To Tell the Truth
Telling the truth is the bedrock on which we build our human relationships, but truth is a slippery thing.
We teach our children to tell the truth. We swear in court to “Tell the truth and nothing but the truth.” The media says they tell the truth. All these are true statements.
The problem arises because the truth is that the “truth” is what we perceive it to be, and my perceptions will inevitably be different from your perceptions.
Some children lie. The “truth” in court may get one person acquitted and another person sentenced. As the British tabloid revelations and Rupert Murdoch have shown, some of the media truth is bought and paid for. But you can bet that in every situation, someone sincerely believed that he or she was telling the truth.
We live in a world where there are few concrete truths. The laws of physics, chemistry and biology, are true as far as we understand them. But in the sciences there are facts—truths—that under a variety of circumstances don’t change. Those facts are tested by the empirical evidence that the results will be the same, regardless if it’s the first time or the one-millionth time the statement is made.
Relationships between people is a shiftier shade of gray. Any time we make a “true” statement: “I love you,” “He did it”, “Would I lie to you?” the words are filtered twice. Once by the experiences, consciousness, training and understanding of the speaker, and secondly by the experiences, consciousness, training and understanding of the listener.
C.G. Jung developed the thesis of the collective unconscious, where we as human hold shared thoughts, and Carl Sagan wrote of the “Shadows of Remembered Ancestors”. Both taught that all people carry common threads of knowledge and understanding, whether from the emotional or the biological. Once those become individualized though, seen through our personal lenses, we listen more to the interference of our own experiences than to any shared knowledge.
Examine one of those true statements: “I love you.” To the speaker it means, “I want to be with you. You make me feel special. I want to take care of you.”
The listener hears: “You’ll always put me first in your life. My needs will be important to you.”
Not much difference on the surface, but translated into actions, “I want to take care of you,” can become, “I’ll spend a lot of money on you,” when the listener heard “You’ll help me with the things I find hard in life.” And once that misunderstanding of the “truth” embeds itself in the relationship, both parties will feel lied to and taken advantage of.
When that individual reaction is multiplied millions of times, and the relationships are not between individuals but nations, religions, life philosophies and ideas, the things that link us together in our unique human-ness get lost.
Most ancient civilizations had underpinning belief systems based on what we now call the collective unconscious, Today, those beliefs and civilizations are being reexamined to try and capture the truths that they knew.
In my paranormal romance series, The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, a magazine editor reaches the top of her profession only to find that the media empire she works for is owned by vampires. Not only that, she’s falling in love with one of them. There are layers of “truth” that the characters deal with, beginning with the basic understanding of what and who vampires are. Throughout, all the characters tell their truths and misunderstandings are compounded. It’s only when violent circumstances surround the editor that she finally begins to trust and, through trusting, understands the centuries of truth that the vampires have lived.
They tell the truth, they live by their word and she starts to see their world in a true light.
Where is your truth? Do you believe it’s a “truth universally acknowledged?”
Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home. During her career in journalism—as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers—she won awards for producing investigative series.
Her mystery Edited for Death, called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review is on Amazon and the second book in the Amy Hobbes Newspaper mysteries, Labeled for Death, is published.
Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, is available in ebook, paperback and audible at ebook retailers. All have received “must read” reviews from the Paranormal Romance Guild. SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story and Danube: A Tale of Murder are available singly and in a boxed set at Amazon, B&N and Kobo. The fifth book, SNAP: Love for Blood rated 5 stars, is now out. She’s writing SNAP: Happily Ever After? for release in fall 2013 and a seventh book later in 2013.