Friday, December 09, 2005

Seeing is believing... well, not always.

A lie can go halfway around the world before the truth even gets its boots on.

In the days of Mark Twain, a lie could only get halfway around the world. Today it can make it all the way around before truth "gets its boots on." Today we live in a world of near instant communications. When something "newsworthy" happens anywhere in the world, within seconds people are spreading the news through their cell phones, and within minutes news of the event is broadcast through television and radio, posted on web sites, and eventually makes it into the next days newspaper. This is one of the reasons why I prefer to get my news from the newspaper. Since the newspaper is rather slow compared to other forms of media, someone had some time to think (at least a little bit) about the event and maybe even do some research before spreading what could be truth or fiction.

Another quote that I like, this one from the television show, The Outer Limits,

The search for truth is a uniquely human process; a quest guided by our perception of an event. But what happens to the truth when what we see and what we think we see are two very different things... Some say that the truth is only what we persuade others to believe. If so, we should be wary; for truth is easily and often hidden by the arguments of those who are false...

So why all these quotes about truth? Someone sent me a link today to a video titled Pallywood. You can view it yourself at This video shows how Palestinians stage conflicts with Israeli military to persuade the world how poorly they are treated. I found the video to be quite compelling. Some may claim that this video itself is staged, personally, I don't think that's the case. I do think, however, you should watch this video and decide for yourself. Eleanor Roosevelt in a speech in 1938 to graduates of the Todhunter School in New York City said:

"Don't dry up by inaction but go out and do things... Don't believe what somebody else tells you, but know things by your own contacts with life. If you do that you will be of great value to the community and the world."

I feel very strongly about those words. With so much information available to us at such unprecedented speeds we must remember not to believe everything we see and hear, especially if it's something you saw on television. Truth is stranger than fiction. If you hear something that sounds plausible, it probably didn't happen. If you hear something that sounds strange and bizarre, (like Israeli soldiers NOT shooting at Palestinians) it's probably the truth.

Another quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that I think is appropriate when thinking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is:

"When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" February 16, 1946

If you'd like to learn more about Eleanor Roosevelt, check out She was a very interesting woman and one of those great individuals who strived to make the world a better place for all.