Monthly Archives: December 2011

And the Truth is?

I had a very interesting conversation with my co-workers. One of them asked a long while ago the difference between a fact and truth. We had a lively discussion and even did some light research overnight before finishing the topic. The topic came up again today. Officially, I guess, a fact is something that can be proven, whereas a truth is a generally accepted idea which can be based in fact but not necessarily.

We then discussed whether facts were always facts. We decided they were not. When I went to school, it was a fact that Pluto was the ninth planet, but now the fact is that it is not a “real” planet at all but a dwarf planet. Poor Pluto. But my truth tells me that Pluto is a planet and always will be.

For many aeons, the truth was that the earth was the center of the universe and that it was flat, not round like the ancient greeks or Columbus believed it to be.  Columbus helped prove that the truth is that the earth is round.

For very young minds, God bless them, there is a simple truth for everything – it’s magic. Why not, it held together cultures for generations. Humans have always had a penchant for knowing, a need to have answers. It really didn’t matter if they were true or factual, just so they made sense. A flaming chariot racing across the sky, why not? I am sure it made sense to someone.

There are many creation stories on how the earth came to be.  In ancient Africa, the Bakuba believed that Mbombo, the White Giant, who ruled over a chaotic ocean of water and darkness became sick to his stomach and vomited up the sun, moon, stars, people, trees, animals and many other things.

In India, the god Vishnu awoke with a lotus growing from his navel. Inside the lotus blossom sat Brahma, servant to Vishnu. Vishnu commanded Brahma to create the world, and he did, but it was bare, so he created plants, animals, birds, and insects.

In Mongolian lore, Father Heaven had two sons who ruled the worlds upper and lower. The ruler of the upper world asked a duck to bring up mud to create the earth. When the ruler of the under world saw the ruler of the upper world resting on the earth, he tried to pull him under but the earth spread instead. The ruler of the upper world used mud to create animals and people. The ruler of the underworld spit upon the bodies of the new creations so that they would have diseases and die.

These and many more made perfect sense to those people long ago. Some may even hold these beliefs today. I am sure that the ancient Romans believed as sincerely in their gods as I do in my God. There is no doubt in my mind.

Even in our Bible today, which describes creation, there exists a rift between those who believe it was a literal six 24-hour days and those who view the days as symbolic of long periods, a thousand, or even millions of years.

There is, in the end, a simple truth: God is love and He wants us to love one another. I find it amazing that the Golden Rule is described, in slightly different ways, in more than 20 religions and philosophies. So even in the variations of truth and belief, the message seems to be getting through. In my search for truth, I know that God is Love and it is my responsibility to love others.

Take care, stay well and be safe.

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Paying Attention

I saw part of a very interesting program on the National Geographic Channel called Brain Games.  The show featured concepts of how we pay attention and how easily fooled we are because we really can’t pay attention to many things at once. Before watching this show, I thought I paid either very good attention to everything or none at all. The show proved to me that I do not have the attentive powers that I thought I had. The presenters showed a scene that changed seven times with an interval of black one second long between changes. I did not recognize a single change. But I also remember reading a study that if you want people to pay attention to a bulletin board, you need to rearrange the items, so that it appears different.

Our brain fills things in as we pay attention to one thing at a time. This skews our realization of reality. This is probably why eyewitnesses to accidents often have differing stories as to what had happened. Did you ever play that game in school where the teacher whispers in a students ear and asks that student to pass it on to the next. After 20 or 30 re-tellings, the message is much different then the original. We only have a perception of reality and that is limited to what we pay attention to. The arguments of reality vs. perception and truth vs. fact have been waged for millennia. Knowledge through the ages has been gained and lost. Ancient civilizations paid attention to the stars, tracking their movements. Then somehow, we, citizens of earth, seemed to lose that knowledge. We exist in a real world, but what is our reality? I have often considered myself a bit of a realist, but now I think I will expand my views.

Our expectations taint our reactions and we pay attention to what is important to us. Imagine that we are in a waiting room, if we are interested in music, we might pay more attention to the music of our surroundings. However, if we are more interested in art, we might pay more attention to the paintings hanging on the wall. All those things are present and we may even notice them all but not necessarily pay attention to them.

Looks like I need to pay attention to the clock and sign off. Good night all.

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Fashion Tells a Tale

I am fortunate to work in an area surrounded by international businesses and educational institutions. When I shop at the local Walmart, I see people from so many different cultures. This is mostly displayed by the women in the store. I have enjoyed seeing what appears to be Muslim, African, Asian, Indian and Jamaican dress. Although these are traditional by nature, it is the everyday western dress that intrigues me. Does dress reflect personality? I believe it does sometimes, but sometimes I think it is just trend following. I see some who dress very well, not necessarily fancy, but with pride. Many others I see dressed as if they truly do not care, and probably don’t.

I’ve seen outfits that involve spikes and rings and chains adorning tattooed skin – I think, is that outfit designed to keep people away, to intimidate? Maybe they do reflect their personality but I can’t help but think that they are hiding their true selves, even from themselves.

I also see more and more instances of pajama wearing. I suppose it is comfortable attire, but I wonder if it is really appropriate as street wear.

My son likes to wear t-shirts with skulls. I am not sure why. He says he likes them and maybe he does. I know that he has a good heart so I find it confusing that he wears “dark” clothing. I probably just don’t ‘get” it.

Ever since Adam and Eve realized that they could not truly hide from God, they hid psychologically inside clothes. I believe their nakedness was that they felt vulnerable to the knowing of God. Clothing helped to hide themselves and placate their shame of disobedience.

So what do you think? Do our clothes reflect our personality? Do they just shelter us from the elements? Does fashion really matter? I am not sure, but it certainly is interesting to view the fashions that exist.

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