Thursday, 15 August 2013

It takes three to tango: knowledge, truth and lie

[DISCLAIMER: this blog will likely be more thought-provoking and philosophical than you expect. Be warned. And yup, these are all my very own random and unsexy thoughts. If you don't agree with them, bite me.]

Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle 
Razzle dazzle 'em 
Show 'em the first rate sorcerer you are 
Long as you keep 'em way off balance 
How can they spot you've got no talents? 
Razzle Dazzle 'em - Billy Flynn

When I started this blog, there were (and still are) many wars of epic proportion. The people of Egypt are passionately fighting over what democracy really is. Then there's the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case which is one of the most divisive cases in the American history. And the object of my stalking affection J engaged in a debate on Facebook with some douchebag named Mike over addiction and suffering. I have not met either of them. J is yummy so naturally I am on his side. Mike is a douchebag because he literally emptied the content of his own douche bag when he couldn't keep up with the argument. Perhaps Mike should change his last name to Hunt... just a thought. Speaking of douchebag, there was my very own "exchange of blessings" with none other than Crusty Nono Myass. It ended with me calling out her snake oil salesman dirty tricks and her trying to twirl her way out of the fact that she slept with her employer. You know what, it ain't beautiful or auspicious or a blessing to sleep with your boss, especially when the (female) employee is 30 and the (male) employer is 44 while not entirely single. It! Is! Not! Okay!

So there, I said it! For all of you bitches! You are welcome! But I digress...

How about a story? It goes something like this:

A group of blind men was asked by the king to determine what an elephant looked like. The first one touched its ear and claimed an elephant looked a fan. The second one touched its leg and claimed an elephant looked a pillar. The third one touched its tusk and claimed an elephant looked like a dildo... so on and so forth... the blind men began arguing and tried to sodomize each other to validate his perceived truth... well, you get the gist of the story. It's an oldie but a goodie like VHS or Joan Rivers.

You know what, Ganesha, a well known Hindu deity who looks like a dude with an elephant head, is a symbol of knowledge and removal of obstacles, go figure... but I digress again... hmm... I really have a digression problem. May be I was born a digresser, but I digress... arggh! Dang it!

Anyway...we love to argue. We love to prove the other side wrong. We love to put each other down, although the thoughts may not manifest into actions. We, unfortunately, love to tell stories based on a mixture of knowledge, truth and lie, which the purposes of telling these stories can be good, evil and everything in between. I think it is our innate nature to prove our dominance over [insert subject] by doing all kinds of queer stuff: winning an argument, demo-ing a crazy ass yoga pose, singing louder than the rest of the choir, toppling a government, having the most dramatic personal catastrophe, killing innocent people, collecting pubes from your coven angels, etc. Or perhaps "proving" our dominance over [insert subject] means survival and I suppose it is not a bad thing... like if I can own a bad situation, I may turn out okay.

For whatever reasons, we... and that's a collective WE, meaning myself included... all seek approval and acknowledgement from some perceived authority. I did share my 2.5 cents in one of my previous blogs, but of course it runs much deeper than just the discussion of the role of a "teacher".

So how about this: I am here (on this earth) for a reason. It is the bare minimum answer to the question "why am I here?". Most of us probably do not have a definitive reason to "why am I here?", but our instincts tell us "since I am here, I must have a definitive reason to be here". We, therefore, do all those peculiar things to establish and validate our own "self" based on what we "know", i.e. our knowledge.

Here's the first act of this mad dance of three-way tango: we establish "stuff" to validate our own "self", and validate "stuff" to establish our own "self".

To establish/validate our own stuff/self, we consciously and subconsciously:
- seek approval and acknowledgement from some perceived authority, e.g. a teacher or a newspaper.
- seek approval and acknowledgement from our peers, e.g. friends or members of interest groups who are supposedly significant in our self worth and identity.
- seek approval and acknowledgement from ourselves. We are our worst critics.

Yes, I am going somewhere with this crazy philosophical dildo. So re-apply lubricant and continue...

...we always (consciously and subconsciously) try to prove the dominance of our knowledge over others'... because that somehow validates and establishes our own "self" and "stuff". In this story the proof of dominance comes in the form of "winning an argument", and it may shed some light on the question "why am I here?". In other words, "I am here for a reason. I won an argument. That might be indicative of the reason of me being here"... or something like that.

... so the blind men began arguing with each other:
"Bitch, an elephant looks like pillar!"
"An elephant looks like a dildo, you asshole!"
"Your mother hates you. I win!"

