It's getting more difficult each day to tell the difference between truth and opinion. The lines are blurred so badly that we believe whatever someone with an ounce of confidence puts on the web or Tweets without questioning it.
How did we get here?
I believe it's our fascination with drama that has put us in the land of illusion. We'd much rather click on a headline that reads: 'Bold-faced lie': White House, Whistle-Blower Fires Back at Administration on COVID-19 Death Statistics than on this headline: Canadian Book Buying on the Rise. The previous headline hints at some juicy conflict whereas the last headline indicates that more people in Canada are reading. The latter could be a very positive trend but most of us really don't care unless there's drama.
The massive popularity of reality TV is another indication that drama sells. We all succumb to it at some point. I've been watching this show called Lost Resort about a bunch of messed up people who go to a healing retreat in Costa Rica. But instead of getting healed for abandonment issues or emotional disconnection, the drama mamas take over. Even the holistic healers get sucked in.
What is the difference between truth and opinion?
I could get super philosophical here and attempt to define "truth" and "opinion," but I'm not going to do that. This blog post is essentially my opinion and perspective on this idea. It's is not necessarily "the" truth since I believe truth, in its broadest sense, is something personal. Only you know what's absolutely true for you.
At the same time, you could look at truth in a more specific sense as a "statement of fact." And here is where the rabbit hole goes even further: a "fact" has now been skewed with the dubious term a lot of people like to use these days as in "alternative facts."
When we get to this point, when a fact is even suspect, determining the truth becomes nearly impossible. I still believe truth exists. The way to truth is to go within. Find a place of stillness among all the chaos and noise.
Questioning and Critical Thinking
With all our modern knowledge and technological advances, it amazes me that something as basic and simple as the "truth" is up for grabs. This is why I often refer to ancient wisdom for answers. The Buddhist philosophy suggests that learning the art of questioning is key to finding the truth. Instead of enforcing an unquestioning acceptance of his teachings, the Buddha dissolved students’ doubts by being open to their questions.
"Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true."
Another key to finding the truth is critical thinking. Remember drama? Well, the media and influencers often use our emotions against us. If you respond to something you read or watched with a visceral reaction, your emotions have been triggered. That's exactly what they want you to do because you're easier to influence when you're emotional.
Developing a space or pause between your emotions and your response has never been more important. Too many people are allowing their emotions to run the show. Again, ancient wisdom helps here. Practicing meditation allows you to develop that "pause" muscle. This gives you the time you need to think about your response and ask critical questions like, "What's the purpose of this? Who authored it? Do they have an agenda that's different from sharing facts? Am I being triggered?"
We're in a time when we need to be vigilant about the information we consume. It's a good idea to ask yourself: "Where do I get my information, and is it serving my well-being or fueling my emotions?" The truth is out there. Unfortunately, we have to be more aware and discerning than ever before.
Peace, love & yoga,