Friday, January 8, 2010

"You Can't Handle The Truth"


"You want answers?" - Col. Jessup (Jack Nickolson)
"I think I'm entitled." - Lt. Kaffee (Tom Cruise)
"You want answers?" - Col. Jessup
"I want the truth!" - Lt. Kaffee
"You can't handle the truth!" - Col Jessup

How entitled are the people in your life to the truth?  

I have found that age and certain damages in my life have distorted my sense of TRUTH and my willingness to tell all of it. The closer I creep toward my demise, the more I wonder about my own integrity and my version of honesty. There are certain lies I once told and lived that I may never be able to justify to myself or anyone else.

My research into narcissism tells me this inquiry is a good indication that I'm not totally disordered. But I wonder long and hard about those people who sit in judgment and set up criteria for normalcy and ethics. And I wonder about the point of existence in general. Is life about pursuing a moral definition of self? Or is that just a literary device?

Honesty is hard work. It's easier to tell people what they want to hear. Dishonesty is functional. It helps us adapt. No one is completely open with anyone else. We would destroy each other if we were. We all use our version of the truth to manipulate our situation and we justify it by saying all words are lies because they are merely a representation of "something else." 

Do I lie and contort the truth because I deem some people not worthy or intelligent enough to truly understand my intentions? Politicians seem to do this. Margaret Thatcher said she didn't tell deliberate lies, but sometimes she had to be evasive. Alexander Haig said, "That's not a lie, it's a terminological inexactitude. Also, a tactical misrepresentation." President Reagan said, "The record seems to say that I traded arms for hostages, but in my heart I did not."   Mark Sanford's, "I'm hiking The Appalachian Trail," upon utterance, became an instant euphemism for, "I'm going to see my mistress." And we all know what Bill Clinton said about the word "is." 

St. Thomas Aquinas (following Plato, Aristotle, and others) understood truth to be the correspondence between what we think and the way things really are. Spinoza, Leibniz, Hegel and others talked about a coherence theory, where a new truth must be logically valid and consistent with other known truths. David Hume and the American pragmatists emphasized the role of experience in identifying truth. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said truth is effective communication, and that it exists among a community of truth seekers (who can never reach the fullness of truth, which is God). The more philosophers talk about truth, the more frustrated and agitated I become (giving more evidence to the theory that all philosophers want is to be unhappy more intelligently).

Privacy and secrecy are other areas where the handling of truth comes into question. The access others have to our personal lives and what is appropriate to know about one another seems to be up for grabs in the media.  In which cases do we have the right to know someone's truth?

I realize I am posing more questions than I am supplying answers to the question of what truth is and how we apply it in our lives. How can we make any intelligent choices in an immoral world if we haven't pinned down, locked in, our own code of honesty?

Writers have a way of justifying lying because it is a construct of the imagination. The realm of ideas is our only escape from mortality. And this is true for non-writers as well. We cheat...we lie...because at certain moments, we may not be sure there are consequences after we die. There seems to be less evidence of mystical intervention at the time of a questionable action or utterance.  And what is more appealing than a lie of the mind?  "Get me out of this hum-drum situation," we seem to be saying when we lie or cheat. We put our minds to the side when we are beside ourselves in the heat of our most basic natures. I was "beside" myself and therefore not present. 

Cheating seems to suggest the lowest form of lying. We equate lying to a spouse or partner to lying to the self. If you've made a promise to another, you've made it to yourself. And yet, why aren't we more sympathetic to the cheater as the victim of his own lying? Tiger asked me this just the other day - Oh no, I vowed I would not ever write about Tiger. Sorry.

Does the truth depend on where you're standing when you observe it? What about the notion that 'the truth' or reality is more than one thing? It seems to me, whether or not we can define, let alone handle it, the truth is a constant variable, given to infinite interpretation.

How about we just keep it simple by trying to be as real as we can in our relationships? Try to be as honest as humanly possible in our expressions and disclosures and then honestly listen?  Barkis is willin'.