You get the picture.

Here's the deal: never put an equal sign between "knowledge" and "truth" because they are not the same thing. "We know something" is not "we know everything". What you know may very well be half truth. Preaching (i.e. proving the dominance of our knowledge over others') based on half truth is dangerous. Some of my favourite objects of affection are those organized religions nutjobs like the members of the Westboro Baptist Church. They go all out to preach what they believe to be the truth based on what they know. Yet these  half truths (at best) were also created by the same people who thought the earth was flat. They had unforgiving conviction in what they knew: the earth was flat. In their eyes, that was the whole and only truth because that's what they knew. Anyone who dared question the false truth (what an oxymoron) either got barbequed or were simply chopped to pieces.

Basically, these religious nuts are saying "my knowledge of the partial truth is the whole truth and it is truer than yours, therefore I am denying your knowledge of your truth". They are not about inclusion of differences but denial of others rights, because the "different" people don't fit into their half truth and contradict what they know. How lovely.

Rewind a bit, and perhaps this is a good time to read the disclaimer again...

Nobody knows when we began to drizzle truth with honey or present half truth as the whole truth. In court, someone who's been found "not guilty" is not necessarily "innocent".
It only means he/she is not guilty of the charge. Similarly, "I offer apologies to my transgression" isn't quite the same as "I'm sorry".

This kind of spinning and twirling is meant to distract the audience from the truth, like a magician waving his/her wand while pulling the rabbit out of a hat, or using flash grenades to blind and confuse your target before shooting the poor bastard. This in essence is the art of telling lies: dazzle your lies with some half truth that you know, and it doesn't even matter what that half truth is.

Is telling half truth not being honest? Is it the same as telling lies? Goodness gracious me, this is just messy!

Fast forward slightly...

There are so many fundamental questions on this. Here's another one:

Is telling lies a bad thing?

It is a loaded question and it generalizes so much that it's almost moot. Of course this is only my opinion. If you disagree, please kindly kiss my ass. But don't let my gentle and loving demeanour distract you from this discussion.

I came to realize that a lot us tend to lump "intention" and "outcome" into one entity when we try to discern an action. But they are two very different things and there's a lot going on between the two. Let's say, I slam on the brake to avoid hitting a jaywalker. My "intention" is good, but the "outcome" could be a disaster, like me getting hit from behind because I slam on the brake. At the same time, the "outcome" could be fantastic because the jaywalker did not get hit. So the question "is slamming on the brake a bad thing?" is as relevant as a dry fart while swimming in the ocean.

Your intention to lie might be heroic but the outcome could be pure horror. At the same time, your intention to lie could be pure fuckity evilness but the outcome could be the newly avant garde 3 E's in yoga. Or perhaps you just want to jump into the ocean and fart until the cows come home. Or perhaps you don't even know you are telling lies.

Is telling a "harmless" lie okay then? But what is "harmless"? Do you lie to your children about Santa Claus, i.e. some fat guy in a red suit who rides in a flying carriage and drops off presents exactly once a year while greasing his fat ass down a chimney? Is that okay?

Fast forward a tad more...

"Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?" - Some clerk in court

There is as much effort to tell lies to distract from and to mask the truth as to find and reveal the truth.

But the truth isn't always full of rainbows and pink fuzzy bunnies. In fact, the truth is often ugly and brutal. Why make all the efforts to find out the truth, when we may not like or even cannot handle the truth? Is telling/knowing the truth the most life enhancing thing, like telling your children Santa Claus is dead, or finding out my four year-old nephew is a manipulative asshole? Sometimes it doesn't feel that great when the truth is in full display in front of you. Trust me, I know. I just spent two hell-freezing weeks with my beloved family. But I'll save that epic trip for another blog... may be.

If NOT knowing the truth makes me happier, is ignorance bliss? Are we supposed strive to happiness? If so, is not knowing the whole truth the better option? But how do I know if I'm already in my "happier" state because I don't know the truth? Why am I here?...

Your head should be spinning by now if not already. Once again, I refer you to the disclaimer.

I'll close this blog with another story:

Three blind elephants gathered around a man and wanted to find out what he looked like.

The first elephant stomped on him and said, "he's flat". The second elephant stomped on the flattened man and said, "yup, he's flat". The third elephant walked over the now really flattened bloody mess and said: "it's settled then, he's flat. Let's go to the bar, I want a beer!"

My truth will be always be my truth in my reality.

And I do not have the answers to those crazy ass fundamental questions.

And I want a beer.

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