Who owns the truth?

What, exactly, are we looking for, and why is it everyone is always telling us what we need and what to do? Need a new car? Of course you do and BMW has the answer. For that matter, so do Ford, GM and Chrysler. Need new clothes? Foolish question; just ask Penney’s, Target, or Nordstroms, they know. Salvation something you require? Catholics, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Mormons and Buddhists are all ready to tell you what you need to do right now…or else!

I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room flipping through some curled-up waiting room magazines the other day. One snappy, well-written article after another (ain’t it nice to read a good piece of writing?) tells me all the things I’m supposed to know and do:  how to feel, how to act, how to cook, how to dress; what to buy, what to sell, who to trust and who to suspect; when to spend, when to save, where to eat, where to shop, where to play; when to pray, when to love, when to hate and when to relax, and why all this is important. Truth, it seems, is all around us. Are we lucky or what?

OK, this is how I really feel: everybody’s selling too damn hard, and it makes me suspicious. More than suspicious, it makes me doubt the whole enchilada; nobody has an exclusive on truth. Now I’m not sayin’ I’m a cynic, I’m an optimist, really; I’m sayin’ that there’s so much crappola flying around it wears me out just listening to it. Opinions, arguments, opposing points of view, expert analysis, special offers, low interest, three easy payments…yada, yada, yada. It all leaves me cold. More often than not, if the TV’s on, the screen says “MUTE” in the corner.

Truth requires no sales pitch, no one-time offers, no special pricing and no zero interest. I believe truth is complete, truth is honest and pure. At heart, you see, I’m a purist. Take the sun, for example, it rises every day; no hype, no analysis, nobody has to sell me anything about sunrise. Or breathing, the air I just inhaled and exhaled; I’ll do that eight to 10 times a minute, 24/7, day after day. That’s truth, complete and simple; no credit needed. Or love; love is truth. And for that matter, so are anger, sadness, and another 84,000 emotions. Truth is basic and available, yet everybody’s working overtime selling their version of truth. It appears there are two possibilities: (1) We are so lacking in confidence and so shell-shocked by life we can’t decide what’s good for us and incessantly need to be told how to think and what to do, or (2) All these people who are selling truth are wasting billions of dollars on paying for good writing. Possibly, (1) and (2) are both correct.

So, here I am, yet another writer “telling it like it is” to yet another reader. If you follow my logic, you should never have even started this column. But, here you are nonetheless; I’ve remarkably, miraculously, unbelievably held your attention and I have absolutely nothing to sell. This makes me either (a) an honest man or (b) a damned fool or (c) possibly both. I leave that judgment to you.

As for truth, I suggest the following zero interest contemplation: “This statement is false.”

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