The Sanctuary of Truth, Thailand. See Related Reading below for details.
“Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.”— Mark Twain
“There are no facts, only interpretations.”— Friedrich Nietzsche
“People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe.”— Andy Rooney
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”— John Adams
“Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything. It’s certainty.”— Stephen Colbert
“Let us not underrate the value of a fact; it will one day flower into a truth.”— Henry David Thoreau
“The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.”— Niels Bohr
“The facts are always less than what really happened.”— Nadine Gordimer
“Truth does not become more true by virtue of the fact that the entire world agrees with it, nor less so even if the whole world disagrees with it.”— Maimonides
“People say they love truth, but in reality they want to believe that which they love is true.”— Robert Ringer
Most people, unfortunately, are not swayed or led by reason and facts. They are led by beliefs and the heart. And, in these days of great information malleability, who knows which “facts” are really truth? We have so many “facts” to choose from – how do we decide which “facts” to believe and support? And just what is “truth”?
This situation is nothing new. People in power or wanting power have used invented and convenient “facts” forever to persuade followers and frighten resisters. That’s just what people do. And have done since people were invented.
You are not ignoring “facts” if you have no way of telling whether “facts” are truth. Is “truth” reality, while “facts” are what various people invent, believe, and use to persuade. And what is “reality”? Perhaps it is what objectively exists, stripped of any attempts to explain, to elaborate, to proclaim. Reality in this sense seems a lot like “facts”.
Our world today is overwhelmed by data, much of which is claiming to be fact. Some is “information”, another very fuzzy term. Not to mention “misinformation”.
How are we to know what to believe or trust anymore?
Facts vs. truth
We all know what facts and truth are. Of course.
A fact is an observation, measurement, or occurrence. It should be verifiable by others. It’s validity exists only within a definable, generally repeatable, context. Facts are objective, not subjective. Reality, if you will.
Truth, on the other hand, deals with meaning and understanding. Truth is often subjective and belief-based. Truth may include facts, but it goes beyond them. Truth comes from the mind and the heart. It can be highly personal in origin, meaning, and applicability.
A fact can be truth, but only within its defined context. A truth usually cannot be a fact since it is usually not objectively verifiable, nor has it a specific context.
Truth can be determined in many cases by assembling, interpreting, and assessing a relevant set of facts. Juries do this every day. Do juries make mistakes? Certainly. They conclude based on a belief that their verdict reflects as reliably and accurately as possible the set of facts available. Truth is their collective belief.
“Facts do not speak.” — Henri Poincare
Facts are objective, at least in theory. Speaking requires a speaker – a person, and is therefore subjective. Subjective, in turn, is a belief – a personal “truth”.
None of this seems very helpful to a person seeking “truth” about something.
Maybe there are (mostly) no facts
Data presented as factual may simply be a person’s observation. People are often flawed, biased, or agenda-driven. What they say may reflect very little of what they observe as “fact”. Their facts are really beliefs.
If I am looking for something that is not based on personal or group beliefs, what can I do? I might be able to observe a “fact”, but then my observation may well be tainted by my own set of biases, beliefs, and agendas. What I have then is simply my personal version of what I have observed.
Should I even trust myself – that my fact is in some real, objective sense true?
COVID is a current case in point here. What are the real facts, and what is the truth to be drawn from them? People are getting sick and dying. That is about as real as it gets. Why are they getting sick and dying? This seems critically important to know if you are sick or dying, or if your job involves treating the sick and dying.
What are the “facts” here? We have a great many people and groups each stating their own set of facts, which almost certainly cannot all be true in some objective, verifiable sense. Assuming that such a sense exists or is possible to develop.
This is not good, yes? We have a hugely important situation about which we desperately need to know the truth, the somehow-verifiable facts. And yet all we have is an almost incomprehensible variety of beliefs, views, agendas, and even fantasies if you can imagine such. Perhaps somewhere in this mess lies the truth – possibly verifiable and objective – but just how can us normal folk discover this?
The only thing we know for certain is that most, and perhaps all, of what is being stated as “fact” is not the truth. It may well be that this “truth” remains hidden, as-yet undiscovered. What to do?
My approach for whatever it may be worth is simply to regard such “facts” as beliefs, views, agendas, fantasies, and the like. Neither verifiable nor objective. One of these may turn out to be the truth, but meanwhile we must somehow choose a path and act. Stakes may be very high to us personally if we are wrong.
Maybe most facts don’t matter
Even if there are mostly no readily-verifiable, objective (whatever this means in practice) facts available, we can’t just ignore everything out there. We must choose from among what’s available and act, so often at our serious peril.
