correct, yet I suspect it might be or with information I have no knowledge of, I check it out. Sometimes I'm right and sometimes I learn; actually, I learn in all cases. I believe that not a single person, I've discussed things with has ever checks it out. I've concluded that people just don't want to know they're wrong, about anything. I do. I want to know what’s right, more than I want to know who’s right. Check out ‘You Can't Handle the Truth!’, where I give one example. I've tested this over and over and over . . . and have yet to meet someone that actually wanted to know what’s right. Oh, this is not just about me presenting something, I've seen it in three, four, and more way conversations. In areas I'm not knowledgeable, which is many, I just listen, ask questions, and learn. In these conversations there are disagreements. I've never been privy to someone later on telling the other person they were correct. I don't remember when anyone has ever come up to me later and told me my information was correct; information that I would check to insure I was correct.
One more point that separates people in general, that is their value system. For me, good values are: honesty, of which truthfulness is a part, integrity, being ethical, being kind, respecting others, courage, and most importantly, a sense of humor. There are others similar values. So, it shouldn't surprise anyone that I value people based on the aforementioned qualities, not on their notoriety, athletic ability, acting skill, artistical skill, popularity, how friendly they are, political association, or other similar things they are admired for.
Before proceeding let me say, people make mistakes. I have seen too often one of these personalities do something like being unethical, which includes lying, stealing, cheating, and so on. Now you're getting bored and wondering where the hell is he going with this. Okay, you deserve an answer if you've gotten this far.
At the start of World War II, a majority of movie stars and professional athletes chose to enlist. One particular actor decided not to enlist because his career was more important and he would enhance his chances to become a star, because his competition was away fighting the war. In a bio it was indicated that he was also able to avoid the draft, it was not a physical issue. As a serviceman of twenty-two years, I like to think I served for more than just the retirement. Regardless, I reenlisted during the Vietnam War. I don't think it was noble, I was just doing my duty. At the time, I'd likely not see combat because there was little action at sea, although I could have been ordered to in-country duty. I would also like to think that if I were of age at the beginning of WWII, I would have enlisted. I did enlist toward the end of the Korean War. So, I have no respect for the actor and I will not watch any of his movies, particularly those where he plays a war time hero. Other than starting a cancer foundation, because he became a cancer survivor, he has never acknowledged or apologized for his action, i.e., avoiding the military. It disappoints me that people look at him as some kind of hero, when in reality he’s hasn't done anything heroic. Don't miss understand me, people make mistakes, admit them, sometimes they are punished, and become good citizens. For example, Tim Allen was arrested, convicted, and imprisoned. He said it was a mistake and changed his life. I have respect for him. He served his sentence and became a productive citizen. He, to the best of my knowledge, never tried to excuse it.


We Believe What We Want To Believe!
“Cognitive Dissonance”

Before I get into this discussion, I know and hope you know, “That everything on the internet, in books, on TV, and media in general is not always accurate or truthful.”
On my webpages "Whenever ... Whatever ... Wherever" and "Stupidity" I give several, in some cases they're duplicate, examples of "Believing What One Wants To Believe."

True/Lie
First, before getting into my discussion, I want to state, I won't be debating or using religion. You can believe what you want, only don't tell me what to believe. FYI: there are roughly 4,200 known religions worldwide, per Google.
Secondly, I consider myself a true political independent. In fact, it pisses me off that people have created an Independent Party. If there is more than one person, it’s no longer independent, i.e., to be an independent there is no affiliation with or loyalty to an organization or political party. I may not do the greatest job; however, I do attempt to find out all I can about candidates and issues before I vote. Generally, I look for a candidate that most aligns with my values. In truth, I'm really a novice when it comes to politics. It’s only in the last few years that I took a real interest.

