The

Truth is Out There-What is Truth

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What.is.Reality? What.is Truth?

Recently, a relative sent me a YouTube

video focused on the truthfulness surrounding facts about the COVID virus and vaccines. This video featured a Canadian doctor who, in 2020, voiced some of his opinions about the Coronavirus pandemic and mask wearing

mandates.

After listening to the video, I decided to research the veracity of this doctors’ claims. Initially, I discovered many inconsistencies with regard to his credentials. Moreover, I revealed a plethora of information that refuted his claims about the efficacy of wearing masks. He did not mention anything with regard to the virus itself being fake.

After combing through many fact- checking sources from around the world, I again continued to discover several inconsistencies with the doctor’s claims

regarding mask wearing.

Conjecture?

At times, the exact meaning of particular words provides the reader with a better understanding of the context in which a word is used, and the word conjecture is one of them. It is always interesting to know the etymology: of certain words. This word appears to fit the current state of affairs with regard to all thing’s coronavirus.

The etymology of the word “conjecture,” for example, states that the first recorded use of the word comes from the ancient Latin word “coniectura,” which meant “a guess; an interpretation; an inference or a casting

together.”

A similar word for conjecture is found in the Old French language of the 13" and 14% centuries, having a similar meaning of “interpretations of signs, dreams or omens.” In the 1500s the word was used to describe something that is an “unverified supposition” and “an act of forming an opinion without

proof.”

1 Etymology: Origin, development and linguistic usage of a word throughout history.

2 Conjecture: https://www.etymonline.com/word/conjecture

The

Conjecture would seem to be the best word to describe some of the theories and opinions that are generated by persons who have no direct knowledge or experience on a given subject. Forming a belief or opinion about anything, from unverified sources, is a gentler way of saying that such information is

nothing more than gossip.

However, while researching the various topics on the veracity of either the COVID virus or the vaccines, a much broader picture began to emerge looming underneath all of

the hysteria and conjecture.

There are all sorts of theories surrounding all things COVID related. There’s the theory that the vaccines are secretly designed by governments to alter human DNA; that chemicals are being applied to food substances, such as lettuce‘, to alter human immune systems. Not to mention, theories that chem-trails from aircraft are spreading COVID, and that the government is placing vaccines in the water’. There is even a claim that COVID vaccines contains nanites that alter the biological structure of the body’. Egad! You name the theory (conjecture) and

it’s out there.

I however, tongue-in-cheek, did not find any theories that evil fairies are secretly

working at the behest of some dark

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malevolent force, visiting people while they sleep in order to plant gene altering nanites in their unsuspecting bodies. But, give it time, I am sure someone, somewhere, will come up

with this conjecture as well.

Part of the

HOW ple) YOU problem of K N . W determining what is real and j S 9 what is not, is IT 5 TRU E's that some of the

sources

spreading misinformation appear to be legitimate, which causes people to become confused and question the actual legitimate

sources.

Pondering this causes me to wonder if humans will eventually evolve to a point where there is simply no truth. If everything becomes questionable, are we really that far away from the point where nothing is true; that there are no truths, which seems ludicrous; or does it? The worst part of it all,

as Axios' Felix Salmon points out:

“Even a small amount of misinformation infects everything and makes it much easier for people to disbelieve any fact.”

3 Source of COVID Misinformation: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/17/covid-misinformation-

conspiracy-theories-ccdh-report

+ COVID vaccines in lettuce and spinach: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2021/09/29/fact- check-plants-not-being-modified-only-covid-19-vaccines/5887617001/ 5 Vaccines in the water: https: //everydayconcerned.net/2021/08/02/evidence-of-nano-graphene-oxide-go-poisoning-

body-brain-in-covid-flu-vaccines-chem-trails-rainwater-saline-plus-pfizer-whistleblower-karen-kingston-confirms-go-in-

pegylated-lipid-nano-in/

6‘ COVID Vaccine nanites: https://www.teuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-vaccine-nanoparticles-idUSKBN28F0I9 7 Felix Simon Axios: https://www.axios.com/the-misinformation-age-0£044c65-7cd8-4194-a49e-110e90184cd5.html

The

Wouldn’t it be, at minimum, rational to consider that any claim being made without a complete knowledge of what is being claimed, would therefore only be a matter of pure conjecture? Strictly speaking, to support any claim that either the virus itself or the vaccines are ot are not real, can only be based on two

things;

e = First: If the claim is that the virus or the vaccine is ot real, one must possess the knowledge to factually prove such, with direct personal

experience and knowledge.

e Second: If the claim is that the virus or the vaccine is real, one must possess the knowledge to factually prove such, with direct personal experience and

knowledge.

