There is more than one Truth

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I have my Truth and you have yours. We both have our reasons for believing what we do and the sooner we both agree that there is more than one Truth, the sooner we will stop bickering and fighting about it all. Truth has a history, as do facts. Facts are somewhat more immutable than are truths but truths are nevertheless derived to at least some extent from facts: the fact of our existence in the world, the facts of the existence of the world and other people, the facts of space and time, the facts of birth and death. Our interpretation of these facts leads us to formulate our world-views, our paradigms and systems of thought – like rationalism, empiricism, humanism, conservatism, liberalism and so many other “-isms”. Our world-views are the filters through which we see the world and from which we derive our own models and conceptions of truth. Our world-view shapes the imaginary space in which we structure and build our own model of Truth.  Our personal and cultural biases skew our views and conceptual vocabulary in ways which tend to lead us to see our own beliefs and contingent Truth as self-evident, necessary and foundational. Our world-view defines the architecture of a Truth which then privileges and presupposes the position of our world-view as a fact. Our world-view is not a fact, it is an interpretation of the facts of our existence and the Truth we build upon our world-view is entirely contingent upon a transient, ephemeral moment in history.

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We have different Truths, different world-views and each one is just as valid as the other. Like two parallel lines which both remain straight and flawless, extending endlessly towards infinity and inhabiting the same conceptual space — both truths (or as many truths as you care to consider) can exist alongside one another. Those places and spaces where contradictory political, cultural and religious truths might cross paths (where two parallel lines for instance on the surface of a sphere or an otherwise curved space remain no less straight and flawless but may still encounter one another) are not necessarily places of conflict or friction. We can agree to disagree, to experience the existence of other architectures of belief without a need to feel threatened about our own. If we are secure in our own belief there is absolutely no reason to feel threatened by an alternative system with axioms we do not hold to be self-evident, with alien or strange-seeming ways and concepts. Encountering an alternate reality and world-view allows us the freedom to creatively explore the reasons and axioms underlying why we hold our own belief; it is not a threat and never has been.

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Christmas: Festive Stress

Disclaimer: Christmas can be a great time for spending time with family and friends and for just generally doing nothing (i.e. relaxing).  This post is a reflection on the stress of over-commercialised, hyper-competitive, shopping-intensive Christmas chaos.

Another year of work is over.  Office Christmas parties have been had, the last rush of work has been successfully negotiated and the time has come to just chill out, put your legs up and do pretty much nothing for a while and enjoy the Christmas break, oblivious to the world, it’s multitudinous worries and all the norms to which you need to conform all year long.  Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.

Now that you have entered the Holiday Season a different kind of KPI is upon you.  Keeping up with social and family expectations, pursuing the horde to the twinkling lights and holiday-shopping-crowdsover-priced food and beverages of yuletide commercialism, and internalising all of that stress you needed to release after a difficult year in the office, factory or farm as you drag your exhausted body through throngs of feverish shoppers and revelers, drunks and .  The requirement to traipse all over your city, country or hemisphere enjoying packaged slices of twinkling happiness served on plastic platters is upon you.

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Wherever you may be on a spectrum of the suspension of disbelief to embrace the Christian cosmology and message, the spectacularly misinformed commercial association of property, possession and purchases with the celebration of the apparent arrival of a Person-of-Peace to the planet some 2,000 or so years ago seems to be something which is never widely acknowledged.  The frenzy of frantic shoppers, grimacing smiles and screaming toddlers, bickering frenzy, jostling and pushing, side-stepping and barging, wielding credit cards like sharpened shuriken in annual non-lethal battles prophesied in television and internet commercials to find the One True Wrapped Present of Destiny.  It is all too much.

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I am not certain if it is just me that experiences this stress.  I acknowledge the pivotal role of Christmas in culture and the economy but I can’t get past the fact that all of the associated hassles and anxiety, negotiating crowded malls and motorways, maintaining social appearances, navigating intrusive personalities and frenetic events – I do not find this relaxing or truly and deeply pleasant in the ways I feel (or have been led to believe) that I perhaps should.  This appears to be one KPI of happiness-metrics and blind joyful enthusiasm that I regularly (or at least – annually) fail.  I am genuinely beginning to suspect that I may have been born on the wrong planet.

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Reference: The Christmas holiday effect – more fatal heart attacks