This seems to mean that our starting point in general should be that what are claimed as “facts” may or may not be true, and most are likely not. They do not matter in practice because they are, or should be, suspect.
How many theories, highly variable ones in practice, are out there today? Not uncountable, but surely a major bunch. Are any of these valid? Who knows? Is this important? It surely is.
Although the vaxx issue has greatly faded in recent months for the majority, it is still important for those experiencing all kinds of medical conditions and care. And for those also who may unexpectedly join these people. While COVID has become yet another concern that is being replaced by many more recent concerns, the underlying fears of health impact remain. As always.
Again, without verifiable objective facts, we are obliged to believe whatever and whomever we trust or is most persuasive. We are left with our beliefs, not facts.
The stakes in all of this could not be higher. Our health and even lives are on the line. If our beliefs are wrong, then we may get sick, or die, or decline vital treatments that can help, or take the wrong treatments, or …
Dare I even mention “climate change” and the “hottest days ever”?
If we are lucky, we can simply ignore this issue as yet another agenda-driven alarmist view presented as fact. Another crisis that cannot be allowed to go to waste. Like global cooling (1970s) and global warming (1990s). Is this latest version life-threatening like the shape-shifting COVID things?
Probably not, but climate change concerns can drive so many actions and cost so much that our lives may be severely affected. No matter what we personally believe. Another fact-deprived issue where the stakes for many of us can be huge.
Like so much else, recent claims – hysteria – about “the hottest days ever” present a carefully structured set of “facts” that are facts only within a narrow context. They aren’t really lies, but just an incomplete picture of what may really be going on climate-wise. Possibly even agenda-driven, if you can believe such a thing.
Forbes, a major business publication, echoes the headlines found in many other media: “July 4 Was Earth’s Hottest Day In Over 100,000 Years—Breaking Record For 2nd Day In A Row”:
“The Fourth of July was the hottest day on Earth in as many as 125,000 years—breaking a record set the day before—as the return of the El Niño weather pattern collides with soaring temperatures at the start of summer, researchers say.”
“The exact modeling system used to estimate Tuesday’s temperature has only been used since 1979, but scientists are able to estimate average temperatures going back tens of thousands of years by using instrument-based global temperature records, tree rings and ice cores, climate scientist Paulo Ceppi told the Washington Post.”
“The Washington Post’s heat index forecast said as many as 57 million people across the United States were exposed to dangerous heat on Tuesday.”
Ever-outspoken The Burning Platform tells a quite different story, which may or may not be true (i.e., verifiable, objective). The ice core chart below tells this different story.
Are either of these true in any verifiable objective sense? My own belief, since I have no way of verifying either story, is that we are in a long-term cooling period that began around 500 AD and featured a “Little Ice Age” (1300-1850 AD) and the Maunder sunspot minimum. A recent post elaborated on this situation.
All we have is another case of “my belief is better and bigger than your belief”.
Dare I even also mention the “Great Reset”?
As noted above, the stakes in our lack of factual facts are enormous. If we can’t reliably determine who is telling the true truth, how can we even start to figure out what to do about such things. Like the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset.
I might as well begin here with a relatively extreme viewpoint from The Burning Platform and work back toward a practical way of dealing with what is seems to me at least like a very serious situation: “Here’s What’s Really Behind the Global Reset and Sustainable Development Agenda 2030”:
“Here’s how it works in case you’ve not figured it out or if you need to explain things to friends who have perhaps thus far been gullible enough to buy into the entire ‘the world is going through a climate crisis’ and life itself will end in [pick your suitable date] ‘hogwash.’”
“The financial considerations that need to be made in order to meet idiotic green energy targets mean that all things that currently sustain life itself (energy and food being at the top of the list) become uneconomical and are shut down.”
“This is creating the greatest convexity I’ve ever seen in my career. In fact, it is the greatest I’ve ever seen relative to my readings of history going back hundreds of years. What is obvious is the sectors coming under attack. What is more challenging is determining from an investment standpoint the jurisdictions/countries which will ultimately repudiate this Malthusian genocidal eugenic agenda.”
Sorry, but this kind of thing has been going on forever, and probably much longer. It’s just what people do. Nothing new here.
Climate crisis? Hogwash, perhaps. Green energy? Hogwash, perhaps. Malthusian genocidal eugenic agenda (whatever this may mean)? Hogwash, perhaps. Each carries an element of truth to the extent that it may be possible to see at least a bit of truth that underlies such rabble-rousing proclamations.