It truly does not take a scientist to see that identical research and statistics, regarding the coronavirus and the vaccines, comes from

every corner of the World.

In order for there to be some sort of conspiracy, literally hundreds of thousands of companies; thousands of central and local governments; hundreds of thousands of scientists, researchers, funeral providers, healthcare workers, news agencies, and so on, would have to coordinate centrally, in a massive, language appropriate, common- ground forum, in order to pull off such a

massive feat.

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Given the sheer number of persons involved, it is not difficult to understand that the logistics of such a conspiracy would be impossible. Aside from this gargantuan feat,

what would be the purpose?

Regardless of how a claim of truth is framed, there will always be those whose actions echo their beliefs and opinions, even

when such beliefs are grounded on falsehoods.

There is something larger looming beneath the reason why some people choose to believe things that are untrue; things that begin as rumors, unverified reports, gossip and

yes, conjecture.

For what reason does one person choose to believe in something that is not true or cannot be proven to be true, while others either ignore such things or believe something that can only be empirically* proven? What is it

that determines what people believe to be true

when their beliefs are based on falsehoods?

§ Empirical Proof: Empirical evidence or study relies on practical experience rather than theories.

The

Some people believe things that are not true with such intensity, they are willing to defend their beliefs with righteous indignation, and worse, violent acts, such as parents who become vehement at schoolboard meetings regarding the wearing of masks by children. In reality, what is the real threat

triggering such behavior?

Regardless of whether a person is presented with concrete verifiable facts, which are startlingly real, some people will continue choosing to believe outrageous, unverified and unverifiable information delivered through

electronic media.

What is really behind this tendency to believe in misinformation? In a study published by the National Academy of

Sciences the researchers concluded that:

“Users [Internet] tend to aggregate in communities of interest, which causes reinforcement and fosters confirmation bias, segregation, and polarization. This comes at the expense of the quality of the information and leads to proliferation of biased narratives fomented by unsubstantiated rumors,

mistrust, and paranoia.” °

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Given the plethora of the worldwide available information, it appears that Coronavirus, and the vaccines are real. But, to believe otherwise, is like believing that the Earth is flat. I live a rather isolated life compared to most people, but I personally know of several people who have had COVID

and several who have died as a result.

With regard to Coronavirus, the average person cannot see a virus without powerful magnification. Therefore, without the direct ability to see the virus with one’s own eyes,

people have to rely on the testimony of others.

However, if a child comes down with the mumps or chicken pox or the measles, the evidence is observable and clear; there is no room for doubt. Without question of the existence of measles, mumps or chicken pox, we would quickly rush our children to the

nearest hospital to get vaccinated.

There is an immense aggregate of information, from around the World, verifying the research regarding

Coronaviruses.

In fact, the Coronavirus has been around for a very long time. It was first discovered by June Almeida», a Scottish virologist in 1964 at St. Thomas’s Hospital in London. The present Covid-19 strain is simply one in a very

long line of various Coronaviruses.

° National Academy of Sciences Report: https://www.pnas.org/content/113/3/554#sec-10 10 June Almeida virologist: https: //www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-52278716

Regardless of the subject matter, any discussion involving conjecture, supposition, claims or gossip, comes down to one thing: One’s direct ability to prove whether

something is true or untrue. What is Truth?

As you might imagine, if] had the answer to this question, many people would be knocking on my door. Putting witticisms aside, contemplation of this question has been the focus of philosophy, law, science,

theology, and many more areas of study, for

thousands of years.

Philosopher, Bertrand Russell said of truth that:

“Truth consists in

some form of correspondence between belief

and fact.”

