“There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.” — George Orwell, 1984
I’d landed in Hamburg, Germany after speaking at an event in Copenhagen. I was exhausted but incredibly inspired. Even though I keynote events all around the world almost on a weekly basis, I still get nervous. I know my work. I know why I do what I do. There’s always a hope that the message and inspiration behind it will resonate with people. Uncertainty is just constant. But, it keeps me motivated, honest and earnest. The audience in Denmark seemed to really connect with stories and possibilities I shared with them.
During rehearsal, and in the back of my mind following the event, sparks of consciousness were firing about. I couldn’t put words to it. Nor could I visualize it. And, it had nothing to do with the event I’d just left.
When I arrived at the Empire Riverside Hotel in Germany and saw the stationery beside the bed, I immediately reached for a pen. I could no longer contain the ambiguous sentiment that had long been brewing inside me. It was now clear. I could articulate it.
“Resist the traps that make you tell their lies…as your truth.”
What was consuming me wasn’t relegated to this trip. It’s something that I’ve felt for a couple of years now.
In an era of incredible polarization and cognitive biases masquerading as reality, openness, awareness, critical thinking and so many other important life gifts seem to be fading into obscurity.
Someone shared that the note reminded them of the words by Marcus Aurelius, “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
I once said that the gift of social media was that it gave us a voice. The dark side of it is that it gave us a voice.
Monologue has given way to dialog.
Dialogue then gave way to echo chambers.
Eventually, echo chambers became movements flying under the banner of interpretations of truth.
As the great poet Ice-T recently said, “Social media has made too many of you comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the mouth for it.”
Sometimes we speak without consequence. Sometimes we believe without prudence. The internet, social media, mobile devices, are bringing us closer together while also dividing us. We were given the power of gods without their wisdom.
There are no shades of truth. There’s no division of truth. It’s not yours nor is it mine. It’s simply truth. Without it, without our ability to seek and embrace it, we are divided by choice. And, this is a world where chaos becomes a matter of course.
Seek the truth.
Speak the truth.
Even if your voice shakes.
Even if you feel alone.
It guides you and inspires others to rise.
This is peace. This is humanity.
Truth has no agenda. In time, it always perseveres. God help us in a world otherwise.
What Do You Stand For ?#WDYSF