  1. Oh, Kass! You didn't want to talk about anything DEEP or SERIOUS, did you? I just went into my "pretty good" persona. I don't want to be serious. But I likely have something to say about this, so I am going to organize my thoughts. Thank you for forcing me to think about adult things today. I just wanted to be giddy.

    Wondrous sketch of Nicholson!

  2. Very thoughtful post, as usual. How do you keep all of these thoughts rolling around your mind?

    If cheating is the lowest form of lying, what's the highest? I know I lie sometimes because the truth would be so destructive. I also lie sometimes because I just don't want someone else to know the truth.

    Of course I'm more honest in my later years because I find I can't remember the lie.

  3. Kass, you and Christella are both really sturdy women about this subject and I shall try to be the same. I'll probably ring in on this more than one time.

    The other day, David heard me speaking on the phone and he looked a little startled. He knew I wasn't stating what most would consider to be the "facts" of a situation. When I hung up, I mentioned to him that I had a choice in the matter. I could have delivered a really harsh, hurtful message. But I chose to do it gently, even though the evidence didn't support what I was saying. I will probably always choose to be kind when I can, and especially in a business sense when it doesn't involve someone I'll have a continued relationship with.

    And then, something that I say often when communicating with someone I am very close with (my daughter and others): "This is MY truth. Is YOUR truth anything like mine or does it differ?"

    Just the tendrils of smoke you've caused to swirl in my head.

  4. I ponder these very same questions myself.

    I don't have any answers either.

  5. Les - Don't let me talk you out of your giddy mood. I agree about the sort of lie-telling you're describing. It falls under the 'how do you like my dress?' category. I like the tendrils that are swirling in your head. I really wanted to talk about Brad Blanton's radical honesty in relationships, but I couldn't find a way to segue into it, or maybe I was growing weary. Blanton was all the rage 10 or 15 years ago. He believes lack of person honesty is "the major source of all human stress." In fact, he says, "Lying kills people."

    The way you described "your truth" and how you ask others how that differs from "their truth" is very much what he is talking about. Truth is the truth of our experience.

    Christella - I DON'T keep these thoughts rolling around in my mind. They fester and brew until I spew them out....AND I have a whole file of thoughts written down and collected on "THE TRUTH."

    If cheating is the lowest form of lying, I think the highest is what Limes (Leslie) described - the kind of lies you tell to be kind. I know there are a lot of men (and women) who claim that's what they're doing when they cheat - trying to save the feelings of the one they're cheating on. But what they're really doing is preventing true intimacy. A cheater can't receive the love of someone he is doing a con job on. At some level, he knows his partner is loving his act, and not him.

    You're pretty honest if you admit to a certain degree of lying. And the memory thing - I know what you mean. Mark Twain had a saying about no man having a good enough memory to make a successful liar.

    Jonas - I'm glad I'm not alone in my pondering. Glad to see you communicating after your tough time with your news.

  6. Much too big a subject to reply to in any helpful way. There are truths that are facts, scientific truths, and even they often get amended and extended or seen in a new light. Then, as Limes says, in personal relationships there's MY truth and the other person's truth, those are subjective and emotional usually. Then there are social and business and political truths and lots of lies, per your examples.

    I do not feel that truth is always necessary or even desirable, that is to say MY truth when it's an opinion. When people ask if I like their handicrafts or writings I find something positive to say even though I think the thing is a mess. If the relationship warrants and the person is receptive, I point out things that could be improved. I think of people do this sort of thing and don't get hung up on whether they're telling the truth.

    Most social interactions involve a balance of truth and something else that ma be less than whole truth; it's grease that not only stops the wheels from squeaking but allows them to turn and move us all along in this crowded world.

  7. I hope I can adequately express what I wish to convey. The kind of lie that has been the most painful for me is this: discuss an issue with someone who DOES matter personally and land on an agreed truth - both parties know what happened or what is. Then learn that the other person DID tell the truth, just not all of it. I place lies in two categories: lies of omission and lies of commission.