Russell posited that there was a connection between belief and facts, being that belief relies on facts, and so creates a connection between the two. Therefore, if a

belief is devoid of fact, can the belief be true?

Upon investigation of the theories and foundations of truth, the curious reader would become rapidly overwhelmed by the amount

of literature regarding the subject.

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Without proof there is no

truth

Beginning with the World’s earliest known philosophers such as Aristotle, right up to this moment in history, there exist volumes of philosophical contemplation on the subject

of “truth.”

Truth, regardless of the field or subject to which it is sought, is difficult to pin down. But, why do you suppose this is the case? Isn’t truth simply the truth? Hasn’t it been said that truth needs no explanation, that it stands on its own? Unfortunately, not always and not precisely. Venturing into the reasons why defining “truth” is so difficult encompasses

the entire history of humankind.

Some sociologists and philosophers

consider that truth in our postmodern Age is

“.. whatever we accept as truth and even the way we envision truth are dependent on the community in which we participate. There is no absolute truth. Rather truth is relative to the

community in which we participate.”

But, this post-modernistic? concept that truth is relative, does not always hold up. For

example, in the community of Quantum or

" Bertrand Russell: biography: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/russell/

2 Postmodern truth: Grenz, Stanley: A Primer on Postmodernism

3 Post Modernism: definition: https://www.britannica.com/topic/postmodernism-philosophy | audio book - https://youtu.be/qQcNjHNXnEE | “Postmodernism is generally defined by an attitude of skepticism, irony, or rejection toward what it describes as the grand narratives and ideologies associated with modernism, often criticizing Enlightenment rationality and focusing on the role of ideology in maintaining political or economic power. Common targets of postmodern criticism include universalist ideas of objective reality, morality, truth, human nature, reason, science, language, and social progress. Accordingly, postmodern thought is broadly characterized by tendencies to self-

The

Particle Physicists, for something like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity» to be an absolute truth, the Theory must be able to repeatedly support Einstein’s findings: The speed of light is always constant and never

changes.

No matter how many times physicists repeat the elements of Einstein’s theory, it always works. No matter how many times this theory is replicated mathematically, it always ends with the same formula F=MC?.

Therefore, Einstein’s Theory, with regard to the speed of light or gravitational forces, are absolute truths. We know this because truth cannot be invented, it can only be discovered. Truth is also unchanging, and can be

conveyed across time.

Truth through Proof

Another massive area of study is “proof.” Scientific proof is different than mathematical proof, which is different from legal proof, which is then different than philosophical

proof, and so on.

Famed author, writer and philosopher Christopher Hitchens™, is known for creating an epistemological’s razor” or rule of truth,

which is not dissimilar to the well-known

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Occam’s Razor". In Hitchens’s model he

states:

"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.'"9

Hitchens’ statement infers that the legal philosophy known as “burden of proof,” implies that the burden of proof regarding the truthfulness of a claim lies with the one who makes the claim; if this burden is not met, then the claim is unfounded, and its opponents need not argue further in order to dismiss it. If truth is so difficult to pin down,

how much more so is proof?

Is it possible that without truth there is no proof? There are all sorts of things that humans believe to be absolutely true. We believe in, and rely on, air. Yet, the average

human being could not prove that air exists.

The point though, is that there are people who can prove such things, and although most people do not witness nor have knowledge of the scientific methods used for proving the existence of air, we rely on the research and experience of others for this proof. In other words, there is always someone who can prove whether or not something

actually exists, even though we cannot.

consciousness, self-referentiality, epistemological and moral relativism, pluralism, and irreverence.

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodernism)

4 Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity: https://youtu.be/B6kreUskcpo 5 Christopher Hitchens: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Hitchens

‘’Epistemological definition: Relating to the study of the nature, origin, and limits of human knowledge.

17 Epistemology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Epistemology

18 Occam’s Razor: A philosophical tool for ‘shaving off unlikely explanations. Essentially, when faced with competin: Pp. Pp. & y exp y peting

explanations for the same phenomenon, the simplest explanation is likely the correct one. 19 Hitchens’ Razor: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitchens's_razor

The

Wouldn’t it be just as easy to disbelieve everything that we cannot directly prove ourselves? Why do we believe in the word or experience of others? Because, truth cannot be invented, it can only be discovered. When truth is discovered, we can rely on it

repeatedly.

