IS IT THE TRUTH?
People often confuse truth and facts. A fact is a reality that cannot be logically disputed or rejected. Facts are objective; truth is partly subjective, though a truth that conflicts with facts isn’t sustainable. For centuries we believed the earth was flat. Facts proved otherwise, and that truth was debunked.
Truths are molded by perspective and experience. They can also change because perspectives and experiences change. Although the Civil War ended over 150 years ago, the truth about it varies, depending on where you grew up. The removal of Confederate memorials across the South demonstrates that, as evidence and perspectives change and grow, the perception of truth changes, too.
We can even disagree with our own truths, a condition known as cognitive dissonance. Thomas Jefferson declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” As a slave owner, Jefferson’s actions conflicted with his own words.
When cognitive dissonance occurs, we deal with it in various ways. We change our actions. We attempt to justify our actions. We perform some offsetting act. Or we ignore, deny, and discredit any information that conflicts with our truths.