  8. June - It is a big subject and you DID reply in a helpful way. You always have something to say with a different twist. I've noticed your comments on blogs we both visit and I appreciate your candidness. You're a woman who knows who she is.

    Yes, there is unneccessary truth...and there is confessing other's sins, which I think is a form of dishonesty (and not our business). I like your greasy analogy. It's true, how we weave our words makes a big difference in relationships.

    Les/Limes - Yes, those lies of omission are very painful. The devil is in the details, especially when you leave them out.

  9. You got me perfectly, Girlfriend. I'm working on yet another strand of thought - seems I'm a veritable fountain of opinion re: lies and truth. Let me cogitate awhile and I'll be back.

  10. Christ said, I tell you that anyone who looks on a woman with lust has in his heart already committed adultery. I've looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times.... Jimmy Carter

    Is cheating lying and maybe a different truthtelling simultaneously. In my ear coincindentally is Kris Kristofferson singing Nobody Wins.

  11. “A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent” - William Blake
    What matter most is that we are truth to ourselves, without forgetting that what is truth for us doesn’t necessarily means it’s the truth to others.
    I think everybody can handle the truth, as long as it is being told with good intention and from the bottom of our heart.
    Smart post dear Kass – as usual

  12. I wonder that you haven't yet heard fro Jim of 'The Truth about Lies' blog yet, Kass.

    This is a wonderful post. Can I add to it and the fine comments above? I wonder.

    The first thing that omes to mind isthat the truth-so called-is a very wobbly notion.

    I don't believe there is any such thing as 'the' truth. There is something called truthfulness and even that is a bit wobbly.

    Truth, as I'm sure I've written elsewhere in the blogosphere is something we can only glimpse. The minute we think we have a firm hold on it, we're in danger.

    Truth soon becomes rigidity and orthodoxy, or any of the 'isms' that so cripple people.

    And yet at the same time there is some essential and subjective element for all of us that is terribly important. I suppose it's what you here refer to as the truth.

  13. This is a long reply so I’ve had to split into two comments.

    I have been writing about the topic of truth for all my life. I return to the topic again and again and you would think by now I would have said everything I had to say on the subject but I find I haven’t. Only yesterday I drafted yet another poem on the subject. It’s not finished yet – it may never be finished – and I don’t usually post works-in-progress but it seems appropriate here and so here it is as it stands. It’s the ending I don’t much care for in case you were wondering:


            You asked me to tell you

            the truth

            and so I told you some

            true things

            but not all the true things


            too many things were true

            and so

            I had to decide which

            true things

            should make up the truth that

            you were

            looking for and I told

            you them.

            Things were never the same


            Truths have that effect

            you know

            and too many aren’t good

            for you.

    Why do I keep returning to the same subject? Because I was brought up to have a high regard for truth. I was told it would set me free but I’ve seen no evidence to substantiate that claim, if anything the opposite. It’s not by chance I call my blog ‘The Truth About Lies’ – it’s a line from another poem – because I don’t believe that it is possible to tell the truth, not the whole truth. I don’t believe that language is up to the job; it falls short all the time. And even when the words contain the relevant facts that’s never it because your tone, your body language and the look in your eyes all contribute to the quality of that truth. Just because I say, “I’m sorry,” doesn’t mean I’m sorry and even if I am sorry am I sorry for what I did, am I sorry I was found out or am I sorry for the consequences of my actions?

    I used to be obsessed with getting to the truth about things. I remember badgering my first girlfriend to find out how far she had gone with a guy she’d been at boarding school with: What did you do and how long did you do it? Where did you do it? Did you enjoy it? How much did you enjoy it? In what ways did you enjoy it? Was he better than me? And on and on and on... No wonder she broke up with me. No truth is only one truth, it contains other truths – overtone, undertones, call them what you will – and simply fessing up isn’t always the wise course of action I’ve discovered. I honestly believe that it is often better to let sleeping dogs lie.