This is the case for so many things. Early cosmologists and astronomers relied on Galileo’s discoveries, although they did not have knowledge of how the discoveries were made. Later scientists and cosmologists extended Galileo’s findings to the point of

creating such fields as astrophysics.

Only Einstein developed the General Theory of Relativity, but others relied on Einstein’s discoveries to expand the understanding we have of the Universe. We have faith in Einstein’s work every time we turn on the computer or use GPS. The proof

of this truth is in the evidence.

Scientifically, we have relied on the statements and claims of others for hundreds

of years. Why now, is it that we have such

Truth?e

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Out There-What Depabhasadhamma -

Truth is is

doubts and divisions surrounding the science of the coronavirus? There was very little, if any, controversy with the vaccines and precautionary measures surrounding Polio, Yellow Fever, Chicken Pox, Shingles, Scarlet

Fever, and many other diseases.

Innumerable facets of our everyday lives are based on the testimony of others, although we have no direct experience with any of their processes or inventions. We simply accept their testimony. Why? Because when repeated, we realize that the testimony is true, because truth can only be discovered and not invented. This is the case with the very first human virus ever discovered known as the

Yellow Fever virus.

In 1881, Carlos Finlay (1833-1915), first conducted and published research that indicated that mosquitoes were carrying the cause of yellow fever, a theory proved in 1900 with a commission headed by Walter Reed (1851-1902). The virus was finally isolated by Max Theiler (1899-1972) in 1932 who went

on to develop a successful vaccine.”

Science, Documentation, and Claims of Truth

If you want to make

a claim, you should

provide reliable sources,

not just your emotional opinion.

And that should be true

even on YouTube.

20 Yellow Fever virus: Yellow fever is caused by yellow fever virus, an enveloped RNA virus 40—50 nm in width, the

type species and namesake of the family Flaviviridae. It was the first illness shown to be transmissible by filtered human serum and transmitted by mosquitoes, by American doctor Walter Reed around 1900. |

https:/ /en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_fever

The

The same as the Yellow Fever virus, the coronavirus group” of viruses is naturally occurring, meaning that it occurs naturally in nature and was not invented or created in a laboratory. However, if we cannot rely on evidence to be true, how can we rely on the so-called proof of whether something is true or not? This is the cause of the direct conundrum we face in this modern, so-called Information Age, which should rightfully be re-labeled as the Misinformation Age».

The Omission of Factual Truth

At the root of today’s present conundrum of proving or determining truth, is the ever- growing use of “truth-claims” that conflict with actual truth.

Identifying this conundrum is not central to the identification of truth, so much as it is being able to discover the truth for oneself through direct personal experience. How is one able to discover the truth about something when so much of the information available today is either not true, somewhat

true or merely claimed to be true?

A new kind of invention has developed in our present time; an invention for the sole purpose of causing confusion or weakening what is true. Reference to this phenomenon

might be described simply as a new method of

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distorting the truth or more directly, lying. This new method of lying is very similar to

what is known as the “lie by omission.”

“The slickest way in the world to lie is to tell the right amount of truth at the right time and then shut up.” -Robert A. Heinlein:

The most common information Vide) bale Mdal-Mee) deel Vishal te

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seenby35% of seenby24%of seenby 24% of

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adults online adults online adults online

The accepted legal definition of a lie of

omission, at least in the United States is:

‘A lie of omission is an intentional failure to tell the truth in a situation requiring disclosure for the purpose of creating a

misconception.”

An omission of fact? does not mean that all of the information claimed to be true is in fact false. Most often, an omission implies that, of the information provided, not all of the true facts are given. In law this is grounds

for fraud, e.g. a fraudulent statement.

