If our intention is to focus on creating a better world for everyone, then striving to ascertain what is true is a necessary mandate. Comingling the truth with non-truth can create an interesting story, however the consequence for human interaction creates untold disasters. This is true for personal interactions, organizational or international relationships.
The family is considered the smallest social organization we have. Many human characteristics are formed in our family of origin. These human characteristics then migrate to larger social institutions. Some of these qualities are noble and enhance life for everyone and others have a negative impact on our lives.
There is little doubt that the larger social institutions have a great impact on the smaller institutions as well as each person. If one argues that the smaller institutions (more associated with the individual) or the larger institutions are more responsible for creating the negative aspects of our lives, it is similar to arguing about which came first, the chicken or the egg. Most of us are not in control of schools, churches or government agencies. As individuals, we are in control our interactions with family and communities which we interact with.
We cannot expect from others a constructive conversation based on the highest truth of the situation, unless the same standard is applied to one’s self. Ideally, everyone would be a seeker of the truth. Unfortunately, many of us do not adequately scrutinize what we hear. Too often, someone makes an assumption and it is repeated by others: These assumptions may have a 50 percent chance of being correct or less but yet they are often treated as factual.
“Facts” created by assumptions are counterproductive to human harmony. These so called “facts” spread like a cancer throughout society. Important decisions made throughout society including international relationships are impacted in a negative manner when these false facts are included. Conflict is the consequence of using half-truths regarding any issue.
Humans have a strong drive to understand the dynamics of their environment. This drive has created a great wealth of knowledge. However, we often make assumptions without sufficient evidence. We have a strong tendency to create judgments about others based on how one dresses, their weight, their religion, their music, etc. These judgments are seldom correct. We tend to overlook what is in common with others. No wonder we have difficulties communicating and understanding each other.
Developing a shift in social awareness:
- Individually, dedicate one’s self to searching for the truth in all things. "The unexamined life is not worth living" — Socrates.
- Be clear on who you are. Be on guard against cognitive disconnects between what you say and believe and your actual thoughts and actions.
- Support organizations and government polices and actions that enhance equal opportunity for everyone.
- Social change that enhances the world for everyone starts with me and you!
Some guidelines to consider that can enhance seeking the truth:
- Set your intention to ascertain the truth about what you think and say.
- When gathering information about any issue, approach it with an open mind without a preconceived conclusion on any relevant aspect.
- Be careful about ingesting information from others that cannot be verified.
- Stop repeating what others say unless you can personally attest to it.
- Be wary of those who understand or see value in only one side of an issue.
- If you are making an assumption, clearly state to yourself and others that this is the case. Emphasize the probably of being correct.
- Recognize that one person’s perspective may not correct. If that perspective is repeated by others, a false understanding of the facts is functionally elevated to the level of being true.
Be a catalysis for positive change!
Comingling the truth with assumptions that are treated as truth is a common point of reference or default position for most of us. If we can see the havoc this creates, we can develop an awareness of this issue as it happens in real time and self-correct. This can result in more connective conversations that lead to peaceful conflict resolution.
Charles “Al” Huth, M.Ed., is the author of "Living an Extraordinary Life: The Magic of Oneness and Living Harmoniously with Yourself and Others." He lives in the Rogue Valley and is an inspirational speaker and magician. His website is: http://joyal.org.