  14. Part 2

    I was taught that knowing the truth is a good thing. It’s not. Truth is not automatically good. There are bad truths too or at least truths that can have a bad effect. The irony is that most people consider me an exceptionally honest person. I remember a dispute at work years ago and my boss said, out loud to everyone, “Well, we’ll ask Jim, Jim doesn’t lie.” Not true. There are different kinds of lies, lies of commission, lies of omission. My preferred lie is the latter. I tell half-truths all the time, quarter-truths, eleven-sixteenth-truths. As I say in the poem, I select which “true things” I tell people and let people draw their own conclusions. I’m an honest liar.

    I don’t tell untruths. I’ve tried. I’m a very bad liar. I could never remember what I’d made up and would end up tripping over my own feet. I’ve known two compulsive liars in my life. They were fascinating to be around as long as you realised that whatever came out of their mouths you had to take with a pinch (if not a shovelful) of salt.

    The most important philosophy to me is that of fuzzy logic. When I learned about the concept it was a moment of clarity for me. At its basic level rather than say 2 + 2 = 4 you would say ≤≥2 + ≤≥2 = ≤≥4 where ‘≤≥ ‘means ‘less than, equal to or greater than’. I no longer need to know the whole truth, just enough of the truth. Because, in our first sum, what is ‘2’? It could be 1+1 or 7-5 or √4 and where do those 1s, 7s, 5s and 4s come from?

    You can see I’ve thought about this for a long time.

    If you want me to get all scriptural on you I can. When Paul says, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful” and then, a couple of verse later, “if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, that I might not cause my brother to stumble” as far as I’m concerned that leaves me free to choose how much of the truth I share with people because knowing the truth can be detrimental. The Mormons apply this logic to disciplinary matters, the disciplinary council will make a ruling and depending on that ruling the congregation may be informed of their decision and how they should treat the individual. All the gory details are not disclosed. What good would that do, knowing? (Just as an aside I was a little surprised to find that neither disfellowshipping nor excommunication seems to involve shunning.)

    I don’t think you always need to get to the bottom of things. Let me leave you with this last poem:

            EXHUMING TRUTH

            It was there.

            She knew it would be

            if she dug deep enough.

            But she seemed disappointed.

            What did she expect to find?

            Nothing smells very sweet

            this far down.

            28 July 1989

  15. Tag - I know what you mean about the cheating/lying conundrum. One always has to lie TO SOMEone-or-many, in order to cheat, but the relationship with THE OTHER seems truer at some level or one wouldn't venture into it. An interesting point you bring up - once again illustrating that attempting to pin down THE TRUTH is like trying to nail jell-o to the wall.

    Elisabeth - I agree whole-heartedly with you and I prefer to be around people who are at least attempting to wobble around and glimpse into truth. We know when we're trying to deceive someone and I guess the whole point of grappling with the notion of truth is how 'clean' we want to feel about ourselves. While I'm a critic of the whole "Secret" power of attraction movement, I do agree that if we are deceptive and even vague, we will attract the same kind of people.
    Do you remember a book that came from your area called "Mutant Message Down Under?" It was about a primitive tribe that could read each other's minds. While I'm not sure of the total veracity of the account, I did like the notion that if ever any of the tribe were deceptive, they lost the ability to telecommunicate. Being a massage therapist who practices certain kinds of energy medicine, I have long been aware of the energetic component around people's bodies - so....I suppose this is what I mean about trying to be 'clean.' It's an energetic thing and it goes along with that phrase "A body is only as healthy as the secrets it keeps." Wow, now that I analyze that sentence, it's not as clear as I'd hoped, but perhaps you get the idea.

  16. Jim - I knew I was paddling around in your waters, really with not much new to say that you haven't already covered. I just wanted to have my say because I had drawn the picture and collected a bunch of notes and struggled with my own version of 'truth.'

    I love that first poem. Perhaps it could end with "things were never the same after.' That is so strong and so true. We already know that too much (unneccessary) truth is damaging. - anyway, whatever you work out will be stunning.