21 Orthocoronavirinae: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronavirus

22 "Belonging Is Stronger Than Facts': The Age of Misinformation | Editorial The New York Times. Contexts of Misinformation Producers of Disinformation. By Max Fisher. May 7, 2021

23 Robert A. Heinlein: https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/908211-stranger-in-a-strange-land |

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stranger_in_a_Strange_Land

24 Lie of Omission: https: //definitions.uslegal.com/1/lie-by-omission/

25 Omission of Fact: “Omission of a material fact means the failure to state a material fact required to be stated in any

disclosure statement or claim, whether verbal or written, for the purpose of misrepresentation, in light of the citcumstances under which they were made; a statement that is misleading.”

The

Again, not all of a statement or claim is necessarily false. A portion of a truth-claim may contain truth, just not all of the truth that would be necessary to make a verifiable

truthful claim.

People who are inclined to believe that there are massive amounts of information being intentionally hidden from the public, might use the definition of omission-of-fact or

misrepresentation and cry “absolutely!”

However, given all of the information that is separately and individually available from sources around the World, it stands to reason that it is extremely unlikely that the information regarding the coronavirus or the efficacy of masks and vaccines, is in any

manner false or being misrepresented.

Conversely, considering the misrepresented, unverifiable COVID truth- claims being disseminated through the Internet: There is an extremely high probability that such truth-claims, are very similar to lies of omission or misrepresentation of the truth, particularly since such truth-claims cannot or do not

provide verifiable sources.

An example of a truth-claim that borders on a lie of omission, is the testimony of the aforementioned Canadian doctor, who, out of the 15 million doctors in the World? (2020), somehow miraculously is the only physician

that holds the one truth about COVID-19. Is

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this possible? Perhaps. But, is it probable that

his truth-claims are in fact true?

The logical probability that this physician’s truth-claims regarding COVID are true, are proven false by the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of verifiable facts and data. Therefore, the probability that this physician’s truth-claims are true, are in reality, proven to be false by the sheer numbers of individually provable data from different

sources.

As it is with any case of logical

probability, there must be two or more elements to compare. In this instance the elements are claims of truth regarding the same subject: truth. Did this particular physician provide information opposing his claims? Did this physician provide alternative information so that people could examine both sides of his claims for the purpose of

discovering the truth for themselves? No.

Thus, without any information affirming or sustaining the true facts regarding a claim of truth, the only defensible position a believer of such untruths might have is the proclamation that: “I’m right. It’s the World that’s all wrong.” Yet, and still, there is no

proof that even this statement is really true.

26 WHO: Number Physicians in the World: hetps://www.who.int/data/gho/data/indicators/indicator-

details /GHO/medical-doctors-(per-10-000-population)

27 Logical Probability: “A logical relation between statements such that evidence confirming one statement also

confirms another statement.” (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries /logic-probability/)

The

Truth-Claims vs Real Truth

Beginning with a fundamental foundation:

All absolute truths are universal and contain the following characteristics:

e Truth is discovered not invented.

e Truth is transcultural: it can be conveyed across different cultures.

e Truth is unchanging: it can be conveyed across time.

e Beliefs cannot change a truth no matter how sincere one may be.

e Truth is unaffected by the attitude of the one professing it. e All Truths are absolute.

e Truth is knowable.

At the core of the problem that has infected both the identification and the reliability of truth in our present Age is the fact that to any one topic there exists a

plethora of competing “truth-claims*.”

A truth-claim has the same characteristics as a lie by omission, because it leaves out vital information that would prove a claim to be actual truth. Truth-claims cause misconceptions, and doubt, which, in the case of distributed misinformation, is the intentional creation of incorrect knowledge;

wrong thinking and wrong views.

Competing claims of truth are distributed throughout the world at lightening speed, via

the Internet and cell phones, amassing

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enormous audiences, but in many cases, conveniently leaving out vital information whereby one is able to discover the actual truth.

Frequently, creators and peddlers of misinformation, never provide opposing information allowing someone to discover the actual truth. This is the way peddlers of misinformation fragment the truth. Fragmentation of what is true is the result of the rapid distribution of competing truth- claims and misinformation. Misinformation, in the form of truth-claims, are available to

everyone, regardless of a recipient’s capacity to

obtain and understand the actual facts.

