“Facts are many, but the truth is one.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore …
Because I tend to have a very analytical personality, I constantly strive to obtain all the facts and make sense of them. This behavior tends to result in me being told that I am stubborn and wrong in an argument. Generally, it is not that I am refuting the other person or saying that they are wrong, I am simply trying to make sense of all the facts in my own head. But somewhere in my search for truth, I tend to end up fairly convinced by the facts that my perspective is true and valid, even though there is typically more to the picture than I can actually see. And when I reflect on this truth, I begin to become aware that my judgment of the situation is necessarily flawed, and that my feeling of being right about something could quite possibly be based on incomplete information.
Facts alone have no guarantee to lead us to the truth. I am sure you have read about or seen the classical relationship blunder, where someone’s spouse or significant other is sneaking around discreetly, having strange conversations on the phone, trying to whisper or talk in a secret language, and acting abnormally guilty when that person walks in the room. The point of these situations are generally to show the folly in trying to take the facts for face value and deduce that he or she is cheating, as once this premise is suggested, we usually find that the individual was simply planning a surprise party or something of the sort.
In the same way, someone treating me badly, or speaking to me rudely, can make me very upset and angry. The fact that the actions of this individual hurt me is there, however, the truth of the matter is never as simple as “this person is mean.” After all, I really cannot know what is going on in the person’s life that might have caused him or her to treat me in such a way. Perhaps they were recently mistreated or someone they care about has left them.
The facts do not necessarily point to the truth… and many individuals have lost their peace of mind agonizing over this misunderstanding. They have become lost in what they think the facts mean and never seek out the actual truth. Yet when we are able to accept that the facts are not necessarily the truth, we discover much about life, and we come to truly understand what it means to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.”
Seek the truth.
Questions to consider:
Think of a time in which you interpreted facts incorrectly and came up with a conclusion that was not the truth? How did it feel to do so?
Why do we put so much value on facts alone?
Which is more important, knowing all the facts or knowing the truth of the matter?
For further thought:
“Not everyone can see the truth, but everyone can be the truth.” ~ Franz Kafka