Yes, there is a “great reset” underway (as fact – because Klaus says so) and it will bring a huge change in our lives (likely, but not yet certain). Things get quite fuzzy from this point on. Facts largely obscured, possibly even intentionally – if you can imagine such a thing.
Our dilemma: We must plan and act despite having no “facts”
Each day, we all must plan and act on some basis that we trust – that we believe to be true. We act must on our beliefs, whether actually true or not. Our beliefs become our facts in practice.
Where do our beliefs come from? So many sources: authority figures; friends; social media; agenda-driven propaganda. The sources we follow may be unconsciously chosen for reasons that we hardly know or understand.
Consequences from beliefs that turn out to be wrong can be very serious, or even fatal. Of course, it has been this way forever. Most people have never had any real way to discover which facts are true – objective and verifiable. We typically learn the hard way, by personal pain and suffering. We learn this way both about facts we acted on, trusted, those that prove to be untrue, and those we rejected but that turn out to be true.
We live in the world of our beliefs, perceptions, and hopes. Facts do not matter. Our beliefs and the beliefs of others we trust are what matter. This means that we will be wrong, partially or fully, frustratingly often. And often painfully.
This is especially frustrating to those who are analytically and practically inclined, like myself. I am highly uncomfortable living in a world where facts are so hard to discover and prove. My beliefs, as much as possible, flow from incessant searching, analyzing, and testing of whatever may be happening out there.
This odd methodology is often called “learning”.
Learning of course is personal. No one can learn for me, nor can I learn for others. What I learn may well turn out to be wrong, or the situation may change so as to invalidate what I have learned. This means that learning in practice must be a process, a life process, that continues indefinitely.
It also means that whatever I may learn from such a process may not be objective, verifiable facts, but mostly my personally-defined facts. That is, my own perceptions and beliefs. And biases, no doubt. And of course, errors.
COVID, climate change, CBDCs (and of course nuclear WW III)
Application time. These are current, huge, potentially-threatening situations. Many sources and versions of “facts” are available for each of these. They range from Armageddon to nothing-burger. Many believers are out there for each version and subjective degree of concern.
For those of us hoping to be around while these situations play out one way or another, what are our options for planning and action? Broadly, I see three main approaches:
- Go with the majority, and go with their flow.
- Support or join the resistance to one or more.
- Stay uncommitted for as long as possible.
In each of these, we may well be betting our lives on our choice. Enormous personal stakes involved.
Supporting the majority, assuming that it is possible to identify such, is essentially defaulting on the personal facts decision, and letting others decide for you. This way, if the majority is wrong and you become dead or worse, you can blame others for your misfortune.
Supporting one of the various flavors of resistance is more difficult because of the number and variety of these. They range from quietly flag-waving and muttering encouragement, to manning the battle stations in some manner. If your choice happens to be one that turns out to be correct about what’s happening, great. Well, not quite since you may also end up dead or seriously messed up, despite being right. Umm …
Fence-sitting means that you decide not to decide until you are forced. Staying open and flexible is what some call this non-position position. The trick here is to remain alive or reasonable facsimile thereof indefinitely. Another big gamble. Powers-that-be do not generally like or permit the undecided. Their way or else.
None of these seems particularly appealing, yes?
Going with the majority seems the most likely default position, but …
Resistance in almost any form is difficult and risky. It takes great courage and persistence. It also takes, in my view, a realistic assessment of those people and groups driving the majority. These are extremely powerful at the moment, operating globally with huge resources, and so seem to me at least to be heading for some significant degree of success. Resistance may be the road less traveled.
Ruling out active resistance leaves only the majority and uncommitted approaches available. There is however an additional option: pursue all three flexibly as the various situations evolve. This requires keeping fairly close track of where things seem to be headed. It requires a process, not a decision or action.
How might such a flexible process work in practice?
A continuous learning process
The approach that I see would essentially be a continuous learning process. Its goal would be to develop and maintain a set of personal “facts” that reflect what one sees happening, for example, with COVID (or pandemic disease generally), climate change, Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), and nuclear world war.
My set of personal facts would be some combination of my opinions, views, biases, beliefs, and probably even agendas. They may not in general reflect any underlying reality, but only my current perceptions and reasoning.
Today, for example, I might see “COVID” as a variety of evolving threats to health, globally. I might see “climate change” as an effort by the-powers-that-wanna-be to gain global control over almost everybody and everything. “CBDCs” are of course part of the surveil-and-control agenda of governments and banks globally, since they seem to admit such on a pretty regular basis. “Nuclear war” right now seems more like a threat among major world powers aiming for economic and political dominance, an event that will not happen except by accident.
