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Recently, I had a brief exchange with a friend regarding Canadian politician, Jennifer O’Connell whom he said was not telling the truth. In this case, she was simply avoiding the balance of the conversation all together related to the need for the development and construction of the new Pickering Airport. Through deliberate avoidance, she was in fact not speaking the whole truth, just a half-truth. She was ready and willing to talk about the opposite perspective – no airport – the point of view that she supposedly adhered to that motivated her constituent followers and made the argument shift in her favour.

My friend said, “Government MP Jennifer O’Connell is spreading misinformation on aviation and disregarding the contents of a well-known government report. She has refused to meet with local pro airport residents for more than two years on these issues. She is not even willing to listen.”

So, is she in fact lying through deliberate avoidance? Is her one-sidedness really a falsehood? Seeking the truth needs balance and the careful examination of all sides of an issue. So, by avoidance, is she evading the whole truth?

What exactly is truth?

Truth is something that has been proven by facts or sincerity. An example of truth is someone giving their real age. But, is age subjective? Are you as old as you feel? Or as old as you look? Or, is the false age really the ‘new’ truth? Can truth be polarized to extreme opinions? Or, is it something that is batted about to simply promote one’s own cause or agenda? Politicians have distorted the truth so much for the sake of self interest and they have so blatantly lied without recourse, that the value of honesty is now irreversibly tarnished and forever lost, that whatever they say is deemed to be totally meaningless. It is just white noise blurred within the din of the unyielding amplified chaos of voices.

Truth is so obscured in these times, and falsehoods so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.

Blaise Pascal

Truth is said to be based upon facts. The definition of a fact is something that is true or something that has occurred or has been proven correct. … An example of a fact is that the world is round. However, there are those who honestly believe that the world is flat. So, their truth is different. Alternate facts as is said about President Trumps continuous stream of lies.

While science may state with empirical evidence that indeed the world is round, the ‘flat earthers’ use faith and religion as the foundation for their beliefs. When religion decided that the earth was flat, it was many thousands of years ago, long before man’s view changed due to practical evidence. Unfortunately, these doctrines were never changed or updated, so they remain today. However, to not believe them is to be consider a blasphemy and a weakness in faith. So, the falsehood continues today supported with religious resolve.

Fact-checking Trump’s lies is essential. It’s also increasingly fruitless.

The Washington Post

There is an abundance of academic research that provides a clear, critical introduction to one of the most difficult areas of philosophy. It surveys all of the major philosophical theories of truth, presenting the crux of the issues involved at a level accessible to non-experts yet in a manner sufficiently detailed and original to be of value to professional scholars. There are systematic treatments and meticulous explanations of terminology to ensure that readers will come away from the research with a comprehensive general understanding of one of philosophy’s thorniest set of topics. Included are discussions of the correspondence, coherence, pragmatic, semantic, performative, redundancy, appraisal, and truth-as-justification theories. There are also research papers on the liar paradox, three-valued logic, Field’s critique of Tarski, Davidson’s program, Dummett’s theory of linguistic competence, satisfaction, recursion, the extension/intention distinction, and an explanation of how theories of justification, properly understood, differ from theories of truth. A persistent theme is that philosophers have too often failed to recognize that not all theories of truth are intended to answer the same question. When the various questions are made distinct, it is apparent that many of the “debates” in this field are really cases of philosophers talking past one another. There is much less disagreement within the field than has commonly been thought. So, it is very hard to define truth. Even by the smartest philosophers investigating the subject.

There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damn lies, and statistics.

Mark Twain

In order to have truth, and to believe that someone is telling you the truth, we must have trust. Truth and trust go hand-in-hand. When considering relationships, the four most common elements needed to develop trust are competence, reliability, integrity, and communication. Without any one of these, it can be difficult to create the trust needed for a sustainable and successful meeting of minds. Truth is absent if trust is broken. If politicians wonder why no one believes them, it is because they first broke the bond of trust with their constituents. Unfortunately, trust can be blinded by social media rhetoric and steadfast polarization to belong to one party or another. Trust and truth are ignored.

So, is there any surprise that politicians use truth as a weapon of mass destruction and bend it, shape it, polarize it, and use it to abuse / amuse their zombie-like audience? It is all perspective. There is no serious effort to seek the truth – just to seek a convenient truth that suits the needs to manipulate and control their followers. It is indeed a sad day when ethics and honour are so readily discarded for the sake of power and money – or votes.

However, I must wonder if anything has ever changed throughout history? Has it always been this way? Or, has the power of mass media simply magnified it all and made it much more visible to us all?

Jennifer O’Connell – There is no hiding from the truth! Or, the lack of it.

————————–MJM ————————–

About the Author:

Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for applications that use broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless, and digital communications technologies. He is a business and technology consultant. He offers his services on a contracting basis. Over the past 15 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He is a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX). Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V).  He has served as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology. He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) [now OntarioTech University] and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario.  For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section.  He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has three undergraduate diplomas and five certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology. He has earned 20 badges in next generation MOOC continuous education in IoT, Cloud, AI and Cognitive systems, Blockchain, Agile, Big Data, Design Thinking, Security, and more.