Truisms are so pervasive. Have been for a long time I suspect. Let me give you some examples, from the basic, to the arrogant, to the potentially dangerous.
The customer is always right! Hopefully this one is in its death throes.
If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it. This can lead to the logical corollary (not truism) that if it is intangible, choose to ignore it. Like the prevailing anxiety or morale among a team.
You’d be a fool to think otherwise. Says who … the all knowing one?
You’re either with us or against us. Recent ‘thanks’ to George Bush Jnr, and Tony and John for acceding to his truculence. The sad and enduring consequences are one explicit example of the danger of truisms, especially when we blindly follow the so-called truth of those others who hold the power.
It was her fault, she was wearing a provocative outfit. So say the neanderthal, weak and sub-human men.
Anyone who thinks otherwise has not been paying attention. Hopefully the danger in this statement is self-evident even if most truths can never be quite so.
You cannot have cheap and reliable base-load electricity generation without fossil fuel based energy supply. So say those with a vested interest, as is so often the case in such misleading narratives.
You cannot have both … (implied, trust me, I’m a politician and I know …). Applicable to the above, and the below. And more. As some would say, the options are not simply binary (black and white thinking), dichotomous, a choice of two. As the wise Nelson Mandela was quoted during efforts to reconcile the old and new police forces in South Africa post-apartheid, “It always seems impossible, until it is done”.
If we let these people into this country, we send the wrong message to the people smugglers … Oh Australia, I love my country, but I so hate the narrow-mindedness and cruelty of our current refugee detention processes. Both major parties to blame, bring on the Independents to break down the political dogma.
Acceptance of truisms all too often make them ‘right’. We must first question them, develop alternative narratives (Imagine … if), and implement new solutions, based upon more than simple and limited economic short-term imperatives.
So time to pay attention to the both the truisms and the falsehoods, to which we are all too often exposed. Be aware of how such truisms are a narrowing of choice, diminishing personal autonomy, and mostly emotional manipulation.
Interestingly, speaking of emotional manipulation, a positive emotional state (yes I like you … ) can be a liability to helpful decision making, and a negative emotional state can actually be helpful, as we are usually more vigilant and less careless.
So what is the truth? Who can we trust? Is that image real or digitally altered? Can I believe what I am seeing, hearing?
Certainly, there is philosophical and intellectual aspects of there being no absolute or objective truth. Everything is in the ‘eye of the beholder’ or from the perspective of the observer’s mind and subsequent interpretation.
Nevertheless, there are some universal truths if we wish to prioritise human dignity, the advancement of civilised and honourable behaviour and strive to create a safer and less dangerous world. That starts and continuous with critical and consequential thinking, thoughtful reflection and collaborative consciousness informing constructive actions and sustainable and productive outcomes for all. For all on this beautiful blue and precious planet, in the biosphere, among the ecosystem, and between all living creatures.
Act on the truisms of the greedy, the power-striving, the selfish, the insecure or the weak, and suffer the consequences.
Or be courageous enough, to collaborate, to organise, to share, and create a better and more joyful future.
Oh life can be so wonderful, if only we are smart enough to make it so!