A few examples
From the movie “A Few Good Men,” Jack Nicholson’s statement, “You can't handle the truth,” is so apropos in today’s world. The real question is, “What is the truth?” A movie that impressed me many, many years ago was, “Rashomon.” It was about the death of a samurai from the perspective of the three people involved. Each one gave their own version, which made them the hero, sort of. The movie ends with a forth witness that was not involved in the incident telling what really happened. I have recently watched a YouTube on the subject of the Rashomon Effect. It’s quite interesting: How do you know what's true? -- Sheila Marie Orfano (the Rashomon Effect)
Months before the 2020 presidential election, proponents of Covid 19 being a hoax professed that a person that died in a vehicle accident would be classed as dying of Covid 19. They would say that the doctor and hospital would be paid a substantial sum by the government. Question: Would Trump and his regime allow this; I think not? I did some investigating and found that falsifying a death certificate was a felony and may include imprisonment. Furthermore, no one gets paid to fill out a death certificate. Yes, hospitals get paid, as do doctors, for treating Covid 19: the amount varies with the extent of care. If hospitals wanted to fake treatment to make money there are some treatments that cost up to one and a half million dollars. Fake one or two and it would likely be worth maybe fifty to a hundred Covid 19 cases. One more point, the people that pay are the insurance companies and Medicare, and both require validation, which includes testing. These payers are reluctant to pay in general and demand substantial proof-of-treatment and its need.
Whether or not you agree with it, during the Trump administration, children were separated from the parents of illegal aliens. When this topic came up one individual said they were only taken from parents that couldn't prove the children were theirs; they didn't have birth certificates with them. I said it’s a good thing I wasn't stopped because I couldn't prove my kids were my kids when I traveled. And furthermore, a birth certificate isn't really proof of who you or your children are. To which he said they have footprints—not true. I've never seen a birth certificate with foot or fingerprints on them. The real point is he fabricated this view to justify what was done. In everything I heard, read, or seen, regarding this subject, the mention of birth certificate or other means of proof was never raised or reported.
While I was nursing my evening wine at my local hangout, someone said that Kamala Harris had admitted to being a prostitute because she wanted it to get out before it would hurt hers and Biden’s chances at winning the election. I ask her, “Did you actually hear her say that?” She told me yes. I asked could you show me the video. She said it was buried deep because “The Democrats” didn't want everyone to know, which contradicts her statement that "Kamala did it to get it out." I sighed and let it go. To begin, Kamala is not a stupid woman, whether or not you like her. She would never make a confession of being a prostitute. And Biden would have dropped her, so to speak, like a hot potato, if she made such a statement. Lastly, Trump and all his staff would have jumped on it like the proverbial bandwagon. If true, it would certainly have won Trump the election. In her early years she dated the ex-mayor of San Francisco, an older man, for which she was called a whore. There is no record of her ever being an escort, which it was also expressed and of course if you're an escort, you have to be a whore or gigolo.
Let me give you a less volatile topic, although some people would go hyper. Some time back, I read a small piece, on my Facebook page, that some research had shown that bras caused breast cancer. First off, I don't believe most of the stuff on Facebook.
Nevertheless, I was intrigued and decided to research it for possible inclusion in a book I was writing. I found that the theory was not well substantiated and that there were many factors that could also be contributors. However, while I was doing the research, there was a large contingent that supported going braless for various reasons, like the breast became less droopy and didn't sweat as much. Anyway, when I mention that there were many advocates that women should go braless for physical reasons, one woman said, “If I went braless my boobs would hang down to my belly.” Maybe she’s right; I really don't know. My point is simple, she believed what she wanted to believe. Personally, when it comes to one's health, I think you should do research. Oh, I didn't say more. If this item intrigues you, check out my webpage, To Bra or Not To Bra; you may or may not agree but one never knows?
Another excellent example of this behavior occurred a short time before the 2016 presidential election. I don't remember how the conversation arose about Clinton and Monica. My friend, a female, said, “Clinton was abusive and took advantage of the girl. I asked, “What you are saying is that Clinton was responsible and the blame.” She agreed and said it wasn't the woman’s fault. I asked, “Who’s responsible when Trump stated that he grabs, women’s genitalia?” Without losing a beat she stated it was the women’s fault because they asked for it.” She was serious. The point is she would likely have reversed her view had her political alignment been the other way.
Over the years, too many to count, I have found that this form of behavior is ubiquitous. While I was writing this piece, I have found that psychologist call this form of behavior “Cognitive Dissonance.” Essentially, it states that a person when faced with information that contradicts their beliefs, will usually disregard it, or if they believe it, will rationalize it away or will use another’s similar bad behavior to justify it, the 'others' will usually be someone they are opposed to; in politics it is the other party. Some people, a rare few, will sometimes ask, “What if it’s true?” and then research it. If you're interested in learning more about “Cognitive Dissonance,” just YouTube the topic.


Addendum May 2022

In a discussion with a fellow club goer, the topic of Cognitive Dissonance came up. Afterwards I began to ask myself, "What are my, 'I believe what I want to believe'?" I can't answer that because I don't know. For me if someone raises an issue which goes against what I believe to be true, I will research it. One of two things happen: I learn or I confirm. What I'm attempting to say is, I'm not sure there is anything rooted in me I wouldn't change given the factual data or information. I can honestly say that over the years I have switched my view on so many things. Religion aside, ask yourself, "What are my cognitive dissonances?"