I was once told (by a lawyer, no less) that there is no such thing as the truth but rather that “truth” is always “situational”. That attorney was by no means alone in that opinion and perhaps may even be in the majority with that view but I have to respectfully and vehemently disagree. I personally believe that those who advocate “situational truth” and “situational ethics” are confusing truth and ethics with what are merely artificially narrow points of view stubbornly clung to as self-justification for thoughts, beliefs, and/or actions which they realize, consciously or unconsciously, would fail under objective scrutiny. To such proponents, truth is a collection of facts and pseudo-facts arranged in a manner to produce that which conveniently relieves them of moral and/or actual liability for the consequences of their choices.
My criticism of “Situational Truth” does not mean that I fail to recognize that everyone views events from their personal frame of reference and that more than one view can often and even simultaneously be valid. Nor does it mean that I see life in terms of black and white without any shades of gray. The problem, as I see it, arises when someone places validation of their internal emotional needs as the final arbiter of what is “true” regardless of any objective analysis of irrefutable – but external – hard facts and evidence. To me, truth is truth whether we like it or not. Shades of gray only apply to and only exist when we have competing interests to consider when deciding how we want to think and act in response to the truth. While there are times when there is no one “right” answer and times when there isn’t even any “good” answer, denying the existence of the truth is never a valid option.
Seems like I’m in pretty good company on this issue, as the following quotes attest to. What are your thoughts?
“The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.”
– Winston Churchill (British Orator, Author and Prime Minister during World War II. 1874-1965).
“Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it.”
– Samuel Johnson (English Poet, Critic and Writer. 1709-1784).
“It is not the oath that makes us believe the man, but the man the oath”
– Aeschylus (Ancient Greek Dramatist and Playwright known as the founder of Greek tragedy, 525 BC-456 BC).
“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.”
– Elvis Presley (American Singer and Actor widely known as the “King of Rock and Roll”, 1935-1977).
“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”
– C.S. Lewis (British Scholar and Novelist. 1898-1963).
“It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.”
– Mark Twain (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910).
“Remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall — think of it, ALWAYS.”
– Mahatma Gandhi (Indian Philosopher, internationally esteemed for his doctrine of nonviolent protest, 1869-1948).
And now, for tonight’s freebie clip-art and icons, a few more to serve the legal community’s needs. Enjoy!
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