Tomorrow, my observations and assessments – not facts, just beliefs etc. – may suggest a somewhat changed picture. I might want to appear visibly aligned with one or more majorities in some limited manner. I may more strongly expect governments and banks to self-destruct in their ambitions, as has happened so often in past. And nuclear war may seem less likely as belligerents become at least a bit more cautious.
My set of personal facts would continue to evolve with ever-changing events and situations, as would my positions and actions. Again, my facts would not necessarily reflect any underlying reality except by accident or (mis)fortune. They would simply be my best sense of what is going on as it affects me and probably others in my circle of contacts. Facts outside of this personal set do not matter because I have no way to discover and objectively validate them.
What does matter is my personal facts, my mostly tentative actions, and my careful and cautious assessments – as a process.
And just how might one develop a set of “personal facts”?
We exist and act in a world where underlying facts, truth, are often invisible. Authorities of every flavor lie about or distort everything. Whatever they say, we can be sure that truth lies elsewhere. They are almost completely reliable about being unreliable.
The best that I can do here is to outline what my “process solution” is in a fact-free or facts-don’t-matter world.
1. Assume that information on everything important is untrue
Not necessarily a lie, but more likely being an incomplete story. This means that I will act slowly and cautiously as much as possible, pending receipt of some confirming (or refuting) information. My actions should be based on several pieces or sources of information that are in substantial agreement – sources that have proven trustworthy – to me at least.
2. Seek out trusted sources
Nobel Prize-winning physicist and climate scientist Dr. John Clauser has stated unequivocally and publicly that there is no climate crisis. He also believes that climate crisis fears are being created for other purposes. This guy seems to be about as credible as they come, to me at least. Further reinforcing his credibility are the many howls of disagreement from known climate crisis purveyors. See Related Reading below.
3. Get input from sources at both ends of the spectrum if possible.
I try my best to hear those with whom I disagree as well as agree. Truth almost certainly lies somewhere in between, perhaps leaning a bit toward one or other. There is never a single source of truth. The loudest voices are most likely to be pushing an agenda. To me, the loudest voices are the least trustworthy.
4. Remain flexible
Be prepared to change tentative beliefs (i.e., believed until credible evidence indicates unreliability). This means that I must not get locked into a plan of action or into beliefs so that change in what I do becomes very difficult. Things change so quickly in our world today that what appears to be tentatively true one day may be shown tentatively false the next day. That’s just how our world works.
5. Stay agile
Avoid rigid commitments as much as possible. This involves partly my being as flexible as possible, but it means also being able to change direction and methods quickly. I must take great care to commit in small steps, and to use these small steps to learn. Next steps would be based on what I learn.
6. Keep learning
I am less a believer than a learner. My beliefs evolve based on what I learn as I go along and act, in small steps. What is true today – that is, most credible in my mind today – may well change substantially based on what I learn today and maybe tomorrow. What I “know” are simply my current beliefs. These need to be tested frequently and openly.
7. Stay positive
This probably means avoiding fear and group-think. To me at least. I am by nature positive, but realistic. Or so I believe.
My “solution” scorecard as of post date
It will come as absolutely no surprise to you to hear that my personal solution scorecard so far is not particularly impressive. To say the least:
- Assume that information on everything important is untrue ***..
This assumption kind of leaves me in uncomfortable confusion.
- Seek out trusted sources *….
My trusted source list is pretty empty at the moment.
- Diversify sources **…
I am getting better at this, but the list of candidate sources is rather empty.
- Remain flexible *….
I think that I’m pretty flexible, but this is not tested. I’m skeptical so far.
- Stay agile **…
I think that I’m pretty agile, but this is not tested. I’m skeptical so far.
- Keep learning ***..
Learning is who I am. Am I learning the right stuff? Not yet sure.
- Stay positive **…
I’m positive in that I know I’m going in the right direction. Will it end happily? Stay tuned.
Most people are not led by reason and facts, but by beliefs and the heart – feelings. Worse yet, who knows anymore which “facts” are really truth. Facts in practice have become largely beliefs, feelings, and agendas. Facts in truth do not matter as a result. What matters are the consequences of large numbers of people believing that certain things are “facts”, whether or not they actually are.
If beliefs, not facts, really matter to most people, then knowing the “facts” becomes irrelevant – and often dangerously misleading. What shapes the world, mostly, is what people believe. This means that our plans and actions must be based on – not agreeing with – what the majority believe. Think COVID, climate change, CBDCs, and war as points of reference here.