Around October 10, 2021, CBS News aired

an entire program about the problem with fake news and disinformation”. Wikipedia has a dedicated page of fake news websites totaling 74 sites that broadcast fake news. CBS News affiliate WBZ Boston published the results of a poll in an article titled “Nearly all Americans agree that the rampant spread of misinformation

is a problem.”

8 Truth Claim: definition https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary /english/truth-claim 2? CBS News “Fake News” https://www.cbsnews.com/live/video/20211010235930-fake-news-real-consequences-

the-woman-fightine-disinformation/

30 Wikipedia Fake News Sites: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fake_news_websites 31 WBZ Boston (CBS Affiliate): https://boston.cbslocal.com/2021/10/08/misinformation-fake-news-stories-facts-

facebook-twitter-youtube-social-media-associated-press-poll/

The

Why is the distribution of misinformation so pervasive? The answer is partially due to the fact that the deliberate distribution of misinformation is big business. In fact, the current widespread distribution of misinformation has a name, and it is known as Infodemic».

What is it that drives the misinformation market? DESIRE, GREED and corrupted INTENTIONS. If you don’t like the truth- claim from one source, you simply Google another source until you find the one that

satisfies you and supports your point of view.

Often times, “real truth” is bypassed or missed completely and is never realized or known. Mass distribution of misinformation has caused the disintegration of social structures the world over, by splintering people into groups contending for a spot to

broadcast their truth-claims. What a mess!

Centuries of scientific, political and social advancements have developed ways in which the truth could be protected from snake-oil sales, shoddy political practices, social

inequality and so on.

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wees ruth

Reality' Feeling Belief

Truth-claim

ss) OQ ct Evidence

ge inion

Knowled Op

Daniel T. Rogers, professor emeritus at Princeton University, wrote an article titled, “When Truth Becomes a Commodity,” published on January 20" 2017 in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

“When the credibility of university elites and government data are under severe challenge as just another biased set of facts in a marketplace of data, their ability to bring clarity into the open market in truths is crippled. Who will judge exaggerated and invented news when every umpire must fight

for standing in the refereeing market?”

Unfortunately, it appears that, along with everything else in our Age, truth also now comes with a price tag. It is no secret that the creation and dissemination of misinformation

is big, big business.

“The sheer volume of assaults on fact and truth is undermining trust not just in politics and government, but also in business, tech, science and health care as well. Our misinformation apocalypse has many contributors across the political spectrum, but one group benefits: authoritarians. They flourish when citizens overwhelmed with bad information give up on trying to figure out the truth. The bottom

» Infodemic: Yale Medicine https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/covid-19-infodemic | National Geographic

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science /article / guide-to-overcoming-coronavirus-misinformation-infodemic 33 The Business of Misinformation CEU Democracy Institute- https://cmds.ceu.edu/business-misinformation 3 When Truth Becomes a Commodity: Rogers, Daniel T. | https://uwm.edu/c21 / wp-

content/ uploads/ sites/359/2017/06/ Rodgers_Truth.pdf | https:/ / www.chronicle.com| article/ when-truth-becomes-a-commodity/

The

line: We won't be able to solve our problems if we

can't even agree which ones are real.”

Aside from the sources of misinformation, and regardless of the intent behind the distribution of misinformation; our ability to determine the truth has become so disabled that we simply jump on the bandwagon of the most popular lie. So, after examining all of these ideas, one unanswered question remains. Should we stop trying to discover what is actually true? What is at stake

here is trust.

Harvard Business Review reports that a 17- year study, performed by the Edeleman Trust*, found an enormous drop in the overall trust of people throughout the World.

“Tens of thousands of people across dozens of countries about their level of trust in business, media, government, and NGOs. This year was the first time the study found a decline in trust across all four of these institutions. In almost two-thirds of the 28 countries we surveyed, the general population did not trust the four institutions to “do what is right” the average

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level of trust in all four institutions combined was below 50%.”

Is our World developing the consensus that there is nothing and no one that can be trusted? If this is the case, what sort of World are we heading toward? Can you imagine a world where there is nothing and no one that

we can be trusted?

Examining the WHY?

Thus far the entire focus of this essay has

centered around the various aspects of truth, with nary a mention of the teachings of the Buddha. Perhaps, this may leave the reader, wondering why a Theravadin upasaka:'! +! is concerned about the prevalence of

misinformation in this present time.

