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January 2017

    Alternative Facts

     

    Just about all has been said, at this point, about Kellyanne Conway’s quote:

    “You’re saying it’s a falsehood and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”

    Still, when all is said, we seem to be left, not of different minds, but in alternate universes.  Many oxymorons have an element of truth within and I’ve spent some time dissecting this one, because the statement seemed to be an oddly sincere one and not a last ditch attempt at the last word.

    Part of the fabric of life that makes it rich and deep is that our understanding grows as we explore farther and dig deeper.  History is filled with examples too many to recount, except perhaps to note that often those with new insights suffered at the hands of others more myopic –  Galileo comes to mind.  The common thread through each seems to be that a tincture of time and exposure to the heretical thought has ultimately advanced acceptance of this thing we ultimately treasure as “truth.”

    If Dante’s vision is correct, there is a special place in Hell for those who, in the presence of what cannot be denied, turn to wash their hands and say, “What is truth?” Pontius Pilate was not alone when Virgil led Dante past that point and I fear that Pilate’s level of Hell grows more crowded as we speak.

    Coincidentally, it was on this day in 1302 that Dante was exiled from Florence by political opponents who had taken power.  He spent the rest of his life in exile, though he used the time to write The Inferno, a work that has long outlasted his opponents.

    Plato crafted an entire work on the metaphor that there exist tangible truths we only see as shadows on the wall of a cave.  His message was to turn to the light for genuine understanding because truth is a real thing, although, like the sun, it may be too bright to stare into. He offered only a metaphor, but we seem to have lost touch with any form of reality.

    When Joesph McCarthy waged his war of false accusations, the words that brought him down were,”Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”  We seem to live in a world where what is black and what is white are matters of opinion, advanced not for better understanding, but to beat down others.  There is no decency in that and no future.  That is a fact.

     

  • A Different Kind of Climate Change

    When Rousseau wrote “The Social Contract”, in which he imagined world in which people lived in natural harmony, without the need for God, the church or government as we know it, he wisely prefaced his work…

  • The Apocalypse

      Stay with me on this.  I promise I have a point, and perhaps even one that is worth taking the time to read, in these final days of life on earth as we know it.…

  • When You Ask Who Said It

    “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Martin Luther King is most often quoted for this line, and he did, indeed, make this hopeful point, but his context was broader…

  • What History Has to Say

    Today is the birthday of Albert Schweitzer.  If that name is only vaguely familiar, click on the link in his name.  Despite great odds and the talent of a genius in more than one field, he…

  • A Shkreli Moment

      Not to blame any one person, no matter how deservedly despised, but I experienced a “Shkreli” moment yesterday.  A prescription that cost us $10 last month was priced at $1200 yesterday.  Neither the pharmacy, our…

  • When Not All Is Said

      Often, I think, too many words are spoken and too little said of any lasting meaning or value.  As a result, when the shouting is over, not all that should be considered has been said.  That…

The Last Word

After all is said and done, more is said than done.

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