- From Wikipedia: “The Sanctuary of Truth”:
“The Sanctuary of Truth is an unfinished museum in Pattaya, Thailand designed by Thai businessman Lek Viriyaphan. The museum structure is a hybrid of a temple and a castle that is themed on the Ayutthaya Kingdom and of Buddhist and Hindu beliefs. The building has been under construction since 1981, and may not be finally completed until 2025 at the earliest.”
“Theme. The museum features a four-faced Hindu creator god Brahma statue on its rooftop for showing respect to father, mother, teacher, and the king, and the elephant-headed god Ganesha. The Northern hall features Buddhist Guanyin and other sculptures featuring wisdom of emancipation. The Southern hall features astronomical themes, namely the sun, moon, and other planets impacting people’s well-being. The Western hall features representations of the classical elements (earth, water, wind, and fire) and sculptures of the Hindu Trinity: Lord Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, the gods who conquer the four elements. The Eastern hall features familial representations. The main focus is to visually portray important eastern religious concepts and the cycle of life.”
- Dr. John Clauser, Nobel Prize-winning physicist and climate scientist, seems very skeptical about climate change goings on: “Nobel Prize winner denounces alarmist climate predictions: ‘I don’t believe there is a climate crisis’”
“A Nobel Prize-winning physicist has criticized alarmist climate predictions and said that he does not believe that there is a ‘climate crisis.’ During his speech at the ‘Quantum Korea 2023’ event, Dr. John Clauser said, ‘I don’t believe there is a climate crisis,’ according to a report by Seoul Economic Daily that has been translated into English by the CO2 Coalition.”
“Clauser won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2022, alongside two other scientists, for his work in the field of quantum mechanics. In May 2023, the renowned physicist joined the board of directors of the CO2 Coalition, a scientific organization that highlights the benefits of CO2 for the environment and criticizes alarmist climate models. Dr. William Happer, chairman of the CO2 Coalition’s board of directors, said that Clauser’s ‘studies of the science of climate provide strong evidence that there is no climate crisis and that increasing CO2 concentrations will benefit the world.’”
“Commenting on climate alarmism, Clauser has said that ‘The popular narrative about climate change reflects a dangerous corruption of science that threatens the world’s economy and the well-being of billions of people.’”
“’Misguided climate science has metastasized into massive shock-journalistic pseudoscience,’ he continued. ‘In turn, the pseudoscience has become a scapegoat for a wide variety of other unrelated ills. It has been promoted and extended by similarly misguided business marketing agents, politicians, journalists, government agencies, and environmentalists. In my opinion, there is no real climate crisis.’”
“’There is, however, a very real problem with providing a decent standard of living to the world’s large population and an associated energy crisis. The latter is being unnecessarily exacerbated by what, in my opinion, is incorrect climate science.’”
- David Bell via The Brownstone Institute and Zero Hedge takes a run at the WHO: “The WHO Is A Real And Present Danger”
“Our governments intend to transfer decisions over our health, families, and societal freedoms to the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), whenever he or she declares it necessary. The success of this transfer of power depends on public ignorance of its implications, and of the nature of the WHO itself and its recent pandemic policy reversals. When the public understands, then its leaders are more likely to act in their interests rather than against them.”
“So, we have a problem. The WHO, ostensibly leading the show, is deeply conflicted through its private investors, whilst governed by an Assembly including powerful States hostile to human rights and democracy. Its staffing policies, based on country quotas and rules that promote retention rather than targeted recruitment, are not even designed to assure technical expertise.”
“The recent behavior of these staff – blind, dutiful compliance with the organization’s multiple nonsensical claims – must raise questions regarding their integrity and competency. The expanding pandemic industry has a massive financial war chest aimed at media and political sponsorship, and our politicians fear political oblivion should they oppose it.”
“Pandemics are rare. In the past century, including Covid, the WHO estimates about one per generation. These cost fewer life-years during their time of spread than tuberculosis or cancer cost every year. No one can rationally claim we face an existential crisis, or that forfeiting human freedom to Pharma and private entrepreneurs is a legitimate public health response should we face one. Our democracies are being eroded through a massive amoral business deal, a structure designed to concentrate the wealth of the many in the hands of the few. Covid-19 proved the model works. “
“The only real question is whether, and how, this society-wrecking pandemic train can be stopped. The public health professions want careers and salaries, and will not intervene. They have proven that in previous manifestations of fascism. The public must educate themselves, and then refuse to comply. We can just hope some of our supposed leaders will step forward to help them.”