Humans cannot live without experiencing the effects of the conditioned World. Buddha’s teachings are not just about meditation and ‘feel-good’ exercises occasionally practiced. Like the Buddha, who taught how it is possible that you could live in the World without losing yourself.

35 Axios The Misinformation Age. https://www.axios.com/the-misinformation-age-0f044c65-7cd8-4194-a49e-

110e90184cd5.html

36 Edelman Trust: https://www.edelman.com/about-us

37 Harvard Business Review, article “Survey: People’s Trust Has Declined in Business, Media, Government, and

NGOs”: https://hbr.org/2017/01/survey-peoples-trust-has-declined-in-business-media-government-and-ngos

38 Upasaka: https://accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/various/wheel294.html | “A upasaka has five qualities, is a jewel of a lay-follower, is like a lily, like a lotus. What are these five qualities? He has faith; he is virtuous; he is not superstitious; he believes in action (kamma) and not in luck or omen; he does not seek outside (of the Order) for those worthy of support and does not attend there first.” -Anguttara Nikaya 5.175

39 Upasaka Citta: “The Buddha considered Upasaka Citta to be the most learned and lucid of all the lay Dhamma teachers. After becoming the Buddha's lay disciple, he shared and explained the Buddha's teaching to the other citizens of the town, and taught five hundred of them, who became lay persons themselves, and on one occasion took all of the new students to Savatthi to visit the Buddha. The discourses in the Tipitaka taught by a Upasaka Citta indicate his profound grasp of the subtlest aspects of the Buddha Dhamma and indeed later he became enlightened as an Anagami ot Non-Returner.”

4 Citta (Upasaka): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citta_(disciple)

The

In order for truth to become the rule rather that the exception, particularly in this present time, there would need to be a

universal cooperation of many, many people.

Knowing how to discover truth is at the core of the Buddha’s teachings, regardless of whether you seek the truth about yourself or you seek to discover the truth about the World around you.

As with all aspects of life, the Buddha taught specific methods for discovering truth for oneself through skillful direct experience. This ability, as used and taught by the Buddha, is of great assistance, particularly with regard to the truth about oneself, also for discovering the cause for everyday

dissatisfaction and suffering.

Gaining direct experience is crucial, but before this, one must learn the methods that the Buddha taught. Otherwise, the value of direct experience is be pointless without

knowledge based on truth.

His teachings, particularly of the Four Noble Truths, can also aid us in developing insight and understanding of things as they really are. In other words, the Buddha’s

teachings show us how to determine truth.

All of the information provided thus far was for the purpose of clarifying the major issues regarding truth and the scope of misinformation that we experience in our present Age. Admittedly, this essay doesn’t examine the huge magnitude of the issues surrounding the human concepts of truth. However, I am going to try my darnedest to

summarize the answer.

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This answer has a two-fold goal. First, is the obvious explanation of why people choose to believe blatantly false things. The second goal is to examine the answer applying the

teachings of the Buddha.

Ignorant of the Truth = Bliss?

Finding an Ignoring a

3 explanation of why problem is the

people choose to believe falsehoods

should be easy. We

want to believe that

same as being ignorant of it.

truth is obvious. Of course, such things as scientific truths require time, effort, and research. However, the focus of this essay is centered upon “spoken” and “written” truth,

things that we assume to be true.

Since the advent of the Internet however, we can no longer assume or presume that what is said, written or published is true at all. Most persons simply don’t have the time to devote to the enormous task of researching every truth claim that is peddled over the

Internet or on YouTube.

This situation might be remedied by the independent creation of an institution whose sole purpose is researching truth claims, and subsequently publishing the results. Since we have very little trust in government agencies at present, this venture could not be government related. Also, as inviting as this idea may be, the efficacy of such an endeavor would still have its detractors, meaning people; people who disregard anything that does not fit into their cultural, racial, religious, political and

social sphere.

The

Why do some ignore the obvious truth? Doing so sometimes makes us feel good about ourselves, causing us to feel safe within the boundaries of our own story-lines, preserving our own opinions and beliefs. Many people strongly defend their own opinions and beliefs, particularly if such are rooted in any

number of group-associations.

