TED Conversations

Mitch SMith


This conversation is closed.

Is the truth the enemy of humanity?

I am trying to make sense of this.

Like all children, I was raised to respect the truth.

In subsequent endeavors and research I can say with a fair bit of confidence, that the truth is the absolute goal of life in the role of adaptation - it's true or you die.

But have a look at this:


It would seem that the truth is the last goal of success for a human life.

Is truth actually our enemy?

Have we been labouring under an illusion?

And should humans actually thrive by subverting the truth?

Is it not true that the art of life is the skillful application of lies?

And was the last statement I made the truth? or a lie?

What would the world look like, if humans actually sought truth?

It is clear that it is not the world we live in now.

(edit: to link TED talks is difficult to do pro-actively - this is the talk I wanted to link to:


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Feb 27 2013: IN OUR CULTURE, truth is the enemy, and IN OUR CULTURE, the art of lies is in the skillful application of lies. That much is obvious.

    Apparently humans can thrive FOR A TIME by subverting truth, but truth will catch up with us. It's approaching us now. Look at the perfect storm caused by people unwilling to look at the truth about water pollution, air pollution, topsoil erosion, global warming, spiraling population, and resource depletion all caused or furthered by monetary policy - and that's only for starters. We haven't even ventured into the philosophical or scientific yet.

    The truth shall set us free, whether we want to be freed or not.
    • thumb
      Feb 27 2013: It seems that way.

      So then .. what is happening between truth and trust?
      • thumb

        Gail . 50+

        • +1
        Feb 27 2013: Denial and willful ignorance - one or both
        • thumb
          Feb 28 2013: Can we add "honest error"?

          (gap of perception)
      • thumb
        Feb 28 2013: I'm not sure. To some small degree, of course. No one knows all things. (Not even me - LOL) But largely, how can anyone live in this world and pay so little attention to what is happening, unless they are afraid to look at what they don't want to see - which is denial and/or willful ignorance?
        • thumb
          Feb 28 2013: Yes - it gets a bit foggy. This is partly why I raise it.

          We should also acknowledge what is happening in tacit coercion.

          It may be argued that the vulnerable must shut up or suffer.
          In children, this can easily be assumed to become a "learning of the rules".
          Having learned the rules - and particularly having learned to win using them, where is the line which divides inocent survival from willfullness?

          I am sure this can be quantified. But I am also sure that those engaged in such an effort will be made uncomfortable in the process. And that the discomfort will have lasting value.

          A side-issue on this topic is the point of diminished returns for comfort. And i will ask:
          "Is comfort our enemy?" in a future post.
      • thumb
        Feb 28 2013: Look forward to that question

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.