    You're right. Lying begins with the 'I'm sorry' thing. The first time a mother tells her child to say I'm sorry and he's not. Yikes, I've done it myself.

    I hope you've written about badger love. That whole thing with your first girlfriend - loooove it (said with total gay inflection)!

    The more I pour over your stuff, the more I become convinced that the only truth we can require from the universe or bodies or situations is what we carry around with us - our truth pillow - what insulates us - what seems most "appropriate" to our total sensibilities - at the moment. But this is based on years of (as Elisabeth said) wobbling around and glimpsing. But at least WE TRY. So many people don't.

    I love your exhumation poem. Nice twist on the stink of a lie and how rotten the truth can be.

    Just a little side note (speaking from personal experience). The Mormons don't announce or share ANY information of a disfellow or an excommunicate. It used to be announced over the pulpit and you can be assured there was shunning involved. To go along with modernization, they changed the policy around 1982 so that the sanction was only mentioned to the men in a priesthood meeting - because, of course, men needed to know these things, having all the power and dominion they do. But you can bet they went home to their wives and spilled their guts. Now, it is not announced anywhere, but a sanctioned person cannot speak or sing (as a soloist) or hold any church positions or take the sacrement. So, of course, it is obvious to everyone - and there is informal shunning, so they might as well announce it. It's barbaric and witch-hunty.

    Another side note: When my dad was asked (the 'asking' being explained as "God told us you were the right one") to be bishop, he told the higher ups that he would only do it if he had the option of not disfellowing or excommunicating anyone. He said he would council and work with any offenders, but he couldn't ever feel justified in this kind of negative sanctioning. They let him be bishop. My dad is kind of a hero to me for this. He chose age 35 to tell me he really never believed the Mormon Church was the only true church, but he had stayed in it because he had observed that those who left were never really happy. My thoughts at the time: 'thanks for the heads-up, Dad. It's a little late.'

  17. Gabi - I love that Blake couplet. Right on. I'm happy to see you investigating my friends. I have THE BEST bloggies - you being one of them!
    LoveNLight right back atcha!

  18. Tip of the hat to your dad, Kass. That's a tough crowd to buck! And they wanted him anyway. By the way, during our first residency in Salt Lake (1958-60), there were kids who were not allowed to play with me, come into my yard, etc. Why? My mother kept an electric coffee pot on in the kitchen all day and had been seen to puff a cigarette behind the garage!

    I'm glad you put up this post. At first reading, I thought, "I don't want to be deep today." I'm glad I went deep. I'm glad you and the others did, as well. I'm truly feeling introspective about this topic and you know the things I am chewing on.

  19. I'm fascinated by your thoughts (and Jim's) about the business of excommunication, expulsion, exclusion and the like. It's something I think about a great deal myself.

    There are other areas of life, areas that aren't religious but might as well be, where the same principles of exclusion apply. Heretics are banished.

    When someone overtly breaks the rules of the club, or deviates however slightly, it's easy to expel them, or isolate them or turn them into witches.

    Needless to say, there is a great deal of theory on this stuff in studies on group behaviour.

    I can't think of anything much worse beyond torture or the loss of a child, than to be excluded from a once valued and trusted group to which you thought you belonged.

    I'm speaking here from experience and I, who is normally open about my thoughts, feel the need to be cryptic. But I trust you get my gist.

  20. I call it emotional amputation. I've suffered it a time or ten.

  21. Wow. Great post, great comments.

    I don't lie myself. I don't consciously lie because it is too hard. I'm not quick on the uptake and with that deer in the headlights look I blurt out the truth. And that would be my truth of course, the truth as I know it and live it. I am reminded of the parable of the three blind men describing an elephant. All were right and all had different truths of the same thing.

    I guess I do lie, the lie of omission as I will withhold information that the only result of someone knowing will be to cause them pain. But I don't necessarily see that as lying.