Of course, in the face of absolute truth, an attitude that fosters apathy is not simply misguided, but is naive, and is rooted in ignorance. In reality, on their own, most people aren’t very well equipped to determine truth from fiction. Logically, ignorance is the

natural state of human nature.

There is much involved in searching for the truth. Once the truth is discovered, what are the condition that causes acceptance? A mere declaration that something is true is certainly not reliable. Humans have the ability to share information, but sharing information is not dependent on our individual mental

abilities, education or brain capacity.

Accepting a Discovery of Truth

Verifying what the truth is, historically has

never been a singular act. Rather, by its nature, the sharing of information has always been a willing labor, and all of the World’s inventions, innovations and creations have only been possible because of the human ability to share information. Knowledge regarding such innovations cannot remain isolated with a single individual, but must be

shared.

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A truth cannot remain the sole possession of a single individual in order to be considered or verified as a truth. This is especially so with regard to the teachings of the Buddha. In order for his direct experience and subsequent teachings to be considered absolute truth, others would have to replicate his methods,

thereby discovering the truth for themselves.

Thus, after nearly 2,600 years, people have practiced his methods and shared his teachings, making the determination that they are true; one person at a time. Therefore, over the centuries, it is the sharing of his teachings by humans that has caused the Dhamma to remain indisputable. However, unfortunate as it is, ignorance and misinformation are also

shared among humans.

Selective Ignorance & Info Overload

There are many things that we commonly

accept as indisputable truth, yet we remain ignorant of the reasons why. We remain ignorant of certain aspects of things we accept as truth, yet we accept them anyway. For example, we accept the fact that rain comes from clouds, but can the average person prove it? Do we know how rain comes from clouds? We accept the truth that carcinogens, like cigarette smoke causes cancer, but can we

explain how or why it does?

Most people will not dispute the truth that the Earth revolves around the sun, but can we recite the mathematical equations to prove it? There are innumerable things that we accept as irrefutable truth, but we are

completely unable to explain why.

The

Suffice-it-to-say, people all over the World believe in things that they truly do not understand. However, throughout the last several centuries, people have come to trust in the collective knowledge of the sciences. This is knowledge that other people hold, but that

we have come to rely on as truth.

The advances of the entire technology industry are possible because of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity", yet people working in the Tech field do not need to know the entire scope of mathematics that Einstein used to

arrive at his theory.

Why is it then that the sharing of misinformation seems to be of epidemic proportions in our Age? The truth about pretty much anything is out there, we just have to try to find it. Ah, but is the truth

really out there or is it somewhere else?

Perhaps contributing to this problem is that we think that everything is important. Selective ignorance can be a good or bad. Being selective about the things we know and understand about ourselves is hazardous. Being selective about bad information and only accepting what we can logical prove to ourselves through direct experience is good

and beneficial.

“| How I Created the Theory of Relativity Einstein:

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In answering the reason why people choose to believe in things that are untrue, we must examine the root cause of such behavior. Some of the root causes for this behavior are

anchored in denial, delusion and illusion.

Buddha’s Method for Finding Truth

Of all of the Buddha’s 84,000 teachings, one single philosophy is prevalent: The teachings are not to be considered beliefs, but as categories of experience, for it is only through direct experience that one can prove whether or not the teachings are true. This philosophy is universal, and is not isolated to the teachings of the Buddha, regardless of what

truth one attempts to discover.

Through direct experience of applying any facet of life, whether the absolute truth is known or not, we are able and capable of definitively knowing truth. Remember truth is knowable, but direct experience is required.

While we cannot have direct experience of many things that exist in today’s World, we can have direct experience through correct knowledge, thus setting aside any ignorance of a subject that we may have, even if we do not

know that we are ignorant.

The formula put forth, within the Buddha’s first teaching known as the Four Noble Truths, sets the standard for

discovering any truth.

http://courses.physics.ucsd.edu/2016/Winter/physics2d/einsteinonrelativity.pdf

The

Upon close examination of the teachings of the Four Noble Truths, one discovers the