    Ultimate truth, now, what is that? Truth in the physical world and our understanding of it changes constantly. Did that make the previous 'truth' false? Ultimate truth in the spiritual world is a total unknown and any truth we know about that is guaranteed to be only a fragment. Which is one of the big reasons I don't go for organized religion. We have to die to know that truth.

    I guess I'll stop here.

  22. From my viewpoint truth is something revealed not something known. Viewpoints are known - truth is something self evident. For example when I was told when I was telling people that there would be a time when people would buy things on the internet. There truth was that people would never feel comfortable with the process of buying through the internet. My truth was that people would get over it and buy at least small things like books etc oon the internet. Truth is millions of people do it. Viewpoint was what I had before - now it is transformed into truth.

    I am a person that buys into the idea that "anything is possible" and live my life from that viewpoint even though it is not completely true but I can not defintely say what exactly is NOT possible so I choose to live from the viewpoint that is NOT true but it is empowering. I love the way that you think and love the way you look at things.

    Sincere thanks for sharing,
    Tom Bailey

  23. Whenever I read your blog, I always feel like I'm attending a seminar. I come back to read the comments, because I also enjoy those, and wish we could have a discussion. Great job.

  24. Leslie (Limes) - I readily identity with the emotional amputation of which you speak. Losing beloved family members through divorce is wrenching. During the process, I cried harder for the loss of sisters-in-law than I did for the departure of their brother, but blood is thicker than water and loyalties line up with hemoglobin-like efficiency.

    Also, I just wanted to say I'm sorry for the training I received that made me guilty of the kind of shunning that you endured as a child. I was instructed at length about avoiding people who were not of the same faith because they might lead my astray. I was also told to avoid the APPEARANCE of evil, so it was fun when my daughter and I spied some candy cigarettes in Nebraska to buy the equivalency of a carton. This was never allowed when I was a child and I don't think they're even sold in stores here. I know I made you go deeper than you wanted to go and I'll be by via email to chew on some gristle with you.

    Elisabeth - " be excluded from a once valued and trusted group to which you thought you belonged." Yes, it is just short of torture. You captured my feelings about how it feels to be living in a Mormon community and not be one of them. My cousin, the only other one in a very large extended family who is also disaffected says, "If you live in a community and belong to the predominant religion and leave that fold, you are forever abused by them." It's kind of true. And yes, I get your gist.

    Ellen - I appreciate your visit and I love that you have so little impulse control when it comes to truth-telling.

    I agree about organized religion and I'm haunted by the hope that we can glimpse what is spiritually true without dying.

    Tom - A well-put argument! It makes me feel optimistic and I'll drop by your blog to see more of where you're coming from. Thanks for the visit. 'Possibilities' and 'empowerment' are words that make me want to know you more.

    Christella - I agree. I'm in awe of the commenters and their depth of knowledge and experience. It was a lively discussion, wasn't it?

  25. kass-your comment about the body being as healthy as its secrets-i've heard it phrased as "you're only as sick as your secrets." (as an aside, i bet you're one hell of a massage therapist!)
    which leads into my thoughts about being lied to.
    when we talk about lying, we need to consider the effect of our lies on the recipient. for good and ill,i'm deeply familiar with the effects of being lied to. it's crazy-making. the dissonance set up in the brain and body, when what you're being told is a total mismatch with what you're seeing/hearing, produces illness. any attempt to reconcile the two produces more illness. even as seemingly mild a statement as "oh, you don't really feel that way" leads to confusion and doubt, on multiple levels. it undermines our trust in our perceptions, thoughts and emotions. we've all experienced this, from childhood on.
    so this has turned into a plea-don't lie. don't shade the truth. tell the truth kindly. yes, it can be done. for all our rationalizations, too much harm is done by lying, much more than telling the truth.

  26. standing - This comment hits it so home - no really, it hits it out of the ballpark for me. I spent YEARS with a crazymaker. Have you read The Artist's Way? Julia Cameron talks at length about crazymakers. She says, "They are often charismatic, frequently charming, highly inventive, and powerfully persuasive. And, for the creative person in their vicinity, thay are enormously destructive. Crazymakers are the kind of people who can take over your whole life. To fixer-uppers, they are irresistible: so much to change, so many distractions..."

    I could go on quoting her for pages. But just let me share what I underlined: "Crazymakers like drama. If they can swing it, they are the star. Everyone around them functions as supporting cast, picking up their cues, their entrances and exits, from the crazymaker's (crazy) whims....Often larger than life, they acquire that status by feeding on the life energies of those around them. Crazymakers discount your reality. Crazymakers keep you off balance. Whatever matters to you becomes trivialized into mere backdrop for the crazymaker's personal plight."

    My crazymaker was such an expert liar that I felt gas-lighted. You're right. The most undermining thing is to not have your gut feelings validated. To know something is amiss and have a person stare you right in the face and tell you that YOU are crazy and a bad Sherlock Holmes and that you have Alzheimer's.

    Your last few sentences stated it simply and directly, "Don't lie. Don't shade the truth. Tell the truth kindly. Yes, it can be done." Amen, sister!

  27. I can't handle the truths so I juggle them :)

  28. Sometimes I lie for fun but only if it's funny and not hurtful. Sometimes I tell the truth to be hurtful but only if it isn't funny.

  29. Rachel - I guess we were all getting a little too somber here, huh?

  30. You raise some profound questions in this excellent post, Kass. And there are some profound responses that home in on and extrapolate from your points.

    I'll keep it simple. Every lie I have ever told has been motivated either by the perceived need to protect my precarious sense of self-esteem from the disapproval of others or the perceived need to protect others from what I have believed to be a circumstantially inappropriate truth. Conscience has troubled me within both categories. I hope in age to have grown beyond the former need, even if the latter prevails still.

  31. Dick - I think your motivational categories should be on some index of maturity, with the disapproval of others on the low end of the scale; conscience awareness, on the high end. I rate you very mature.

    I think all people who write to any substantial degree are after some kind of truth or justification for their perception of reality. It's a consuming quest. What you have described here is an excellant explanation of all of our tangled webs, which in the end, might be woven into silk.

  32. There seem to be a lot of lies about truth.But on the other hand I've got four fingers and a thumb.

  33. Total - Isn't it interesting that the trait that makes us most human involves the ability to both oppose and grasp?

  34. Lots of good hard work going into this discussion.

    One of my favorite rules to live by:
    "Everything you say must be true but you don't have to say everything that's true."
    ..... elaboration coming via email

  35. Pom Poms - I like your rule. I look forward to your email.

  36. kass- this is a bit of a delayed reaction.
    i think we are lying to ourselves when we say we lie to avoid hurting others. that's chickenshit (no offense, chickens.) we lie, either by omission or commission, to avoid having to deal with the fallout of telling the truth. we're afraid-of the reaction we might get, of being wrong, of losing the person. fear.
    we are much too inclined to use the truth as a bludgeon, rather than a blessing.

  37. standing - Of course, you're right, it IS the fallout we're afraid of. This 'losing the person' aspect - how good of a relationship can it be if one or both parties are afraid of the truth? I know I don't want someone telling half, whole or non-truths because they think I'm too pathetic to handle reality. BTW, no offense taken as a chicken OR a piece of shit.

  38. ACK! i meant the cluck-cluck, shit-thru-feathers type of chicken! i'm really sorry-didn't mean us occasionally-lying type chickens!
    please forgive me, and my unclear reference.
    yes, mercury is still retrograde.

  39. What a chain of comments. And what a topic.

    I have always liked what Paul said (which has echoes in many of the posts above, like the quote from Blake): Speak the truth in love.

  40. Dear Son, Todd -(if you ever come back to see my response to your comment - and even if you don't - here it is) - I appreciate your comment. It seems Paul's quote is what you do. Your demeanor seems to do all things in care and love. In this respect and many others, you are like Grandpa. I like to think I am striving toward this kind of loving approach.

    I'm amazed that you plowed through all of this - I guess you can handle the truth of my expressions.


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